Echos of the Holy Spirit
Emphasizing the character and activity of the one true God
“So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.’” Zechariah 4:6
We often hear about the Holy Spirit at work in the church after Pentecost. But as a person of our triune God, the Holy Spirit is eternal and unchanging and thus has always been at work in creation, from the Old Testament to now. Throughout the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is a fleeting presence. He appears from time to time, but His ministry is never described in great detail. The one role He plays repeatedly is that of empowering leaders of Israel for their God-given tasks. But the Old Testament gave hints that the nature of the Spirit’s anointing would be much broader and lasting someday. Since the Kingdom of God is an active expression of His reign on earth, it is extended and realized as individuals and churches seek and submit to His will and purposes. We are called by God to communicate the character of the Lord, His justice and righteousness, His grace and mercy, His love and compassion, His character in action through their history, and His special word to them in their situation, whether it be encouragement, comfort, challenge, or judgment. As believers actively cooperate with the Holy Spirit, the church is strengthened in its role of being a foretaste of the Kingdom of God.
April 24 “Skills and Gifts”
The Word: Exodus 31:1-5; 35:30-35
Feel: Only after God fully laid out the design of the Tabernacle did He designate the artisan who would execute the plan. This was a very special circumstance in which the normal process for building was reversed. The artist is secondary to the artwork.
Know: By God’s Spirit, all we do is for the glory of God. Bezalel and Oholiab were given skills in craftsmanship and teaching by God’s Spirit. These gifts, like all other gifts of God’s Spirit, are to be used for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7).
Desired Outcome: We stay in the flow of the Spirit when we use our skills to serve God and others. Our lives are transformed by serving. Using our gifts and skills lends beauty and grace to the lives of those around us, reflecting the flourishing God gives in creation.
May 1 “Leading and Helping” (Hebener Covenantal Baptism; May 5 National Day of Prayer)
The Word: Numbers 11:16-30
Feel: Sometimes people are blessed by being filled with and empowered by the Spirit over and over again, but other times the Spirit fills and empowers once or twice, and never again.
Know: This passage addresses how leaders are called and ordained within the body of God’s people, but more importantly, it tells us that the Spirit is put on those leaders—the same Spirit that was on Moses. In v 29, when Moses says he wishes the Lord would put his Spirit on all of God’s people, pointing toward Pentecost.
Desired Outcome: God will provide guidance to God’s people. It is important that we cooperate with that guidance and realize where God is at work.
May 8 Guest: Mark Daily “Mother’s Day” (Elder’s Serve Communion)
May 15, Guest: Andrew Jarvis “Open Topic”
May 22, “Why Are You Just Standing Around?” Ascension Sunday (Ministry Partnerships, Griffith, Rocha Covenantal Baptism; Consistory Selection)
The Word: Acts 1:1–11; Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 49
Feel: To most people’s minds, there’s nothing terribly engaging about the ascension. What is Jesus doing in Heaven anyway?
Know: The Ascension was from one standpoint the restoration of the glory that the Son had before the Incarnation, from another the glorifying of human nature in a way that had never happened before, and from a third the start of a reign that had not existed in this form before.
Desired Outcome: The rest of the book of Acts describes the people picking up where Jesus left off, doing and teaching the gospel he lived. Christians are never to be the ‘stand around’ type. Those who profess their faith are sent by God to be his ambassadors/agents in the world. Christ has ascended to heaven, but his work continues through us.
May 29 “Weakness and Strength” (Memorial Day Weekend)
The Word: Judges 6:33-7:8
Feel: The narrative here in Judges emphasizes Gideon’s ordinariness. He was quite right to exclaim, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel?” (6:15).
Know: God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Judges makes much of Gideon’s weakness. Gideon wouldn’t go forward without assurance that God was going to save Israel. In his wisdom, the Lord God picks the least and equips them by God’s Spirit to bring hope and healing to God’s broken world.
Desired Outcome: The Spirit that “clothed itself with Gideon” is the same Spirit that enables us to serve and live for Christ. The people God’s Spirit clothes itself with today are moved to work toward God’s kingdom presence in our life now.
June 5 “Pentecost” (Communion; Consistory Installation)
The Word: Acts 2:1–17a
Feel: The people in Jerusalem for Pentecost were confused by the wind, the flames, and the variety of languages. Peter responds by confidently telling them the truth about themselves and about Jesus.
Know: Our “amen” to Peter’s sermon can mean taking the time to listen to people’s questions, to articulate our own struggles, and then with the Holy Spirit’s guidance to make a connection between them and the gospel of Jesus Christ
Desired Outcome: It’s only when we locate ourselves in the gospel message by acknowledging both our sin and our salvation that we are truly open to the work of the Holy Spirit. It is then that the Holy Spirit can work within us to make all we do a living “amen” to the gospel message.
June 12 “Cleanliness and Joy”
The Word: Psalm 51
Feel: What an emotional roller coaster, does God listen when I seem a mess?
Know: Theologically, it is the presence of the “Spirit” that brings David under conviction of sin. It is also the Spirit who brings assurance and comfort. There is peace in the presence of God, and there is love in spite of all our sins. Desired
Outcome: The Christian life does not end with forgiveness but begins there. Likewise, repentance not only finds cleansing in Christ’s blood but also produces new obedience in the power of God’s Spirit. Repentance is not merely turning away from sin, but also walking with God in holiness. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” v12
June 19 “Renewal and Deliverance” (Father’s Day)
The Word: Ezekiel 36:16-32 (33-36)
Feel: In an oracle that forms the core of Ezekiel, the prophet speaks to the exiles. The Israelites had sinned persistently and made themselves unfit to inhabit God’s land and live in God’s presence.
Know: The Lord promises to replace their stony hearts with hearts of flesh. The Lord will cleanse them from their self-made impurity and restore them to God’s land out of exile. The reason for this deep deliverance was not the people’s righteousness, but God defending the honor of God’s name.
Desired Outcome: Is radical change possible? Yes. God’s renewing Spirit brings us new hearts, leading us to faith and to loving obedience. By that Spirit, we look forward in hope to the day when we will live fully in God’s presence in God’s kingdom.
June 26 “Restoration and Empowerment”
The Word: Joel 2:28-32
Feel: The gifts of the Spirit are for everyone—all of God’s people. Sons, daughters, old, young, men, and women will all have the Spirit poured out on them if they call on the Lord to be saved.
Know: With this promise in Joel, the movement of the Spirit encompasses the whole society, regardless of sex (sons/daughters), age (old men/young men), or social status (servants). In their picture of the future restoration of Israel, other prophets envisioned an immediate relationship with God that would be enjoyed by all of God’s people and not just a select few.
Desired Outcome: Even as we await the day of the Lord, God’s kingdom is being ushered in. How are we seeing that in today’s world? In our lives? In our churches? We are to seek the Giver, the Spirit, get in over our heads in ministry, and then ask for and become equipped with prophetic power. What are you planning that was instigated by the Spirit and cannot be accomplished without His supernatural power?
Message Series for July: Transitions in Life 4 weeks
Everyone goes through transitions. They close one chapter of our lives and open a new one. Transitions means change, ad with change always comes some element of fear. How do we cope? How do we deal with inevitable changes in our normal routine? What does the Bible say about transitional points in peoples’ live? The next transition in life may only be a meeting, phone call, or test away. Are you ready to take the next step with God and with others? RW 143 March 202