Pastor’s Page May 2021

This year, Pentecost falls on May 23rd. To me, part of this season in which we find ourselves is akin to the time before the first Pentecost. We are waiting expectantly for a better day that sets farther on up the road, but we do not know exactly where, and we don’t know when we will receive this gift. Still, we are waiting for it.

For us, waiting can seem rather passive, and for many people it is. They wish for a better outcome. They act as though they’ve put a few dollars on the lottery instead of investing themselves in what truly matters.

After Jesus’ Ascension into the heavens (Acts 1:6-11), the disciples returned to Jerusalem and went into the upper room where they were staying. They were not passive. They devoted themselves to prayer, which is more than a wish or a chance at a big payout. Prayer, for them, was wholehearted; it was active; it was full engagement.

Something else made their prayer unique. It was done with one accord (see Acts 1:14). This wasn’t about everyone having their own view and then taking a vote to see where the majority was or what the survey said. Instead, they prayed together and let the Holy Spirit unite their hearts with the one goal to glorify God and to receive the gift that Jesus had promised them. (Spoiler: the gift proved to be the Holy Spirit, which further united them as one.)

When the Holy Spirit burst onto the scene in Acts 2, the disciples were still gathered together (v 1). Likewise, we need to gather together in these days and wait upon the Lord. Like the disciples, we need to gather in one accord. We need to come together actively searching for the Lord’s will, and we need to do this wholeheartedly and fully engaged.

To that end, I am planning to do something different this summer. In past years, prior to COVID, summer meant a season of Wednesday Bible Studies. This year, I would like to gather in the sanctuary, the fellowship hall, or the chapel, to pray, to have holy conversations, and to sing praises to God.

Honestly, like the early disciples, I don’t have a grand plan, but I am calling upon us to gather in Jesus’ name and to see what He reveals to us through the Holy Spirit. To that end, I have asked James, who has been helping to lead our Praise Team, to organize the first of theses events. It will be a time of prayer and praise and will be May 26th at 7PM here at St. John’s. The scriptural theme will be John 14:19-26—Worship in Spirit and Truth.

Now that I have set my vacation and continuing education dates for the summer, we can begin to set dates for June- August. Other dates may be on Wednesday like the first one or they may fall on a Friday or Saturday evening or possibly a Sunday afternoon.

I’m hoping to find others to lead a bit of music or song. Otherwise, it will be a time of conversation and prayer if I’m the only one leading the time. The goal, for me, is to have God’s people gather in prayer and to seek for the Lord. As Jesus taught, when we seek, we shall find (Luke 11:9-10). When we seek the Lord, we find so much more than peace and comfort in the moment; we find purpose and power that propels us for- ward in God’s will to do His work on earth as it is done in heaven.

There are several biblical passages that contain the phrase “seek the Lord,” but as I am writing about Pentecost in Acts, chapter 15, verses 16-18 says:

“After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.”

God seeks to build His kingdom here on earth, and He uses His people as instruments of His love to do this work. Every good work that we do can only be done in Christ, and every good work begins with prayer. That is why I am calling on the church to commit to a summer of prayer as we prepare to do future good works that are greater than ones we have done before that our Heavenly Father may be glorified.

This commitment to prayer isn’t just about everyone at- tending special times of prayer and praise. As a Christian, you can pray anywhere, at any time, with anyone—that is the gift of having the Holy Spirit upon you. I am asking the members of the church to commit to

100 prayer gatherings EACH month of June, July, and August. That isn’t 100 prayers by 100 individuals or 25 prayers by 4 individuals. I am calling on St. John’s members to gather with other members to pray together. This is St. John’s members praying for friends, colleagues, cashiers, and strangers that you meet.

Prayers can be focused on growing the church, discovering a better vision that unifies our members, or helping our brothers and sisters to discover spiritual gifts and finding ways to use them to strengthen the church. Additionally, prayers can be about the needs of people we engage who are outside of the church. Doing this becomes a way to get non-believers to think about how God cares about them. It is also a comfortable way to share our faith with others while lifting up Christ while empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, these are days of waiting and looking forward like the time of the disciples before Pentecost. It is also a time to have urgency, as the time of fulfillment is not far down the road but just around the corner. Understanding that, gives our prayers a sense of urgency and expectancy coupled with a commitment to being actively engaged in what God is about to do. So, come and pray May 26th if you can. Likewise, plan to help lead or contribute on future dates (contact me for ways you can do that).

Most of all, just start where you are and pray. Find a prayer partner or two at the next worship service, and set times to pray together. Open the directory, call an old friend or make a new one, and commit to pray together. Advertise on social media, if you are so savvy, for people to gather with you online to pray. You can post prayer meetings in the bulletin or on the church Facebook page or website. Or, you can look for opportunities to pray where God plants you. Ask the Holy Spirit to put 5, 10, or 20 people in front of you each week with whom you will take time to pray with them and for them.

Prayer changes things. We all know that but little changes be- cause we are not committed to prayer. Now is the time to change that and to follow through as the disciples did.

Who knows? Maybe a new out- breaking of the Holy Spirit is just around the corner—a new Pentecost is on the horizon. When it does, revival will come to our land, and a renew- al will fall upon Christ’s Church.

May it be so and soon. Come, Holy Spirit, come! With love and faith and service,

Pastor Randall