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Summary: For the Apostles, they believed that their journey with Christ was over. The really was, their journey with Christ was just beginning. When the Holy Spirit came to them, they became committed to Christ and the Church.

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Last week I shared with you that one of my favorite things to do is to go canoeing.

I have looked at Rock Lake, and I am looking forward to going out next spring.

This morning, I would like to talk to you about another one of things that I love to

do, and that is backpacking.

My love of backpacking, as well as many of the other outdoor things, started when

I was in Boy Scouts. In Pennsylvania, we were blessed to have the Appalachian

Trail in our backyard. Within a hour-or-two drive in several different directions,

we could be on the trail. We would go out on weekends, hiking the many different

sections of the trail.

Besides getting food, I could be ready to walk out that door and go backpacking in

a matter of ten minutes. My gear is always ready to go.

Let me show you some of the gear that I use…..

Whenever I go backpacking, I would drop my car off at the end of the trail, and

someone would then drop me off at the beginning of the trail. And off I would go.

You know, something has to happen before I am dropped off at the beginning of

the trail besides the normal packing.

I need to be fully committed to completing the trail.

Once I am dropped off and my ride leaves, there is no turning back. If I hike half

way on the trail, there’s no turning back.

I need to be fully committed to completing the hike.

This morning we once again dive into the book of Acts to a familiar passage to

many of us. Most of us have heard this passage of scripture read on Pentecost

Sunday, which is the birthday of the church.

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Today, we read this portion of scripture as a continuation of last week’s reading.

Last week we read about the apostles beginning a new journey. Once Jesus was

killed, many of the apostles wondered what they were going to do next.

They thought that their journey with Christ was over, and they were going to

return back to their trades, to things that they were comfortable doing.

John’s Gospel records that several days after Jesus’ death, Simon Peter announces

that he is going fishing.

And everyone followed Peter.

Our Pentecost scripture today opens our eyes to an amazing story about God’s

power.

There, in the town of Jerusalem, while everyone was celebrating the Feast of the

Weeks (which was the celebration of the good harvest), tongues of fire came out

of the sky and rested on each of the apostles.

God’s Holy power was seen that day!

On that Pentecost day, an amazing event happened when the tongues of fire

appeared.

But I believe that there was something far more important that occur on Pentecostthe

apostles became committed. There was no turning back for those 12 men.

Once the tongues of fire came to each one of those men, they were fully

committed to God.

My friends, are you totally committed to Jesus?

I mean, are you really committed to Jesus?

We’re not talking about this fake stuff that many so-called Christians seem to put

on. You know - “I’m a Christian”, and then they walk out of the church, and they

stab the pastor or another member in the back..

Or the “Christian” who claims to be total committed, but they haven’t darkened

the doorstep of a church in a long time.

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I’m talking about the honest-to-goodness, I-am-dedicating-my-life-to-God-no

matter-what-the-cost commitment that was demonstrated by the apostles.

That is what this church is going to need – now and in the future.

We have a lot of work to do. We have a roof that needs to be replaced soon, we

need people to volunteer to be on church boards, and we need to figure out where

we are going.

And we need committed people, faithful people, humbled people who are willing

to use their talents to serve God here at First Congregational United Church of

Christ.

Are you totally committed to Jesus?

There was a traveling preacher and his grandson who traveled from church to

church sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Early Sunday morning the pastor

went to the small community church to go over his sermon. As he walked into the

church he saw a small box for donations for the needy. The pastor reached deep

down into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change. He picked out the three

least valuable coins - three pennies - and dropped them into the box. That Sunday

came, and the pastor gave one of the best sermons he had ever preached. While

the pastor was greeting the people after the service, the elders got together and

talked about how they wanted to show their gratitude to the pastor for what he

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