Worship Service – June 5, 2022

Pentecost Sunday

Scriptures; Genesis 11:1-9 and Acts 2:1-21

Message; “Beating Babel”

Genesis 11:1-9

The Tower of Babel

(1) Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. (2) As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
(3) They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. (4) Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
(5) But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. (6) The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. (7) Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
(8) So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. (9) That is why it was called Babel -because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Acts 2:1-21

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

(1) When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (2) Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (4) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(5) Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. (6) When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. (7) Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? (8) Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? (9) Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (10) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (11) (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (12) Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
(13) Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine. “(14) Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. (15) These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! (16) No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
(17) ” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
(18) Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
(19) I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
(20) The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
(21) And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

With Memorial Day behind us, the celebrating and remembering of those who have died to free us from oppression, we gather together on this Pentecost Sunday still struggling with the events that took place at the Tower of Babel.
I remember the first time one of my children encountered a person speaking a foreign language. He asked me; “Dad why does that man talk funny?” I don’t remember my response. But I do know that scripture tells us it all began at the Tower of Babel.
The Tower of Babel that we find in chapter 11 of Genesis, was being built because, human pride had decided it would make a name for itself and would build a city and a tower that would be a gateway to heaven. God would not allow such presumption so the speech of the workers was confused, they fell to bickering among themselves, dispersed over all the earth, and never did complete the tower. And that is why Germans do not understand French, Italians do not understand Chinese, Greeks do not understand English, and nobody understands teenagers!
To this day, we have problems communicating with one another. In international relations, translations often fail to convey proper meanings. Multinational corporations sometimes learn the lesson the hard way. I remember years ago an the advertising business that was responsible for the Pepsi Cola account. They came up with the slogan, “Come alive! You’re in the Pepsi generation.” Remember that? I am told that Pepsi tried to market their product in China using the same slogan. In Chinese the meaning came out as, “Ha! Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.” Not so good a slogan in Chinese!
To be sure, communication is tough enough even when folks speak the same language. The same word means different things to different people. Think about this. In our country today one person talks about justice and means that everyone should have fair and equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . No one should expect a free ride at the expense of society, each one should pull his or her own weight. That is just. But another thinks justice means that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be understood to guarantee a home, a job, and medical care for everyone, regardless of any other consideration, and we should all chip in to make sure that no one falls through the cracks. Same word … justice … vastly different meanings.
Then there are times, misunderstandings are accidental. Consider this story. A little old lady planning a vacation wrote a letter to a particular campground to inquire about its facilities. She could not bring herself to write the word “toilet” so she finally settled on the term, “BC,” which, to her, meant “bathroom commode.” The initials baffled the campground manager who showed the letter to some of the other campers. They didn’t understand either until one of them suggested the woman might be referring to a Baptist church. The owner agreed and wrote this reply:
Dear Madam,
Thank you for your inquiry. I take pleasure in informing you that a BC is located two miles north of our campground, and seats 250 people. My wife and I go quite regularly, but as we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, particularly during cold spells. If you visit our campground, perhaps we could go with you the first time, sit with you, and introduce you to the other folks. Ours is a friendly community.
Sincerely yours
Mistaken impressions notwithstanding, Most of us know that some of what we hear and don’t hear is quite deliberate. Any wife who has ever asked a husband to mow the lawn or fix the toilet during the telecast of their favorite sporting event could say, “Amen,” to that. It’s the Tower of Babel, twenty-first-century style.
Unfortunately, the problem is just as bad in the church. There are communication gaps all over the place. Gaps between denominations, gaps between the pulpit and the pew, gaps between young and old, gaps between rich and poor, gaps between liberal and conservative. If anyone wonders why, in almost 2,000 years, we have not won the world for Jesus Christ, the answer is that we have not communicated the good news of the gospel with much effectiveness at all. And the shame of it is that there was once a day when the divisions of Babel were mended.
The writer of Acts tells us: ”When the day of Pentecost came,” in Acts 2:1, it was not unlike our Memorial Day, remembering and celebrating freedom from oppression. Pentecost, is one of the three great holy days of the Jewish year. Thousands of the faithful had gathered in Jerusalem from all over the known world to celebrate Passover.
He tells us the disciples were there as well. They had been praying together for ten solid days and now experienced an almost unbelievable miracle. A miraculous religious experience. So when those gathered outside that upstairs room heard the sound of a violent wind and the disciples emerged, a crowd gathered together in bewilderment, because each one of them heard them speaking in his own language, causing quite a commotion.
Some thought it was just a drunken party. But others listened more carefully to what was going on. That day miraculously, each one hearing understood, and they asked one another, “What does this mean?”. It made no difference what their native tongue might have been. As they listened, they heard the story of what God had done in that group and was prepared to do in all who would believe. The ancient divisions at the Tower of Babel had been healed. The result? Scripture says that 3,000 people responded to the invitation of Peter that day to “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” It was a great day!
One wonders why there have not been more days like that. After all, the Holy Spirit who imparted such power on that ragtag band did not suddenly vanish. Christians continue to believe that the Spirit empowers the church. We believe that the Spirit is with us now, ready to warm cold hearts, soften stiff necks, penetrate thick skulls, and heal the divisions of Babel. What has gone wrong?
If we consider that brief scene described in the beginning of the book of Acts, several things jump out at us that are different today than they were back then.
First, the church no longer prays and waits for God’s leading like it did. The instructions given to the disciples at Jesus’ ascension were to wait in Jerusalem for divine direction, divine power. They did. For ten days they waited and prayed. When was the last time you heard of a ten-day prayer meeting … or even a ten-hour prayer meeting? In a society that demands instant food, instant coffee, instant banking, instant success, instant everything, prayerful waiting no longer seems to be a priority.
Second, the church no longer cares as much about being “all together in one place” as it did. If that day of Pentecost were transplanted to our day, more than half would probably have been absent. Peter and his wife would have been at their cottage in the mountains; Bartholomew would have had guests in from out of town for the member-guest tournament at the club and would not be there; Phillip and his family would have been up late the night before and overslept; Andrew would have had a business conference about a new fishing boat; and James would have had to stay home to cut the grass. Togetherness is not considered as important in the church as it once was.
And third, the message of the church these days seems less about “the mighty acts of God” than about social justice or abortion or sexuality or any number of other things. Compounding the problem is the fact that the church speaks with more than one voice on the questions. People on the outside don’t know what or whom to believe. Those issues are all important, but the result is that our message has been skewed.
Prayerful waiting, communicating with God. Fellowship, communicating with each other God’s will in our lives, and communicating with the world the message of salvation are the necessities to “Beating Babel”. We don’t seem to be doing a very good job of any of them. Babel is prevalent, our human pride is still deciding to make a name for itself. That Pentecost day, God provided for us the power to be “Beating Babel”.
The miracle of Pentecost was not simply the coming of the Holy Spirit. Scripture makes clear that the Spirit was active in human affairs from the beginning of time. The real miracle was that the divisions of Babel were overcome. Real communication took place, and the result was an exponential growth of the church. Yes, Pentecost can beat Babel once more. Why not here? Why not now?
It’s the will of God for us to be, “Beating Babel”.
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20220605
Listen To Audio: Service 06052022

*Call to Worship:

L:  The Day of Pentecost has come and we are together.  Let us face bravely into the winds of God

P:  Surely God is in this place!  The works of God surround us … listen … look!

L:  The Spirit of God fills us with amazement.  God sets us afire with wonder and awe.

P:  We will sing to God as long as we live; we will celebrate the gifts of God.


Prayer of Confession:   God of majesty and power, we tremble when we become aware of who you are.  Who are we that you should visit us or expect something from us?  We confess our preference for the predictable.  We admit our resistance to your Spirit.  We acknowledge our misuse of your gifts to us.  We prefer our divisions to your unity.  Forgive us, O God of power and might, that we might forgive.  Draw us back into a right relationship with you, and with one another.   Amen




Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Wednesday Mornings from 9:00 to 11:00.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to Local Mission.

Social Hour after Sunday Services TODAY.        Greeting cards for signature are in the Community Building.

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Hymn Sing TODAY at 3:00.  Please invite others. 

Presbyterian Women will meet on Thursday, June 9th at 11 A.M.

Men’s Breakfast Wednesday June 15th at 8:00 A.M.

Session meeting June 18th at 9 A.M.

Newsletter Deadline June 28th

Please mark your envelope if you are contributing to the piano repair fund.

Please sign up to host one of the social hours on the Sunday after Communion Service on the first Sunday of the month.  Hosting only means setting out what is brought and cleaning up afterward.  It does not mean bringing everything to share.

We are looking for “Message in Music” for the summer months.



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