Forty days following his resurrection, Jesus imparts a profound promise to his disciples: the imminent arrival of the Holy Spirit, empowering them to journey to the farthest corners of the world as bearers of witness. With these words resonating in their hearts, Jesus ascends into the heavens, leaving his disciples to ponder the magnitude of their mission. Filled with anticipation and reverence, the disciples return to Jerusalem, poised to embark on the divine mandate entrusted to them.

Pr. Todd Mathison

Commissioned

Power of the Holy Spirit
Acts 1:1-14
April 7, 2024
Forty days following his resurrection, Jesus imparts a profound promise to his disciples: the imminent arrival of the Holy Spirit, empowering them to journey to the farthest corners of the world as bearers of witness. With these words resonating in their hearts, Jesus ascends into the heavens, leaving his disciples to ponder the magnitude of their mission. Filled with anticipation and reverence, the disciples return to Jerusalem, poised to embark on the divine mandate entrusted to them.

The power of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever gone through a season in your life that was like a seismic change, circumstances combined and collided together, hard to go through when you’re going through it. But in the end, you’re able to look back and realize that it opened up for you unanticipated, but far greater opportunities and purposes than you had previously known. Last week, we celebrated Easter. More than 40 days ago, we began our own journey in Lent, and I gotta say, for me, this past Lent season was the most meaningful for me spiritually that I can remember. And I’ve heard that from a number of you. Of course, culminating with Easter weekend, just a week ago. But think of what Jesus disciples went through that first holy week through Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In one short week, they saw their rabbi praised by the crowds and welcomed as a king into Jerusalem only to have the religious elite turn the crowds against Jesus five days later, shouting for him to be crucified. Jesus was falsely accused, arrested, tried, and condemned to death, brutally scourged and beaten. Died. And excruciating and humiliating death by crucifixion. And for Jesus disciples, at the end of that Friday, it was anything but good. All hope was gone. And then, resurrection? They’d heard about this, that Sunday morning. Resurrection went to the tomb, it was empty. Yes, the tomb was empty. And yes, there’s resurrection. And the reality of Jesus resurrection. It was confirmation that indeed He was the Son of God and everything that He said is true and He has ultimate power and authority. Now what? Open possibilities. So we’re starting this new sermon series, The Power of the Holy Spirit, and here’s the thing, both for the disciples back then and for we, Jesus disciples here today.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not the end of the story. But rather, it opens up all kinds of new possibilities and beginnings for you and for me. Yes, it was foundational for God’s mission of salvation, Christ’s death and resurrection, but the mission continues. And so today, we are moving from resurrection just a week ago, now 40 days later, to Jesus ascension into heaven. And a lot has happened back then. During those 40 days, and a lot more will happen after that, which actually continues on to this very day itself. So if you have your Bibles, invite you to turn to Acts chapter one or your devices we’re gonna be reading here. Acts was written by a man named Luke. You may recognize that name. He’s the author of one of the four gospels, the Gospel of Luke Acts as kinda like the rest of the story. of what happens, and so we’re going to be reading here the first 14 verses. He’s writing to a man named Theophilus. Luke writes, In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them, And gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion while he was eating with them, he gave them this command, do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Then they gathered around him and asked him, Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? He said to them, it is not for you to know the times or dates the father has set by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men, dressed in white, stood beside them. Men of Galilee, they said, why do you stand here, looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.

When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they’d been staying. Those present were Peter, John, James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas, son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer. Along with the women and marry the mother of Jesus and with his brothers. The word of the Lord. Join me in prayer. Lord God, as we look into your living word now, send your Holy Spirit that our heart, our hearts might be enlivened to receive your living word, that it would take root and bear life in us. Help us to see our part in your ongoing mission in the world. To the glory of Jesus in whose name I pray. Dear friends, grace to you and peace from God, our father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

You know, I find it amazing that Jesus would leave his disciples in charge. I mean, come on. These are the guys that just 40 some days earlier had all deserted Jesus in his most vulnerable time. And now he’s entrusting to them the mission of bringing his the news of his kingdom to the world? He is. And he’s not doing it necessarily because the disciples showed that they still yet got it. As Luke writes, and I’m glad he includes this in verse 6 in our text, then the disciples gathered around Jesus and asked him, Lord are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? They thought it was still all about Israel beating the Romans and finally being on top. And I, I, I mean, I got to think, I could just imagine Jesus kind of going like, Uh, fellas, come on, you still don’t get it? And yet, Jesus departure and his commissioning had been part of the plan all along. In fact, Jesus had told this plan again to his disciples that very night in which he was betrayed. In John 16, Jesus says very truly I tell you it is good. It is for your good. I’m going away Unless I go away the advocate will not come to you. But if I go I will send him to you No, I don’t think they got it. They probably still didn’t Do we always get it ourselves? So today I want to explore what it means for us that Jesus has ascended and that the Holy Spirit has been sent With the commission for us. So first off, Jesus ascension opens the door to the sending of the Holy Spirit. You know, Jesus disciples beforehand had been given authority and power by Jesus, but only for a temporary time. It’s something that Tom had just read for us when Jesus sent out the twelve when he, during his earthly ministry. Jesus gave his disciples power and authority, but only for a specific mission and for a specific time. But now, with the occasion of Jesus ascension, the Holy Spirit would be sent, and Jesus disciples would then be given authority and power permanently. The Holy Spirit empowering them for the ministry and mission to which Jesus was entrusting them. Which is? to be his witnesses throughout the entire world.

In our text, verse 8, Jesus said, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea to the ends of the earth. Now, I don’t know if you’ve thought about this, so think along with me for a little bit. Is Jesus present with us today? So, in our confession, we say Jesus ascended to heaven and what? Is seated at the right hand of the father from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. That was in our text. The two men who showed up said, men of Galilee, why are you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who was taken up from you to heaven will one day return just as you have seen him go. But then is God with us? Yes! It is God the Holy Spirit who is with and within us. In other words, God is not far away. Post Pentecost, God the Holy Spirit is with you and within you each and every moment of every day. Which is a tremendous source of assurance and hope. Because God is with us. God the Holy Spirit. So the ascension of Jesus opens the door to the sending of the Holy Spirit God with us Second what’s the work of the Holy Spirit? The work of the Holy Spirit is at least these three To point to Christ to give new life and to make us children of God Jesus said back on that night. He was betrayed back up in that upper room In John 16, it’s recorded, but when he, Jesus said, the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all 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. What the Holy Spirit does the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to point us to Jesus here’s another way to kind of Consider this if someone is presenting to you something they’re saying this is from the Holy Spirit But it’s promoting someone or something other than Jesus Christ beware It’s probably not the work of the Holy Spirit The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring glory to Christ and to Christ alone. Further, the work of the Holy Spirit gives us new life now and the promise of resurrection life to come. We turn to the book of Romans in the New Testament, chapter eight, where the Bible says this. If Christ lives in you, you will live, though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life. Capital S. The spirit does this because you’ve been made right with God. The spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. So the God who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your bodies. He will do this because of his spirit who lives in you. In other words, think of that the power of God that brought Jesus back from the dead. Yeah. is now alive to all who are in Christ Jesus to you his disciples today and then there’s this in Romans 8 it continues on the holy spirit you received made you God’s adopted child by the spirit’s power we call God Abba Abba means father it’s really a term of endearment it kind of means daddy the spirit himself joins with our spirit Together they tell us that we are God’s children.

As his children, we will receive all that he has for us. We will share what Christ receives. Indeed, the work of the Holy Spirit is to point to Christ, to give us new life now, and the hope and promise of resurrection life to come, and to make us a part of the family of God. To become a The children of God, as we say, to those who believe in Jesus Christ, we just had this as part of our worship service. He gives the power to become the children of God and bestows on them his Holy Spirit. You see how even our liturgy is just rooted in the scriptures. But there’s more. And this is not only what Jesus gave to his disciples back then. But it is what is given to his disciples even today, even to us. And that’s this, it’s a commission. Since Jesus ascension, we are to bear witness of him to the world. Since Christ is with our lives, our words, our testimony. I want to give you a couple of living examples here, right among us here at Victory. First, there’s, there’s a dear saint here at Victory who’s, who’s homebound. She’s, she’s not able to get out of the care facility she’s in, yet she worships with us every weekend.

You know who you are if you’re watching right now. And Pastor Susan gave me permission to share your story. Pastor Susan tells, I, I, I tell Susan, she’s on the front lines as she’s visiting people who are homebound, people in her church that we don’t see, but are very much a part of our congregation, yet. Living on mission for Christ. So get this, this dear saint not able to leave the care facility in which she lives, she wakes up and prays, Okay, Lord, what do you have for me to do today? Or, who do you have for me to talk to about you? And then this is what she does. This dear saint shares Jesus with others in the elevator, in the cafeteria during mealtime. And then this dear saint shares With those who are providing physical care to her on the phone, in person, you name it, this saint continues to carry out the great commission that Jesus has given her, even in this final season of her life. You can be on mission for Christ no matter what season of life you are in, and I want to be like her.

Second, as a church, here, Victory Lutheran. We are committed to this commission God has given us to bear witness of Jesus, as Jesus said here in our text, witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Now, we don’t have victory Lutheran Jerusalem, victory Lutheran Judea or Samaria. These are meant to be almost like concentric circles of how and where we are to bear witness of Christ. Jerusalem is local, Judea is regional, Samaria is national, ends of the earth, it’s global. Here’s some ways that we are doing this as a church. Locally, we open up our facility here for women who are homeless and for families who are, have housing insecurity and need to get their feet back underneath them. In fact, it’s through iHelp and Family Promise, and actually we have a week of Family Promise for a whole week. Homeless families will come and stay here on site at nights. We’ll feed them, wash their clothes, give them a safe, secure place to stay for a week, while then during the day, uh, in partnership with other, um, ministry partners here in the valley, they’re given job skills and learn how to get themselves back on their feet.

We have a week of that coming up starting a week from today. You can sign up in the foyer if you want to become a part of that. We have our food pantry on site that’s used to the max. Each day it’s open. We provide free office space onsite here for Lutheran Social Services, who then oversee a lot of mission to the needy in our community. Regionally, our quilters, who love just to come together and quilt, These quilts are given as tangible expressions that someone cares for people. They’re given often through our food pantry, throughout other local ministries, sent to the Navajo Nation, sent overseas, even to South Africa. Our women’s ministries support myriad number of valley based ministries. And then our mission partner with the Navajo Lutheran mission, is very active with the school and food and programming and mission. Uh, through a church even on the Navajo Nation. Nationally, we support our larger network of churches that’s part of church planting and pastor support nationally and even internationally. And our network is called Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ. Now, I love what that says, it doesn’t roll off the tongue very well. But Lutheran, okay, that’s us, congregations, yes, in Mission for Christ. I’m all in. And that’s who we are as a church and we support them financially. We support churches in their legal resources through support of Alliance Defending Freedom.

Globally, our Fair Trade mission supports Lutheran world relief efforts around the globe. Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse, we get to provide Christmas gifts to children around the world with a very clear evangelistic message of faith in Jesus Christ. And then there’s Orchard Africa, our mission partner in South Africa, through which we get to help equip the church to care for the most vulnerable in that part of the world. In other words, through your support and involvement here at Victory Lutheran, you are bearing witness of Christ right here in the East Valley, and regionally, nationally, and around the globe. In fact, that’s the very reason we exist as a church, as our mission says. We exist to glorify God by being and making disciples of Christ. So today, we find ourselves in that same position as Christ’s disciples. We are given the Holy Spirit. God is present with us. And through faith in Christ, we are made children of God and that our. Empowered by the Holy Spirit to be active witnesses of Christ to a watching and waiting world. So my prayer for you and for us is that Jesus Christ be glorified in all that we say and what we humbly do. Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God alone. Join me in prayer. Lord God, we thank you for the resurrection of Christ, his victory over death, sin, and the devil, and for the presence of the Holy Spirit. So empower us to bear witness boldly of your kingdom to those near and far, guided by the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. And may our lives reflect your love and truth in all that we say and do, to the glory of Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

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Follow Jesus

Whether you are new in faith or are seeking to deepen your walk with Jesus, we are eager to connect with you.

Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.

GriefShare

The GriefShare Program is a 13-week series of videos that we watch each week of the meeting. Each weekly GriefShare group begins with a 30-minute video featuring respected experts on grief-related topics and helpful stories from people who have experienced loss. Their insights will help you manage your emotions, gain clarity, and find answers to your questions as you walk through the grief process. We welcome everyone who has a loss; whether it be a child or a parent or spouse.

The videos are followed by discussion. Talking with other people who understand what you’re experiencing brings great comfort, normalizes the grief experience, and offers a supportive environment to work through your grief.

Each session stands alone, so you can join anytime. Consider a single session to learn about the program.

We meet every Monday from 12:30-2:30pm here at Victory.
Check out the schedule.

Sign up today!

Do you have more questions? 
Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.
Learn more about GriefShare at their webpage: www.griefshare.org.

WOMEN’S MINISTRY

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study.

Summer Schedule (May-Sept): 2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am

Winter Schedule (Oct-April): 2nd Tuesday of the month

Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am

Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)


Women’s Ministry

PURPOSE STATEMENT

As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Women’s Ministry

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    FAMILY PROMISE

    Four times a year we host families experiencing homelessness at Victory for a week at a time. Volunteers needed to set up rooms, preparing a meal, serve/clean-up dinner or stay as an overnight host.

    Upcoming Host Weeks: April 16-23, 2023 & November 112-19, 2023

    STEPHEN MINISTRY

    Stephen Ministers are lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life. 

    GRIEFSHARE

    A grief recovery support group where you can find help and healing for the hurt of losing a loved one.

    13-week Program: Mondays, 12:30-2:30pm, February 13-May 8, 2023
    (No meeting April 10th)
    GriefShare.org

    LSS-SW

    Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW)

    I-HELP PROGRAM: We provide a safe and secure place for women who are currently experiencing homelessness the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month.

    FOOD PANTRY: Food boxes distributed Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30am.
    Utility & rental assistance by appointment only 480-654-4539.

    Victory Quilters

    We meet the 3rd Tuesday and Wednesday of the month at 8:30am. Come when you can, stay as long as you can; everyone can cut, sew, pin and tie knots. You do not need to be a church or circle member to attend. Bring a friend! The quilts are donated to Navajo Lutheran Mission, Orchard: Africa and Lutheran Social Ministries. We typically break for the summer. Please check schedule.

    MUSIC MINISTRY

    Ensembles at Victory practice weekly during the high season to prepare for weekly worship and special events. In addition, many people share their talents individually. Click here for our concert line-up!

    NAVAJO LUTHERAN MISSION

    Serving the Navajo community of Rock Point, AZ, a remote, isolated village near the Four Corners. The Mission campus includes a K-2 private Christian school, clinic, cultural center, water project and food bank.  (nelm.org)

    FAIR TRADE

    Victory Women support Lutheran World Relief (lwr.org) by selling Fair Trade hand-made crafts, jewelry, coffee and tea that generates income for small-scale businesses in third world countries. 

    OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

    A “shoebox ministry” of Samaritan’s Purse, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world.

    ORCHARD: AFRICA

    To equip the church to respond to poverty & injustice, thereby caring for the vulnerable using four programs: Food & Agriculture, Care, Education and Ministry.  (orchardafrica.org)

    Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    WOMEN’S MINISTRY

    Welcome to the vibrant women’s ministry at Victory Lutheran Church! As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are committed to growing in faith, affirming our gifts, and supporting one another in our callings. Our purpose is to engage in ministry and action, promoting healing and wholeness in the church, society, and the world. At Victory Lutheran Church, our women’s ministry provides a nurturing and empowering space for women of all ages to connect, grow, and serve together. Through uplifting worship, inspiring Bible studies, enriching events, and impactful service opportunities, we equip women to live out their God-given purpose and embrace their unique gifts. Join us as we journey together, fostering fellowship, spiritual growth, and making a lasting impact within our church, our families, and our wider community.

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ,  and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

    • 2nd Tuesday of the month
    • Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am
    • Naomi Bible Study – 2:00pm
    • Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)