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Story Telling

. 3 min read

19-20
May 2018, Christ Mountain Top, Pentecost
Praying
the Psalm, Psalm 104, selections
Children,
Acts 2.1-21
Message,
John 15.26-27, 16.1-15
When
we think of the gift of the Spirit, we often think in terms of miracle, in
manifestations of the Spirit that are exceptional, unusual, not experienced by
everyone. “That’s nice, but I’ve never experienced that myself.” The folks in
the Covenant Group have practiced paying attention to the presence of the
Spirit in small things. Each time they gather, they told stories of how they
responded to “promptings” of the Spirit in the ordinary things of each day.
Sometimes people say to me, “What made you do that, Pastor JP?” (Not about some
hare-brained idea but about something that is good in a way that can only be described as godly.) My answer, most of the time, is, “I don’t know.” I wasn’t
sensitive to a prompting of the Spirit, but sure enough, God was in it. How, I
can’t say. I can only be grateful.
      OR, when we think of the Spirit, we think that
it would be better for our faith if we had lived in Jesus’ time, if we could
have seen him perform miracles, teach the crowds, lead in prayer. We become
nostalgic for something that we never experienced, except in our imagination,
and we make the mistake of thinking that Jesus’ disciples had great faith.
Check out the gospel stories, where Jesus says to Peter: “You of little faith,
why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14.31). Or, what he tells all his disciples about
the coming Spirit: “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go
away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John
16.7).

The
gospel reading for Pentecost this week invites us to consider simpler things of
the Spirit. And it informs us that we are expected “to testify,” that is, we
are expected to tell the story of Jesus (John 15.27). That is the most
spiritual thing we can do: to discern the work of Jesus by the Spirit in our
own lives and to share that story with others.
Do
we have a story to tell?
      Paul, hijacked by Jesus on the Damascus
Road (Acts 9)
      Timothy, “a faith that lived first in your
grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you” (2
Timothy 1.5).
The
gift of your stories
      Caleb, last week (youth Sunday)
      New members joining this week and the
coming weeks
Don’t
discount your stories. Don’t apologize for your stories. It is in our stories
that we see God at work, that we see the Spirit of God. “You are to testify,”
Jesus says (John 15.27). Don’t hold back. Not everyone will receive your story,
but your story is a blessing and gift.
Two
roles of the Spirit “when he comes”:
1.
Convict the world of sin, righteousness, judgment
      Sin, “Because they do not believe in me”
      The chief sin is unbelief,
            and it is a sin that we who believe
share.
      Where this intersects with our stories is not us convicting other
people but the Spirit convicting us.
2.
Lead us into all truth
      Truth as the property of persons in
relationship, not ideas in the abstract
      Truth belongs to the Father, is given to
the Son, shared with the Spirit, who leads us into it
      Old English “troth”, root of “betrothal”,
a relational truth
      Where this intersects with our stories is in growing to know God – you
don’t know God’s truth without knowing God.
Stories:
      Covenant group – he’s not your child
      Bible reading – see something new
each time
I’ve
had everything the world has to offer, and so much more from my Lord
                  “Taking what is mine and
declaring it to you”