I love Pentecost Sunday.
Each year on Pentecost Sunday we are reminded to listen to the Holy Spirit.
We are reminded from the Bible readings to pay attention to what the Spirit is doing even now.
On Pentecost Sunday we are reminded that God is at work in our lives and in the life of the church.
God has been at work in the church for the last two thousand years and there is no reason now for God to stop.
God continues to work in and through the church and God continues to work in and through you and me.
Sometimes though we forget.
Sometimes we may block God’s creative, redeeming power.
Sometimes we do this intentionally by our own sin and sometimes by a lack of awareness into the purposes and will of God.
Our task is often not to try harder or to work harder but rather it is get out of the Spirit’s way so that we do not put out the flames of the Spirit.
Too often we spin our wheels and we get stuck in the mud of life.
At these times we need God to help us to get unstuck.
We cannot live full, God-honoring, and victorious lives if we are stuck in our own sin and by the forces of evil.
We can only find a way to go from stuck to unstuck through the power of Almighty God.
The temptation will always be for us to try to solve our own problems or to try to go from stuck to unstuck by the power of our own abilities and talents and skills.
But God wants us to lean on him.
God wants us to come to him when we are in any kind of need.
Jesus said if you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it for you.
He didn’t say if you ask me for anything in your name, I will do it.
No, he said if you ask me for anything in my name.
Trusting and leaning on the Lord is key here.
We find victory and new life in our lives through Jesus.
Are you stuck in anyway this morning?
Is there a relationship that feels stuck in your life?
You keep spinning your wheels to get unstuck in the relationship but nothing seems to work.
Or maybe you feel this way… maybe you are really stuck in your job. You are trying really hard, you are working really hard but you feel stuck and you cannot find any positive breakthroughs in your job.
If you feel that way this morning or if you feel stuck in any way I want to give to you some encouragement from the Word of God.
When I was first doing the work of a pastor as an intern in Dodgeville I was so scared to lead worship on Sunday mornings that on Saturday I would worry about it for the entire day.
Often I would do the same thing on Friday!
By the time Sunday came I was a mess.
If people got anything out of worship on a Sunday morning, during those days, it was only by a miracle from God.
About halfway into my first year at Dodgeville.
I had a Spirit-filled revelation.
God graciously gave me the knowledge that God was already giving me the words to say in my sermons.
God was already giving me the spiritual gifts I needed to lead worship.
God was already giving me the talents I needed to lead Sunday worship well.
My job was to just get out of the way and to let the Holy Spirit take over.
And that is what I did.
I went from stuck to unstuck because I came to the realization that God was in control not me.
I had a breakthrough because I realized that the Holy Spirit was empowering me.
I didn’t try harder, change my work, or work harder at my job instead I let the power of Almighty God take over and God started driving the car instead of me.
And when God starts driving the car life is so much better! As that year in Dodgeville went on I began to see more and more people being blessed by my ministry there.
The Holy Spirit was truly working through me to bless others.
This morning I don’t want to oversimplify the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
But I do hope to communicate that often we become stuck in our lives because we stop listening to the Spirit.
I have made some of my biggest mistakes in life when I have failed to listen to God.
Some of those mistakes are small and some of those mistakes I deeply regret.
In reflection I can see how I made most of those mistakes but failing to truly listen to the Holy Spirit in my own life.
In those particular instances I chose to go my own way instead of the way of the Spirit.
You know that old joke.
We make plans and then God laughs. How true that is!
I cannot tell you how true that joke has been in my life!
In the Bible Jesus has told us that he will give us the Advocate, the great comforter and encourager.
That is a promise from our Lord.
In your life now think about the person who is your biggest supporter. My father loves math and numbers.
When I was a child my father taught me the number googol, which is one followed by one hundred zeros.
When I was a child I thought that number was so cool and on top of that what a silly name!
He taught me that basically what that number means is that it stands for something that is so big and large that you can never fully comprehend its size.
I would sometimes try to impress my friends at school with this number that my dad taught me.
At that time no one heard of the word googol.
I would have never guessed that years later in 1997 the founders of a new search engine would name it google after this very number to describe the seemingly infinite amount of information that the internet holds.
Now right now think of the person your champion in your life the one who is your advocate, encourager, and comforter.
Picture that person and all their support, all of their kind words, all their encouragement and then take that and multiply it by a googol.
That is the Holy Spirit in your life. That is the kind of love, encouragement, and support that you have from the creator of the universe.
The Holy Spirit will be with us through thick and thin to teach us and to remind us that Jesus is with and for us always.
This is a special day in the life of the church.
On this day we celebrate with Sarah her affirmation of her baptism and of her faith.
On this day I can think of no greater gift to leave her with then a great reminder that the Holy Spirit is with her.
I pray that she would continue to grow in her faith.
She has been given a great gift.
That is the gift of faith in the God of grace and love.
May that faith continue to be nurtured in her for her whole life.
That gift is hers and I pray that the faith that she has today might never be lost.
I pray that she would take that faith with her for her whole life.
You might have struggles in your life but remember you have a great champion on your side that is God Almighty.
As a pastor I have the advantage of knowing people and visiting with people who have walked with the Lord their whole life long.
Tears come to my eyes when I think of the faith of some of the older members, of the congregations that I have served, that I have known over the years. I am always thinking about their faith and the impact it has made in my own life.
I think of Norma Lenhart.
Norma always had a loving and encouraging word to say to anyone she came in contact with. Being in her presence was true grace.
Norma lived in the nursing home in Toledo, Iowa. Norma was a life-long member of St Paul Lutheran Church.
Her faith sustained her for her entire life and her faith gave her comfort, hope, and encouragement throughout the many ups and downs, highs and lows that she experienced.
Now nearing the end of her life, when I knew her, she would often tell me how grateful she was that she had lived a life of faith.
Living a life of faith is not some difficult and painful thing.
Rather it is in coming in contact with that sacred part of ourselves, which is our heart that is the place where the Spirit speaks.
It is in letting go of our own way of doing things and instead choosing God’s way of doing things.
It is in listening to the voice of God in our lives.
It is in letting go and letting God drive the car so that we no longer spin our wheels in the mud of life.
It is in going from stuck to unstuck by the power of the Spirit moving in our lives.
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Please do not leave here today without taking these words to heart. Take comfort in God’s Word for you.
May God bless us this coming week as we remember that the Holy Spirit is with us. Amen.