MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Worship Sunday May 16 2021
  • In The Garden
  • Sweet Hour Of Prayer
  • What A Friend We Have In Jesus
  • I Need Thee Every Hour
  • Today is Ascension Sunday. Some of you are wondering, what does that mean?
    It means that this is the day we remember Jesus ascension as he was taken up into heaven to sit at the right hand of God.
    As you listen to our Scriptures today, listen for the promise given to the disciples.
    Our first Scripture reading comes from the book of Acts, chapter 1, vs. 1-11.
    Acts 1:1–11 ESV
    In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 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.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
    I hope you were listening. There was a promise spoken of in that passage. Let’s go on to our next reading.
    Ephesians 1:15–23 ESV
    For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
    Hmmm…Paul said he was praying for something there. did you catch it?
    Our final reading is from Luke 24:44-53
    Luke 24:44–53 ESV
    Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
    Did you hear that? The disciples were told to be expecting something.
    This is the word of our Lord!
    Thanks be to God.
    Let’s Pray
    Holy God, as we come together on this day, we are waiting. We are waiting in expectation of a promise to be fulfilled. We know what it is, as we’ve read to the end of the story. And we wonder, are we ready? God, prepare us. Prepare us for what you have for us to hear this morning. Prepare us for what you have for us to do this week. Prepare us for the promise, the hope, the expectation. Prepare us Lord to be filled with you. We pray in the name of your precious Son, who is with you and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

    Are You Ready?

    Standing in the back of the church, a pastor asks a groom, “Are you ready?”
    Standing at the top of a ski run a coach asks a skier, “Are you ready?”
    Standing in the street amid a huge crowd of volunteers, Ty, the host of Extreme Makeover (Home Editions) asks, “Are you ready?
    Standing in a living room a child has asked you to close your eyes as she excitedly prepare to show you something she has made. She asks, “Are you ready?”
    Are you ready?
    It’s a simple question, but in each of these situations not one of those hearing those words knew exactly what to expect. There is a revealed surprise in each one of them. The groom sees family and friends, and next time you’re at a wedding watch the groom as the doors are opened revealing the bride.
    The skier doesn’t know what the course will bring, the homeowner doesn’t know what their new home will look like, and the parent often has no clue what their child might be about to reveal. Only that it is special.
    After the resurrection Jesus appeared several times to his disciples and over 500 others in those 40 days after the stone was rolled away. What an incredible time that must have been for the disciples. Inspiring. Confusing.
    A time of expectation. A time of wondering what’s next? And Jesus gives them a promise.
    Acts 1:5 ESV
    for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
    Jesus says this as a fact. It’s a promise. What does it mean? I’m sure the disciples thought that through, and I’m sure they didn’t know. Jesus gives them a hint in vs. 8
    Acts 1:8 ESV
    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.”
    Can you imagine their response? I’m going to receive power? I’m going to be a witness? Can you imagine their protest?
    I’m not good with words. I don’t know the Scriptures. Or perhaps like Moses, “Lord, couldn’t you send someone else?”
    I’m sure these protests are similar to ours today. And then we read Paul’s words of hope to the church at Ephesus.
    Ephesians 1:18 ESV
    having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
    Just before he says that he prays that we would receive God’s spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of our Lord. - That would indeed give us hope, would it not?
    What is this hope to which they were called?
    Finally, the disciples are told they should have an expectation:
    Luke 24:49 ESV
    And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
    This is Jesus speaking, and he tells them he is sending the promise of his Father upon them, and they will be “clothed with power from on high.”
    Imagine the anticipation. What would this power feel like? They had no clue.
    Perhaps they started thinking of all the lessons they’d learned from Jesus over the past 3 years of His ministry. Perhaps they were excited but also afraid.
    They’d been promised they’d be baptized with the Holy Spirit. They had hope for their eyes to be enlightened to the riches of his glorious inheritance! They had an expectation to somehow clothed with power from God.
    And perhaps from the back of their mind a question came forth: Am I ready?
    I have no doubt that was a question they asked if not out loud, they asked it of themselves. And as they did, no doubt their minds were like many of ours and began to challenge all of this:
    Am I ready? And they would begin a long list of why they weren’t.
    Too young, too old, not good with words, too busy, other responsibilities.
    But this is Jesus calling. WAIT! Jesus? The one who requires us to be holy?
    I’m not holy. I need to get my life straightened out first. I’ve got a temper issue. I’m in debt. I’m not good enough.
    All of this comes from what I like to call the Ya-butz. It’s a Hebrew word. (Just kidding).
    It’s where we say “Yes” to God and “No” to God at the same time. Because we say Yes, and then we add, “but...” And that “but” contradicts everything that came before it. Including our “Yes.”

    Are You Ready?

    The question asked by the pastor, the coach, by Ty, and by the child, is asked of us by our Lord.
    It’s a question asked by God throughout time. Back in Isaiah we read:
    Isaiah 43:19 ESV
    Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
    Behold, I am doing a new thing...
    What new thing might God be planning for us today? For this week?
    What new thing might God be planning for you?
    What new thing might God be planning for our church?
    This past year has been a very different year for all of us. The gospel has been spread like it has never spread before as virtually every church around the world went online. You can worship with fellow believers in virtually any language on any continent.
    And it appears as our vaccination rates climb that there is a light at the end of this long tunnel. What new thing will God do in you as a Christian?
    What new thing will God do in our church?

    Are You Ready?

    Are you ready?
    Being ready to be baptized in the Holy Spirit is to be ready for change! Do you think the disciples were ready for change?
    Being ready to receive power and be witnesses locally, regionally, and world wide means being ready for change? Do you think the disciples were ready for change?
    Being ready to be clothed with power from on high means being ready for change? Do you think the disciples were ready for change?
    Being ready for God to do a new thing means being ready for change. Are we willing to change?
    A colleague of mine shared that as he was interviewing for a church that were looking to call a pastor that would help them grow. During the interview he asked the search committee this question: “How would you feel if you showed up on Sunday, and there were a bunch of people you didn’t know milling around all over the place.” One of the members of the committee barked with an emphatic scowl, “I wouldn’t like that!” to which he responded, “that’s what will happen if you grow.”
    We all have dreams and aspirations of what could be in our lives, in our families, and in our organizations. And when it comes down to it we know that would mean change in our life.
    Tod Bolsinger in his book, “Canoeing the Mountains” comments that an organization already has everything it needs to get the results it is currently getting. If you want something different, something has got to be altered, something has to be added or removed, something has to change.
    How do you imagine the disciples prepared for the change? We know that they gathered for worship often. We know that they gathered together often. What else do you think they might have done? I’m sure not everything is recorded in our Scriptures.
    How are you preparing for change in your life? How are you preparing to be open to it?
    How are you preparing your life for God’s promise, hope, and expectation? How are you preparing to be open to God doing a new thing in your life?
    Are you ready?
    Acts 1:5 ESV
    for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
    Acts 1:8 ESV
    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.”

    Are You Ready?

    Lord, prepare us for what you are going to do in our lives. Prepare us for the change that will be in us. Prepare us for what you are going to do through our lives. Prepare us for the change in our hearts. Prepare us for what you are going to do in our interactions with others. Prepare us for the change in our minds. Prepare us for how you will empower us. Prepare us for the change in our strength. Prepare us for this promise. Prepare us for this hope. Prepare us for this expectation. We want to be ready, to the glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN.
      • Acts 1:1–11ESV

      • Ephesians 1:15–23ESV

      • Luke 24:44–53ESV

      • Acts 1:5ESV

      • Acts 1:8ESV

      • Ephesians 1:18ESV

      • Luke 24:49ESV

      • Isaiah 43:19ESV

      • Acts 1:5ESV

      • Acts 1:8ESV

  • The Lord's Prayer
  • Sanctuary

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