On May 20, 2012, we will recognize and honor the graduates of our church.  Jessica Hebenstreit, Kyle McReynolds, and Forrest Schultz will graduate from high school.  Matt Thompson will graduate from college.  If you know of any others, please give their names to Darrell Vandervort.  As these young people prepare for the next steps in their lives, let us join together and pray for them and ask God’s guidance and protection into the future.

Last summer I invited people to offer suggestions (topics, Scripture passages, or themes) for the sermons of summer.  Once again I am asking for any requests you may have.  Please email them to pastor@fcc-wr.org or write them down and give them to me on any Sunday.  I would like to have any suggestions in hand by the end of the month so that I can prepare them for sermons in July and August.  You had some very good ideas last summer.  Can you do it again?

On the last Sunday of May, we will celebrate the holy day of Pentecost.  This is the day that the disciples were powerfully visited by the Holy Spirit.  It is also considered the birthday of the church.  Before this day, the followers of Jesus were mourning and considering going back to their old lives as fishermen, merchants, and other jobs.  Suddenly, they dropped any consideration of going back to their old lives and committed themselves to traveling the known world telling everyone about their time with Jesus.  Most often they cared for the people they met before they ever told a story about healing some first.

They found the motivation to not be shy and fearful, but confronted all those who wished to silence them and shared hope with all those who were on the outside of the society.  Philip met with a eunuch.  Paul and Peter met with Gentiles.  Thomas traveled all the way to India.  These people had traveled less than 100 miles from their homes until this point in their lives.

Pentecost might be a time to consider how much our faith has changed our lives and where we might have been.  We have encountered the presence of the Holy Spirit.  We have been guided, prodded and occasionally smacked upside the head with the Divine 2X4.

The same word that we translate from Hebrew as “spirit” is also the word as “breath”.  God breathed the breath of life into each of us, breathed his spirit into us.  We have the same potential as the Apostles, the potential to share faith and bring wholeness to the people we meet.  We have the potential to take the same risks that they took and thus bring the light of hope to people living in the darkness of despair and hopelessness.

Happy Birthday to the church and Happy Birthday to the power that turned ordinary people into Apostles.

Shalom, Darrell