A Series of Strange Events

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Nehemiah 1-3; Acts 2:1-21

When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? (Acts 2:1-8, Common English Bible).

“Dude, you are on fire! No, really man, YOU ARE ON FIRE!”

Those four words, “You are on fire,” have taken on new words in our society over the last few generations. There was once when someone would say something like “You’re on fire” and it only meant one thing. You got too close to the campfire and now your clothes have lit up and you better do something about it, quick. You better do what our kids learn very early on, “STOP! DROP! ROLL!

Today that idea has gained a new friend in the meaning game. Today we might mean someone is literally on fire but, at least in my experience, the newer meaning is far more common. Yesterday I was getting updates while I was working from the Astros game. Justin Verlander struck out seven while he was in the game. He was on fire! Every Astro who went to the plate yesterday got at least one hit. They were on fire!

When my boys were young they had a Nintendo game console (while I don’t know if it is Nintendo or not, they both still have them, for their kids, I ‘m sure). One of the games they had for their Nintendo was a basketball game (I think). When they were playing really well, the avatar on the screen would have these cheesy looking flames coming ff the player and some computer voice would come say, “You’re on fire.”

Besides the flames, there was wind, or at least the sounds of wind blowing through the house. Then these guys, these uneducated fishermen started talking in other languages and the people gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost were understanding every word.

In a Pentecost sermon I wrote, some years back, I titled “Unscrambling Babel,” I said it would be like Bob was speaking German and Sue was speaking Russian. Mary was speaking French and Sid was speaking Finnish. I could go on but I think you get the point. But, none of the disciples were speaking any of those languages. They most likely were speaking Aramaic or maybe Greek. That is what I said then. But, I didn’t take it far enough. I may think Bob is speaking German and I am hearing it in German, but Sue, who remember speaks Russian is hearing Russian not Bob’s German. Further, Mary, who remember speaks French, is not hearing Bob in Aramaic or Greek or German. She speaks French and she hears him in French.

People walking around supposed them to be drunk or crazy but it wasn’t any of those things. What they experienced was, the power of the Holy Spirit. If we watch the world around us, we too may just be able to see the power of the Holy Spirit at work too.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Resereved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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