The manuscript bellow is only a guide to the sermon. My notes that were the foundation for the preaching moment.
The Holy Spirit is Still Moving
“Love, no one cares, about a story their not in.” Matt Nathanson
It’s true. If we cannot find ourselves in the story we will check out. Just ask all of the TV programs that get canceled after the pilot episode. If we cannot find ourselves in the story, why bother paying attention.
We gather this morning to tell our story. The story of God. The story of death to life. Our death to new life with God.
People of God, this is our day. This is our story. The Spirit that moved at that first Pentecost moves today. Moves now. Moves through us.
There is another reality possible. One that subverts the course of the world as it appears in motion.
The kingdom of God is that reality. The life of Jesus is a pattern for our lives as his disciples.
“Jesus had declared that another world was possible. On the Day of Pentecost they could hear it breathing.” Ric Hudgens
There was a sound like win and tongues like fire. And the whole world heard the story of God’s power. “The Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs….
And Fredericksburgians… Did you hear that?! Our people heard the story of God’s life giving, life renewing, life sustaining power. Our ancestors - parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers - the generations who came before us. For each of us there is someone who first told us the story of God. And at some point we saw ourselves as part of that story. That’s why we are here this morning.
Peter quotes the prophet Joel as he tells the story of God. And perhaps Joel was thinking about a moment like today, when we have 14 youth affirm there faith before the body of Christ gathered here. Peter quotes Joel,
“‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…’”
Today our youth affirm their faith and as a part of the journey to this day they have written statements of faith. I would like to share them with you now.
Eli Christensen: “As I stared middle school I noticed that this word (GOD) that I had heard so much actually stood for something that no words can fully describe. A being of power and love that cared for and knew me. It was much more that just a word it was the Lord who created and saved us all.”
Sydney Windham: “I believe God is all knowing, all powerful, and always present. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to redeem me from my sin. He is my helpful is my time of need. He is faithful. God is love.”
Keegan Dorothy: “My relationship with God has grown over the past 2 years. Some things that have helped me grow in my faith is continuing to go to church and praying… I feel God is in my presence everyday by helping me through the day. My mom has been particularly influential in my faith journey.”
Charis Collidge: “My faith is strong like God’s love, and I know that God will remain in my soul, spirit, and heart at all times even when I’m in the dark God will show me the light to follow. I may have to fight evil on the way to that light, but I know he will give me the strength to do all things I just believe.”
Megan Jinright: “I believe God made me that way I am for a specific reason, and all I ask is the guidance from him to push me in the directions to build his kingdom. I believe he forgives us for our sins and no matter how bad we fall apart, God will always build us up even if he builds you differently, for he has a reason.”
Luke Duderstadt: “God is not one to hold grudges but He fully accepts us back into His heart with open arms. That aspect of God comforts me in knowing that when I stumble and fall, he will be there right behind me, ready to put out His hand to help me up and put me back on my path to everlasting happiness with him at the end of my faith journey.”
Lexi Cole: “The Holy Spirit is always with us… It is the living God in the world… It gives us strength to preach God’s word, help others, and love our enemies. I believe that the role of the church is to cure the sick, feed the hungry, help the poor, and to spread God’s word. The church is like a safe haven where everyone can come together and worship.”
Jacob Jenske: “My earliest memory of God was learning the dinner prayer ‘Come Lord Jesus’ before we ate dinner each night. This has stuck with me since I could talk… I am raised on a farm and ranch. I have seen God from the way the crops grow in the fields and how the cattle are able to to grow and raise their calves in pastures. These things will someday nourish our bodies.”
Shelby Pitts: “The people all around the world have even impacted the growing of my faith by telling me stories that have happened to them and how they looked to God and how he helped them get through the worst of the worst, I would say that I have a very good and strong relationship with God for my age because I know that he has done a lot for me and I know that no matter what he will forgive me and will always have my back.”
Lauren Kennedy: “Through these years, I have made many new friends. I am excited to live out God’s word with them also along the way. These next couple of years, I plan to teach others about God and invite them to church with me.”
Kora Young: “My faith has been very complicated. I was baptized non-catholic, I go to a Catholic school, and now I am being confirmed as a Lutheran. I’ve been to many different churches, but here I feel most at home. I thank God everyday for my blessings and ask him to help me stay strong when life gets hard.’
Zachary Willis: “Another positive influence in my life has been Rainbow Trail camp in Colorado. My group went to Bible study everyday while I was there and I was able to hear stories from the Bible that the counselors connected to my current life. Also, hiking through the mountains helped me to feel closer to God as I was surrounded by the beauty of nature.”
River Andrichyn: “Through Bethany we also go on various trips to help us learn more about Christianity and God. My favorite trip would have to be when we went to Colorado to go to Rainbow Trail. I have enjoyed these past three years in the program and would recommend it to every Lutheran Christian.”
Jessen Stableford: “Last but certainly not least, what more can be said than ‘Jesus loves me this I know/ for the Bible tells me so.’ As long as you know that it will be as true as the fact that you are God’s child… P.S. Jesus is always the answer.”
The Spirit is still moving! And through us, God is raising the world to new life.