"I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’"
– Psalm 16:8-11 (as quoted by Peter in Acts 2:25-28)
By the time of the New Testament, God has come to seem quite a distant and silent figure for the Jewish people. In spite of the nice temple and the sacrifices, in spite of the feasts and fasts, in spite of all the dedicated scholarship of Scripture and the highly developed theological discourse–in spite of all these things, there is no utopian theocracy, there is no king, there is not even an autonomous nation at this point. What has become of God’s promises? When is Israel going to look like God’s chosen people again?
So when Jesus disappears into the heavens as depicted in Acts 1, you can imagine the disappointment his followers feel. God has finally come back, but now God is going away again?
But Jesus does not leave his disciples alone. In fact, the gift of the Holy Spirit ensures that those who put their trust in God will never be separate from God’s presence ever again. It isn’t our offerings, our behavior, our extensive knowledge of Calvinist theology, or even our highly curated set of opinions that makes us God’s chosen people; it is our acceptance of God’s outpouring of love for us.
This Sunday we are celebrating the Pentecost, not just in memory of that time when some Galilean fishermen became multilingual public speakers but also to express our gratitude for and to share the love that crosses the boundaries of language and culture, space and time, through the power of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the joy of God’s presence.
Sermon Sneak Peek
This pandemic is the modern Tower of Babel; it has widened divisions in the world, whether they be between nations, ethnic identities, genders, or individuals. This week we will be taking a look at the Holy Spirit as the relational, communicative force of God that brings understanding and unity. As we celebrate the Pentecost together, let us pray for the healing of broken relationships through the Holy Spirit.
Living Water Challenge
During our online services we have been doing a virtual “Fellowship of Believers,” in which a few of us share what is going on in our lives in video form. Now we would like to take it a step further and turn this into a challenge. God has blessed us with a wonderful church family, and we want to encourage and share our gratitude with each other.
We will actively challenge one another to send in photos or a video to share a part of your daily life, a personal testimony, a favorite passage of Scripture, a musical performance, or any life updates. Once you are nominated, leadership will reach out to help you continue the challenge. All church members including children are eligible for nomination!
Overflow Patchwork Dinner
Join us on Saturday, May 30 @ 5 pm for the Overflow Patchwork Dinner: The Fruits of the Spirit!
Guest speaker Pastor David will be talking with us about the fruits of the Spirit. We will each prepare one item for our dinner, which will be distributed. One body, many dinner items! (via Zoom with real dinner)
Ongoing Dialogue with East Paris CRC
Our “Exploration for the Future” team met with East Paris Council on Monday. They have not been able to worship together at all during the lockdown and are eager to be a part of Living Water. This means Living Water will take on responsibility for the East Paris property, which is both an opportunity and a risk.
East Paris has proposed that the property be under the escrow of Classis Thornapple, which East Paris church currently belongs to, until Living Water becomes an organized church. Let us discern together through prayers our future together with East Paris.
Classis Grand Rapids East has decided that we will be opening churches together when the pandemic is declared to be in Stage 5, or the “containing” stage (Stage 3 – flattening, Stage 4 – declining). Even when we do open, we will have to take a lot of safety measures such as social distancing (spacing out sitting), masks and sanitizers, and contact tracing. Please pray for God’s guidance and wisdom.
- Friday, May 29 4:00pm: LWYG Bible Study Password: lwyg
- Saturday, May 30 5:00pm: Overflow Patchwork Dinner (Contact Anne Geiges for details at email@example.com)
- Sunday, May 31 10:00am: Sunday Worship
- Wednesday, June 3 2:00pm: Women’s Bible Study
- Wednesday 6:30pm: Overflow Gathering
- Thursday, June 4 7:00pm: Prayer Meeting
All meetings will be held on Zoom. Click on the links to join!
Men’s Bible Study
Pastor David would like to start a men’s Bible study in the near future. If you are interested in a weekly meeting to discuss the Word with your brothers in Christ, please let Pastor David (firstname.lastname@example.org) know!
Living Water continues to seek people to serve in leadership. The following are in need of volunteers:
- Welcoming Ministry
- Outreach Ministry
- Diaconal (Mercy) Ministry
- College Small Group Leaders for the Fall
Please contact a leader if you feel called to step up!
Online Office Hours with Pastor David
If you would like to meet with Pastor David, you can contact him at email@example.com to set up a virtual meeting. Pastor David would love to get to know everyone who comes to Living Water!
Some Things to Pray About This Week
- For healing and solidarity in this global pandemic
- Strength and encouragement for church leaders
- For new graduates navigating this difficult time
- For those struggling with finances
- For students who may not be able to go home for the summer
- For LWCRC to minister to the needs of the community
Many Christians around the world are fasting and praying for the Lord to heal their land. We encourage each of you to come to Living Water’s weekly Zoom prayer meeting on Thursday nights at 7pm to join our brothers and sisters!
See you all Sunday.