Friday, May 29, 2020

May 31, 2020 Pentecost Sunday!

At Home Worship

First Presbyterian Churches of

Paris and Deport, Texas


May 31, 2020


The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

And also with you.

Trusting in the word of life given in baptism, we are gathered in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.


OPENING SENTENCES                                                                Ps. 118:24

This is the day that the Lord has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.


The peace of God be with you.

Receive with joy the gift of the Holy Spirit.

          We feel the winds of God blowing among us.

          We sense the tongues of fire empowering us.

How amazing is the power God gives us.

How manifold are the works of our Creator.

          The breath of God fills us with confidence.

          The Spirit creates new life within and among us.

God calls us to be dreamers and prophets.

God gives us a vision for a world of peace.

          May the glory of God endure forever?

          We will sing praise to God as long as we live.


Powerful God, whose ways are beyond our knowing, we long to grow spiritually. We are thirsty for the living water you have promised to those who seek. We are eager to catch the Spirit, to be set on fire with confidence and trust to use the gifts you have given. Let Pentecost happen again in this gathering of your people. Inspire us to witness to your love and prophesy in your name. Give us courage to speak of your deeds of power, and to take the risk of daring discipleship.


We can say the words that come with Pentecost: spirit, wind, fire. We can claim an interest in knowing the God of all creation. But how much time have we devoted to this quest? How open are we to God’s unpredictable summons and direction?


O God, we are frightened by strange tongues and people out of control. We want to manage our own lives and assure our own safety. We are afraid that you will ask more of us than we are willing to risk. We do not want others to consider us strange or fanatical. We are skeptical of dreams and visions. We cannot trust some people you ask us to love. We want to believe, but how can we know that you are more that our collective imagination, a hope we cling to in our despair? Help us, God.     Amen


God comes unexpectedly to those willing to wait and listen and trust. The Spirit amazes and astonishes even those who wait expectantly. There is more to life than the things we can see---and more in the things we see than our eyes can discern. So, too, God is more than we can know or think. Even now, the Holy Spirit is resting on you and on this family of God’s people. Do not be afraid.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Amen. Amen.


Let us pray:

Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit,
that as the Scriptures are read and your Word is proclaimed,
we may hear with joy what you say to us today.        Amen.


OLD TESTAMENT READING                 NUMBERS 11:24-30

11:24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent.

11:25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

11:26 Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.

11:27 And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."

11:28 And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, stop them!"

11:29 But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit on them!"
11:30 And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

THE PSALMIST                                       PSALM 104: 24-34, 35b

104:24 O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

104:25   Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.

104:26 There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

104:27 These all look to you to give them their food in due season;

104:28 when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

104:29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

104:30   When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.

104:31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works--

104:32 who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.

104:33   I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

104:34   May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.

104:35b   Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!

NEW TESTAMENT READING                         Acts 2:1-21

2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

2:2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

2:3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.

2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

2:5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

2:6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

2:7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

2:8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

2:11 Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power."

2:12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"

2:13 But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."

2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.

2:15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning.

2:16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

2:17 'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

2:18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

2:19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

2:20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.

2:21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'

This is the word of the Lord.        Thanks be to God.

And here's some music to enjoy!

Once you hit the arrow to start the video you can enlarge the screen by going to the bottom right box that looks like this: [] and it should make everything look bigger. You can enlarge the sermons, too.

Thanks be to God!

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus according to John (20: 19-23)

20:19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."

20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

20:21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

The Gospel of the Lord.      Praise to you, O Christ.

 Here are the videos of the sermons:

Here are the texts of the sermons:

Out Of The Room Into The Public                  Armel Crocker

One of the great joys of reading the gospels is watching the disciples stumble around clueless. They are so human, so much like us. Jesus tells them a parable, they don’t understand. Jesus performs a miracle, and they start arguing about which of them will be first in the kingdom of God. Jesus asks them to stay awake while he prays, and they fall asleep. Jesus is dragged off to be murdered and Peter, the leader of them all, denies him three times.

After Jesus was crucified, they scattered and hid behind closed doors.

When Jesus came to them – after the shock wore off – what a relief the disciples must have felt. All the things Jesus had said and promised were true. And then he told them in the first chapter of Acts,  he was leaving them again. They could not believe it. They were baffled, Jesus,” they asked, “are you going to bring in the kingdom first? You know, before you go?”

Jesus rises up into the heavens and they are staring up after him. They stare until a couple of angels shake them out of it. They are leaderless. They have no idea what to do.

So, here we find them. Clueless.  Leaderless.  Huddled together in a house somewhere in Jerusalem. Looking up toward heaven and saying to God, we don’t know what to do? You tell us, Lord. All those free spirited days back in Galilee are long behind them. There is no singing or dancing.

How their enemies must have giggled and chastised them about that. Here were these troublemakers – these hicks from up in Galilee – who had been talking big about God’s kingdom. Now they are reduced to gibberish about their dead messiah coming back from the dead. It wouldn’t be long, no doubt, before they would be rounded up and treated the same way.

Can we blame them for hiding in the house? Wouldn’t you do the same thing? Wouldn’t I?

But we know, don’t we, that God does not like closed up and tight faith. God doesn’t want us huddling in the house. God doesn’t like an indoor faith.

So he grabbed the disciples and shook them.

When God shows up, it creates quite a commotion.

This is what the Book of Acts reports. When the Holy Spirit comes to the disciples, there is fire and roaring wind. The disciples are dazed and seized by power.

Crowds gather and gawk. The old enemies of the disciples mock them, saying they must be drunk.

To answer them, Peter – this man who had been shouting that he did not even know Jesus – stands up in the crowd and proclaims the good news of the gospel.

When the Holy Spirit came to the disciples, it stirred things up.

When the Holy Spirit came to the disciples, it drew a crowd.

When the Holy Spirit came to the disciples, it pushed them out of doors and into the public.

So, here is the question for us today on this Pentecost Sunday: Do we really want this to happen to us?

Do we? Right  now?

Do we believe it is even possible?

Do we believe that this room could at this second fill with the Holy Spirit? We could be caught in a wind like a hurricane swirling through this space. Tongues of fire could burst down and in through the ceiling. Do we believe that could happen right now?

The world outside this church tells us we would be crazy to believe that. In a world that makes us nervous about clapping our hands in public or sends us scurrying to clean our homes when the company is coming, Christians who actually say they expect an outpouring of the Holy Spirit are looked at as crazy. They would mock us just as they made fun of the disciples.

Well, to be honest, I think we sometimes get all tangled up as Christians. We get stuck quizzing each other over what we believe. Belief is important. Faith, hope, and love abide these three. But the greatest of these is love.

Do we believe the Holy Spirit could fill this room right now?

Sisters and brothers, I tell you truly, if there is love in this room, I believe the Holy Spirit already fills it. The Holy Spirit is among us now. God chooses not to work so much with flashes and awe these days, but God works just the same. On that Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit took a rag-tag bunch of disciples and turned them into the church. The Spirit took people just like us, and did great and wonderful things with them.

The good news today is that God longs to do the same with us.

If we listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit and If we set our hearts to loving God and loving our neighbors, the Holy Spirit will be powerfully among us just as he was powerfully with the first Christians. The special effects may be less dramatic, but the power is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Sisters and brothers, as Christians, we are Easter people. But it was the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that created the church. It has been the Holy Spirit that has sustained it throughout the centuries. And it is the Holy Spirit that today we pray will continue to nurture our church and our faith.

On this Pentecost Sunday we pray for the outpouring of the Spirit. We pray to be shaken loose from our comfort zones. May we here be used by God to do a great new thing for his kingdom.


And Jane has a story to tell:

I want to tell you a story this morning of one of my great failures in youth ministry.  I was trying to tell the Pentecost story to a group of middle school kids.  We were at Camp Gilmont in the Crain Center.  If you’ve ever been there you know this room is surrounded by clear glass windows so you can see the pine trees outside and a porch surrounds the building outside high over the ground below.  
I told the story in Acts 2 then told the kids that the powerful wind God sent into the room was the Holy Spirit of God which is with them even today. My point is that we are never alone, we are never without God’s Spirit.  The Holy Spirit sent by God on Pentecost remains with us today.  It inspires us, comforts us, empowers us, instructs us and, best of all, never leaves us.  It is ever present.  And, then, to prove my point, I told them we would go outside and watch the wind because there is always wind around us. I took the whole group of about 60 kids out to the porch to feel the wind and the love of God’s Holy Spirit brush against our faces. What I didn’t factor in was that it was a quiet summer day and there was no wind.  None.  We waited.  Zero wind.  We waited.  These were sixth graders.  How long could I get them to wait on God who had eternity?  We waited.  No wind.  These kids were SO quiet and SO patient.  I’ll bet they stayed out there for 15 minutes.  I was a little impressed myself not only at the kids but I really didn’t think the earth ever went that long without wind.  I finally gave up in failure.

When I this story to a friend later, she told me I could have reminded the kids they have wind inside their bodies.  Genius!  I had not thought of that!  But it changed everything—including my theology.

That’s the day I realized we are filled with the Holy Spirit at our first breath.  Let’s look back at the Psalm 104 a minute:

Verse 29 says:….”when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.”  And verse 30: “When you send forth your spirit, they are created…”

The Holy Spirit of God enters into our lives with our first breath and never leaves us until it marks our exit from life. In every breath we take we are accompanied by the Holy Spirit of God. We are empowered by it to do anything in God’s name.  We are comforted to withstand any trial.  We are empowered to preach the gospel even in times we don’t think we have the tools we need. The Lord will provide.  I am sure of that.  Believe this and go in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.


I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.


Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.
Almighty God, in Christ you taught us to pray,
and promised that we would receive all that we ask in his name.

Hear now our prayers:
for the church universal …
for this congregation, its mission and ministry …
for the healing of the earth …
for peace and justice in the world …
for nations and leaders …
for our local community and those who have passed …
for the poor and oppressed …
for the bereaved and lonely …
for all who need healing …

We ask this through Christ our Lord who taught us to pray;

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever.



May God’s glory endure forever.

May God take pleasure in works done through us.

We have found renewal in our time together.

Now God sends us forth to serve in Jesus’ name.

May the empowerment of Pentecost continue with us.

May the Spirit lead and guide us every day.

          We have acknowledged our many gifts.

          Now we seek to use them for the common good.

We are one body with many members.

When we work together, much good is accomplished.

          We commit ourselves as people of vision and action.

          The peace of God equips us to serve.

Amen.        Amen.

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