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On May 23 the Christian Church celebrates Pentecost Sunday which begins the season of Pentecost. This important celebration remembers the events of Acts 2 where shortly after the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, Jesus sent His Holy Spirit upon the disciples. The Holy Spirit enabled them to proclaim the message of Jesus crucified and risen to people in many different tongues, languages. God in His grace was working though His Spirit to bring the message of salvation to the people living throughout the world at that time.

Pentecost, however, is not just a remembrance of a past event. Pentecost is a present reality. Our risen Lord Jesus still sends His Holy Spirit into our lives. When we are baptized God sends His Holy Spirit and creates and strengthens faith where there was once only unbelief and darkness.Furthermore, the Holy Spirit continues to work in our lives as He sustains that faith in Jesus and enables us to lead godly lives. In order to do so the Holy Spirit uses various tools. He uses the Word of God reminding us of all that Jesus has taught us (John 14:26). He works through the sacraments to bring God's grace and mercy into our lives. God the Holy Spirit works
through these means and any other means He may choose. It is only right that as Christians who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit that we would celebrate and rejoice in this gift.

Sadly, however, as sinners we may be tempted to resist the Holy Spirit. This danger of resisting the Holy Spirit is one that Stephen spoke about in Acts 7:51 when he said: "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you." The Sanhedrin were resisting the work of God the Holy Spirit as they were rejecting the words God brought to them through the prophets, and as they even rejected Jesus, The Word made flesh.

We too may let our sinful nature lead us to resist the Holy Spirit. Any time we reject hearing the word of God, whether it be in worship, in Bible Study, or at home, we are resisting the Holy Spirit. Any time we avoid receiving the sacraments of Baptism or Communion into our life or the lives of our children we are resisting the work of God the Holy Spirit. This is dangerous because if we continue to do so at some point we can lose our faith. This then become the "unforgivable sin," the sin against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12 :30-32).

God, however, is gracious and merciful. He desires to pour His Spirit upon you, your family, your friends, and your neighbors. Instead of resisting this precious gift receive it and be blessed. Receive God the Holy Spirit as He works in your life both giving and strengthening your faith in Jesus who died for your sins so that you may be forgiven and was raised from the dead so that you too may live for eternity. Receive God the Holy Spirit as He works in your life enabling you to grow in the ways you live out your Christian faith in a troubled and confused world. Receive the gift of God the Holy Spirit as He enables you to bear such good fruit as "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)." Receive the gift of God the Holy Spirit as He works in your life through the Word and Sacraments and enables you to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

God in His grace has not only given His Holy spirit once many years ago, God continues to grant you the gift of His spirit. It has been good to see many of you returning to church. Continue to do so. Do not resist the work of the Holy Spirit by resting the tools He uses, like the Word of God and His Sacraments. Rather receive the gifts and you will receive a stronger faith and an even more fruitful faith. May God bless each one of us in this season of Pentecost.

Pastor Schoenfeld