Sunday LinkUp – 19May2024








This week, we celebrate Pentecost, remembering the day when the Church began its collective work in Christ. On that day, the Church was audibly and visibly empowered by the promised Holy Spirit to continue the work that Jesus started.

The theme for this week is the advocacy of the Spirit. 

The selected passages for this week are … Psalm 104:24-34, 35bActs 2:1-21Romans 8:22-27John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15


In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—
25 This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.
26 There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan[a]
Which You have [b]made to play there.

27 These all wait for You,
That You may give them their food in due season.
28 What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
29 You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
30 You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in His works.
32 He looks on the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the hills, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34 May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the Lord.  

And the wicked be no more.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
[a]Praise the Lord


When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all [a]with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them [b]divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.   
And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own [c]language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and [d]Arabs — we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”   

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only [e]the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’


  1. Acts 2:1 NU together
  2. Acts 2:3 Or tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each
  3. Acts 2:8 dialect
  4. Acts 2:11 Arabians
  5. Acts 2:15 a.m.

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession [a] for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.    

“And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.  “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’  But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me;10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you15 All things that the Father has are Mine.  Therefore I said that He[b]will take of Mine and declare it to you. 



  1. John 16:15 NU, M takes of Mine and will declare


In the call to worship psalm, we read that the Holy Spirit renews all creation. In the Acts passage, we read about the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost. Peter, empowered by the Spirit, preaches a sermon and his first words were a defense of his fellow apostles who were speaking in tongues. In Romans, we learn about the intercessory ministry of the Holy Spirit. In the John passage, Jesus teaches his disciples about the Holy Spirit and refers to him as the Advocate.


Today we gather with hearts ablaze, commemorating a momentous occasion that resonates through the ages — we gather to honor Pentecost, a day that marked a new beginning.  It is a day when the Holy Spirit, the divine breath of God, renewed all creation and ignited the flame within the hearts of believers.

As we embark on this journey of worship, let us revisit the birth of the Church, a moment that echoes through eternity.  Pentecost, the day when the disciples were audibly and visibly empowered by the promised Holy Spirit, marking the beginning of the Church’s collective work in Christ.

The same Spirit descended upon them in tongues of fire and filled them with the courage to continue the work that Jesus started.  Today, that same Spirit empowers each one of us, renewing our hearts, and inspiring us to be the Church in the world.

We are the Church, not merely a building but a living, breathing body connected by the Spirit’s life-giving breath.  This Pentecost, let us remember that the Holy Spirit is our Advocate, our Comforter, and our Guide.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus promised the Advocate, saying, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

The Holy Spirit advocates for us, intercedes on our behalf, and empowers us to boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.  Signs and wonders follow as we step out in faith, and the love of Christ radiates through our actions.

As we go forth into our communities, let us carry the flame of Pentecost with us.  The Holy Spirit, our Advocate, accompanies us, guiding our steps, comforting our hearts, and empowering us to love our neighbors.

In Psalm 104:24-34, we find words that resonate with the work of the Spirit through the Church.  Let this scripture be our guide as we embrace the renewal offered by the Holy Spirit.

How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.

There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.

When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.

When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.

When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works —
he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the Lord.

We are the Church, and we are empowered by the Spirit.  As we go forth, may the winds of Pentecost carry us to new heights, and may the love of Christ overflow from our hearts.  Let us go boldly into our neighborhoods, knowing that the Holy Spirit, our Guide, goes with us.

And so, dear friends, as we celebrate Pentecost, may the Holy Spirit continue to renew all creation through the Church, through us.  Amen.





The Advocate

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 


For many Christians, when we think about evangelism or witnessing, we imagine ourselves like door-to-door salespeople trying to deliver a message that no one wants to hear.  We can sometimes be reluctant to share our faith because we do not want to come across as pushy or annoying.  To some extent, this reluctance is understandable.  There are some Christians who approach evangelism in a way that is off-putting to say the least.

Many Christ-followers do not readily tell people about Jesus because they do not want to be lumped in with those who peddle fear, guilt, and hate in God’s name.

Yet, we are commanded by Christ to go and make disciples.  We are compelled by love to share the good news about Jesus with our neighbors.  How do we navigate these waters?

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit from the Father to empower the church to share the story of our salvation in Christ.  If we yield to the Spirit, he will give us the perfect words to say.

This is what we are celebrating on this Pentecost — the coming of the Holy Spirit in a more manifest way, which led to the inauguration of the Church.

If we want to see the gospel go through communities around us like never before, we have to be empowered by the Spirit.

Let’s look at how Jesus describes the Holy Spirit in the book of John:


“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father — the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father — he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning…

I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’  Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.  When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine.  That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”   (John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 NIV)

Jesus described the Holy Spirit as the Advocate — the one who stands with us and for us.  He intercedes on our behalf and counsels us in the way we should go.  He testifies about Jesus to us and through us, and he leads us into truth.  Without the Holy Spirit, spiritual formation would be impossible. We would be ignorant of the truth about our sinful state and not have the means to become more like Christ. Without the Holy Spirit, there would be no mission because our witness would depend on our own efforts and ability to persuade. Without the Spirit there would be no worship because the Spirit makes Christ known to us.  How do we worship someone we do not know?

But glory to God, we have the Spirit!  The Spirit is always with us and will never leave.

That is good news, because we need the advocacy of the Spirit.  We live in a society where many see Christianity as obsolete and unnecessary.  Many do not believe in God, or they believe that God is unconcerned with what happens on earth.  Some have had bad experiences in church and are angry or hurt.  Some professed believers combine Christianity with the politics of power, leaving people with a negative view of the faith.  To be honest, I do not know what to say to the people in any of these categories.  But thankfully, the Holy Spirit knows what to say and he speaks with perfect love.  When the Spirit speaks through us, even challenging things we say/ask can be attractive to the listener.

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter gave a sermon where he told the audience that they were complicit in the death of Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Lord. That is a hard thing to hear. Rather than being repulsed, the audience was contrite and drew near. It was not because Peter was a great orator. It was because the Advocate stood with Peter and empowered him to speak.

Sometimes people will react poorly to the words and actions inspired by the Spirit.  Jesus was perfectly yielded to the Spirit, and he was crucified.  We are not responsible for their reactions, IF we are saying what God wants us to say.  Our responsibility is to submit to the leading of the Spirit and have faith in a God who is good and does all things well.

Most of us will not be led by the Spirit to stand up in our town hall and give a sermon or yell at passersby on the street corner.  However, we are commanded to go into our communities — the places where we live, work, and play — and love our neighbors.  We are to love them extravagantly and unconditionally.  We are to do this by yielding ourselves to the leading of the Spirit through spiritual practices like prayer, silence and solitude, fasting, meditation, etc.

As we open ourselves to the ministry of the Spirit, he brings everything that Jesus is into us, and we become more like Christ.  Then, compelled by love, we become salt and light, a peculiar people who live in such a way that our neighbors ask us about the hope that is in usAnd, when they ask, we have faith that the Advocate will stand with us and speak in and through us.  We believe that the answer we give will not be from us but from God himself.  He is the Spirit of truth.  He will guide us into all truth.  He will tell us what is yet to come.  He is our Advocate!

On this Day of Pentecost, let us be grateful for the Advocacy of the Holy Spirit.  We are not salespeople selling a product no one wants.  We are the Church!  And, we are empowered by the Spirit. We share the good news about Jesus Christ and signs and wonders follow us.  Let us go boldly into our communities to love our neighbors, knowing that the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, goes with us.




Small Group Discussion Questions

  • Do you ever feel reluctant to share your faith with others?
    • Why or why not?
  • Do you find comfort in the fact that the Holy Spirit is described as our Advocate?
    • Why or why not?
  • Can you think of a time when you believe the Holy Spirit spoke through you?
    • What was it like?
    • What was the result?




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