Monday, June 11, 2018
Acts 1:6-8: So when they had come together, they asked Him, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Jesus gave His marching orders. He told His disciples then along with His disciples NOW, to move out. Jesus is saying, "Don't stay put. Engage the world. You start where you are. However, don't stay where you are."
This is a challenge for congregations, even like ours. At first, there is the zeal. There's the passion for reaching out. There is an attitude about the first generation congregation members. They are willing to take risks. They desire to share the Gospel of Jesus with neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family. Their passion is to grow the congregation. Their zeal is to engage the world with love to bring them to faith in Jesus.
Then the second generation of Christians are now active. Now the challenge is, to have the same zeal and passion for reaching out. What usually happens is the congregation now is settled and established. The next generation grows biologically. The first generation now has a home for the second generation. The congregation still grows. Yet it is by means of birth. The focus of the congregation now becomes internal; caring for her own needs.
And you know what happens when we start caring about ourselves and not engaging the world? Eventually, the generations die off. Then the congregation dies off. What will keep that from happening? Each generation needs to be reminded of Jesus' marching orders. "And you will be my witnesses in Huntsville, Walker County and surrounding counties, and to the ends of the world." In order to do this, we need to remember; we are filled with the Holy Spirit. He came into us through Baptism, convicting us of our sins and converting us to life with grace. We are continually fed by the Spirit as we "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" God's Word. And mainly, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the love of God through Jesus Christ who die to forgive our sins and rose to bring to us new life, both now and forever. And it is by means of this love that we engage the world all around us. Holy Spirit, remind us of Your love for us and lead us to engage the world, Amen.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.