Faith Church

#bestdayever – Sermon from 5/22/2016

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What was your best day ever?  If you follow that hashtag on Twitter you would see that for many people their best day ever was when they got married, or were able to hold their new born babies.  For some it was the vacation of a lifetime or the day they retired.  What was your best day ever?  For our little dachshund, Mouse, her best day ever was one Saturday morning when my Mom went out to say goodbye to my Dad who was leaving for work.  A chair was just far enough away from the table that she was able to jump onto the chair and then onto the table.  Once she was on the table she was able to eat an entire plate of sweet rolls and drink most of a pitcher of milk.  For Mouse, it was her best day ever, but the joy was short lived.  After such a big breakfast, our little dog was so bloated that she couldn’t get off the table before my Mom got back into the house.  While she was caught and trapped, it was too late, the food was already in her belly which made that her best day ever.

I was thinking about what we might consider the #bestdayever in the bible.  Maybe it was…
When Moses parted the Red Sea.
Maybe it was the night Jesus was born
Or the day he rose from the dead.

One of the problems with identifying these days or labeling any day the best ever is that it places our best days behind us.  If the best day ever was when we were married, what is there to look forward to.  If the best day ever was when our children were born then what happens on their first birthday or their graduation or their wedding?  Even the great days of the Bible like the parting of the Red Sea or the day Jesus was born were truly great days but they are moments in the past and I want the bestdayever to be ahead of me not behind me and it can be if we will learn how to live following the principles we find in what I say is the bestdayever that we find in the Bible.  Acts 2:1-11.

What makes the day of Pentecost the best ever is that this was the day God didn’t just speak to his people or lead them as he did in the Old Testament and it wasn’t the day God came to walk and talk with us as he did in the person of Jesus, this was the day God came to dwell IN us through the power of His Holy Spirit.  From this day forward everything changed because God wasn’t out there somewhere and he wasn’t just by our side, God now fills our hearts and lives with His presence and power which helps makes every day to come the best day ever.

We know this is what happened on the day of Pentecost because Jesus promised it would happen before he ascended into heaven.  Look at Acts 1:8.  When the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus said, it will come with the power of God filling your lives.  Jesus also said this in John 14 when he said that the Holy Spirit would come and that through the power of God’s Spirit working in us we would be able to do even greater things than Jesus – John 14:12.  When Jesus returned to God, the Holy Spirit came to us and when the Holy Spirit came it brought into our lives the power of God and with God’s power at work within us – every day has the potential to be the bestdayever and even better days will come in the future.  This is exactly what happened in the lives of Jesus followers.

Up until the day of Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were living in fear.  They were hiding behind closed doors and afraid of letting people know they were followers of Jesus because they didn’t want to suffer the same fate as Jesus.  They feared losing their lives because if the authorities put Jesus death they would not hesitate to put the followers of Jesus to death.  So it was fear that drove the disciples to huddle together in the upper room trying to figure out what to do next.  But as soon as the Holy Spirit filled the disciples – their fear was gone.  It is not even recorded in the Bible, but the disciples somehow moved from the safety of the upper room to the dangerous open streets and they were no longer silent, in fact they were making so much noise that people from all over the city gathered around them to watch and listen.  A power had taken hold of their lives and that power gave them the courage, strength and the ability to do great things.

That same day Peter stood up and gave a sermon that drew thousands of people to Jesus and then a few weeks later Peter and John healed a man who had been crippled from birth.  Again the power of God was working through them and every day brought some amazing things but this power wasn’t just working through them, it was working in them.  The followers of Jesus were different after the Holy Spirit came.  Not only were they fearless in their faith but they loved and cared for each other in different ways.  It says they committed themselves to one another in ways that made sure everyone was cared for.  If anyone had a need, that need was met by those around them.

There was a power at work in these people that came on the day of Pentecost which made that the bestdayever, but what really makes it the best ever is that the power given to them helped them live full lives into the future.  The day of Pentecost wasn’t just a great moment in history like the parting of the Red Sea; it was a day that ushered in the power of God so that every tomorrow can be the best ever.  If we want our bestdayever to always be tomorrow then we need to live life with the #power God makes available to us, and we need to live with the #purpose God has for us and we need to live giving #praise to God for it all.

#power.  It is amazing to think that God makes available to us the fullness of His power.  2 Timothy 1:7 says God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  God gives us His power – God partners with us and shares with us His power so that our lives can be full and abundant.  Every one of us has the power of God available to us and that power can help us do more than we ever thought we could do and be more than we ever thought we could be.  It’s the kind of power that takes an ordinary fisherman and turns him into a preacher able to convict the hearts and change the lives of 3,000 people in one day like it did with Peter.  It’s the power that turns an enemy of Christ into a world evangelist as it did with Paul.  It is also the power that took a simple unassuming nun and turned her into the world champion of the poor and forgotten like it did with Mother Teresa.

This kind of power is not just for a few, it is for all. Each one of us has the power of God at work within us to help us move beyond what is comfortable to where God calls us and wants us to be.  The power is there if we are willing to step up and step out to use it.  This week I want to challenge us to use God’s power in one tangible and real way and then see where it takes us.  It might be using God’s power to forgive someone or to get involved in some ministry we have wanted to connect with but have been afraid to try.  It might be using God’s power to lead or prepare ourselves to lead at home or at work or in the life of the church.  Tomorrow can be our bestdayever if we will draw upon the power of God in us to do even greater things than Jesus.

#purpose.  The Holy Spirit not only brings the power of God into our lives but it also brings God’s purpose.  Jesus was clear that the Holy Spirit wasn’t just going to bring power to people so they could do whatever they wanted; it was going to bring power to complete God’s purpose.  Look again at Acts 1:8.  The power of God was coming so that people could be witnesses of Jesus in all the world.  Again, this is what Jesus said would happen in John 14:26.  The Holy Spirit was to teach the followers of Jesus what they needed and to help remind them of everything Jesus had said so they could share all of this with the world.  And this is what the power of God helped the disciples do in some pretty amazing ways.

First the power of God enabled the disciples to witness to God’s love and truth in many different languages which meant that people from around the world were able to hear about God.  While the disciples were together in Jerusalem, they were able to share the truth of God around the world because gathered in Jerusalem were people from around the world who heard about God in their own language and then took that good news with them.  Not only was the speaking in different languages an amazing thing, but that God’s witness went out to the world in a single moment was even greater.

Then Peter gave a witness to Jesus that called thousands of people to follow him and they did, which was amazing in itself, but again the power and purpose wasn’t just for that day – it was also for the future.  Look at Acts 2:42-47.  Many who gave their lives to Christ that day joined together and in the days that followed even more people were filled with power and purpose and amazing miracles were done which caused even more people to join the faith.

The day God poured out His Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus and chose to dwell in his people opened the door for many more best days to come – and those days are still coming.  When we tap into the purpose God has for us – which is still to share God’s grace and truth and love – we experience the fullness of God which makes our lives the best ever.  Some of my best days were spent in Yellowstone which is where I first stepped out in ministry and as I shared God’s love and grace it was awesome but it still is!

Being part of Faith Church is the best!  We have seen amazing growth and power right here.  We have seen small groups develop and people encouraged and many people young and old grow in their faith through Bibles Studies, Sunday School and VBS.  We have seen people come to God in worship and go out into the community and world to serve.  There has been an energy, enthusiasm and love that has filled us with God’s power and helped us be God’s people who share God’s love in the world.  Living out the purpose God has for us has made for some best days in the past, but the bestdayever for Faith Church lies ahead of us as we continue to partner with God.  When we draw on God’s power and live with God’s purpose then the best day will always be tomorrow, it will always be in the future because God is not done with us yet.

We have to keep thinking that our bestdayever is ahead of us because God is always a forward looking God.  While we often have to look back to learn about God – we always need to look forward to see that God has a purpose, plan and life for us.  In fact, very early in the Bible God asked someone the question, Where have you come from and where are you going?  God wants us to learn from all that has taken place in our lives and in God’s world and history but with this question God is making sure that our vision is focused on the future and where we are going because for God the bestdayever is always a day to come, it is always tomorrow.

And this brings us to the last thing we need to do to make sure that tomorrow is always our bestdayever and that is #praise.  On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit didn’t have the people teach or preach or engage in acts of service or hospitality, it had the people praise God – Acts 2:11b – we hear them declaring the wonder of God in our own tongues! The people were praising God – but again it wasn’t just on that one day, it was also for the future, look at Acts 2:46-47.  When the Holy Spirit filled the people it moved them to praise God every day and when we live lives committed to praising God then tomorrow will be the bestdayever.

And it doesn’t matter how we praise God, it can be through hymns, praise and worship music, hip hop or rap music, 8 hand piano music or just our voices in praise and prayer.  And praising God doesn’t just take place through music in the church, we can praise God walking in the woods, working in the garden, having a picnic with our friends and neighbors or simply being silent in our homes.  Praising God is an attitude of our hearts and lives when we focus fully on God and lift up Jesus Christ and all that God has done for us in him.  Praise is powerful because it keeps our eyes fixed on Jesus and our lives open to the power God makes available to us.

Praising God in our own hearts and lives is important but praising God together brings its own unique power and has its own unique purpose.  Again from Acts 2 we see that it was the praise of God’s people together that gave witness to the love and truth of Jesus and it was the praise of God’s people together that helped the church grow, Acts 2:46-47.  Praising God together in worship doesn’t just make our lives the best they can be it really does help fulfill the mission God has for us.

So here is my challenge for all of us, we are entering into a season when it becomes very easy to set aside worshipping together.  During the summer we travel, we have family visit, we go on Sunday picnics and all of this means worship can take a back seat.  I want to challenge you to make this the #bestsummerever by making a commitment to be in worship every Sunday.  If you go on vacation – find a church you can attend.  If you have family visit, bring them with you.  If you go on a picnic, attend our early service so you can be on your way by 9:30 and dress casually if you need to so you can leave right from here, but don’t set aside worship.  Praising God is part of what will make this summer the best.

If you make this commitment we invite you to share this with others on social media by using the hashtag #bestsummereverFC.    This is just another way we can witness to the power of God and allow God to use us for his purpose in giving a witness to him.

This is a great day and the day of Pentecost may have been the bestdayever in the bible but the bestdayever is always tomorrow if we will live with #power and #purpose and #praise.

Next Steps
#bestdayever

1.  What was your #bestdayever?  What made that day so special and unique?  Share with others and celebrate the gift of that day.

2. Read the story of Pentecost found in Acts 1:1-11.  What made this day unique in all of human history?  Why does this day cause us to look forward and not just celebrate and remember a moment in history?

3.  To make sure our #bestdayever will be tomorrow we need to live with power, purpose and praise.
#power – what would you do tomorrow if you knew the power of God was with you?  Where do you need to experience:
• The power of healing?
• The power of God’s hope?
• The power of God’s forgiveness?
• The power of God’s love?

#purpose – what was the purpose of the early followers of Jesus?  Is this part of your life’s purpose today?  Can it be?
• What would you say is God’s purpose for your life?
• If you can’t define this purpose, pray and ask God for direction.  Ask others to help discern your purpose.

#praise – take time this week to praise God for all God has done in your life.
• How do you most powerfully praise God?
• How can you include more praise in your schedule?

4.  Help us make this the bestsummerever at Faith Church by committing yourself to faithfully praising God with us each week in worship.  Share this commitment on social media by using the hashtag #bestsummereverFC.

 

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8:15 am: Traditional Worship Service with Nursery
10:45 am: Contemporary Worship Service with Nursery and Children’s Church

512 Hughes Street Bellefonte, PA 16823

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