12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Paul spent considerable time in Corinth around the year 50 AD.

  • So many analogies: temple, field, athletes in a race, body.

Our life together is about experiencing God’s presence (being given the Spirit to drink)

  • We’ve been given the Spirit to drink.
    • The OT prophesied that the Spirit would be poured out.
    • In Eph 5, Paul says don’t be drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit.
      • On Pentecost, the disciples weren’t drunk…
    • Jesus offers the Samaritan woman “living water” to drink.
  • All pointing to this deep, powerful activity of God we call being baptized in the Spirit.
    • Deeper awareness of Jesus Christ as Lord
    • Conviction of sin
    • Renewed desire for holiness, to evangelize, to serve the poor
    • Equipping with gifts and anointing
    • Call to love. Call to community.

The Spirit’s activity creates community. (The Spirit’s baptism formed one body)

  • I really believe that’s the pattern we see in the New Testament. 
    • God’s purpose in redemption includes creating a people he can call his own.
    • Events of Acts 2
    • We know that the gifts of the Spirit are to build up the church.
    • It reflects his nature. It’s who he is.
    • Because of that, every Christian who ever lived is called to community.
  • To me, no surprise that Charismatic Renewal produced communities.
  • At the same time, this doesn’t mean community will just happen. Or go smoothly without a lot of work!
    • The Corinthians struggled with unity.
    • We have our struggles too.

We need to drink even more deeply of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • We need fresh experiences of God to bring us to new levels of maturity.

If God has called us to this community, we need to embrace it.

I.         Our Life Together is about Experiencing God’s Presence

There are many diverse understandings of the Holy Spirit among Christians and among churches. Some focus primarily – or solely – on the Scripture. Others focus primarily on Liturgy and Sacraments. In most of these Churches, the Holy Spirit is always noted but the Spirit receives little attention in the life of the church – whether the church is focused on Scripture or Liturgy.

The typical way of thinking includes both a list of doctrines and a list of acceptable behaviors/practices. People believe the doctrines and practice the behaviors. But, for the most part, people do not experience much of anything spiritually.

However, in the Pentecostal Movement, the Pentecostal Churches, and the Charismatic Renewal there is a significant emphasis on the experiential nature of the Spirit’s presence in the life of the believer. This experience is typically called “baptism in the Spirit.”

People who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit testify that their experience brought them:

  1. to a new awareness of presence of Jesus Christ – and of their own sinfulness; 
  2. to a new hunger for the Word of God;
  3. to a renewed desire for holiness;
  4. to a new desire to build holy relationships and repair damaged relationships
  5. to a renewed desire to evangelize and serve the poor

And while with them Jesus commanded his Apostles, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, “you heard me speak about; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit a few days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5)

Jesus is not talking about his disciples waiting to be converted from unbelief to belief. Jesus is speaking about a genuine new experience – intended for people who already believe.

Luke confirms that people believed in Jesus as he summarized their response to Jesus’ ascension saying, “they (the disciples) worshiped Jesus and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they continually went to the temple blessing God and praising him.” 

II.        Why is this gift of Baptism in the Spirit special?

When Jesus says, “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit,” he is speaking about receiving an extraordinary power – a grace – intended for intimacy w/ God, personal holiness, and ministry. Jesus called this gift of Baptism in the Spirit as a “clothing from on high” (Luke 24:49).

Theologians say, “This power may come at the very moment of conversion or later. It is followed by lifelong subsequent experiences of empowering in the Holy Spirit.” 

We need extraordinary experiences of God’s grace and power – again and again – so that we can grow in our faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. Fresh outpourings of the Holy Spirit empower our lives, strengthen our faith, and emboldens our desire to live for God. 

We need to pray for this power to come upon us every day. Protestant pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones tells us that he continually prayed, “God, I need a fresh anointing. I need a fresh filling. I need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”

III.      Baptism in the Spirit and Building a Community

The Preacher to the Papal Household, Fr Raniero said, “The principal instrument by which the renewal in the Spirit “changes people’s lives” is the baptism in the Spirit. This, he said, “is a personal Pentecost!”

Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the grace that makes someone a renewed person.

Whether, in the early church, or today, the principal instrument by which the renewal in the Spirit “changes people’s lives” is the baptism in the Spirit. We need to pray for a fresh outpouring regularly.

The early church was drawn together in community after they were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:42-47). They prayed together, they ate together, they saw miracles, they devoted themselves to the teaching, they evangelized.

You and I were baptized in the Spirit. We were drawn to community by the grace of God. You all are such a special to me – and it’s by God’s grace we met. Our mission is to help each other increase our love for God, be holy and to build the kingdom of God. May we be ever alert to this calling; pure in all we do; and never distracted.

IV.       Inspiring each other to live our life together in 2021 – (in order of priority)

May we “treasure this gift of Baptism in the Spirit every day”

May we “ask the Holy Spirit to come and “pour the love of God into our hearts” (Rom 5:5) 

May we “set our minds on things above as best we can each day – and be decisive (Col 3:2)

May we “present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom 12:1-2)

May we “love one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)

May we “have unity of mind, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8)

May we “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

May we “encourage one another and build one another up, as we are doing (1 Thess 5:11)

May we “never giving up meeting together and always be encouraging (Hebrews 10:25)

May we “be the people of God; his special possession; born to declare his praises (1 Pe 2:9)

May we “all do many great acts of service and love for Jesus this year” (Col 3:17)

Our life “in Christ” together is a wonderful way to live.


  • Week of Prayer for Christian unity begins today, international observance
  • “How has ecumenism made a difference in your life?”

Ephesians 4:1–6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

  • Reading a passage like that, it’s hard to imagine that there could ever be divisions in the church: one Lord, one faith, one baptism…
    • Yet, there are. 
    • Not only the rise of many distinct denominations, but the existence of prejudices and misconceptions (Catholics worship Mary). 
      • We haven’t been humble or gentle. We haven’t made every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.
      • Also been spiritually opposed.
        • “Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly relationships than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation.” – Charles Spurgeon
  • At the same time, “There is one body and one Spirit.”
    • “Believers are never told to become one; we already are one and are expected to act like it.” – Joni Eareckson Tada
      • God of course sees our divisions. But he only has one church. In heaven, people from every tribe, nation, and tongue will worship together.
      • “Acting like it” is the call and work of ecumenism.
  • According to Raniero, the work of ecumenism happens on 2 fronts
    • “The doctrinal and institutional level to ecumenism”
    • “An ecumenism of personal encounters and reconciliation of hearts”
  • I believe the Sword of the Spirit has a very special call to show the church that there is one body.
    • Most of what we accomplish is on the level of personal encounters. Grassroots unity.
      • There are quite a few places in the world where Catholics and Protestants worship together
      • But I’m not aware of another movement where Catholics and Protestants are covenanted with one another, living the same way of life, committed in relationships. 
        • It’s just very rare. We kinda stumbled into it, we weren’t the masterminds!
        • Really, masterminded by Jesus who has poured out the Holy Spirit. 
        • Francis admonished Catholic charismatics that they had a “special grace to pray and work for Christian unity, because the current of grace goes through all the Christian churches … ‘But Father, can I pray with an Evangelical, with an Orthodox, with a Lutheran?’ … You must! You have received the same Baptism.”
  • “How has ecumenism made a difference in your life?”
    • Ecumenism has been present since the very beginning of my spiritual walk.
      • Conversion at a large evangelical worship concert
      • Baptism in the Spirit with Catholic friends
        • Saw the Spirit move in them just like in me
      • Committed to this community
        • Which has experienced some turmoil due to ecumenism, losing a number of people in our early days. But we made it through
        • Learning curve: I remember in the early days someone would spontaneously lead us all (except me) in a Hail Mary
        • Never felt looked down on because of my Protestant faith
      • Defended the Catholic faith on a number of occasions among friends
        • One friend who “Pope is the antichrist” because he was establishing contact with Muslims…
      • Have an ecumenical marriage (never would have guessed as a 16 year old!)
      • Gained things from Catholic spirituality
        • Lectio Divina, praying in silence

Week of Prayer For Christian Unity – sending them out each night for the following day

In person next week

Ministry time – Right knee, headache, right ear problems, stomach issues, excessive fear

John 21:12–17 (will read twice)

12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. 15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Brief Sharing

  • Did you feel you were able to imagine yourself in the scene? Did any part resonate with you? 

Comments on Community

  • Jesus fed his disciples after they had abandoned him. Powerful act of grace.
    • Especially for Peter, reinstituting him 
  • Do you love me?
    • Feed my sheep, tend them (literally shepherd my sheep—take care of them)
  • The mercy and grace we have received (being cleansed from sin and filled with the Spirit) doesn’t come with a catch
    • But it does come with a call:
      • To take care of the Lord’s people. To feed them with encouragement and love. To build them up.
  • We are not Pastors or Priests. But we are also called to lay down our lives for one another in love.
    • Love one another as Christ loved us (John 13:34)
    • Make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification (Rom 14:19)
    • Look to the interests of others (Phil 2:4)
    • Encourage and build one another up (1 Thess 5:11)
    • Always strive to do good for one another (1 Thes 5:15)
    • Encourage one another daily (Heb 3:13)
    • Consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb 10:24)
  • Goal that this year, we do that more than in any year prior.


1. Jesus fed his disciples before he called them to “feed my sheep”. How is this significant for our lives?

2. Is there one way in which you’ve been “fed” here in the community? How has it helped?

3. Is there one practical way you can commit to helping take care of one another here in the community? (Maybe you can use your answer from last Monday) What about outside the community?

Happy New Year

  • Something fresh and exciting about a new year, think the Lord wants us to be hopeful.
    • He himself is our wellspring of hope.

Step Out

I’m grateful for some recent times with some of you:

  • Visiting the Micklers’ backyard. 
  • Christine and E cooking a meal (I ate it). 
  • Coffee on Starbucks patio with 2 guys…

Element of fun and spirituality in each. 

  • Fulfilling – made for relationships.

The Lord has been speaking to us a lot recently about being outward. Probably the number 1 theme over the last few months.

  • To be knit together with one another, serve one another, to step out of our comfort zones, to serve our neighbors, to be a light

Yes, we’ve encountered challenges. But we can overcome them—not even that hard.

What will it take?

1. A willing attitude.

            Thankfulness for what we do have (Zoom, backyards, a beautiful community).

2. Faithful love for one another.

            Relationships are the end, not the means.

3. Creativity.

            Think outside the box and make do with the resources we have.

Let the Scripture Speak about Prioritizing Our Relationships

Several passages to be assigned.

Sharing about the passages:

  • What can this passage teach us about community?
  • How can you personally respond to this word?


Philippians 2:19–21

19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

  • We would all love to be esteemed by Paul like Timothy was.
  • We know that genuine concern is so rare in the world.
  • What are the concerns of Jesus Christ? The welfare of the people around us. That’s what he’s most interested in.
  • For me, contacting the members of my small group more regularly, talking and meeting with them.

1. Romans 14:19

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

2. Philippians 2:3–4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

3. Ephesians 4:1–3

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

4. Ephesians 4:11–13

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

5. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing…

6. 1 Thessalonians 5:14–15

14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

7. Hebrews 3:12–13

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 

8. Hebrews 10:24–25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

9. John 13:34–35

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

10. Ecclesiastes 4:9–10

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

Great precedent in the Scriptures for thanking and glorifying God even during times of great difficulty.

  • Many Psalms
  • Paul and Silas in jail
  • Jesus at the Last Supper
    • Broke bread and gave thanks with full knowledge of what was to come
    • Said the Father is greater than I, and I love the Father
    • John 17: 25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Make known: Expression in the NT often means to bring something that’s hidden into the light.

  • All that Jesus heard from the Father, he made known to his disciples – John 15:15
  • God makes known to us the mystery of his will (uniting all things in Christ) – Eph 1:9
  • The church makes known the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places – Eph 3:10
  • Paul makes known the mystery of the gospel – Eph 6:19

Making God known to others leads to drawing them into relationship with him

  • As 2020 comes to an end, we want to thank the Lord as a community and as individuals for his goodness this past year. To glorify him. And to make him known – among us and beyond this group, so that his beauty and goodness in our lives wouldn’t be hidden, but would be on full display.

A.        “Let earth receive her King” 

This is our critical prayer. It’s us praying, “Let the people on earth receive Jesus as their king.”

This is us, praying for the conversion of the world – starting with our families – that everyone would receive Jesus as Lord, Savior, King.

God revealed his plan to us when the angels said, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). The Lord’s Prayer similarly says, “Let God’s will be done.” Let what is lived in heaven be lived on earth.” In essence, the glory of God’s world wants to have an effect on our world – on us and on everyone – and it does.

Heaven is God’s will, being lived out without any human sinful distortion. Earth is God’s will, being lived out. But earth has a certain amount of distortion. Too much distortion cuts us completely off from God. For us, we all have some distortion. But, the more we seek God w/ all of our hearts the more heaven influences us and the more the distortion is limited.

This is initial conversion and it is ongoing conversion. This is us, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, influencing our minds to give ourselves over to Jesus initially. And, over time, giving over our all as we win the ongoing battle for our minds. (See Ephesians 4). This is how we receive our King, Jesus.

Does the Scripture say that, “we on earth can influence heaven?” (Hint – Luke 15)

B.        Let every heart prepare him room

Making room for Jesus is the first step in God’s plan. Ironically the Innkeeper did not have any room. Making room is us opening our heart to God. It is the key foundation of our faith. God’s plan is hampered by a negligent or divided heart that has no room. His plan flourishes when we realize that our lives can be influenced by heaven – as we make room for him. It’s not just prayer, it’s the entire way we think, act, and live.

We all know how heaven has influenced our lives. We all know God’s love, his mercy, and his guidance. We all sense the way he wants us to live – overall, and as situations arise each day that are more grey than black and white. And, even when we are not clear, we are at least learning how to discern his will.

C.        Access to ever-increasing joy. 

We sing, “Joy to the world.” We sing, “Let earth receive this joy.” The Holy Spirit wants to teach us how to increase our joy. It’s by growing our the talents AND by our “joy for the Lord.”

We all have talents. Let’s use them to build the kingdom of God. Tw servants gained more talents for the master. Scripture says they were told, “Well done, good and faithful servant! . . . .  Come and share your master’s happiness! (Matt 25:21).

How did the master reward his servants:

I _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _        R _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Y

I _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _        J _ Y

On our talents, may we all set our hearts on giving “All of my life for the rest of my life.” May we all say, “We are a community of Disciples on Mission. May we all do whatever we do each day at work, at home, and with others “for the Glory of Jesus” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

About Jesus, Scripture says, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy” (Hebrews 1:9)

What is applied to Jesus is said to us. Joy, in this verse is “gladness or exuberant joy.” The oil of joy, which God pours over us, tells that our father is not distant and uncaring. It’s the opposite. Our Father wants us to embrace a lifestyle of joy and be models of joy – just like Jesus. And, Psalm 133 says, he wants us to live this joyful lifestyle together.

Scripture says, Living In “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:9). Our peace and our joy – lived out – will touch our family members and friends as we display the kingdom of God to them. In fact, nothing else in creation can model God’s joy in us like you and me.

The Wise Men were full of joy. When they saw the star, “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matt 2:10). “Exceedingly” means excessively – like we do when we worship at prayer meeting.

When the woman poured out the bottle of expensive ointment on Jesus, every one thought it was excessive (Matthew 26:6-13). But the woman came to worship Jesus, and the fragrance of that oil filled the house. She displayed excessive worship, love, and she received excessive joy. The leper who returned to thank Jesus displayed the same excessive worship, love, and gratefulness (Luke 17:11-19).

Evil power and the ways of the world want to take our focus away from Jesus – away from giving him excessive praise. The enemy loves to turn us on ourselves—searching for answers apart from God. But, we were designed to recognize him and to know his love. And, we were asked to be God’s instruments of joy and peace – to give him away.

In the world, we rejoice when something makes us joyful. In God’s kingdom we rejoice as we understand revelation. As I said last week, Faith explores what revelation provides. We are not paupers. We are children of God. We have talents and gifts. 

Let’s pray tonite for a fresh release of the Baptism of the Spirit – a new and refreshing outpouring. The more we understand who God is, the more the divine nature grows in us and the more we are filled with the joy of the Lord. And, joy is what Jesus wants to fill us with as we “receive our King” and celebrate Christmas.

I.         Rejecting A Pauper Spirit
Too many of us are chained to a false perception, and Jesus wants to set us free. 
I do not have much in the way of talent;             I can’t do much; 
I do not have any gifts; I am not that valuable;  I am a terrible sinner

2.         What is Revelation?
It’s God opening our inner eyes; showing himself, his power, or his plan to us 
Eph 1:17-19 – Paul give us 4 points about Revelation
a.         I keep asking God to reveal himself to you so that you can know him better. 
b.         I pray that the eyes of your heart may be opened so that you may know . . .
c.         It’s the same power that God exerted when he raised Jesus from the dead.
d.         It’s for this present age (his age) and the ages to come (our age).

3.         Being filled with the fullness of Jesus
a.         It a grace to realize who Jesus is and what Jesus did for us
b.         It’s a grace that shows us the depth of God’s love
c.         Spirit filling is God opening our eyes and what we see moves us to believe
d.         Paul writes: “I pray that you may know how wide, long, high, and deep is the love of Christ. This love surpasses knowledge. I pray that you are filled with the fullness of God’s love – (Eph 3:19; Also see Eph 4:13; Col 1:19; 1:25; 2:9; 2:10)

4.         So what does the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us – Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us – this is the essence of Baptism in the Spirit
a.         Faith explores what the Holy Spirit reveals:
b.         Jesus has rescued us from darkness and brought us into the kingdom. 
c.         In Jesus we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. 
c.         Jesus is the image of the invisible God. 
d.         Jesus has reconciled all things through his blood, shed on the cross.
e.         Jesus presented us – “holy in God’s sight, without blemish or accusation 
f.          This is the gospel that I serve with all the energy of Christ that is powerfully at work in me (See Colossians 1). The inward grace moves us outward

Conclusion: Faith explores what revelation provides
Let’s reject the false notion that all we have is a pauper’s spirit
Let’s pray we all experience the Holy Spirit filling us up tonite and every day
Let’s spur each other on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)

Some Scriptures: 
Matt. 3:11          “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Also see Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16).

John 1:33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’

Acts 1:5; 8           Jesus said, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses


  • Ancient church spent Advent preparing converts for baptism – lot of prayer and fasting.
  • We are constrained in ways by the pandemic – an opportunity to focus our attention on our prayer lives, the wellspring of our community.

Martha & Mary

  • 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
  • Who’s the hero in verse 1?
    • Martha, she does something really good. Opens her home to Jesus. Maybe Jesus doesn’t even come without her!
  • We hear that Martha has a sister named Mary.
    • Luke wasn’t just saying where Mary was (sitting on the loveseat…). Sitting at a teacher’s feet is what students do. Mary is hungry to learn from Jesus. This is countercultural, because women weren’t usually allowed to be disciples. But Jesus elevates women. He says, I have time for her.
  • So far, everything is great. But… Martha gets distracted. Literally “drawn away”
    • Have to believe she wanted to hear Jesus, after all, she opened her home to him, but felt constrained to make Jesus a really nice meal. Maybe the culture has something to do with it.
  • “Few things are needed” – I’ll be happy with a simpler meal. 
  • “Indeed only one thing is needed” – I’ll be really happy if you come sit with me.
    • Simplify your life to make room for sitting at Jesus’ feet. This will not be taken away from you.
    • Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but every words that comes from God’s mouth.

For Us

  • Sometimes we can lose sight of how good it is to sit at Jesus’ feet.
    • I was struck this morning by how good and patient a listener that God is. 
      • What a good friend. He has time for us.
    • And when he speaks, just one word fills us. 
      • With just one word, we can be baptized in the Spirit all over again.
    • Lord, we pray for more hunger. Hunger to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn.
      • We pray for grace to simplify our lives to make space for the one thing that’s most important. That’s even more important than our service to God.
  • There’s something about the cross-pollination of our prayer lives, influencing and encouraging one another.
    • I bet that after a while, Martha learned something from Mary – “I should have sat with her”. And maybe Mary said, “next time I’ll help more”
    • Your prayer life doesn’t just affect you. 
      • It ripples out to your family, your small group, your community.
        • Mary’s “prayer life” is still rippling out to inspire us!
    • There have been so many times when I’ve been inspired by what God is doing in your prayer life.

Advent is celebrated by Catholics, Orthodox, and many Protestants

  • Originally a season focused on preparing new Christians to be baptized
    • There was a stronger emphasis on Jesus’ baptism than on his birth
    • This meant a lot of Prayer and Fasting
  • Then connected with the 2nd Coming of Christ
  • Only later connected with the first coming, Christmas

Matthew 3:11–17

  • 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

It’s a beautiful picture of what can happen when we pray.

  • We become aware of an open heaven above us, with gifts pouring out
  • The Holy Spirit rests upon us because we have become still
  • God affirms us as his beloved children
  • Sent out (what happened after Jesus’ baptism?)
    • Empowered to overcome temptation
    • Sent on mission

As a community, we are somewhat constrained by the pandemic. We have an opportunity to observe Advent as a time to focus on our prayer lives, to prepare ourselves to be baptized in the Holy Spirit again and again.

  • Regular witnesses (you all) encouraging us to pray
  • Focusing on MWF prayers, inviting people to them
  • Take a moment now to work on a goal for your prayer life:
    • Increasing time?
    • Reading more Scripture?
    • Incorporating Family Prayer + Lord’s Days (Sabbath)?

Let’s spend this season growing closer to God.