Summary: This is a Pentecost sermon that focuses on the power of the Holy Spirit to make things happen.
In the spirit of Mother’s day, I would like to tell the tale of four-year-old Little Johnny… Johnny asked, "Mommy, where do babies come from? "The stork, dear." replied Johnny’s Mom. "Mommy, who keeps bad people from robbing our house?" Asked Little Johnny. Johnny’s mother answer, "The police, dear." "Mommy, if our house was on fire, who would save us?" "The fire department, dear." "Mommy, where does food come from?" "Farmers, dear." "Mommy?" "Yes, dear?" "What do we need Daddy for?"
Interesting the way little minds work… we try so hard as parents… as uncles and aunts… maybe as babysitters or friends to instill knowledge and wisdom into the children in our lives… yet… despite all our efforts… I believe we learn so much more… from them. Here are but a few lessons I have learned from William in the past two years:
(1) I have learned that a 2 year old’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
(2) When you are in another room, and you hear the toilet flush with the words, “oh, oh,” I have learned that it is already too late.
(3) I have learned that when you put play dough into a DVD player… all you get is static. (4) I have learned that the spin cycle of the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy but it does make cats dizzy.
(5) I have learned that cats can throw up to twice their body weight when they are dizzy.
Indeed… I have learned SO much!
As God’s children… we have learned an awful lot. We have learned that we need him. We have learned that we are helpless without him. We have learned that we should live every day as good children, exhibiting the love of a good parent. Yet… with all the things we have learned… there is still so much that we still need to learn.
Probably near the top of everyone’s list… is the Holy Spirit. How many people here can truly adequately describe who the Holy Spirit is or explain exactly what the Holy Spirit does? I’m sure we all have some idea… but the Holy Spirit is one thing that many Christians really do not know much about. We can go on and on about God the Father, we have loads of scripture to tell us about God the Son, but what do we have to describe the Holy Spirit… wind… something none of us can see… something few of us really understand. There is not much we can learn from empirical observation on what the Holy Spirit is like.
However… we can learn an awful lot by taking a different approach. There is a famous Christian quote that says, “I can not see the wind… but I CAN see the effects of the wind!” We may not be able to see the Holy Spirit… but we can sure see the affect he has on our congregation… and on our own lives.
It reminds me of a story of a church very similar to ours during a Pentecost Sunday… the worship was particularly moving that day and the congregation was stirred in a way that can only be described as the Holy Spirit. Much like our worship today, as their congregation filed into church, the ushers handed each person a bright red paper flame to symbolize the festive spirit of the day. The people listened attentively to the reading of the Pentecost story from the Book of Acts about how the disciples had heard “what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven”; about how the Holy Spirit had appeared “like tongues of fire.” Then came the sermon: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon us,” the preacher began. “Like the powerful wind from heaven!” shouted a woman sitting in the first pew. Then she threw one of the red flames toward the pulpit.
Now, keep in mind this is in a quite little church like ours… to have someone screaming from the pews meant either the Holy Spirit or a loose squirrel! The preacher began again a little more excited: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon us.” The same woman’s voice rang out again, “Like the tongues of fire, the tongues of fire!” Again, she threw a red flame toward the pulpit.
The preacher looked straight at her and said, “Sister… you’ve caught the wind and felt the fire, and have graciously thrown your flames… now throw your pocketbook.” To which the woman replied, “Pastor… it’s a miracle, you have just calmed the wind and put out the fire.”
We know when the Holy Spirit is at work, because amazing things happen. We know when the Holy Spirit is at work, because something stirs inside of us. We know when the Holy Spirit is at work, because we are able to do things that we could never do on own. To put it simply… we know what we can expect when the Holy Spirit shows up… we can expect chaos!