I’m in Nashville, staying at the rather nice Renaissance Hotel next to the Convention Center for the School of Congregational Development for the United Methodist Church. There’s about 500 or so attendees, from what I’ve been told. My guess is that there’s more than that if worship last evening was any indication. Lots of talks. Lots of education. Lots of worship. And it’s fun having a layperson from our congregation along as well.
My guess is that a lot of my blog posts from the next several days are going to include information that I’ve been given while here. This is one of them.
One of the speakers (actually someone giving an introduction tonight) said the following:
AUTHENTIC ENTHUSIASM BRINGS FORTH HOSPITALITY AND EVANGELISM.
When I look at the churches I’ve served, and when I look at MYSELF, I struggle to find AUTHENTIC ENTHUSIASM. I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist EVER. But I am saying that I sometimes question how passionate persons are about their faith, about their Savior, about worship and church and service and all of that stuff I have in my head and understand to be “church.” It’s a lack of enthusiasm for both Jesus AND Church, for the Spirit of the religion AND the form of the religion.
And if we don’t have people fired up about who Christ is and what Christ is doing, how can we ever expect to be truly hospitable? How can we be evangelical? How can we have a church that persons want to visit and a faith that they would care to profess?
I am a pretty good cheerleader as a pastor. I don’t have the pompoms, but I can get persons to get behind me for one cause at a time. More than that and I seem to get distracted. But that’s not the same as building up an enthusiasm for the work of God in the world among the members and friends of the congregations I’ve served.
I want to see passion.
I want to see enthusiasm.
I want to see some of that Pentecostal Fire in our congregation.
I want to see it in me.
I want others to see it in me, too.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”