THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO DISNEY #4
If you’re not plugged in, some things just won’t work. I remember reading a story about a woman whose son bought her a brand new vacuum cleaner right before Christmas. A couple of days later he dropped by to ask how she liked it. She blew up at him. She lamblasted both him and the vacuum cleaner. She said it was the worst vacuum she’d ever had. It took her 45 minutes to vacuum the living room rug. She’d start and it would go off. Then all of a sudden it would come back on on. So, she’d start vacuuming again and then it would go off.
She finally got the rug vacuumed by vacuuming like crazy when it was on and then resting when it went off. All she wanted was for him to take it back a buy her something that worked.
The son got to checking out the vacuum and couldn’t find anything wrong with it. So he plugged it in and it worked just fine. It never went off. So, he got to looking around and finally figured out the problem of the mysterious power interruption. It seems his mother had been plugging the vacuum into the power strip by the Christmas tree which was plugged into the wall via a blinker switch for the lights on the tree.
If you’re not plugged in, you’ve got no power. And sometimes, even if you are plugged in, you might be plugged into the wrong source of power. What’s the source of power in your life?
The title for this morning’s message comes from a Disney movie: G-FORCE. It’s about an experimental project to use Guinea Pigs as spies and secret agents. The tag line is Gadgets, Gizmos and Guinea Pigs. So, what does that have to do with our spiritual life? Not a thing. It’s just another Disney movie in which animals talk and take on human sized acts of heroism. A little bit of light entertainment.
But the Title got me to thinking. In the movie it means Guinea Pig Force. But what if the G stood for God? G-FORCE then is God’s Force. Let’s look at our passage for today.
John 14:8-20 (NRSV)
 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.
 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.
 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.
 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.
 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.
 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
As you can tell, the G-FORCE I’m talking about is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit IS the power of God in our daily lives. God IS with us. And the power of God will leads us, if we will let the Holy Spirit work in our lives. Using the word FORCE as an acronym, let’s look at how some of the areas in which we experience the power of the Holy Spirit helps.
The Power of the Holy Spirit helps strengthen our FAITH. Jesus said “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.”
Faith is believing God’s promises and setting out to do great things in God’s name. This church was built by people of faith. A faithful person is one who is actively engaged in the work of God’s Kingdom on earth. Faith is acting upon our beliefs and seeking to live as Jesus taught.
On Feb 6, 1709, when John Wesley was six-years-old the parsonage in which he lived with his family caught fire. The alarm was given and his parents thought everyone was out of the house. But when they started counting, they discovered that one of the children was missing. And, to their horror, they saw young John Wesley at an upstairs window, caught in the burning building. The father, a very devout and scholarly Anglican minister, immediately dropped to his knees, and began praying that God would save his son.
Susannah Wesley, his mother, was a person of great faith as well but she was also a very practical woman. She immediately ran next door and got a neighbor with a ladder. That neighbor, working with other neighbors, rescued her son from the flaming house. (4)
It was a life changing event for John Wesley. I think it teaches us that there are times when prayer is called for but sometimes the best way to express your faith is to get off our knees and do something. Faith is seeking to put our relationship into action in our everyday lives. The Power of the Holy Spirit helps strengthen our FAITH and helps us put it into action.
The Power of the Holy Spirit helps us OBEY. Jesus told the disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” A sign of our love is simply obedience. The Holy Spirit keeps us on track with God’s purpose.
A man came out of Church one Sunday all charged up from the sermon. He pumped the preacher’s hand like trying to prime an old deep well hand pump. With a smile that stretched from ear to ear he loudly proclaimed, “I love God so much, I’m ready to choke anybody who dares to speak against him.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really think that’s what Jesus had in mind. The Holy Spirit keeps the voice of Jesus alive in our hearts reminding us of all Jesus taught; helping us, strengthening us, guiding us to Obey all that Jesus taught. The Spirit keeps our faith well balanced.
The Power of the Holy Spirit helps us OBEY.
The Power of the Holy Spirit helps us REPENT. We’ve talked about how the Spirit helps us obey God. But there are times when we simply fail to obey. But the Spirit doesn’t give up. The Spirit continues to call us back. Through the Sanctifying Grace of God we are lead back into a right relationship with God through Christ where we are enabled to lay down the burdens and sins that weigh us down.
I found out something I thought was pretty amazing this week. Apparently, in the outback of New Zealand, they herd sheep with helicopters. So, what does that have to do with Repentance? Well, Watch this and then I’ll explain.
It seems that for six years, every time Shrek heard a helicopter, he ran into a cave and hid. For six years he ran and hid. Luckliy he was found because in all that time he hadn’t been sheared. When he was sheared his wool weighed over 60 pounds, 5 times as much as a normal sheep ready for shearing and more than enough to make 20 men’s suits. The wool was auctioned off and raised over $15,000 which went to keep a local school open., By hiding, though, Shrek was doomed to carry the burden of that wool every day.
We do that to ourselves all the time. We are burdened by the weight and guilt of our sin and life gets slogged down. We find ourselves cut off and alone in the wilderness. The Power of the Holy Spirit helps lead us to REPENT and lay the burden of sin down. The Holy Spirit reminds us why Jesus came. For our salvation.
A. The Power of the Holy Spirit helps us CONNECT.
This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.
The story is told about a crow flying along who saw a turtle sitting on top of a fence post. Curious, the crow flew down and asked the turtle, “How did you get there?” And the turtle said, “Well, obviously not by myself.”
We need to be Connected to others. We weren’t created to be alone. When God created Adam, God looked at him and said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” (Gen 2:18) So, God created Eve for companionship. Those connections with loved ones give us strength.
B. But we need more than companionship as well. Our lives are sort of like rechargeable batteries. Batteries provide just the right amount of power for whatever task we are doing, whether it be talking on the phone, crunching numbers on a laptop or iPad or filming your child’s recital. But rechargeable batteries don’t do any good if they’re not charged or if they only have a partial charge.
Our spiritual batteries need charging and re-charging on a regular basis. That’s where worship helps. You may not think you get much out of worship. Worship helps charge your batteries. Taking the Sacrament helps as well. Worship attendance and the sacrament are both what John Wesley called Means of Grace. Means by which we receive and connect with the Grace of God; they are means by which we are fed and nourished spiritually. And just as we need good food to survive daily, we need spiritual food to survive spiritually.
The Power of the Holy Spirit helps us CONNECT and stay connected.
The Power of the Holy Spirit ENCOURAGES US. In the movie G-FORCE, the Guinea Pigs have been told that they are genetically altered and endowed with special gifts. But when they find out that they are really just ordinary Guinea Pigs, it takes Hurley, the pet store Guinea Pig to see just how special they really are.
And off they go to save the world, which they do. The thing is, we all need someone to encourage us when times are tough or we begin to doubt ourselves, our faith and even God. The Power of the Holy Spirit is there to ENCOURAGE US.
Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. We know him, because he abides with us, and he will be in us.” And then he said, “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.”
We are connected to one another and to the very Son of God who abides in us through the Holy Spirit. The Power of the Holy Spirit is there to ENCOURAGE US.
The Holy Spirit is a FORCE to be reckoned with. It is God’s FORCE to empower us in our walk of faith. There was a man who went to a county fair and looked at all of the exhibits. From a distance he saw a man in a golden suit pumping water with one of those old hand pumps. The water was really gushing out. But as he got closer he discovered that instead of being a real man, this was a manikin attached to a pump which was activated by an electric motor. The man wasn’t pumping the water. The water was pumping the man.
That has always been the secret of the Church. The Holy Spirit, the gift of God’s presence, the power of God is pumping us. It powered the Disciples. It powered the early church. That same power is available to our lives as well. If we’ll simply Plug In. That’s our challenge and invitation.
Invite Christ into your life? Invite the Holy Spirit to fill your heart and soul with the gift of God’s presence? Invite the Holy Spirit and rely on God’s FORCE. Plug in and let the force of the Holy Spirit be the power in your life.
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love.”
This is the Word of the Lord for this day.