Greetings friends, 

 

The Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference meets in Peoria Thursday morning June 6th through Saturday morning June 8th. Bishop Beard has selected Acts 2:1-2 and “Hearts Strangely Warmed by the Blaze of the Holy Spirit” as our scriptural theme. He writes to us with holy anticipation: 

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”

“Lord, do it again, and please start with me!” That’s a part of my prayer for this year’s  Annual Conference. Would you consider making it a part of yours? The rest of that little prayer request is, “Lord, send the gentle wind of your Holy Spirit to blow upon the embers of my heart and fan me into flames for Jesus.” The winds are blowing across the people called United Methodist. It is our decision how we will choose to respond. The folks in the Upper Room made themselves available as receptive vessels that God could fill. My hope is that the delegates and attenders of this year’s Conference will come desiring a fresh touch from the Holy Spirit.

So, I humbly ask for your prayers (and God willing…your fasting) for our local lay delegate Joseph Shepherd and for me as we prepare for annual conference. Please pray for our Bishop Frank Beard and his episcopal Cabinet, and for the hundreds of clergy and lay delegates of the IGRC. Pray for God’s will to be done and for the Holy Spirit to provide us with wisdom and discernment during the clergy and laity sessions to elect 5 General Conference delegates each. The clergy have 51 candidates and the laity have 43 candidates on their ballots. God help us!

“He ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.”

 This summer we will explore the ascension of Jesus Christ in the book of Hebrews and consider what it means for us in the present…in the here and now and not just in the past or the future. Dr. Steve Seamands writes in The Unseen Real that “The ascension means that Jesus is King and humanity is exalted. He is always personally present with us and gives us power to rule over our enemies. We have been called to join him in his ongoing ministry of intercession and in his mission to the world.” Amen. May it be so in our lives! 

Christ transforms our lives so our community can thrive.  Pastor Zack