May 26th, 2024 | Series: Pentecost – Life in the Spirit

This sermon explores the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in believers’ lives, emphasizing the importance of both sudden and gradual spiritual growth through personal participation and the historical significance of Pentecost in this process.

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Good morning friends. How are you doing today? That was bold. I like it strong. Good morning. Welcome on this Memorial Weekend. If you’re visiting, thanks for joining us. My wife and kids and I, we kicked off Memorial Weekend as we always try and do. We went to the pool. We went and last year I learned my lesson that the pool is packed on the Friday before Memorial Weekend.

And so we went last year, couldn’t get a space anywhere, like it was just full of people. Every single spot was taken. And so I said to my wife we’re going to leave 10 to 10. We’re going to be at the thing at 10 o’clock when it opens. We’re going to save some space for our friends. And so we pulled in and This was what the pool looked like.

And this was what the grass area looked like. And I was like, just when I think I’m beginning to understand the culture, I feel like something went wrong. It was just different this year. But Memorial Weekend is not as much as it’s fun to spend time at the pool, spend time barbecuing. That’s not the point.

The point is this solemnity, this memory. That this recognition that for a lot of years a lot of people have laid down their lives And then Jesus actually speaks to that speaking of himself, but also by extension others He says these beautiful words greater love has no man than this that he lays down his life for his friends.

So so before we move on in the service I just want to invite you this Memorial Day tomorrow. Just a pause At some point, just to be grateful for what you have, grateful for the things you enjoy, and also to move from there to the ultimate sacrifice that we remember as followers of Jesus.

That Jesus laid down his life for you and I. I don’t know about you, but that dangerously becomes normal. That happened, and yet this is the thing that we live and we breathe. So in amongst the pools and the stakes and the other things you do, the friendship gatherings, my encouragement is pause before you do anything else or in the midst of all that you do and choose to remember even when it’s hard.

Last week we in the midst of baptisms, where we celebrated with baptisms, yes, and gelato as well. I was excited about both, but in that order, very specifically, we got to baptize 16 people in all sorts of stages of faith. We took this idea that you whether you call yourself follower of Jesus or not, were made for life with God within you and that God has made that possible.

You, as a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwells within you and that is a transformative thing. But I didn’t want to move on quickly. From this idea of Pentecost, because within the American church, specifically the Western Church, perhaps generally, we have what you might call a Holy Spirit problem.

This was a recent survey of people in America of self-identified Christians. 58% contend that the Holy Spirit is not a real living being, but merely a symbol of God’s power, presence, or purity. 58%. So that the Holy Spirit, this member of the Trinity, this God within you, this gift of the church, the thing that Jesus described as, it’s better that I go away because the Holy Spirit otherwise would not come, this thing that, that Jesus said, this is better than me being here.

This being is just cast aside as just a power or an idea or a symbol of presence or purity. This is a conversation in the church that has been going on for a while. Francis Chan, in his book Forgotten God, talks about the loss for the church of the presence, the relationship of the Holy Spirit. That this is the thing that you were made for.

Gordon Fee, who has written some of the best material available on life in the spirit, says this, that the spirit as an experienced and living reality was the absolute crucial matter for Christian life. from beginning to end. How do we get from there, the experience of the early church, that said our relationship with the Holy Spirit is central to everything that we do, to today, where people would say, I’m not even sure if we’re talking about a person.

Where we would say that the Holy Spirit, some people have described as being in their minds, a gray oblong, or like a messed up comforter. There’s no image to associate to it. We’re just uncomfortable. How did we get there? According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit was the person that would come and lead us into the fullness of Christian life.

Life, I don’t know which part of that is him and which part of that is us somewhere There’s a tension somewhere. We live in the midst of that tension Sometimes we live in a world where we say I do everything I am the one that makes me like Jesus and that’s exhausting and sometimes we live in a world where People say, I’m just as I am and I don’t need to change, but somewhere the picture Jesus paints is of a relationship with the Holy Spirit where we gradually do what it says on the wall as you walk in.

We gradually grow to live in the way of Jesus and the heart of Jesus. So Augustine of Hippo said, without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not. It’s a partnership that we’re invited into. And so my goal for today is this, to pause for a second and to appreciate that we have lost perhaps something in terms of our relationship with the spirit.

And so to do that, I’d like to begin with a prayer and then we’re going to unpack some of the content together. So if you’d like to just for a moment prepare your hearts and if you’d like to say these words with me.

Renew in my heart, O God, the gift of your Holy Spirit, so that I may love you fully in all that I do, and love all others as Christ loves me. May all that I do proclaim the good news that you are God with us. Amen. If the Holy Spirit is the agent of change within us, I have a question for you that I’d like us to begin with.

If transformation is the work of God within us, why aren’t I more transformed? Why aren’t I more transformed? Why aren’t I, after all of these years of following Jesus, more transformed? Better at following Jesus. Why does it feel like it’s a slow work coming out of me? Why can’t it be, the story that we read around Pentecost last week, why can’t it be more instantaneous?

Perhaps even a little bit more like magic. The other day I had a wonderful encounter with my son Jude, who’s six. This really happened. I was going through something, I can’t even remember what it was. This is how central his reaction came to my experience of the story. But he knew that there was something up with me, and so my beautiful little six year old came alongside me and he said, Dad, can I pray for you?

And I was like, absolutely, you can pray for me. And I think it was probably something like I had a headache or something. And so Jude, just in that moment of simple child likeness said, Jesus, please make dad’s head better, or whatever it was. And then, he grabbed a wand off the table, and went, Bippity boppity boo.

Sometimes, if I’m honest, That’s how we think prayer works. And sometimes, if I’m honest, that’s how I want prayer to work. I want my encounters with Jesus to be those things that instantly transform me so that the person I was, the person that frustrates the life out of me, the person that’s just as annoying as you can imagine, becomes something else.

And yet, it seems like rarely, How does spirituality work in that way? It seems like God does things in different ways. So what we want to do today is hopefully sketch out some of the ways God does work in us through the Holy Spirit. To get us there, I would love to make sure we’re all on the same page around this word Pentecost and the festival that we celebrated last week.

One of the things that I love about scripture is this. God in incredible ways weaves the thoughts of multiple authors. Although there’s different human voices within it, though the personality of the writers comes out, there is this one voice that seems to stretch through it. The word for that is auteur.

It’s the idea that, like in movies, there’s a script writer who wrote down the words. There is a director that brings his vision to a movie more distinctly. You might say that the movie is more his than it is the person that wrote down the words of the script. That’s how scripture as a whole seems to work.

The personalities of the gospel writers, for example, come and go. out very distinctly. Mark is a guy that writes very quickly, and he uses words like and a lot. He sounds like a six year old or seven year old stringing sentences together. I went here and there and. It’s a personality trait.

Luke sounds like he’s Shakespeare born out of time. It’s very sophisticated. The language is full of whilsts and all these different things. Jesus sat by a well. Whilst he was there, a woman approached him. There’s personality there. But there’s this big common story that is being developed that happens across the whole of scripture.

And if you don’t read it as a whole, you miss pieces. And this is true of some of the big themes within scripture. God incredibly takes a story that is old and creates a new idea around that story that is new. Incredibly, it seems the new and latest story was his point. To make sure I don’t lose you with that, let me show you an example of that.

An example is the story of Exodus. In the book, Exodus. There is this movement of the people of Israel, this Jewish nation, they are captive in Egypt, and through supernatural means, God removes them from Egypt into freedom. This is celebrated at a festival called Passover. Thanks for watching! But, two thousand, five hundred, two thousand years later, something in that region, on Passover, Jesus crucifixion happens, and then his resurrection a couple of days later.

God takes a story that is very well known, and says that this is the real meaning, and always was the real meaning. This was always where the story was moving. These are these big arcs within scripture. Just for a moment, think how controversial this idea would have been to a group of people hearing Jesus for the first time.

It’s actually no different than if I were to stand on this stage and say, I’ve been pastor here for a few years now. It’s been like four years. We’re going to stop talking about Jesus and we’re going to start talking a lot more about me. I’m central to this thing now. Can you feel the horror of that?

I can.

For Jesus to stand up and say the Moses story was important but is now the old story and I’m doing something new to his first followers had elements of horror to it. You can see it in some of Peter’s comments, some of the other disciples comments. What do you mean by this? This is hard to handle.

There’s these big movements in stories, as stories become to mean, come to mean new things. And there’s this really important arc around this word Pentecost that I want you to see to make sure we’re all on the same page. If you go back into the story of Exodus, we have this moment where the people of Israel get to leave, there’s this moment of Exodus, they move out together.

And they’ll celebrate that in this festival called Pentecost. called Passover. But as they leave, there’s another part of the story that we often overlook. It’s not just them that leave. But other people leave with them. In Exodus chapter 12 verse 37 38 it says this, the Israelites journeyed from Ramesses to Sukkoth.

There were about 600, 000 men on foot besides women and children. Many other people went up with them and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. Outside of the Jewish people, there’s other people that take this journey. In Hebrew, this word is Erev Rav. Sometimes it gets translated a mixed multitude.

In your scriptures in front of you, it might say many other people. I think the message it is, the New Living Translation translates it a rabble. The message translates it a crowd of riff raff. Some other people say a motley crew, which means I can never get this image out of my mind when I read it. I’m like, did those guys go?

Were they there? They look old enough. But there’s this all this idea of people that are outsiders, fringe people. In the Mishnah, in the commentaries on the Jewish texts, There’s all sorts of thoughts about these people. Some people critique them and say they were a negative influence on the Jewish people.

But others have said they reflect this particular group of Egyptian society. They’re not the first group, which might be the people that oppress the Jewish people. They’re not the second group that said we got to get these people out of here. They’re hurting our country. They’re the third group that says we are with these people and we are for these people.

We’re going to leave with them. And so in a, amongst a group of people that leave, there are people that have been Jewish from birth and people that have chosen to come alongside this Jewish nation. But that’s a mess, right? Can you imagine what that feels like to have all sorts of people that have no common background together?

No common God? No common language? No common ethical system? They’re a whole group of people that are off on a journey. They leave together in this moment called Exodus that’s celebrated in Passover. And God takes them to a mountain in the middle of nowhere, a mountain that nobody owns because nobody owns this God.

And he gives them a law, a code of ethics, a common code to live by. which is celebrated on this day, 50 days after Passover, called Pentecost. So keep that arc in your mind. There’s Exodus celebrated on Passover, and then there’s the giving of the law that will be celebrated on Pentecost. On Pentecost, those are deeply important to what we’re going to talk about.

We read about this giving of the law in Exodus chapter 34. We were told that Moses, God said to Moses, Chisel out two stone tablets, like the first ones, and I will write on them words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. That’s a whole other story, we don’t have time for that. Be ready in the morning, and then come up to Mount Sinai.

Present yourself to me. There on the top of the mountain, no one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain. Not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain. And then there’s this moment where Moses comes down the mountain and we read, Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands.

This thing that will unify this riffraff, this motley crew. He was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. So understand this in this. moment in this system, only one person can talk to God. Only one person gets to engage. Only one person is up the mountain, and it’s Moses.

It’s not you. It’s not me. It’s just Moses. In our setting here, it would be me, and it would be not you. Which again, sounds horrific. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses courted them, so Aaron and the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them.

Afterwards, all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands that the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. This group of people that are not one people are given a law code to help make them one people. But the problem is this. It doesn’t work, right? It’s just on the surface. Doesn’t really unify.

A group of people with very little in common are given the law code as an identity. But it’s not really their identity. It’s not really who they are. And to help you understand this, I wanted to give you a visual. Some of you know that I have a love of this hockey team. I’ve talked about it before. Boo, that’s fair enough.

This is the Detroit Red Wings. My heart beats Detroit. I lived in Detroit. I love the Red Wings. That means that I came here and I had a natural hatred for certain things that some of you love. The Avs. And so some good friends of mine that happen to be sitting here on the front row today, when the Avs won a Stanley Cup, gave me a t shirt to celebrate that moment.

And I said, I don’t know why you’re giving me that. I’m going to burn it. I tried burning it. It didn’t burn. I don’t know what that tells you, but it was helpful that I didn’t because it gave me a chance to do something today that I said that I never would.

But here’s the thing. This is the reason for it. It doesn’t mean anything.

It means nothing. Because in my head, all I hear is, Let’s go Red Wings. Let’s go Red Wings. Let’s go Red Wings. Which, incidentally, is all you hear at Ball Arena when the Red Wings come to town. It’s it’s the thing that everybody yells. There’s something about what I’m doing on the outside that matters, but nothing’s changed.

It’s all external. And that was the problem with this law code. It was supposed to unify people, but all it did was change very specific behavior some of the time. And in scripture in the old Testament, God longs for something different. In Jeremiah 31, he says, this is the covenant I will make. This is what it will look like in the future with the people of Israel.

After that time declares the Lord, I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. No longer this surface thing, no longer just this token gesture, no longer the external shirt on my body, but something different. See, it turns out real transformation includes action, but it is never only action.

It includes action, but it is never only action Perhaps you felt some of that tension yourself some of the ways that you would say at times I do what I think I should do But I feel like there’s something inside me that doesn’t quite get to the point of wanting to live as Jesus wants me to live But hopefully somewhere deep down inside you as a follower of Jesus, you might say these words are true of me.

Oh God I don’t love you. I don’t even want to love you, but I want to love you. That’s this core heart change that scripture seems to say will be coming, this idea that somewhere deep inside of us, something has transformed that’s not even in our control. It’s beyond us. It’s God working within us.

And it happens here. Passover, we already talked about this, Passover becomes centered around Jesus death. No longer the old exodus, now that’s just a memory. And Jesus death becomes the significant thing. And Jesus says to his followers, one day the spirit will come. Wait. Don’t do anything, wait for it to happen.

And a day passes, and nothing. And a day, and thirty days. and 40 days. 41, 42, 43, 44, 45. And I just wonder in those moments, in the midst of all the hiding from the Romans, in all of the struggle of living in one room, it seems, together for an extended period of time, all the wondering of will the promise ever be delivered?

What is next? 46, 47. I just wonder if someone at that point said, Oh, Remember that old story, where we left in the exodus, and it took us 50 days to get to that mountain, and we were given this law. Just wonder if something similar is happening here, 48, 49, 50. 50 days after Jesus death, the spirit is given.

Because now Pentecost is no longer about the giving of the law. What’s Pentecost now centered about? Pentecost is now centered around the giving of the spirit. Think about that passage we read in Acts last week. Acts chapter two now. They were staying in Jerusalem. God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.

When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment because each one heard their own language, been smoke, spoken, utterly amazed. They asked, aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it then that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs.

We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues. Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, what does this mean? On Passover, Jesus dies. On Pentecost, a mixed multitude, a riffraff, a rabble from all sorts of places, a motley crew is gathered asking, what does this mean? And on Pentecost, the spirit is given and a community of people become one, not because of something changed on the surface, but because something changed deep within them.

A group of people with very little in common are given the spirit as an identity. That is who we are. People tied together by the work of a spirit that is far deeper than what we look like on the surface. That is the people of God. That is people that you may not recognize as followers of Jesus, people who you may not connect with at all on the surface, but somewhere inside there is something deeply connective.

The people of God are the people that are filled with His Spirit, whether they know that or not at times, whether you know that or not, certainly, there’s all sorts of people from all sorts of different backgrounds, all sorts of different places that God has rescued through Jesus in something that looks like Exodus and is filled with His Spirit through something that looks like Pentecost.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 3, we read Paul’s somewhat convoluted, where he makes these mixed metaphor movements all the way through to the story of Moses. He starts here in verse 7, Now if the ministry that bore death, he’s talking about the work of the law, which was engraved in letters on stone, the stone tablets, came with glory so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory, though it was.

Will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? He says the thing that happened before doesn’t compare to this thing. This new thing is truly transformative. If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness? For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.

And what if it was, what if, and if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts? Can you see now why Paul is so upset when his Galatian church that we talked about last week says, we just went back to the law, we just decided we’re going to fix ourselves again.

He’s baffled that they would go back to this because to him this new glory, it’s more spectacular and it’s not even close. Therefore, since we have such a hope, he says, we are very bold. We are not like Moses who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.

But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. He said there’s some people that look at Passover and still see Exodus, not Jesus work. There’s some people that look at Pentecost and still see law and not the giving of the Spirit. But we are not those people.

But their minds were made fer. To this day, the same veil remains. When the old covenant is red. It has not been removed because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day, when Moses is red, a veil covers their hearts, but whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Paul would not make a very good like PC type person.

He just doesn’t fit that vibe. He’s this only happens in Jesus. He’s the central thing, he’s the center to everything, he’s the one that transforms, he’s the one that takes away the veil that covers our hearts. And now catch this bit, this is the bit that I want us to land in. And now the Lord is the spirit.

Often when Jesus uses the word Lord he’s talking about Jesus, here he’s very distinctly talking about the Holy Spirit. Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. There is transformation. There is God’s work in you and I. He is unashamed about the fact that this spirit brings transformation, removes bondage, removes old habits, brings change to people like you and like me.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces, contemplate the Lord’s glory. are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory. He says you and I are transformed people. There is something that is happening, some work in us that is not you and me working hard.

It is God’s work in us. And it is beautiful. The image that he grasps there is this word metamorpho. It’s the same word as metamorphosis, the same idea of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, which is an incredible process. As spectacular as if a field mouse were to transform into a hummingbird.

It’s a complete breakdown of one type of being and a creation of a new type of being. And he says, that’s what’s happening in you and I. There is a complete new work that is being shaped in us. And it’s all done by the spirit, which brings me back to my first question. If transformation is the work of God within us, why aren’t I more transformed?

Why aren’t I more transformed? If this work is at least mostly God’s work in me, call it 90%, 10%, call it 80%, 20%, why don’t I look more like Jesus? Why are the things about me that still frustrate me? Why are the ways that I don’t feel like I do a good job of living in the way of Jesus, in the heart of Jesus?

Why can’t that transformation happen in the same way that my son can pick up a wand and yell those magical words over me? Bippity boppity boo. And perhaps I’d say this, transformation needs participation from you. It needs persistence from you, but never power from you. That’s an element that you are unable and I am unable to bring.

There’s ways that we might hope for a moment we can bring some kind of transformation, but I wanted to show you for a second just how weak we are as human beings and unable to make those kind of changes. This is Clocky the alarm clock. What it does is this. When you hit snooze on Clocky, it knows you, kinda, or the creator does.

It knows your tendency, perhaps maybe in this room, to hit snooze. and then to hit snooze, and then to hit snooze, and then to oversleep and miss your first meeting and have to apologize or etc. So Clocky jumps up in the air and it darts off on its wheels to go and hide in the darkest corner so you have to get up out of bed and go find it to turn it off.

As human beings we are so unable to bring transformation, we need a clock to go and hide in a corner. To stop us sleeping in. That’s where we’re at as a group of people. Maybe we make some incidental changes. Maybe we pick up a self help book and it starts to make a little bit of movement. But the kind of transformation, the Jesus transformation that we put upon the wall, that is not within you.

And that is not within me. I cannot make myself look like Jesus. I need him through his spirit to bring transformation to me. But, Here’s the but, there’s two ways that seems to happen. Two elements of time that seem to affect how that happens. And they’re these, the two Greek words for time, kairos, a special in the moment time, a different kind of time, a standout experience.

And then there’s kronos. Kairos might be the moment of surprising transformation, breakthrough, healing, revelation. Maybe a moment you’ve experienced at some point in your life. A moment where you suddenly realized that the basis of your life was a bad basis to live by. A moment where God became real to you in a particular way.

A moment where maybe there was a sin that you just could never let go of and suddenly something happened and you were now able to let go of it. A moment where you needed healing from something and this is the moment where God brought his healing. Maybe you’ve seen this kind of idea abused. Maybe you’ve heard people charge money for this kind of experience and yet God doesn’t charge for these kind of things.

The moments that maybe people in the room will put up a hand and say, I’ve had that, I’ve experienced that, I’ve seen these moments, I’ve seen people healed of cancer. fades of all sorts of different things. I’ve seen God work, and for some reason that I can’t explain, He works more in countries that aren’t Western countries than He does here.

But I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it for myself, experienced moments where somebody in my life has told me something very specific that God has told them to tell me. I’ve felt the transition, the change that, that’s been in the moment, gracious, no strings attached. I’ve had those. But not that many, if I’m honest.

They’ve happened unexpectedly. They’ve been wonderful. Often come with lots of tears. Sometimes tears that felt like a flood that I couldn’t control. They’ve usually meant me standing up from that space or walking out from that space feeling different. But, there’s that other word. Cronos. And this is where I think God makes character.

This is faithful practice. Eugene Peterson called it long obedience in the same direction. The slow work of years, habitual surrender to the work of God within you. God’s steady progress. The ways that life constantly asks new things of you. The ways that hopefully in the midst of it, in the midst of the struggle of raising kids, in the midst of the struggle of work, of life not being what you wanted it to be, God slowly draws that character out of you.

Gordon Fee again says this, the key to life in the spirit for some is to spend much more time in thanksgiving and praise for what God has done and is doing and promises to do, and less time on introspection, focused on your failure to match up to the law. Sometimes we need to take the effort to notice this kind of work in us.

Paul to the Galatians in chapter 5 says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control against things there is no law. Those kind of things don’t happen because something happened to you supernaturally. They happen to you because natural life happened to you.

Slowly they grow, slowly they develop. Seung Chan Ra says this, he’s a theologian in Chicago, what would happen to our faith if we believe that God reigns sovereign over both our celebration and our suffering? These kind of experiences, they build character. They change us. And those are equally the work of the spirit as those supernatural moments, as those distinct experiences.

I started growing this tree about four years ago. It’s my peach tree. I’m very proud of it. I planted it as soon as I got here and then was deeply frustrated that for the next three years it did nothing. Not a blossom, not a bud, not the tiniest thing. And then when I was traveling. About a month ago, my wife texted me.

She said, there’s peaches on the peach tree. I was like, send me pictures. I need to know how my baby is doing. It’s like a fifth child to me at this point. Send it to me. And for the first time, hundreds of peaches are all over this tree. But it doesn’t happen without the time. It doesn’t happen because it got planted.

And that, it seems, is the work of God’s Spirit in you and in I. This is equally God’s work. I’m going to invite Aaron and the team to come back on the stage, but I wanted to share with you a story I heard recently from a pastor that I just really respect, that reflected some of what is needed as we process this.

This is a pastor about my age, pastor of a big church. And he’s going through some cancer right now. He’s wrestling with what’s going to happen to him. And in the midst of that, someone said to him, how can I pray for you? How can we pray for you? And he said this, and it just amazed me. He said, if you’d you can pray that God would heal me instantly.

But that’s not how I’m praying for myself. That’s not my sense of the story. that God is working in me right now. My sense is that God is working a longer story. And so if you want to pray with me, yes, you can pray that God would heal me instantly. But know this, I would much rather have God’s presence with me than his power for me.

And what you can pray is this. If you want to pray like I’m praying, pray that God would allow me to grow old with my wife. And then I would get to hold my children’s children. That’s not my sense of the story that God is working in me. And my curiosity question was this, God, what story are you working in me right now?

And by extension for you, my friends what story is God working in you? Perhaps there’s something in you that is deeply painful and frustrating. And your longing is that God in this supernatural moment, this bippity boppity boo moment might take it away. Might bring this transformation that is instant and fast.

There’s moments that bring tears, and perhaps He will. That’s a real possibility. That’s why we pray for people. And that’s why there’s people that would love to pray for you today. And perhaps he’s working something longer that’s forming something deep in you, some character in you that is going to lead to much fruit, but not today.

But whichever of those you’re experiencing, know that the work is still the work of the same spirit. who works in us to make us like Jesus. I lost a passage of scripture. Someone stole it from me. Can you put the last slide back up, please?

Now the Lord is the spirit. And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory. which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. I’d love us to just take a moment to do what we did last week, which is our acronym, Pray.

We’re gonna pause, we’re gonna reflect for a moment, we’re gonna ask, and we’re gonna yield or surrender. So just take a moment to pause, to shake yourself off, to realize you’ve been listening to the same person for a while. To put aside the questions that don’t really matter, which might be, why did he say this?

Why did he unbutton his shirt? Didn’t expect to say that in church. All those different things.

Just to pause. To gather your scattered senses. This language is beautiful. And to reflect.

God, what story are you working in me?

Perhaps there’s something that comes to mind, something painful, something you don’t have an answer for. Some of you wish that God could just magic away. Maybe you’ve wondered why he hasn’t. You’ve asked so many times. And perhaps you’ve heard God say yes to so many things. And this thing, for whatever reason, he hasn’t said yes to.

Maybe he’s writing an instant story. And this is a Kairos moment that there’s some people here that love to pray. And God has anointed them to pray. And this anointing, it breaks the yoke.

And maybe God’s writing a longer story in you. Maybe that story’s written in the midst of loneliness. A feeling like you don’t have enough. Of missing some relationships. Grief. Struggle with sickness. All sorts of things. The long years of parenting. The long years of not getting to be a parent. And as you reflect, that this is the thing.

And so together we’re gonna ask and yield. So I’m going to ask just the prayer team to scatter around. I’m going to ask us to stand together. And whichever of those it is for you, our prayer team would just love to pray a couple of sentences over you. They’d love to pray that the Holy Spirit would bring transformation, whatever that looks like.

They’d love to ask with you, and then you get to do the yield, surrender part.

I just want to encourage you to take this step because I’m going to ask one of these guys to pray for me. There’s just some stuff that I have just been waiting on God for.

And so as Aaron leads us, come and allow these guys to pray over you.

Jesus, thank you for the gift of your spirit. Help us to remember that he’s the one that brings transformation. Perhaps you’re here and you don’t follow Jesus. Perhaps your prayer is just simply, Holy Spirit, would you bring transformation to my heart? Maybe it’s time to ask Jesus to be the Lord and Savior that you need.

You can do that in this space.

Jesus, thank you that you’re here to bring transformation through your spirit. Sometimes today, but always sometimes. Amen.