The Spirit Moved

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Job 20-21; Acts 10:24-48

44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on everyone who heard the word. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 They heard them speaking in other languages and praising God. Peter asked, 47 “These people have received the Holy Spirit just as we have. Surely no one can stop them from being baptized with water, can they?” 48 He directed that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited Peter to stay for several days. (Acts 10:44-48, Common English Bible).

Some years ago I was involved in a community Thanksgiving service in a community I served. The little church building the service was in was packed. It was an old building and the acoustics were great. Children’s choirs from a couple of different congregations. Each sang a couple of songs and then they combined. When those kids sang together, all I can say is WOW.

When the kids finished it was my turn. I was thinking that P.T. Barnum once said something about not following children or animal acts. Apparently, I was wrong. W.C. Fields did say never to work with children or dogs. Regardless of who may have said that I think they were wrong.

It was a highlight in my personal career. I felt the Spirit move in that service in ways I had never felt before. It was a powerful time. As I got up t preach, I didn’t think about the risk of “following kids.” I only thought about how I was feeling the Spiritu moving. The Spirit started moving during those kids. Now I got to preach in that Spirit-rich environment. It never even occurred to me that I was standing in a position to mess all this up. The only thing I knew was, I got to preach (yes, it was a privilege) to a large group of people, packed into a small space with the Holy Spirit moving in a way I had never experienced. Could there be a better moment for a preacher than this?

As the sermon time continued those gathered were responsive in a way this United Methodist preacher had never experienced. I can safely say I had never experienced this much fun preaching before and though I know I am a creature who falls way short of the glory of God. That night, I don’t think I could have messed up the sermon.

My experience was not Peter’s experience. No acts of covenantal symbolism happened. All the people present weren’t baptized that night. Most probably had been years before. It wasn’t about a bunch of kids singing together or a pastor preaching in a community worship service.  What it was about was really pretty simple even though it was extraordinarily powerful. The people of the community, not so much the geographic community, but the community of faith were gathered in the name of Jesus Christ. We sang and we worshipped and God touched everyone there in a powerful way.

I would love, as I write this many years later, to tell you that it was a night none of us would ever forget. The truth is, I can’t say that. The only one I can talk about is me. While I do remember, sitting here and writing this story is the first time I have thought about it in years. I have no idea if others present that night have thought about it again or not. It is my prayer that even if they don’t remember the details, they remember that one November night they were in the presence of the Holy Spirit and felt the power of God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


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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