Serving—with Holy Spirit Power! (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Sunday, June 4, 2017

Serving—with Holy Spirit Power! (#BestOf)

Today was Pentecost at my church. Yes, I preached about the coming of the Holy Spirit. I spoke of the mighty acts of God breaking into the lives of all believers. This #BestOf post marks the day the Holy Spirit was poured out. I don’t want the Holy Spirit to remain sequestered to only one day a year. No! Our Advocate helped the followers of Jesus to turn the world inside and upside down. Read it again, and praise God!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, June 8, 2014

Acts 2 Pentecost-El-Greco-cropped

Serving—with Holy Spirit Power!

So there I was—at an evening meeting several years ago in a public building. Out of nowhere, the lights flickered. Went out! And stayed out. Immediately, everyone inside the building filed out. As a safety precaution, of course.

But—what happened? Was it a brown-out? Did something happen to a transformer attached to the electrical supply in the neighborhood? Everyone wanted the power supply to get back on line!

I narrated the story of Pentecost this morning, in church. I told about Jesus ascending to heaven, and then—what? Nothing! Not a thing, for days. But at last, when the band of beleaguered believers was all gathered together in one place, Pentecost happened! The Holy Spirit came with mighty power! The disciples became courageous overnight. And the Holy Spirit turned the disciples inside out and upside down. Life—as they knew it before—was never the same again.

As I preached this morning, I honestly felt like I was serving the congregation in a deep, meaningful, wonderful manner. Opening the Word of God. I’ve felt that in the past, and it is such an awesome, stunning feeling to have. Almost like Isaiah falling on his face before God Almighty in the Temple (in Isaiah 6). However, today had a different feel to it. This morning, it was almost like I was uncovering something rich, something precious. Something of immense value! And then, turning to the friends out in the pews. Showing them the treasure of immense value! Offering them the opportunity to come along on this tremendous journey.

What about you? How has your journey through life been going? This small congregation has had its ups and downs, but I felt that this particular message from Acts 2 was just exactly what I ought to preach to this congregation. I hope and pray that any time people consider this chapter in Acts that they also consider the tremendous opportunity that God is holding out to all of outs. Just like a treasure, a rich and beautiful thing.

I want to serve. I have been praying for opportunities to help, whatever way I can. In this case, I will try my darnedest to get out the Good News. And if I can serve, be helpful, and be kind along the way? All fantastic ways to follow God. And God’s Good News!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a PEACE journey through Lent and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons   from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

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Be of Service? Offer to Pray! (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yes, it’s a beautiful autumn day! But—not for some. For patients in the hospital or in extended care centers, for their loved ones sitting alongside the beds, for homebound people unable to leave their residence as well as their faithful caregivers. The beauty of the day is not the first thing that comes to mind. And sometimes, the beauty of the day doesn’t come to mind at all. I’m reminded that the deepest cries of each of our hearts is heard by the Lord. Thank You for hearing us, God.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, September 29, 2014

PRAY God understands without our words

Be of Service? Offer to Pray!

How to be of service? Show people I care? I offered to pray, several times today.

I wish I had magical powers, or super powers. Some kind of power other than myself that would support, comfort and encourage these people. Wait . . . I do have that power! God’s power. The Holy Spirit will readily come alongside of anyone who needs healing, is hurting, or discouraged, or troubled. The Holy Spirit’s other title is Holy Comforter, which is exactly what several people needed today. And, I am encouraged—in a number of places in Scripture—to come alongside of people who are hurting, or damaged, or otherwise messed up. I am with them in support, caring—and prayer.

This is where my using the ministry of presence comes in. Remembering these few individuals, I saw immediately that I had the opportunity to ease the difficulty. Or sadness. Or disgruntlement. Or downright anger. I am reminded of this verse from Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Well. That is what I am striving to do. How I try to operate.

I know that some grumpy or hurting or disadvantaged people do not want to be comforted. Okay. I hear that. I’ve got it. No. Nothing. Not at all. I don’t absolutely have to be forced, arm twisted behind my back, to talk to these individuals. Sometimes—and this is is awesome, and remarkable, and God-honoring—I don’t need to interact directly with these hurting individuals. Sometimes, I have offered to pray at a future time (as with one person today). Of course, I said! I want to make people feel as comfortable and content as possible.

What do you do when you encounter people who are hurting, or in pain, or discouraged? Do you avoid them? Or, do you engage with them, interact and see what is the matter? It does not matter, since God can still work in their lives. God can come alongside of them while they are sleeping, and ease the nightmares. God can work in their lives and alleviate the suffering and pain. God can spread comfort, encouragement, and support. Most of all? Our God is a mighty, wonderful, powerful Helper, ready to ease anxiety and heal disappointment, discouragement, and anger. And—we don’t even have to pray out loud for those caring activities. The Holy Spirit interprets our groanings too deep for words. The Mighty, Loving, Generous God knows. Amen!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Be Kind? To Seniors! All Day (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Sunday, June 14, 2015

I enjoy preaching! And, I miss the lovely seniors at the several retirement centers I would occasionally visit. As I read over this blog post from last June, I vividly remembered several seniors with whom I interacted. And, I choked up. Dear God, I pray for them, and for all of the residents at that center.

 A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, June 11, 2014

BK kindness is a lifestyle

I preached at a retirement center today. Midweek service—Hymns and Devotions.

After being away from more of a chaplain’s role for a number of months, I felt really good as I revisited it. My pastoral care gifting certainly is being expressed when I do chaplainly things, that’s for sure! Plus, I can use the spiritual gifts of encouragement and helps in this retirement setting, too. That’s fulfilling (and filling!) for me, too.

Since I got there almost a half hour before the service was to start this afternoon, I took the opportunity to go into the chapel and greet the residents who were already gathered for the service. I went down the row of wheelchairs that were placed in the chapel, spending time with each person. A few had difficulties raising their heads. (What a sad thing, to always have to look at the floor because of difficulty with the neck and back!) Several of these extreme elderly showed significant signs of frailty, and a couple more had signs of dementia.

I was so pleased to see the organist! I have known her since I served at this retirement center as a chaplain intern. (Ten years ago!) The organist is also a resident. Such a sweet, lovely person. I especially enjoyed the hymn arrangement she played just before the service began. An arrangement of “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” I made special mention of the prelude. I also said this hymn reminds us that God created everything, indoors and out, and especially the creatures, the animals big and small.

After opening the service with prayer and thanksgiving, the organist and I led the congregation in two hymns. And then, the scripture lesson. Ah! I chose the Acts 2 passage from Sunday, three days ago. The passage for the day of Pentecost! And then, I talked about a Power shortage. (Especially with our Lord Jesus gone!) I moved into talk of the Holy Spirit, and reminded people that Peter said these words at the end of our passage today. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!”

I certainly did my best to be animated and engaging when I preached and led worship this afternoon. I received some nice compliments from the residents and others who attended the service today. I do this as a labor of love, it’s true. In addition, I am so glad that my voice was clear and sounded good to the majority of these dear seniors in the chapel.

God, what a blessing to be able to serve these dear folks. I need to remember this wonderful feeling! God, thank You for the many blessings you provided for all of these residents, all through the years. What a witness to Your love, grace, mercy and power. Amen, God!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Being of Service? Reflecting on Mary.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Visitation - Mary and Elizabeth meet - Luke 1:39-45

Being of Service? Reflecting on Mary.

Imagine a teenaged, unwed mother. In a conquered territory, under enemy occupation. Not only did she have the baby Jesus in less than optimum circumstances, in terms of hygiene and medical needs, but she was also far from her home as well.

This is what I taught about today, in the midweek bible study, specifically Luke 1:39-45. First, I spoke of Mary, talking with the angel Gabriel. Saying “yes” to the angel. Saying “yes” to God. Then, conceiving through the power of the Holy Spirit. And going to see her older cousin Elizabeth some weeks later.

How strange to our ears, today! What a wild story for us to swallow! Imagine the people of Mary’s day, imagine how improbable—how implausible the story must have seemed to them.

What has God done for you in your life, lately? Or, in the life of one of your family or friends? Has God done something improbable, or implausible? Do you think God can do something out of the ordinary? How big is your God? (How big is my God? Good question.)

Back to Mary. Mary must have lived simply. She was not wealthy, especially after the big reveal—the announcement that she was pregnant before marriage. She and Joseph must not have had too much money, even though Joseph was related by family to King David and his family line.

This is certainly counter-intuitive. Not wealthy? The baby Jesus, not born in a fancy house or palace? Strange, but true. This certainly goes against the health-wealth-and-happiness gospel preached by some television/celebrity preachers of today.

If we do say “yes” to God, our lives will be changed, without a doubt. God may ask us to go to different places, or do different things. Be uprooted, even homeless. Mary and Joseph were both far away from familiar people, places and things. They were travelers, like many people in the town of Bethlehem at that time. They both said “yes” to God.

Quite a challenge for me today. For us, in the bible study. God knows, I try to be faithful in teaching a bible study regularly, on Wednesdays and Sundays. And God willing, I pray that God may use the ideas and words I use to communicate to many hearts. Thanks for the help, God.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Be of Service? Offer to Pray!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, September 29, 2014

PRAY God understands without our words

Be of Service? Offer to Pray!

How to be of service? Show people I care? I offered to pray, several times today.

I wish I had magical powers, or super powers. Some kind of power other than myself that would support, comfort and encourage these people. Wait . . . I do have that power! God’s power. The Holy Spirit will readily come alongside of anyone who needs healing, is hurting, or discouraged, or troubled. The Holy Spirit’s other title is Holy Comforter, which is exactly what several people needed today. And, I am encouraged—in a number of places in Scripture—to come alongside of people who are hurting, or damaged, or otherwise messed up. I am with them in support, caring—and prayer.

This is where my using the ministry of presence comes in. Remembering these few individuals, I saw immediately that I had the opportunity to ease the difficulty. Or sadness. Or disgruntlement. Or downright anger. I am reminded of this verse from Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Well. That is what I am striving to do. How I try to operate.

I know that some grumpy or hurting or disadvantaged people do not want to be comforted. Okay. I hear that. I’ve got it. No. Nothing. Not at all. I don’t absolutely have to be forced, arm twisted behind my back, to talk to these individuals. Sometimes—and this is is awesome, and remarkable, and God-honoring—I don’t need to interact directly with these hurting individuals. Sometimes, I have offered to pray at a future time (as with one person today). Of course, I said! I want to make people feel as comfortable and content as possible.

What do you do when you encounter people who are hurting, or in pain, or discouraged? Do you avoid them? Or, do you engage with them, interact and see what is the matter? It does not matter, since God can still work in their lives. God can come alongside of them while they are sleeping, and ease the nightmares. God can work in their lives and alleviate the suffering and pain. God can spread comfort, encouragement, and support. Most of all? Our God is a mighty, wonderful, powerful Helper, ready to ease anxiety and heal disappointment, discouragement, and anger. And—we don’t even have to pray out loud for those caring activities. The Holy Spirit interprets our groanings too deep for words. The Mighty, Loving, Generous God knows. Amen!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Be Kind? To Seniors! All Day

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, June 11, 2014

senior couple walking away clipart

senior couple walking away
clipart

Be Kind? To Seniors! All Day

I preached at a retirement center today. Midweek service—Hymns and Devotions.

After being away from more of a chaplain’s role for a number of months, I felt really good as I revisited it. My pastoral care gifting certainly is being expressed when I do chaplainly things, that’s for sure! Plus, I can use the spiritual gifts of encouragement and helps in this retirement setting, too. That’s fulfilling (and filling!) for me, too.

Since I got there almost a half hour before the service was to start this afternoon, I took the opportunity to go into the chapel and greet the residents who were already gathered for the service. I went down the row of wheelchairs that were placed in the chapel, spending time with each person. A few had difficulties raising their heads. (What a sad thing, to always have to look at the floor because of difficulty with the neck and back!) Several of these extreme elderly showed significant signs of frailty, and a couple more had signs of dementia.

I was so pleased to see the organist! I have known her since I served at this retirement center as a chaplain intern. (Ten years ago!) The organist is also a resident. Such a sweet, lovely person. I especially enjoyed the hymn arrangement she played just before the service began. An arrangement of “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” I made special mention of the prelude. I also said this hymn reminds us that God created everything, indoors and out, and especially the creatures, the animals big and small.

After opening the service with prayer and thanksgiving, the organist and I led the congregation in two hymns. And then, the scripture lesson. Ah! I chose the Acts 2 passage from Sunday, three days ago. The passage for the day of Pentecost! And then, I talked about a Power shortage. (Especially with our Lord Jesus gone!) I moved into talk of the Holy Spirit, and reminded people that Peter said these words at the end of our passage today. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!”

I certainly did my best to be animated and engaging when I preached and led worship this afternoon. I received some nice compliments from the residents and others who attended the service today. I do this as a labor of love, it’s true. In addition, I am so glad that my voice was clear and sounded good to the majority of these dear seniors in the chapel.

God, what a blessing to be able to serve these dear folks. I need to remember this wonderful feeling! God, thank You for the many blessings you provided for all of these residents, all through the years. What a witness to Your love, grace, mercy and power. Amen, God!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Serving—with Holy Spirit Power!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Pentecost,  Alexander Sadoyan

The Pentecost,
Alexander Sadoyan

Serving—with Holy Spirit Power!

So there I was—at an evening meeting several years ago in a public building. Out of nowhere, the lights flickered. Went out! And stayed out. Immediately, everyone inside the building filed out. As a safety precaution, of course.

But—what happened? Was it a brown-out? Did something happen to a transformer attached to the electrical supply in the neighborhood? Everyone wanted the power supply to get back on line!

I narrated the story of Pentecost this morning, in church. I told about Jesus ascending to heaven, and then—what? Nothing! Not a thing, for many days. But at last, when the band of beleaguered believers was all gathered together in one place, Pentecost happened! The Holy Spirit came with mighty power! The disciples became courageous overnight. And the Holy Spirit turned the disciples inside out and upside down. Life—as they knew it before—was never the same again.

As I preached this morning, I honestly felt like I was serving the congregation in a deep, meaningful, wonderful manner. Opening the Word of God. I’ve felt that in the past, and it is such an awesome, stunning feeling to have. Almost like Isaiah falling on his face before God Almighty in the Temple (in Isaiah 6). However, today had a different feel to it. This morning, it was almost like I was uncovering something rich, something precious. Something of immense value! And then, turning to the friends out in the pews. Showing them the treasure of immense value! Offering them the opportunity to come along on this tremendous journey.

What about you? How has your journey through life been going? This small congregation has had its ups and downs, but I felt that this particular message from Acts 2 was just exactly what I ought to preach to this congregation. I hope and pray that any time people consider this chapter in Acts that they also consider the tremendous opportunity that God is holding out to all of outs. Just like a treasure, a rich and beautiful thing.

I want to serve. I have been praying for opportunities to help, whatever way I can. In this case, I will try my darnedest to get out the Good News. And if I can serve, be helpful, and be kind along the way? All fantastic ways to follow God. And God’s Good News!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.