Damariscotta Baptist Church
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

06/12/11 Sermon

-Energy Drinks really seem to be the craze in our culture right now. It’s a huge market and I was surprised at how many brands there are of this stuff: Pit Bull, Red Bull, Red Line, Rock Star, Monster, Boo Koo, Extreme Shock, Battery, Amp, Full Throttle, Stoked, Shark, Blast, Josta, Jolt, Power Up, Kabaala Lightning Bolt……

-In 2001 the sales were $8 million per year; it grew to 3 billion in 2005, and is estimated to be over $10 billion this year.

-Why such a craze????

-Well the marketers of the product promise a lot of benefits to these drinks: increased energy, better performance, reduced fatigue, memory boost, better focus, increased mental stamina

-The idea is to give people who feel tired and lifeless a boost of energy to get them going.

And a lot of people feel they need that these days. They need a boost of energy in their busy lives. 

-But unfortunately like so many other things in our world, these energy drinks have a negative side to them. Some of the side effects of these energy drinks can be a little scary:  -dehydration, frequent urination and diarrhea, dizziness, seizure, sugar crashes, addiction and even death--- Sad to see there have been cases of athletes drinking 3-4 cans before an event that led to seizures and death. Some countries have banned them--- in France and Denmark

So while these energy drinks can offer a temporary energy boost, you wonder if it’s really worth it.

But wouldn’t it be great if there was a true energy drink?? A drink that wasn’t just a temporary boost of caffeine with all the side effects?
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a drink that would give us long-lasting energy and passion; that helped us be focused and purposeful while also quenching our deepest desires??   I mean that would be the ultimate energy drink wouldn’t it???

Well would it surprise you if I told you that there actually is such an energy drink?????….Jesus talks about it in our scripture today.   But before I give you the name of this ultimate energy drink let me give you a little backdrop of the scripture today.  In this account from John, we see Jesus speaking to the crowd at the Feast of the Tabernacles; also known as the Feast of Tents.   This was a Jewish celebration in which the Israelites remembered Gods faithfulness to provide for them as they wandered in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt.  Specifically they recounted the time when they were dying of thirst---they were helpless and lifeless---- they had lost hope and direction and faith in God. But then God instructed Moses to strike a rock with his staff---- and when he did, water gushed out of the rock and once again God proved his faithfulness to the Israelites; the overflowing water represented abundant life and hope. This water energized and empowered them again to trust in God.

And so it’s in this backdrop that Jesus tells the crowd at this celebration that, if youre thirsty, really truly thirsty, if you find yourself like one of the Israelites wandering in the desert, if youre ready to give up, if you find that the tank is empty, losing faith------then I have the living water that will fill you up and give you life again.

He went on to call this energy drink the Holy Spirit and he said it’s available to anyone who believes in him….. 

Now today we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit sent to us after Jesus ascended to heaven.  We remember that first Pentecost when the Holy Spirit poured into that meeting room of those first believers in Jerusalem and filled them with a power and energy never seen before.  They were the first recipients of the ultimate energy drink. And with this power from above they became the very first church of Jesus Christ………

Now today, here we are over 2000 years later theres no more important time in the life of the church where we need the power of the Holy Spirit.  So many congregations in North America today are finding themselves like those Israelites wandering in the desert. Congregations are finding themselves lacking passion, lacking direction, lacking energy and lacking faithfulness. While the Holy Spirit has been sent, congregations choose to not drink in the power.

And there are many signs and symptoms of this..places where its clear that the Holy Spirits power is suppressed.  One of the places we see it is in the churches lack of energy and passion for mission.

Many churches today are wandering lifelessly because they refuse to drink in the Spirit’s power to go into the world and make disciples.  Like the Israelites in the desert, churches today have lost their direction and purpose; they’ve lost their faithfulness. But the Spirit still comes to us and jolts us to follow his call.

Pastor and author Will Willimon tells about a church meeting where he and his congregation were discussing the upcoming budget for the new year.  The past year had been tough for their congregation from a financial side with receipts down and a shortfall in the budget. And so they resolved to be prudent in the coming year, to have a realistic budget with the smallest of increases. And as they were moving through the budget in an orderly way, looking at each item, suddenly the youngest of the congregational representatives in the room blurted out Wait just a minute! She said, Ive just added things up and do you realize that last year we spent 94 percent of all the funds that we took in on ourselves? She said---We sent no more than 6 percent of our funds outside of this congregation. Is that justifiable? Is that Christian? We ought to be ashamed, she said. Willimon made the point that when that young lady said this, it felt like the Holy Spirit had just blown into that 1st church meeting at Pentecost.

Thru this woman, the Spirit was reminding them that an energized church, a church filled with life and passion is one that is led by the Spirit to be in mission to serve others.

While many churches in North America today are focused on survival, the Spirit is calling us to drink in the power of a faithful life of following Christs mission; to be Christ in the world. For when it does it will be filled with the passion and energy that it was created to be. 

Now another way that churches are missing the power and energy of the Holy Spirit, has to do with the lack of unity within a fellowship. 

You know we have many congregations that are made up of a bunch of solo individuals, especially in North America. We are a country that prides itself on the strength of the individual. As a result, our churches can be made up of very gifted individuals. But when you have a congregation of individuals who dont know how to work together as a team you get a church that is ineffective. And when its ineffective it doesnt inspire passion and energy. Everyone just does their own thing and there is a sense of competition within---theres disunity.

I've been watching the NBA playoffs and one of the teams playing in the finals right now is the Miami Heat. Now over the off-season the Miami Heat spent a whole lot of money to bring in 3 of the best players in the NBA including LeBron James who is arguably one of the best players to ever play the game.  But early in the season, the Heat were losing games that they should have easily won.  The problem was that even though they had superstars on their team, they weren't playing as a team.  But finally as the season wore on, they began to play as a unit. LeBron James began to not worry about how many points he scored and began to give himself to the team. And as a result they are close to winning the championship………

Its interesting that when the Spirit came at Pentecost to those first believers, He came to unify them.

Those present at that 1st church meeting were people from different countries who spoke different languages.  But the Spirit empowered them to a unity where they were able to understand each other. 
They were no longer a bunch of individual believers. They were instead a unified team with a unified vision and a unified purpose. And as a result over 2000 years later, the Spirit has kept the church alive.

The church that Jesus has in mind has to do with a living presence that is making a difference in the world.  And when a congregation becomes unified to that purpose it becomes an energetic, powerful witness that makes a difference in the neck of the woods that it lives.

A few weeks ago we here at DBC, we worked together as a team for the help your community day.

Friday and Saturday we worked together for the Pirate Rendezvous dinner and breakfast.  We worked as a team with a unified purpose to serve others, to serve our community with no other reason than to be salt and light.

While so many churches today are trying to be the best church IN their community, our mission at DBC is to be the best church FOR the community.  Thats what we will be talking about in the Present Future DVD study over the summer.

God has a mission for the world whether our churches embrace it or not. Gods will, will be done whether were a part of it or not.

Congregations can either drink in the power of the Holy Spirit and be unified to do God’s work or they can wither away and die of thirst.

Now the last way I want to talk about how a church can lack the passion and energy of the Holy Spirit has to do with its need of commitment to the Holy Spirit.

There are many churches today that are in desperate need of an energetic commitment to grow in their relationship with Christ.

We live in a culture today where a large number of our congregation members are worn out with work or school or secular commitments and family. There doesnt seem to be enuf time in the day.  Its no wonder why energy drinks are so popular.  But in this culture where we are stretched so thin, we cant afford to neglect the ultimate energy drink known as the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Spirit is who forms us and fills us and strengthens us in our daily journey. 

In this chaotic and busy world we live in, we can’t afford to not be committed to growing our relationship with Christ.

In fact Martin Luther, the great reformer once said: “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the Devil gets the victory through the day...”  He said, “I have so much business, I can not get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.”  — Martin Luther

When we are committed to listen to the Holy Spirit each and every day, we will be committed to grow in our relationship with Christ.  And as we nurture that relationship, when it comes first in our life, when spending time with Him is non-negotiable, we will receive a power and energy that will help us in our daily walks.  We will grow in a maturity that will help us make wise decisions and keep us from being distracted.  We will be filled with peace and joy and love and self-control; all of the fruit of the Spirit. We will become Christ-like in everything we do and with everyone we meet.

Our churches today desperately need leaders who are committed not to the institution of church but rather committed to listening to and being led by the Holy Spirit.

God seeks individuals who are committed to drink up daily the ultimate energy drink of the Holy Spirit.

In closing this morning, on this Pentecost Sunday, we are being reminded that the Holy Spirit is coming to us today just as Jesus promised.  The Spirit comes to jolt us, to energize us and fill us with the living water that quenches our deepest desires.  The Spirit wants us to be overflowing with a joyful passion and energy.  He wants us to experience his living power that it might spill out on others all around us.

Today let us ask ourselves if we are lacking energy in our faith journey?

Do we thirst for the living water that will inspire us and give us joy and passion?

If you feel like you’re drained and need a boost in your life, the ultimate energy drink is right before you.

Pray to receive Him and then commit to him daily to follow his mission working in unity with others to bring about his Kingdom.

The world has so many today that are wandering and dying of thirst. Let us offer the ultimate energy drink that we have received ourselves…..

 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen