Pauses For Pentecost

EASTER: Pentecost by Trevor Hudson

May 20, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost When the day of Pentecost came, the apostles were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1) Today is the day of Pentecost!  You may want to read through the second chapter of Acts again.  On that day the disciples received God’s power from above.  It is a power that enables them to go out and out-live, out-think, and out-love the ancient world.  They receive something extra, something new, something they did not have before.  They receive power in their hearts.  The flames of fire and the sound of wind are just outward signs that the Holy Spirit has been given to them.  They receive what all of us desperately need: the Spirit of God filling us and helping us overcome the evil within and around us. We need to [...]

EASTER: Ask by Trevor Hudson

May 19, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13) Asking is at the heart of our interaction with God.  There is a good reason for this.  Although God really wants to give good gifts to us, God will never force them on us.  I am sure you have noticed from your own experience that God is seldom pushy.  God always respects our freedom and waits for us to ask.  Nothing is automatic about the way our relationship with God operates.  Not surprisingly, throughout the gospels, Jesus often speaks about the importance of asking.  For example, the Lord’s Prayer is made up of requests that [...]

EASTER: Saw by Trevor Hudson

May 18, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The apostles saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (Acts 2:3) Yesterday we explored the Pentecostal miracle of communication into which God’s Spirit invites us.  It is the invitation to speak of God’s endless mercy and great goodness in the tongues of people around us so that they may understand the good news.  Let us look today at how we can get more involved in this divine miracle.  I want to suggest that this miracle of communication helps us see others in a clearer and deeper way.  In a deep sense this is what happens for those early disciples.  The Holy Spirit makes possible a fresh awareness of other people and, as a result, they can communicate more [...]

EASTER: Tongues by Trevor Hudson

May 17, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost All of the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:4) The first Pentecost gifted the early disciples with a miracle of communication.  When the disciples begin to speak about the amazing things that God has done in Jesus Christ, all people in that diverse and cosmopolitan crowd hear about God’s love in their own languages.  They do not need a translator to understand.  It is a miracle accomplished by the Holy Spirit.  This may surprise us.  Usually when we think of the gift of tongues, we think of unintelligible sounds and syllables.  The Pentecostal experience is different.  It is an experience of remarkable connection across the [...]

EASTER: Fire by Trevor Hudson

May 16, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The apostles saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (Acts 2:3) What thoughts or images come to your mind when you think of fire?  Perhaps you remember standing around a fire, warming yourself on a cold winter’s night.  You may picture your family sitting together around a fireplace, enjoying good conversation.  You may think of a time when a dangerous forest fire was brought under control by the starting of another fire.  Or you may recall watching a piece of iron being held in a fire: First, its rust is burned away; then it turns red and then white, until it looks as if it is part of the fire.  However you respond, I am sure you will agree that fire is not [...]

EASTER: Wind by Trevor Hudson

May 15, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from Heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:2) I was born in a South African city fondly known as “the windy city.”  A day in Port Elizabeth can begin calmly, and then suddenly gale-force winds can take over and rip through the city.  From an early age I learned that, while we cannot see the wind, we certainly can experience it.  We can listen to the wind with our ears, feel it on our skin, and breathe it through our nostrils.  Around us, we see how it moves the grass, bends the trees, stirs up the waves, and blows up the dust.  As a child it wasn’t long before the wind became something for me that could never be tamed [...]

EASTER: Room by Trevor Hudson

May 14, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost When the apostles arrive, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. (Acts 1:13) The upper room plays an important role in Jesus’s preparation for Pentecost.  Almost immediately after his ascension, when the disciples return to Jerusalem, they go to the upper room.  It offers them the necessary space where the disciples can pray and wait for the promise Jesus has given them: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you,” (Acts 1:8).  Certainly, we know it also has a special place in their memory because it is the place where Jesus met with them in significant and special ways.  Now, as they wait along with the women Christ followers, they want to encounter him anew in the power [...]

EASTER: Face by Trevor Hudson

May 13, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. (Exodus 34:29) Our faces say a lot about us.  They reveal something about our age, our disposition toward life, the pain that we have experienced, the joys we have known, the worries and anxieties that we have, and so much more.  We spend large amounts of money on our faces as well.  We buy skin-care products like moisturizers, makeup, lipstick, and eyeliners to help us look a little better to others.  But what money can never buy is the radiance that the Spirit alone can bring to our faces, no matter how wrinkled or weather-beaten they [...]

EASTER: Kneel by Trevor Hudson

May 12, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in Heaven and on Earth derives its name. (Ephesians 3:14-15) Think about your knees for a moment.  Like our ankles, they are important hinge joints in our bodies, but they are far more complicated.  People who know about the body tell me that they provide articulation between bones held together by ten ligaments.  As you may know from your own experience, when we damage any of these ligaments, it is immensely painful.  Our knees make it possible for us to bend our legs. Today we find Paul bending his knees in humble worship and adoration.  What is it that prompts Paul to pay homage like this?  Much of the answer to this question lies in the [...]

EASTER: All by Trevor Hudson

May 11, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things. (Ephesians 4:10) Right at the outset, let me say that the word all really does mean all!  Our daily verse invites us to find Christ in everything.  Paul tells us that, through Jesus’s ascended presence, his Spirit now fills all things, the visible and the invisible, the conscious and the unconscious, the physical and the spiritual.  Nothing is exempt from his living presence.  He wants to meet us, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, whoever we are with.  His glorious reality penetrates and permeates the whole Earth. Everything changes when we build our lives on this Biblical conviction.  It is [...]

EASTER: Withdrew by Trevor Hudson

May 10, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost While Jesus was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into Heaven. (Luke 24:51) Goodbyes are painful.  They happen in so many different ways.  Someone we love immigrates to a country across the ocean, gets transferred to work in another city, or leaves for college far away.  Perhaps the hardest parting of all is when we gather together at a funeral to take leave of someone whom we have loved for a long time and who has loved us as well.  Feelings of numbness, grief, and sadness mark these heart-aching and heartbreaking moments.  We all know departures only too well. Yet there is something intriguingly strange and wonderfully different about Jesus’s goodbye.  Gospel writer Luke tells us that when he [...]

EASTER: Listen by Trevor Hudson

May 9, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 3:6) I wonder what you think God’s biggest complaint in the Bible is.  A few years ago, someone explained to me what it is.  It may surprise you as it did me.  It is not that God’s people don’t pray enough or fast enough or are not good enough.  According to Klyne Snodgrass, after he had studied over 1,500 references to the words listen and hear in the Bible, God’s biggest complaint is that people do not listen.  If we do not obey God, it is proof that we have not really listened. The God we worship is the God who constantly wants to communicate with us.  This becomes clear in the second and third chapters of [...]

EASTER: Drunk by Trevor Hudson

May 8, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) This verse suggests we can get drunk in two ways.  We can get drunk with alcohol or with the Holy Spirit.  Between these two options and their contrasts, consequences are massive.  While both certainly can make us happy, the first way leaves us unsteady and uncertain on our feet, while the second way fills us with a new steadiness and confidence as we face the difficulties of life.  When drunk with wine, we think unreasonably, we slur our words, our sight becomes blurred, and we end up with a hangover.  When filled with the “new wine” of the Spirit, we think more deeply, communicate more effectively, [...]

EASTER: Water by Trevor Hudson

May 7, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Whoever believes in me, as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. (John 7:38) Biblical writers repeatedly associate the Holy Spirit with water.  This shouldn’t surprise us.  Living in arid areas often characterized by dryness and drought, they know from firsthand experience how they depend on the availability of water.  Where there is water, there is always the possibility of fresh life.  Water’s absence means famine.  As a result, in their search for symbols that will speak of the life-giving activity of God’s Spirit, they naturally think of water.  Water will come to symbolize the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, bringing life to a dry and thirsty land. In Jesus’s [...]

EASTER: Power by Trevor Hudson

May 6, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5) Most of us limp in one way or another.  Our limp could be something physical, an addiction to some substance, an emotional wound from the past, a quirk of personality, or a problem in relationships.  Whatever it is, our Achilles heel continually reminds us that we are not totally whole and healthy.  But while it may cause us distress and despair, the good news is that our point of weakness is where God’s Spirit wants to empower us and make us stronger. Certainly, Paul the apostle would affirm this [...]

EASTER: Encouragement by Trevor Hudson

May 5, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”)…. (Acts 4:36) Recently, I have noticed how many of our conversations are riddled with discouragement: discouragement about the political future of our country, about the work we do each day, about our closest relationships, and – most painfully – about our journey with God.  Few things have more power to rob us to joy and happiness than being discouraged.  This realization gets me thinking: As Easter people empowered by the Spirit, one of the most important ministries we are called to exercise today is the ministry of encouragement. One of the unsung heroes of the early church is Barnabas.  Joseph is [...]

EASTER: Responsibility by Trevor Hudson

May 4, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:3-4) I love the down-to-earth way the Holy Spirit wants to work in our lives.  We often confine the work of the Holy Spirit to “spiritual” things, but the Spirit also wants to be involved in our immediate, everyday responsibilities.  We see this in today’s scripture reading.  In the early church, a conflict developed between the Greek and Hebrew-speaking widows.  The former claim that they have been neglected in the distribution of food.  This is a mundane matter that needs to be [...]

EASTER: Guide by Trevor Hudson

May 3, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. (Isaiah 58:11) Each day we make decisions.  Sometimes they are big ones involving careers, business options, significant relationships, and finances.  Then we make smaller ones about how we need to spend our time, what we pay attention to now, or what we leave for another day.  Every choice we make gets written into the textures of our lives forever.  We become who we are through the decisions we make or don’t make.  So we ask questions: How do we make decisions in tune with God’s heart for us?  How does the Lord guide us?  How do we know that the Lord is guiding us? Generally speaking, we [...]

EASTER: Dwell by Trevor Hudson

May 2, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Ephesians 3:15-17) Popular Christian vocabulary often uses the phrase, “Invite Jesus into your heart.”  The danger of language like this is that it easily can encourage a private and sentimental understanding of our faith.  However, there is also something beautiful and important about this image.  You and I can become his dwelling place in the here and now.  Our faith teaches that Jesus once lived long ago, taught and did miracles, died and rose again.  More importantly, faith means that he lives in us and works through us today to bless [...]

EASTER: Devout by Trevor Hudson

May 1, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost There was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. (Luke 2:25) Easter people believe that we live each day in the overlapping of two realities.  On the one hand, there is our Earthly space in which we go about our daily activities.  This is the visible realm that we get to know through our five senses.  On the other hand, there is the Heavenly space where God lives and reigns.  This is the invisible realm that we discover when we start trusting and following Christ.  The big question for us is: How do we discern how and where God is at work around us? Simeon was a Spirit-filled person who learned to do [...]

EASTER: Transformed by Trevor Hudson

April 30, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost We all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasingly glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18) As people of faith, we constantly face the challenge of being credible to the people around us.  In fact, it could be the greatest challenge facing us at the present moment of history.  Are we living signs of contradiction to the world’s dominant values centered around money, sex, and power?  Do our faces reflect the radiant presence of Christ with ever-increasing glory?  Is there any evidence that the Holy Spirit is transforming our self-centered lives into a greater likeness of Christ?  As an atheist once said to [...]

EASTER: Desert by Trevor Hudson

April 29, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1) Have you noticed that everything we are able to do competently in this life requires hidden preparation?  Think of the pianist playing a piece of music beautifully, the surgeon successfully performing a delicate operation, the athlete breaking a long-standing record, the speaker delivering an inspiring talk, the teacher giving an outstanding lesson, or the plumber effectively fixing a blocked drain.  All these people, in order to do their tasks well, have put in many hours of practice and learning that no one sees.  Living life well on-the-spot always requires off-the-spot preparation. We see the Holy Spirit involved in [...]

EASTER: Body by Trevor Hudson

April 28, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (1 Corinthians 6:19) How do you feel about your body?  Quite rarely do we meet persons who are totally comfortable with their bodies.  Provocative images that remind us we live in a culture that worships a youthful body and physical attractiveness bombard us each day.  Not surprisingly, we struggle with any sign of bodily decay that reminds us we are getting older.  We may even end up living in fear of our bodies and what they may do to us.  Sadly, there is sometimes a tendency in Christian circles to view the body as an enemy of the spiritual life.  What are your thoughts regarding the role of [...]

EASTER: Love by Trevor Hudson

April 27, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost Hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5) There is an immense difference between knowing something with our heads and knowing something with our hearts.  This is especially true when it come to the different truths of our faith.  For example, it is one thing to affirm intellectually that God is love, but it is a totally different thing to know inside ourselves that God loves us personally with a love that will never let us go.  For many of us, the longest journey in our faith walk is for our doctrine to travel from our heads to our hearts.  When that happens, we begin to know God in firsthand, vital, [...]

EASTER: Anointed by Trevor Hudson

April 26, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. (Luke 4:18) Anointing has a rich history in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, kings and priests were anointed with perfumed oil.  Significantly, when Jesus refers to being anointed by the Spirit of the Lord for ministry, there is no mention of oil.  He is anointed directly by the Spirit of God.  Why does he speak of being anointed, which suggests fragrant oil, if no ointment is used?  The answer is obvious.  When Jesus is anointed, the Holy Spirit is the oil.  What the oil did for the kings and priests who were anointed in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit does for Jesus.  Not surprisingly, oil has come to [...]

EASTER: Truth by Trevor Hudson

April 25, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost When he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13) We hear much today about fake news.  As we watch the news on TV, read the newspapers, or catch up on the headlines on our mobile phones, we are never too sure if what we are hearing or seeing is true.  However, this uncertainty about what is true extends far beyond the daily news.  Think about some of the big questions we ask: Who is God?  Who am I?  How does God want me to live?  There are plenty of answers circulating out there on the street.  Which ones are untrue?  Which can we trust?  Deciding what is true [...]

EASTER: Testified by Trevor Hudson

April 24, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father— the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father— he will testify about me. (John 15:26) One moment from my own early faith story stands out in my memory.  I had just made my first public commitment to Jesus at a youth rally.  Afterward, I sat with one of the counselors, who prayed with me.  He then gave me my first bit of spiritual advice.  He said, “Make sure you tell someone soon about the step you have taken tonight.”  When I asked him why I needed to do this, he answered, “If you don’t share what you have been given, you will lose what you have received.”  In the language of the verse above, my counselor was encouraging me [...]

EASTER: Remind by Trevor Hudson

April 23, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26) One of our most prevalent sins is that of forgetfulness.  We suffer from large doses of spiritual amnesia.  We forget who God is.  We forget who we are.  We forget who we are called to be.  We forget who our sister or brother is.  The effects of this forgetfulness reverberate throughout our lives.  Called to worship God, we worship things.  Called to be sons and daughters of God, we live as orphans.  Called to be mature, we remain children.  Called to love, we remain self-centered.  Tragically, we miss the mark God has set for our lives here [...]

EASTER: Counselor by Trevor Hudson

April 22, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. (John 14:16) There are moments when we need consolation.  Someone misunderstands us and makes an unfair judgment about us.  A dear friend betrays us with false accusations behind our back.  We are excluded from our church for some reason.  A terrible depression descends bringing a sense of disconnection from everything and everyone around us.  We lose someone whom we have loved deeply.  In painful moments like these, and there are countless others like them, we need to know someone has our back and is there for us.  We need to know that we are not alone.  We need someone who will be with us through it all. As [...]

EASTER: Fellowship by Trevor Hudson

April 21, 2018

From Pauses for Pentecost May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14) Imagine yourself in Paul’s place as he finishes this letter to the Corinthians.  He wants to offer a blessing from the Trinity in such a way that each Person’s main characteristic gets emphasized.  He thinks of Jesus Christ, and grace immediately comes into his mind.  When he meditates on the Father, his thoughts focus on love.  Now what word will he choose to say about the Holy Spirit?  Will it be power?  Or maybe gifts?  He decides against it.  He chooses the word fellowship.  For Paul, this is the most important characteristic describing the Holy Spirit.  The [...]