Key Passage: Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…And remember, I am with you always.”

Big Picture Question: Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God.

Christ Connection: God sent the Holy Spirit just as He promised. Now Jesus’ friends had everything they needed to make more followers of Jesus! God gives the Holy spirit to those of us who trust in Jesus and let Him be in charge of our lives. The Holy Spirit helps us do God’s work and changes us to be more like Jesus.

Dear Parents,
Today’s Bible story is found in Acts 2:1-42. We studied about the time when the Holy Spirit came to God’s people.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. Through the Holy Spirit, God reveals His will (John 16:13), helps believers tell others about Jesus, and helps them live holy lives. The Holy Spirit lives within those who trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. (John 14:17) Jesus told His disciples that God would send the Holy Spirit to teach them. (John 14:25-26)

Fifty days after Passover was another major Jewish festival called Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks. (See Ex. 34:22; Num. 28:26-31; Lev. 23:15-21.) All males had to appear at the temple for Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of the Tabernacle. Once again, Jerusalem would be packed with Jews from all over the Roman Empire.

The disciples were gathered together in one place. Suddenly, they heard a sound like a violent, rushing wind that came from heaven and filled the entire room. The Holy Spirit filled them and they were able to speak in foreign languages. They went out into the city and began to preach.

A crowd of Jews from all over the world was astonished. Weren’t the disciples Jews from Galilee? How were they able to speak in specific dialects? (See Acts 2:6-12.) Some people thought the disciples were drunk. The prophet Joel had prophesied that God would pour out His Spirit on all people, Peter said, “Then everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:14-21).

The Holy Spirit helped Peter teach about the Messiah: Jesus is the Messiah because Jesus was killed, but He is alive! (Acts 2:22-36) The Holy Spirit convicted the crowd and they asked, “Brothers, what must we do?” Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 2:37-38). That day, 3,000 people received salvation!

God kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit’s help, Jesus’ disciples could share the gospel with the entire world. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit gives us power to do God’s work, and He changes us to be more like Jesus.

Family Activity: Discuss a time when you broke a promise or someone broke a promise to you. Read Acts 2:1-42. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to be with us. We can trust that Jesus will always do what He promises! He has never broken a promise before and He never will! The Holy Spirit lives within all who love and trust Jesus and helps us tell others about God and live a life that pleases Him. The Holy Spirit gives us power to do God’s work.

Key Passage: Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…And remember, I am with you always.”

Big Picture Question: Where is Jesus today? Jesus is alive and in heaven.

Christ Connection: Jesus left earth and returned to heaven, but He did not leave us alone. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us do God’s work on earth while we wait for Jesus to come back and make everything new!
Dear Parents,
This week’s Bible story comes from Acts 1:3-11 and centers on Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus showed His followers that He is alive. (Matt. 28:9-10; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:16-17,19-20,26-27; 21:14) Jesus taught them about Himself and about God’s kingdom. (Luke 24:25-27,44-48) Jesus told them that He would soon return to the Father. (John 20:17)

Jesus directed the Eleven to go a mountain. When they arrived, Jesus appeared. Some of them worshiped Jesus, but some of them doubted. (Matt. 28:17) Some of them wondered if Jesus was going to overthrow the Roman government and set up His kingdom on earth. “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” they asked. (Acts 1:6)

Jesus said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). Jesus also told them to remain in Jerusalem until they received the Father’s promise—the Holy Spirit. Those who repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus’ death and resurrection would be baptized by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5) The Holy Spirit would give them power to live holy lives and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

After Jesus told the disciples these things, Jesus was taken up into the sky—right in front of their eyes! (Acts 1:9) Suddenly two men stood on the mountain next to the disciples. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven?” they asked. They said Jesus would return the same way. (Acts 1:11) Until Jesus returns, His followers need to work faithfully.

Jesus is alive in heaven, waiting to return for His people. Jesus told the disciples He was going to prepare a place for them, and when we die, we will be with the Lord in heaven. (John 14:1-3) In the meantime, Jesus has not left us alone. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us do God’s work. One day Jesus will return to make all things new and to rule as Lord over all.

Family Activity: Ask your family members to tell about a time when they felt lonely. Read Acts 1:3-11. Jesus’ disciples were probably sad that Jesus would not be with them any longer, but Jesus told them that He’d send Someone who would be with them forever. Jesus didn’t leave us alone. When we love and trust Him, the Holy Spirit comes to be with us and help us do God’s work. We don’t have to be lonely when we remember that God’s Spirit is always with us!

Key Passage: Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…And remember, I am with you always.”

Big Picture Question: What job did Jesus give His friends? Jesus said to tell everyone about Him.

Christ Connection: Jesus told His friends that everyone they went they were to make more followers of Him. Jesus’ friends could do this because Jesus is in charge of everything, and He promised He would be with them. When we follow Jesus, He promises to always be with us too. Jesus’ mission to His friends is our mission too. We are to make more followers of Jesus.

Dear Parents,
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to His disciples over a 40 day period. At one point, He appeared to over 500 disciples. Then He appeared to James, His half-brother, and the rest of the apostles. (1 Cor. 15:5-7) During that time, Jesus taught them about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3) Some disciples wondered if Jesus was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. (Acts 1:6)

Jesus and the Father had a different plan for the disciples. Jesus directed the Eleven to go to a mountain, where He appeared to them again. When Jesus appeared, they worshiped Him, but some still doubted. (Matt. 28:17) Before we condemn the disciples who doubted, they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:49) Without the Holy Spirit, the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. (1 Cor. 1:18)

On the mountain, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission. First, Jesus stated that all authority had been given to Him. Before the resurrection, Jesus had authority as God the Son. Through the resurrection, however, the Father gave Jesus far more than even Satan had promised. (Matt. 4:8-9) Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God subjected everything to His beloved Son. (See Heb. 2:5-9.)

Jesus commanded His disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel, the good news about Him. The Great Commission is not just for missionaries far from home. All believers are called to share the gospel with others, to teach them to obey God’s commands, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus finishes His commission with a profound promise: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Talk to the kids you teach about the importance of living out the Great Commission. The good news about what Jesus has done to rescue us from our sins is too great to keep to ourselves. Before Jesus went back to heaven, He gave the disciples a job to do. Jesus wants His followers to teach people everywhere about Jesus so they will trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.

Family Activity: Make a list as a family of all the things you like to talk about with family or friends. Beside that list, make a list of the people you see often that you talk with or could talk with. Remind kids that Jesus asked His disciples to tell others about Him and help them become followers of Jesus. Read Matthew 28:16-20. Discuss how you might talk about Jesus with the people on your list.

Dear FPC—
Hurricane force winds in Utah! Seriously? I’ve about had it with 2020! My prayer is that you are safe and well and have your power on. I’m staggered as I go around town and see the scope and breadth of the destruction. It is really amazing that more people were not hurt and that more homes were not damaged. Trees mostly seemed to find a way to fall on the street or the yard. At our house we are still waiting (on Thursday afternoon) for a return of power. That means out with the stuff in the refrigerator, it means chilly mornings as we get out of bed, it means gratitude for candles in the evenings. And for Kindles! There is a big pine tree in our neighbor’s yard just north of our lot. Because of the slope of the hill, that tree’s roots are above the roof of our house—it just sits up above the retaining wall at the back of the lot. Thank God that tree is still standing up there and not lying down with us!
So on one hand I am very grateful that we have gotten off with so little damage. At the same time, I am reminded of how much we rely on electricity, cable, internet, hot water, heating and air conditioning, etc. All of those things need power to work. One wire down disrupts so many things! It is the same with our relationship with God. When we clear the way and reach out, God’s Spirit pours through us, and empowers us, just as we talked about last Sunday. But it is easy for the storms of life (or our own distractions) to “disrupt the service.” Then we sit around wondering why things aren’t working! We all need Spirit power at work in our lives every day! I encourage you to daily invite God into whatever you are doing today. Just a simple prayer can make a huge difference. Something like: “Good morning Lord Jesus! Please be with me today and use me in all that I do today. Amen.” Let’s turn the power on in our lives!
This Sunday we will be welcoming new members into our congregation and talking about the importance of prayer in our lives, including the importance of praying for each other. I hope you can join us!

May you feel God’s blessings to you through whatever storms may bring—

Pastor Steve

Key Passage: Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…And remember, I am with you always.”

Big Picture Question: Will Jesus ever stop loving us? Jesus will never stop loving us.

Christ Connection: When Jesus was arrested, His friends ran away. Jesus did what He came to earth to do—rescue people from sin. Jesus showed His friends that He still loved them and wanted them to follow Him. Sometimes we make mistakes as we follow Jesus too. Jesus rescued us from sin. We know He forgives us and wants us to continue following Him.

Dear Parents,
After Jesus’ resurrection and His appearance to the disciples, seven of the disciples returned to Galilee, near the Sea of Galilee. It was the same sea where Jesus had called four of His disciples, promising to make them fishers of men. (See Luke 5:1-11.) Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples decided to go fishing. Perhaps they felt it prudent to return to the fishing business since Jesus had died and resurrected. Their stint as His disciples was apparently over—or so they thought!

In Bible times, nighttime was the preferred time for fishing. Fish caught at night could be sold fresh in the morning at market. But at daybreak, the disciples had caught nothing. Jesus stood at the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Him. He called to them, “Men, you don’t have any fish, do you?” (John 21:5). Then He encouraged them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They obeyed, and they were unable to haul in the catch because of the large number of fish.

John, the disciple Jesus loved, knew right away who He was. “It is the Lord!” John exclaimed. Immediately, Peter tied his outer garment around him and jumped into the sea, swimming to shore about 300 feet away. When the other six disciples arrived in the boat, they found Jesus sitting beside a charcoal fire with fish and bread. “Come and have breakfast,” Jesus said. Jesus ate with His disciples, then turned to Peter.

The disciple who had told Jesus that he would die for Him (Luke 22:31-34) had denied Jesus three times. (Luke 22:54-62) Jesus asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” Peter responded, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.” Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs. Two more times Jesus asked this question, and on the third time, it grieved Peter. “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You,” Peter said. (John 21:17) “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said again, and then told Peter how Peter would die to glorify God. “Follow Me!” Jesus said. (John 21:19)

Jesus’ plan for the disciples did not end with His death and resurrection. When Jesus first called the disciples to follow Him, Jesus had promised to make them fishers of men. Instead of catching fish, they would tell people about Jesus. (Luke 5:1-11) The disciples had left Jesus when He was arrested, but Jesus still wanted to use them in God’s plan to rescue people from their sin. Jesus is a Lord who forgives us and makes things right again.

Family Activity: Ask kids to write or draw about a time that they needed to forgive a friend on a sheet of paper. Guide them to fold the paper into an airplane and throw it as far away as they can. Explain that forgiving someone is like writing what he did on an airplane and never worrying about it again. Review John 21:1-19. When Jesus was arrested, His closest friends ran away. Jesus showed them that He had forgiven them, He still loved them, and He wanted them to follow Him. Sometimes we make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that God no longer wants to use us in His plan! Jesus is a Lord who forgives us and makes things right again.

Labor Day Weekend—for me that means the end of summer and the beginning of fall—a new school year, a new church program year, a new rhythm of life, work, play, rest and worship. The beginnings are at least as important as the ending. For years when I lived in Seattle there was a big music festival over Labor Day weekend—we marked the end of the summer with a bang! Alice called them my ‘high holy days’! Three or four days of music spread across 6 or 7 stages at the Seattle Center. It was fun and exhausting! I think some kind of celebration to mark the change of season is good—are you doing anything this Labor Day?
As I look ahead to the fall, I am excited. We are welcoming new members on September 13 (can you imagine, new members in the midst of a pandemic?). Our session approved our mission study and we have submitted it to the presbytery for their approval. The next step is electing a Pastor Nominating Committee. Your nominating committee is already at work on this, and we will announce a congregational meeting soon for the election. You should expect the search process to take something like 6 to 9 months (but it could be more or less—the key thing is finding the person God is calling to lead FPC in this time).
We launch Immerse on September 20. I hope you will sign up to join an Immerse Group for this 8 week period! Whether you are a relative stranger to the Bible or it is an old friend, this experience could reshape your faith. Don’t miss out! Get more information and sign up here:
Finally, our session is reviewing the reopening task force recommendations this coming week. Please be in prayer for wisdom and discernment as we look for how and when we can worship together physically. Of course, we will continue to worship on line throughout as well and will keep you informed of all developments.

Blessings to you as we say farewell to summer and welcome to a new season of growing closer and walking with Jesus!

Pastor Steve