June 4, 2017

Stetson Memorial UMC

Pentecost Sunday!

Sermon Series:

“Mending Fences-Healing the Heart…”

“Healing Trust”

Adapted from Marcia McPhee’

“On the Mend” Sermon Series

Psalm 104:24-35

Mark 10:13-16 MSG

Luke 24:44-53 MSG

Acts 2:1-13; 38-42 The Message (MSG)





The Lord be with you

And also with you

Let us pray (Prayer that God’s Word is heard through me or in-spite of me)


Please stand for the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 10, verses 13-16. Listen to the word of God from His love letter to His beloved, you and I…


(Read Scripture from the MSG Bible)



As Hope, Joy and Grace went off arm in arm, laughing and getting to know each other better. No one could have known what was going to happen next. Would their new-found friendship stand the test it was in for?


Hey guys, let’s go down by the river and see what’s going on” Joy suggested. “I don’t know about that” Hope exclaimed, “I was always told never to go there, especially at night. You never know what could be down there…or should I say who.” “/come on Hope. Where is your sense of adventure?” Joy asked. “She may be right” Grace interjected “ I have heard that strange things happen there at night.” “Well if you two stick in the muds don’t want to go, I guess I will just go myself.” Joy said as she started to walk off. “Wait up” both Hope and Grace said, “We will go with you. You should never go alone.” “Yes!”


When they got to the river there were several people standing around and it looked like they were up to no good. “I don’t know about this” Grace said “It looks like they are up to no good to me. I think we should get out of here before they see us.” “I know these guys” Hope said “there ok. They are friends of mine. Trust me.” “If you say so” Joy and Grace said, a little uneasy.


“Hi guys. What ya up to?” hope asked. “Not much Hope. Who are these people you brought with you? You know how we don’t like strangers around here.” “there cool. This is Joy and Grace” Hope told them. “Grace and Joy huh. Well they don’t look so graceful and leaping for joy to meet us “ they laughed. Joy and Grace were getting nervous and decided it was time to go. “Come on Hope. Let’s just go.” They were pulling her away from them and all of the sudden there was gun fire. “everyone get down….” Their “new found friends exclaimed. But it was too late, Grace had been hit.


“I knew that we shouldn’t have come here. I trusted you and look what happened. I will never trust anyone like you ever again.” Joy screamed. “Someone call 911.” But the only people there were Hope, Joy and Grace now on the ground bleeding.


When they finally got to the hospital they were pretty shacken up. As they sat there waiting to hear news about Grace, the head nurse came to speak to them. She wore a name tag that just said “faith” on it. “Hi girls, my name is Faith and I am the nurse in charge of your friend Grace. Can you tell me what happened?” asked Faith. “It’s al her fault, I should have never trusted someone like her.” Joy blurted out. “My fault. Why is it my fault. I didn’t know that was going to happen. I wasn’t the one who shot her and you didn’t have to go with me either” “That’s enough girls. This is not helping your friend any. I believe she will be OK. She might have to be here for a while but she is going to be ok.” Faith explained. “How do you know that?” both of the girls asked. I just know it will…this is not what God would have planned for her…”.


As Faith walked away, Hope tried to talk to her hurting friend, “I am so sorry. I would never have gone there if I know this was going to happen.” “Well you can just keep you apology. My friends were right. People like you should never be trusted.” Joy screamed at her friend. After saying that she stormed off to try and find out more information on her friend. Hope just sat there and cried… “It’s all my fault. I really am one of those people. How could I ever think I could be part of them.” Hearing this, nurse Faith came over and sat next to Hope. She didn’t say a word, just sat there with her… I wonder what was going to happen next…


Good morning. Happy Pentecost Sunday…the birthday of the church! This morning can we continue to be interactive with each other as. I really have enjoyed the way we have conversed with one another over the past few weeks… so, I need audience participation. In the story that I just shared with you, what stands out for you? Give time for answers. What stands out to me was the way that Joy reacted to Hope after her friend had been shot.…I really don’t know if Hope is ever going to earn Joy’s trust back. I think that I may have felt the same if I had been in that position.

I truly believe that we as Christ church…followers of the Way…need to have conversation of what ails us. What is hurting inside of us. What hold us back from living the life, individually and collective, that we are offered through Jesus. We need to heal what ails us in order to be the relevant Christians. We need to let go and let God as we move forward as God’s people and take back the land of our forefathers. Without healing what ails us we can’t call ourselves Christ followers because we can’t follow His example in the world. We want to be those Resurrection people so we need to rise from the grave of the world around us. We can spend the tomb with our comfortable “death cloths” …not leaving those things behind that bind us… But we need to put on the robe of righteousness that we receive in and through Christ.


Today I want us to continue to talk about some of the things that ail us…that stop us from living that life in Christ, as we mend fences and heal the heart. Now, there may be no fences that need mending but we are all broken. What in us needs mending? My hope is that we will have that conversation that will lead to healing. Not only that, but after the service each Sunday, I invite us to have further conversation… On the 11th of June, my friend Margaret will come for you to have conversation with her of what ails your heart. Conversation is hard but it is vital if we want to be that vital congregation for Christ.


We have talked about intentions and the fact that, whether we like it or not, there are times when our intentions may be not so helpful. We talked about those times that our inhibitions keep us from being open to others. How there are many things that cause us to be closed off to the very ones that Jesus came to save…including ourselves.


Fear is one of the biggest things that keeps us from being who God would have us be. Fear of the future, fear of finances, fear of those who may come through this door…Maybe even the fear of Hope as she is walking through our door…


There is also the sickness of “pride”. Pride can cause us to do a lot of crazy things… Now being proud is not really a bad thing…we should take pride in what we do. But there are times when our pride gets in the way of being that loving community that the “Hope’s” of the world need.


I think the most vicious and viral disease in and to the body of Christ is the disease of division. As we work together…and not just give up and leave…the most important thing to remember is we need to take our division to the Way Maker, our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. He will stand in gap for us as we work our way back to unity. As we bring our hurts and ailments to the Balm of Gilead, we are healed from the inside out.


Another thing that ails us as people and as a church is Miss-Trust. How many of you have ever had an incident in their lives that they lost trust in something or someone? How did that make you feel? Give time to answer. Do you think you will ever trust that person or that thing again? Give time to answer. Trust is something I like to give people…that is until they prove me wrong. Then it is hard for me to totally trust that person…or thing…again. What or who do you trust the most…that you put your trust in? Give time to answer.


From the Scripture this morning, we hear how we are to enter into the Kingdom of God…with childlike trust. Why do you think it is so hard to have that childlike trust? Give time to answer? In the world we live in, it seems that most people live for themselves and trust no one. If they trusted then that person could do …fill in the blank… and we can’t have that happening…


Why do you think that it is so important for us, as Christ’s Church, to have trust? Give time to answer. The church began in faith and trust. Listen to the story of the first Pentecost Sunday and see if you can see why we as a church need to trust not only God…but one another.


Acts 2:1-13The Message (MSG)

A Sound Like a Strong Wind

1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.

5-11 There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck. They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues?

Parthians, Medes, and Elamites;
Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene;
Immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes;
Even Cretans and Arabs!

“They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!”

12 Their heads were spinning; they couldn’t make head or tail of any of it. They talked back and forth, confused: “What’s going on here?”

13 Others joked, “They’re drunk on cheap wine.”

Acts 2:38-42The Message (MSG)

38-39 Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”

40 He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!”

41-42 That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.


Wow…what pieces of trust do you see here? Do you think without that there would have been a growth of the church? Give time to answer. But the trust thing began before this day. Luke 24:44-53 is where it began. Listen to what the scripture tells us:

Luke 24:44-53The Message (MSG)

You’re the Witnesses

44 Then he said, “Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled.”

45-49 He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, “You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.”

50-51 He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them, and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven.

52-53 And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.

It began with the disciples trust in what Jesus told them. If they had not trusted in what Jesus had told them they never would have gone back to the city. They would not have been altogether in one place. They would not have been His witnesses all over the world. We cannot be His witnesses if we are not trusting and having divisions with one another church…


If we do not believe Jesus when He tells us to bring what is broken and He will fix it wat is the point of believing at all? If we don’t believe that God can heal anything, what is the point of believing? If we don’t believe the promises, what is the point of believing? If we don’t come with childlike faith, with each other, and believe Jesus can fix us then… Without childlike faith…childlike trust how can we enter the throne room and be healed? It all begins with trust… They say “time can heal the broken heart” but I believe it is trust in the One who created us that heals the broken heart…


Beloved children of the Most High God. Jesus is calling us out of our tombs and in to His Glorious Light and be healed of our ailments. What is ailing us…as a church…as individuals…as one body? How can we be on the mend, of fences and our hearts? I know that there are things we just don’t want to talk about…there are things that we just don’t want to hear. But we let cannot/will not fear stop us from healing what ails us, personally and collectively.


It is Pentecost Sunday, are we willing to trust and receive the Holy Spirit? Remember…it began and begins in trust. Without trust, there is no miracle or power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the church. Can we be like Faith and trust in the One who is working in and through our lives and the lives of others?


Think about the Hope’s of this world. She needs a place of trust and if we are not trusting then why would she want to come near? I ask that we prayerfully come together…as family…to heal what ails us. I passionately want us to be that church that Hope would hear about the goodness of God and feel the oneness of our church as we work through our faith journey together trusting in the One who knows us best.


Maybe…just maybe…she will come through our doors. The question is…are we willing to let her in…?




Remember and Be Filled…!

May 24, 2015

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1-11 NIV Bible


Remember and Be Filled!


A reading from the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2 verses 1-11. Listen to and for a word from God for us the people of God…

Let us pray…

Creator God in heaven, you who set your children on fire on the day of Pentecost…we pray for that same spirit to fall upon us this day on those gathered here in this church and in all of your churches around the world. Speak to those gathered in your house today so that we may know your will for our lives. We thank you for your ancient words that still guide us today. I ask that Your Word be heard through me or in spite of me…Speak Lord… we are ablaze for You and Your kingdom. Amen

I think I have seen almost all of the Star Trek Movies that have been produced. But I think that my favorite one is the one where as the ship was going to be destroyed, Spock knew what had to be done. In order to save the ship he had to go in to the room that was filled with all this radioactive stuff in the air and he knew he was not going to be able to make it but the ship would not be destroyed. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one… And just before he went in McCoy tried to stop him. Well of course he used one of his Vulcan neck pinches and knocked McCoy out. But as McCoy laid there Spock used the Vulcan Mind Meld on him and said “Remember…”…remember.

Today we are celebrating Memorial Day. . . A day when we remember loved ones and those who gave their lives for our freedom. It can be a day of sadness for some as they remember those who have gone before us. . . those who touched our lives in a special way. Even though there is sadness, we also have those memories of them that give us joy still.

When I think of those who have gone before me, there is one who really stands out in my mind. . . our Risen Lord Jesus. Jesus came to teach you and to teach us a new way of living, a radical way of living and even though we are saddened by His death. . . there was and is great joy in His resurrection. I am sure the first disciples were saddened by His death and had great joy in His resurrection and His coming back but when He came back it was only for a short time. When He left again He promised He would always be with them and as well as with us through the Spirit that was given on that first Pentecost morn. Pentecost was the completion of Jesus’ ministry on earth.

Today we also celebrate Pentecost Sunday!!!!! It is one of my favorite celebrations in the Christian calendar. It is the birthday of the church! Without it…we would not have the church as we know it today. It is a day that we celebrate the gift of the Counselor…the Holy Spirit…the promise made to us…the followers of Christ when He ascended into heaven. It is the fire that burns within our hearts that keeps the church growing. It is that unquenchable fire that enables us to do extraordinary things in our ordinary lives for the kingdom of God here on earth. I was telling Ray this morning that if he sees me starting to float to the ceiling to get out the tethers.

This wonderful gift of Pentecost, the Spirit within us, is the Spirit of God. It enables us to hear God’s voice and guidance. By the power of that same Spirit we can walk on water and not be afraid. We can cry out to the Lord in the midst of our fear for help and step out in faith. You see…we are given the Spirit of power and might. We have that hunger within us to

  1. Learn more about God…
  2. To study God’s Word…
  3. To serve God…
  4. To right wrongs…
  5. To bring more people into the presence of God

We can come like a child, by the Spirit, into the throne room of grace and not be afraid. (Children aren’t intimidated by limits or risks) We will have the fruits of the Spirit that Paul talks about in Galatians 5:22-26…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, truthfulness, gentleness, and self control (This is one that helps us fight against the temptations of the world). (Are you feeling it…that fire within you…Just waiting to be released.) Fruitiness…when the Spirit is alive in our hearts, the character of God comes into us as the Spirit works to conform us ever more closely to the image and character of Christ.(remember and be filled with the fire of Pentecost)


Now in those times when I have come before God not knowing how or what to pray (and I’m sure that some of you have too) those times when I am in such a state that I can’t utter a word and it is this gift of Pentecost that has helped me in my weakness. But…the Spirit not only helps us as we pray in our weakness but in all of our weaknesses. That Spirit…that fire of Pentecost…helps us when…

  1. We need words of hope…
  2. We need to step out in faith…
  3. We need to follow God’s plan for our lives…
  4. We need to reach out to those who are “unlovable”…

The list goes on. Remember and be filled with the Fire of Pentecost

OK…since we have this Pentecost fire within us…how can we use it for God’s glory you ask? Well…let’s look at what the Apostles did on that glorious day of Pentecost. The scripture tells us that they spoke in people’s native tongue about the greatness of God. This made me stop and think for a moment…How do we speak in others language, in their native tongue so that they can understand about God’s saving grace and love for all? Well one way God speaks to us is in the different translations of the bible. I can’t believe how many there are. But the way that I see it…God speaks to each of us in a different way, by reading a certain translation of the Bible, the Word is broken down in a way that we understand what it is telling us better. By reading this version, that we can understand, we are equipped to share that message to others.

One way we can reach others is to meet them when and where they are. We need to speak plainly, in ways that they will understand. Jesus spoke in parables to the people. These parables were for (for the lack of a better analogy) certain types of people. They worked for those whom He was talking to at the time but if he used only one type, there would have been people left out…people who wouldn’t understand the meaning of the parable. He came for the lost and confused sheep not the ones who understood. In order to bring people to an understanding and be saved we must meet them where they are as Jesus did. You see…the Pentecost fire within…enables us to become God’s servants, Christ’s friends, in order to carry on Christ’s ministry to the world. We meet others where they are…in their “native language”…not shunning them because they are different but embracing them for our diversity is a way we speak other languages. Remember and be filled with the fire of Pentecost

We need to, no, we have to, reignite that Pentecostal fire within Christ’s Church as well as in the life of every single believer. We need to begin by looking within ourselves. . . within our own mirror to begin the change. Then and only then, we can go forth in Jesus name with that fire in the hole of our own lives to spread the hills ablaze with a fire that cannot be quenched. We will be emboldened to go forth, in the name of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, and preach the gospel to ALL nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and yes. . . the Spirit. Then and only then we will be able to help fill the hole in humanity with the fire that burns bright. Remember and be filled with the fire of Pentecost

Let me give you an example for this. This is a life without the Spirit within it…and here is a life full of the Holy Spirit…the fire of Pentecost. As the song from Kathy Tricoli states…Take your candle (that fire within you)…go light your world.