by Bob Wickizer

Come Spirit of God
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:25-35, 37b; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

Come, Spirit of God!
Come to our church
Come to make the fire of your outrageous love
Dance in the hearts of the living.

What was it like that first day of Pentecost when the Jews gathered to begin their yearly festival of booths? When the disciples were all gathered together in one place, had they traveled those three years and final fifty days with Jesus to a place where they all politely agreed with one another? A recent report from a respected church research group notes that of the mainline Christian denominations taken as a whole (including Episcopalians), only 10 to 15% of the churches were described as "effective" characterized by: 1) Vibrant, inviting ministries, 2) Actively and intentionally growing and 3) In good financial shape. Those other 85-90% of the churches the researchers characterized along the following lines:

- Seeking the middle ground of comfort
- Trying to please everyone
- Do not get too spirited in worship
- Not willing to risk
- A belief that change should happen slowly
- A belief that resources are scarce (even though most churches are located in affluent communities)

Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian Church. It marks the sending of God's Holy Spirit among us. From that chaotic beginning a Church would grow so fast that in three short centuries it would overtake the most powerful empire in history.

Today we have thousands of churches throughout the United States that have fallen away from their high calling into the abyss of complacency, a desire for stability and the notion that they can never raise enough funds or grow enough to carry out their mission. Regardless of denomination, sadly, these churches are dying.

Let's take a minute and examine the characteristics of these churches to see what scripture has to say.

- Seek the middle ground of comfor ...

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