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The story that Melanie read from Acts 2 is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I turn
to it on special occasions. The first time I ever preached a sermon with a Rev in front of my
name I preached Acts 2. On my first day of work at Chain of Lakes I met with seven families at
the Rice Lake Professional Building. During our time together we did a short Bible Study on
Acts 2. At our Grand Opening service at the Lino Lakes Senior Center I preached from Acts 2.
When we have our Grand Opening at our new home on Davenport, guess which story will be the
focus of the sermon?
I know of some congregations who are so invested in this story that they have identified
themselves as an Acts 2 church. There is even a network of churches who identifies themselves
as an Acts 2 network.
The story shows what happens when we live out Gods dream.
It feels appropriate today that we look at this story as we conclude our Dreaming for the
future sermon series. The AIM of this series is to go deeper into the dream that God has for our
congregation. Were looking at:
What a dream from God is
How to discern a dream from God
Were dreaming as we transition into our new home on Davenport.
Incidentally the last big roadblock to moving to Davenport was removed this past week. We
have a contract ready to be approved by the Steering Committee. The Church Development
Team of the Presbytery approved it and the Board of Trustees of the Presbytery approved it. The
owners have signed off on it. Yay, God!
Now is the time to dream. Let me briefly share what weve done the last two Sundays.
SLIDE

In this sermon Im defining a dream as a picture of the future

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Weve looked at two stories where God gave a dream or a picture of the future. We
looked at the story of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 and the story of Paul going to Philippi in
Acts 17.
For the right-brained folks we closed our eyes and dreamed what our congregation will
look like on a Sunday in October in 2019.
For the left-brained folks I shared five parts of a dream.
SLIDE
1. A dream comes from God
2. A dream is confirmed and owned by the community
3. A dream is the result of what we do and always impacts people
4. A dream gives direction
5. A dream is big.
A dream is so big that some people when they hear the dream will say, that will never happen.
I also shared how we are trying to impact people. We want to help people:
1.
2.
3.
4.

We want to help people in their faith life


We want to help people in their relationship life
We want people to be healed of old wounds
We want to help people know the aspirations God has for them.
All of this was happening in todays story.
I want us to know this story. If you have a chance read the story this week. In your

bulletin you have a place to take notes. You might want to write down some notes
SLIDE

Scene 1

Gathering

A large group of people had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate a high holy day. We call it
Pentecostin Jesus day it was called the Feast of Weeks. This festival was celebrated 50 days
after the Passoverthis Passover was very special. It was the one where Jesus gathered with the
disciples in the Upper Room and shared the Lords Supper. A lot had happened in those 50 days.
Jesus had died; he had been raised from the dead; he traveled on the earth for 40 days after his

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resurrection; he had ascended to heaven. The number of people who were following Jesus was
120 and they had gathered together.
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Scene 1
Gathering
Scene 2
Movement
All of a sudden a sound exploded. It was a sound like thunder, but it was a supernatural

thunder. A wind started moving through the place where the 120 followers of Jesus gathered. It
was a supernatural wind. When the people in Jerusalem heard the sound they rushed over the the
place where the 120 followers had gathered. They couldnt believe what they saw. The
followers of Jesusthe 120were filled with the Holy Spirit and were speaking in the language
of the people who came over to the house. The 120 were Galileans, but they were speaking in
the language of the Parthians and Medes and Elamites and the rest of the folks who had come to
Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Weeks.
It was very strange. So strange that one of the cynical people thought the whole group
was drunk. But another person said, they cant be drunk for its only nine in the morning. It was
too early to drink. People were trying to figure out, what does this mean?
Then Peter stood up to restore order. He preached a sermon. He said that what had just
happened was the movement of the Holy Spirit. It had been predicted hundreds of years ago by
the prophet Joel. He told the people that the religious leaders had killed Jesus, but Jesus had
been raised from the dead and was now in heaven sitting at the right hand of Abba, Father. It
was Jesus who had just poured out his Spirit. Jesus was the Lord and Messiah.
SLIDE

Scene 1
Scene 2
Scene 3

Gathering
Movement
Dream

At the end of Peters sermon the people who were listening asked this question.
SLIDE

what should we do?

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One of the reasons I love the Bible is in these stories we hear questions that all of us ask.
The question, what should we do is a question that all of us have asked in our lives. Often we
ask the question when were confused and bewildered. Were not sure what is going on and
were not sure what we should do, so we ask what should we do?
A person gets a call from the doctorthe doctor wants to see us. The doctor wants to see us.
When we get that phone call our mind assumes the worst. The question that we are grappling
with is What am I going to do?
One of our kids goes through a difficult time. Whether its in school or with a friend, or life isnt
going well. We would love to swoop in and fix everything, but we know that doesnt work. The
question as a parent were wondering about is What am I going to do?
One of us loses a job or gets re-located to a place that makes it much, much harder on our life.
We didnt choose this situation, but here we are. The question that comes to our mind is, What
am I going to do?
Our congregation had to face this question this past summer when we received an E-mail from
Da Vinci Academy that they werent going to rent space to us anymore. In two months we were
going to be homeless.
When were asking this question, were not dreaming any more. Were just trying to exist.
The good news is that Peter answered the question.
SLIDE
Repent, and be baptized, everyone one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may
be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for
your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.
Acts 2:38-39
Repent and be baptized.
Let me push into this.
I think of repenting as a continuous turning to God. We dont repent oncewe repent all
of the times. Repentance is more than confessing our sinsits moving deeper and deeper and
deeper into God. God is the source of our comfort not the cause of our pain. So we repentwe
go deeper.

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We dont have to be baptized if weve already been baptized, but theres nothing that
says we cant reaffirm our baptism. We could re-affirm what God is doing in us. In fact I would
love it if on one Sunday a monthsay the last Sunday for examplethat whoever wants to go
deeper with God had their baptism reaffirmed.
The people were baptized. About 3,000. Then my favorite
SLIDE
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by
the apostles. Acts 2:43
Something special was happening. Awe came upon everyone.
A three letter synonym for the word awe is wow. Wow. Say that with me. Wow.
It was like Wow broke out.
Say the word againWow!
When I hear the word, wow I pay special attention. When I hear someone say it or
when I say it myself, I believe that the God is close by. People say wow when they have been
prompted by something far beyond themselves.
Say the word againWow!
I believe that the dream for us, the picture of the future, the impact that God wants us to
have on peoples lives as we go to our new home on Davenport is Wow. I think that could be
our dream. Wow.
I know that some might push back because its almost impossible to measure, wow. I
get that. I want us to be a congregationand we already areto be a place where the result of
what we do is wow.
When is the last time you said the word, wow. On my Facebook page I asked people
when was the last time they had said the word, wow
Here were some responses:

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One womanLinda said her church was seeking a new vision


SLIDE
assisted a young pregnant homeless couple to marry during a regular worship service.. members
of the church provided flowers... rings... and they were the best man, matron of honor, and the
kids carried flowers and rings. Seeing the genuine joyous smiles on the congregation's faces that was a wow moment for me.

SLIDE
Another man Steve said-- Riding my bike in on Sunday morning. I was on the bridge on the trail
between Chominix golf course and Rice Lake. I stopped midway and turned off my bike light. It
was perfectly clear and dark with stars horizon to horizon and a smudge of Northern Lights in
the north.
My brother-in-law shared this:
SLIDE
I had several wow moments on our trip to Washington D.C. Seeing Katharine Hepburn's Four
Oscars at the Smithsonian American Art Museum was a total surprise. Seeing the Star Spangled
banner at the American History museum was another wow moment. It is huge and has been well
preserved since the War of 1812. Walking through the White House was quite spectacular
thinking of all the people that have been in that house at one time or another. We also had a 95
year woman at our church that was put on hospice and wasn't expected to live but she recovered
and is enjoying life with her husband of 77 years. He is 97. Wow, indeed.
Paul Edgetthe and Ginnelle have been coming to Chain of Lakes said this:
SLIDE
I recently saw a picture on the news of a dying star, they called it the Butterfly Nebula. Now, of
course the Hubble Telescope put the false coloring in, but the gases that made it were present.
God- the artist!
SLIDE
Heres the picture.
I said Wow when a lot of us slept overnight at Box City to publicize homeless teens a few
weeks ago.
I said Wow when that event was on the front page of the local newspaper.
I said Wow when I walked into the Spiritual Writing group this past Monday night and
saw all the people there.
I said Wow this past Thursday night at Trunk or Treat when I saw how much fun the
people from Chain of Lakes were having
Back to the story. What eventually from that group who was baptized was Wow.
SLIDE

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All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions
and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much
time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous
hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added
to their number those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47
Wow! There was a spiritual energy that existed in this community. The people were
going to do whatever it took to care for one another. Their care came from their faith. They
were so deeply touched by the gift of Jesus death and resurrection and the outpouring of his
Spirit that they would do whatever it took to help each other.
I think this level of spiritual connection is what God dreams for in every congregation
that exists.
In this series were asking the How question. How can I discern Gods dream. So far
Ive shared that one way we can discern Gods picture for the future is prayer. Weve been
praying to God, Lord your dream for Chain of Lakes. Having conversation with God is a
terrific way to discern Gods dream.
A second way is through worship. When we come to worship we are gathering with a
group of people who are uniting to praise and experience God. Hopefully each time that we
gather to worship we are touched in some way by God. We can receive a picture of the future
from God when we worship.
A third way to know Gods dream is by participating in a small group. When we gather
with a group of people and develop relationship with them, we get to the point where we talk
about our dreams.
This fall Ive been leading a small group on prayer. We havent had a huge group of
people come, but I know the Spirit has connected all of us at a much deeper level. Weve shared

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our lives with each other, weve had holy conversations with each other, and weve talked about
how God is working in our lives.
This past Wednesday someone asked me why I attended seminary. Did you actually hear
God speaking to you? I shared my story. It was a story of Gods dream.
In the spring of 1988 I was doing community organizing in the Twin Cities. I had
already been accepted to seminary and was planning to go. Then one day I received a phone call
offering me a job in Arkansas. It was a really good job. Id be doing work that I believed in.
I was at a cross roads. I knew that if I took this job I wasnt going to seminary.
This was a very hard decision. It was one of those decisions where I had no peace. I
went back and forth and back and forth. One day I had decided to go to Arkansas, the next day I
had decided to go to seminary. I had no peace about what I would do. The decision was very
important because I was making a career path choice. I prayed about it, I made lists of pros and
cons, I talked to people about it. And I had no peace.
I decided to go talk to my parents about it. So I drove home to Worthington. We went to
church on a Sunday morning and then I talked to my parents after worship at our dining room
table. I told them about this great job. We talked. They told me that they thought I should go to
seminary. I appreciated their input, but I hadnt made a decision.
I left my home to drive back to the Cities. I was torn. And I went to the back and forth,
back and forth. Finally I got tired of myself. I still remember the place in the road as I was
driving back to the Cities. Its time to make a decision. All of a sudden a question came to
mewhere do you want to be in five years? I dont know where the question came from. Then
the answer came to me. The answer was two wordsthe church.

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All of a sudden I had this terrific sense of peace. It was the peace that passes all
understanding. I had a picture of the future. I didnt see a picture, but I knew where I wanted to
go. I knew I was going to seminary. I didnt hear a voice, but I was sure what God wanted from
me.
That was May 1988. Five years later, May 1993 I was installed as a pastor.
I dont share that story a lot. But I would have never shared it if I hadnt been
participating in a small group. This is my story, but what I think is so cool is that every one of us
here can experience this type of story.
God has a dream for every one of us. Sometimes its hard to know. Thats why its so
important to participate in a small group. In a small group we can share our dreams with each
other. We eventually share stories that we never thought we would share. We can learn from
each other stories.
Imagine a group of people united to achieve Wow for people.

The Lord has promised good to me


His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

I cant wait to go to Davenport. Not because of the facility, but because of the dream.