"And lo I am with you alway"

by Greg Troxell

On the first Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2:1-21, the Holy Spirit comes to the disciples igniting their faith, hope, courage, and commitment, and empowering them for ministry. Jesus had commanded them to “go and make disciples of all peoples…” and promised to be with them always (Matthew 28:18-20). In this historical event the most dear followers, who were but average and everyday people, were transformed because they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The record in Acts says they spoke in tongues and went out from there to share the Good News and serve others with love.

We, like the first disciples, desire to have our fears dispelled. We yearn for peace, courage, healing, hope, and love. This desire lies not only in us but in the world around us. Wonderfully, we are blessed to live near the Naval Post-Graduate School and the Monterey Institute for International Studies. People from around the world come to our region to enjoy the beauty, shops, attractions, and golf courses in Carmel, Big Sur, and Monterey. There is no better reason than this for us to develop our ability to speak to an international crowd, sharing the Gospel and our selves in service, filled with the Holy Spirit and going forth in ministry to others.

Click this image to search for your favorite Bible verses using YouVersion

Let me introduce you to YouVersion, which is not your average online Bible. The free service began as a ministry of a church that had drawn several members from various countries. Communicating and understanding one another and the Bible was a problem. So some members got together and conceived the idea, then began enlisting volunteers from around the world to continue to develop the service.  Just this morning, Youversion added Japanese to their list of supported languages. Today Youversion offers twenty-nine English versions of the Bible and also 300 other languages. It is called YouVersion because they allow you not only to select your preferred version and language but also create a personal commentary and share your thoughts with your social group or church. Additionally, they offer hundreds of reading plans for people who want to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the word of God.  The level of engagement is staggering.

Today, the church continues the celebration of Pentecost. In fact, the words of Jesus which foretold that delightful day lie etched in the stained glass in the west-facing windows at All Saints’. What I don’t want you to miss, my friends, is the opportunity for you to be filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered for ministry. It’s more than a celebration with staggering decorations that capture the imagination and create a near-electric sense of joy. This day is the annual reminder and opportunity to be transformed by the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the force that then moves through you in ministry to others. If our service is by any other power, I question if we are being “disciples glorifying Christ…” as begins our mission statement.