June 2017 Pastor's Message:
"Living in the Days of Pentecost"
Imagine coming to worship at St. John’s when you can’t find a place to park, much less finding a place to sit. Wouldn’t that be great? Can you vision seeing 500 or more in attendance each weekend? Can you realize $20,000 per week in contributions? Can you see 5-6 Bible classes going on, some simultaneously and add to that 2-3 Catechism classes for adults desiring to become confirmed members at St. John’s? How about Sunday School classes with 4-5 teachers?
I don’t think the disciples were thinking like that on that first Pentecost weekend 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection either. They knew to stay in Jerusalem as Jesus had instructed them where they would receive the Holy Spirit. Little did they know what kind of power that Holy Spirit would breathe into their lives and into the lives of those who heard that first sermon proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him risen from the dead! By the end of Act 2 we read that some 3,000 people had become believers on that one day, and by the Holy Spirit’s action, later on in Acts we read the number had increased to 5,000.
Are numbers important? To those first century disciples those numbers were helpful. And as we continue to read the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that the Lord added daily those who were being saved.
The Lord continues to do that today. He sends His Holy Spirit into the hearts and lives of those who hear the Gospel. He creates faith in those hearts. The Holy Spirit calls and gathers those people into His church, sanctifying them by the forgiveness of their sins, assures them of the resurrection on the Last Day, and granting eternal salvation. No government or group on earth can subtract from God’s grace. No single individual can diminish the Lord’s blessings on His people.
Yet in this world there are those governments and groups and individuals who would seek to destroy our faith. Satan, of course, is behind all this, and as we remember our baptism, we also renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways. Our recent nine catechumens who were confirmed made their vows of faithfulness the first Sunday of May. You may also remember your confirmation day and the importance that day has on your life. You may have received a special verse from Scripture which serves you as a source of encouragement, instruction, guidance, and hope.
Sadly, many of our recent confirmands have forsaken their vows of faithfulness to the church. Sadly, so have a number of our members. Those numbers are important to us today, more than the dollars that could be contributed to support the General Fund.
This summer I pray the Holy Spirit to breathe on the members of St. John’s in order to enliven their faith, call them from their darkness into the marvelous light of God’s redeeming grace, and to equip them to serve God’s Church. As you read this, I invite your prayers for your fellow members who have not been in church, asking God to bless them and breathe on them His breath of resurrection life. In other words, I pray that Pentecost will come again to St. John’s. You will hear your own language of the love of God and how He sent His only Son Jesus to rescue you from sin, death, and the devil.
Come, Holy Spirit, and breathe on the hearts of Your people!
Pastor Ron Brauer