The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

God of Chaos and Power

May 23, 2010
Pentecost Sunday

God of Chaos and Power
Genesis 11:1-9 and Acts 2:1-12
...All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability... – Acts 2:4

My sermon outline:

• Tower of Babel, heard it before? Seems odd that God
- would punish the people for their unity
- who spoke order out of chaos would stir order up into chaos with purpose of making difficult communication

• Wherefore? The people wanted to make a name for themselves. Erect a monument to them. Bask in their own glory.
And in doing so, defy God’s order to “be fruitful and multiply” and fill the earth. (Gen 1:28 as well as 9:1) (sounds a bit like Go ye therefore into the world and make disciples of all nations)

God does not want the people to rest on the laurels of their mighty deeds, stay home and look at their trophies. God does not want them to be self-focused.

Not only, but bricks + bitumen = something out of nothing = Adam & Eve be like God

• Therefore chaos (or re-introduction thereof) is just what the doctor ordered.

• The story stands in contrast to the story of Pentecost (50 days... the people were gathered for the Feast of Weeks to celebrate the giving of the Torah, also a harvest holiday 7 weeks after Passover)
where God grants the power & ability to communicate, to break language barriers down.

• In contrast to folks from Genesis, who want to build selves up, folks in Acts proclaim not their own mighty acts but God’s mighty acts.
Earlier, they gathered behind closed doors for fear... where no one would hear the mighty acts of God... where they wait for God to send visitors.

Decidedly NOT self-focused.

• Juxtaposition of two stories has purpose: to get us out of self-focus of “here we are, let’s take care not to get too spread out, let’s make a name for ourselves”
but Let’s proclaim God’s mighty acts in a manner that’s meaningful to our surrounding people. Who may look different. Talk different. Think different. Have different backgrounds, questions, assumptions. Who are our surrounding people, what are their needs, and how can we address?

Not gather in fear and wait for people to fall in our laps but Let’s trust in God’s power to gift us with what we need to do that.

• Our worship, our budget, our actions, our mission should reflect that our primary concern, primary focus is God and what God has done, is doing, and wants to do in Spring City.

• To that end, leave you with this question: if SC UMC were to vanish, what then?

• Hymn 539 O Spirit of the Living God

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 62 in worship.


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