Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

It’s summertime and folks are coming and going. Were you out of town this past Sunday? It was Pentecost Sunday. If you missed the sermon, you can listen to Marks of a Spirit-Filled Church at our website or at our podcast. I began by talking about the role of the Holy Spirit and we saw what it looks like when the Spirit is empowering the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Based on the book of Acts, I said that the Spirit-filled church will…

  • have Spirit-filled believers

  • be faithful to worship and share life with the community

  • pray fervently together

  • be unified in purpose

  • be generous in giving

  • see new disciples, church growth, spiritual maturity, etc.

  • see evidence of the supernatural, e.g. “Only God could do this!”

  • encounter resistance (discouragement, division, spiritual warfare, etc.)

  • experience the Holy Spirit’s power and courage

I then encouraged us not to “grieve” the Holy Spirit and hinder his work in our lives and our church. Paul said, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve [emphasis mine] the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Let’s give some thought to how we can so easily grieve the Spirit with careless words and actions, and remember that these things quench the Spirit’s work. As John Wesley said, grieving the Spirit is like turning a friend away after saying or doing something hurtful to them. Instead, we want to welcome more of the Spirit by loving each other well, which Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 13. I hope that we will continue to strive to be a Spirit-filled church by exhibiting the items mentioned in the list above. Let’s press on and imagine greater things together as a congregation (Ephesians 3:20).

This Sunday we will have a full service, including the children’s choir (VBS songs) and a child dedication ceremony. Also, it’s Father’s Day and Trinity Sunday. As I said before, I will be preaching a follow-up message to The Mothering God sermon from last month. I’ll address why we call God our Father, in a message entitled, Our Father in Heaven. Please join us for worship if you’re able.

Finally, my family will be going on vacation after the service this Sunday. I will be out of the office from June 17-July 1. During that time you will receive the weekly Body Life but no letter from me. So, I want to let you know that Evie Telfer will be our guest preacher on June 23, and then Pastor Kelly will be filling the pulpit on June 30. I know that they will be a blessing to you in my absence. I would appreciate your prayers as my family gets away (first to TX, back to PA, then VA, and back again) for some much-needed time together. It’s been a challenging spring, so thanks in advance for your prayers.

See you this Sunday!

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S. Our building has been full of children every morning this week for Vacation Bible School! Thanks to all those who have helped in some way to make this year’s Athens VBS a success. Please continue to pray for our children and volunteers. And may God bless our efforts to teach the little children about the good news of Christ in a fun, life-giving way.

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