Sermon Starter: Pentecost

March 1st, 2011

Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:24-34, 35b, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13, John 7:37-39

The din of the crowd increases as students continue to file into the gymnasium. The band tunes and warms up their instruments. With a wave of the band director’s baton, the fight song begins, the cheerleaders take center court, the team appears full of confidence, and the students stand in uproarious enthusiasm as the pep rally begins.

As a youth, I loved pep rallies – a mainstay of many high schools across the nation. And the purpose of these events? To build enthusiasm, support our team, and above all, to celebrate our school spirit. Spirit—that palpable feeling of pride that we were part of something bigger than ourselves. Our spirit grew as frenzied chanting and clapping and stomping shook the very rafters of the building. We were gathered together to build our enthusiasm and express our confidence in an ultimate victory!

The disciples “were all together in one place” as they waited for the promised gift of the Spirit. I imagine a growing excitement as the disciples spoke with each other, recounting the words of Jesus, “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5). Like a pep rally, there was a rush of excitement as the Spirit, like a rush of wind, filled the house. There were even some pyrotechnics as tongues of fire settled on the disciples. Those who stood around asked, “What does this mean?” What this means is that each person is gifted so that “out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). It means that the spirit is creative (Psalm 104:30) and empowers God’s people through its gifts (I Corinthians 12:3b-13).

It is the New Testament witness that the disciples did not stay together in one place—there was a victory to be won out there on fields across the world!

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