“The Wednesday Word” Podcast & Devotional
We thought it would be a great idea to have a mid-week recap & refresh of Pastor David’s Sunday sermon. Let’s make sure that we are learning all we can from them!
Pastor David’s Wednesday devotional will be related to the Sunday sermon in some way. It could be an expansion on a theme, a different twist, or some kind of content related to Sunday’s sermon. Various staff members and parishioners will gather to discuss the devotional and how it relates to our lives and maybe give some practical application of the word.
You can listen to the audio version in your car, while doing housework, during your workout, or whenever is most convenient for you. We want you to be able to access it at any time that is the right time for you to have a few minutes to read and reflect on it.
5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”
6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
Last Sunday I started a sermon series entitled “This is Us.” The series began by looking at the Biblical foundations for the first phrase in the Desert Spring purpose statement: “All are welcome.” When did you first start attending Desert Spring? Why did you decide to return and to make Desert Spring your church home? What is it about Desert Spring that makes you excited to be a part of the church?
During the sermon, I talked about the story of Peter and Cornelius, and how God helped Peter understand that God has no favorite people—all people are loved by God. And “all” means “all.” But the word “all” is only the first word in the phrase “all are welcome.” As important as it is to understand that God loves all people, and all means all, it is equally important to understand what “welcome” means. Think about times you have felt welcomed. How would you describe the experience? What happened that resulted in you feeling like you were welcome to be a part?
In Acts chapter 15, St. Paul argued that welcoming people requires us to except people for who they are and for the ways God is at work in their lives. Notice in verse 8 (above), St Peter said that the evidence of God’s acceptance of others is the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This is an important verse! Yet it is one that too often gets ignored, and maybe because of how easy it is to be blinded to the presence and work of the Holy Spirit by our own pre-conceptions and prejudices about others. This is something to think about. Have you ever had the realization that you had been blinded by your own pre-conceptions about another person, only to later be surprised by the way God is at work in the person’s life? When it comes to recognizing the Holy Spirit’s presence and work in another person’s life, it is important to strip away preconceptions and prejudices. It is also important to remember ways the Holy Spirit works in people’s lives so we can recognize the Spirit! What is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work in another person’s life? Think of someone you know. How do you see the Holy Spirit at work in the person’s life?
Desert Spring is a diverse church. The reason is simple: when a church truly welcomes someone for who the person is, the church becomes more diverse. In the sermon, I said “diversity is not a problem to be overcome, it is a gift to be embraced. How have you experience diversity as a “gift?”
One of the answers I offered in the sermon was how our diversity as a church helps us grow in our understanding of the diversity of the Triune God. By Triune I mean Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God known in three ways. Have you ever thought about diversity being a part of God? What is your reaction to this idea?
The Desert Spring purpose statement reads “All are welcome to discover and live a life of purpose through Jesus Christ as together we make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.” Don’t miss the opening three words: “All are welcome.” It is who we are. Or another way to say it is “This is Us.”
God bless you and I hope to see you soon!