Sermon Details

Plan Be

June 5, 2022
Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, IN, invites you to join us as we worship in this time of SARS-CoV-2. Today's Sunday service will be led by Pastor John Van Nuys and Liturgist Alex Thomas. The sermon title is "Plan Be" . Hymns accompanied by Alan White. Thank you for joining us remotely.
(1) When Pentecost arrived, the disciples were together in one place. (2) Suddenly from heaven there came a loud rush of wind, filling the house. (3) Divided tongues, like fire, appeared and rested on each. (4) All were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (5) Now there were faithful people from every nation in Jerusalem. (6) And at this sound the crowd was stunned, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. (7) Amazed, they asked, “All these who are speaking are Galileans. (8) So why do each of us hear what they are saying in our own native language? (9) Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (10) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, and visitors from Rome, (11) Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s mighty deeds.” (12) All were perplexed, saying, “What does this mean?” (13) But others sneered, saying: “They’re drunk!” (14) But Peter said, “Listen! (15) We’re not drunk! It’s only 9 a.m. (16) No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: (17) ‘In the last days, God declares, I’ll pour out my Spirit upon everyone. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Young men shall see visions, and old men shall dream dreams. (18) Even male and female slaves will receive my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. (19) I’ll show portents in heaven and signs on earth; blood, fire, and smoke. (20) The sun shall go dark and the moon turn bloody, before the Lord’s great and glorious day. (21) Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
– Acts 2:1-21

The famous southern preacher Tom Long tells of leading a church retreat. As everyone boarded buses for the retreat center several hours away, a rough man with tattoo-covered arms, sat down beside him, saying: “I’m Mike. Glad to meet you. Have you given your life to Jesus?”

Long thought: “This’ll be the bus ride from hell.” But Long’s seatmate was actually a heavenly companion – who kept on talking: “I gave my life to Jesus when I was in prison. Jesus set me free – when I was locked up. Jesus forgave me and taught me that I don’t have to hate anybody. My daddy taught me to hate everyone who isn’t white. And I did. I was full of hate, drugs, and violence. But Jesus saved me. I got clean. I found peace. Now I don’t hate anyone. I didn’t know how full my heart could be until I learned how to love. My daddy never taught me that, but my heavenly Father did. I just can’t stop talking about Jesus and all that he’s done for me.”

All Tom Long could say was: “Mike, you should be leading this retreat – not me.” Tom and Mike have been good friends ever since.

When I dream about how I’d save the world, I think about what I’d do if I won the Power Ball. I would give to this cause and agency, that person and problem. But God had a far better plan.

After human nature proved too weak and divine law too tough for us to set things right, Jesus did. Jesus took on our nature and fulfilled the law. From Bethlehem to Calvary, Jesus made the way for us to be reconciled to God. Sin forgiven; evil defeated; humanity redeemed. Then God kicked off Plan Be. God said: “I don’t want you to just belong to me. I want you and me to be one. So, I’m gonna give my Spirit, my guiding essence and energy, presence and power, to you all. One Spirit operating in many bodies. Not to stamp out individuality, but to fulfill it. Not to kill diversity, but to complement it. Not to create a hive mind, but a heavenly body of earthly creatures fully alive in Christ; fully aligned with my will; all animated by my Spirit of love, justice, and peace.”

The day it began was and is Pentecost. The movement it started was and is the church. Plan Be: Be salt, light, and bread for a world that is tasteless, dark, and hungry.

When you share your unique gifts to bless, heal, and love, Pentecost happens. As we break bread, baptize, make disciples, and proclaim the love of God in Jesus Christ, we are the church. When you welcome strangers, forgive offenders, and bless sufferers, you are the earthly embodiment of God’s heavenly kingdom.

You don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to save the world. Jesus already has. Just do what you can where you are as you are able as the Lord leads you. Love God and love your neighbor – all neighbors; everyone – with energy, imagination, intelligence, and love. As you do, you will fulfill your baptismal calling to belong to Jesus and to live for him. That’s sometimes hard, but it’s always good. Open your heart and let the Holy Spirit move within you. Make room for Jesus and he will make his home within you. Give it a try and see what happens. Let God’s blessings flow. Let Pentecost happen today in and through you.

In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:

“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”

If you pray this prayer, contact a pastor. They’ll show you how to live for Christ with purpose, peace, and joy. Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” That definitely includes YOU!