Sent in the Spirit

A theme interpretation written by Matt DeBall, coordinator of Mission Advancement Communications, for the 2023 Pentecost Offering

“Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” ~John 20:21-22, NIV

It’s difficult to do anything without having sufficient support. It’s a privilege to be invited, but it’s a blessing to be given everything that is needed to move forward. When Jesus approached his terrified and weary followers, they needed divine vision but also heavenly provision.

To be clear, the disciples had good reason to be concerned. The Lord was known for being righteous and innocent of all crimes, but he was put to death as a scapegoat by a hate-filled religious mob and an unjust criminal justice system with more than one official who turned a blind eye to the whole ordeal. Those who followed Jesus were concerned that the people who pleaded for Jesus to be put to death would come after them next. Amid the uncertainty of their situation and of the future, Jesus appeared among them.

We may not be as fearful for our lives as the disciples, but we still have concerns about what the future holds. Offered compelling and compounding data that our sacred task is far too risky and our challenges too numerous, we convince ourselves that we can’t bring healing to our communities, to our country, to our world. And this conclusion, though morose, is correct. In our own strength and might, we simply can’t do or be all that is needed to step out of hiding and make a difference.

However, the Lord has not called us to abandon us. Sent by God, the risen Jesus set his transition plan in motion. Not only did Jesus put the train back on the track, but he also provided fuel for the engine. Like at the time of creation when God imparted the breath of life and animation to humanity (Hebrew “ruah”), so also does Jesus Christ breathe new life and reanimation into his followers (Greek “pneuma”)—with breath that revived his followers after the resurrection and stirs up new life in every age.

Through the missions and ministries of the Church of the Brethren, we recognize our God-given calling and that the Holy Spirit empowers us to continue the work of Jesus. We are calling and equipping fearless disciples and leaders, renewing and planting churches, and transforming communities. Your support of the Pentecost Offering supports these faith-building and life-changing endeavors that we do together—through the power of God and the unity of the Holy Spirit.

We have not been called and left hanging. We have been commissioned to important work and given the support we need to carry it out. We, indeed, have been sent in the Spirit. May we go forth with the Lord who has called us and the Spirit that sustains us.

Find this and other worship resources for the Pentecost Offering of the Church of the Brethren (suggested date May 28) at or give an offering today at

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Pentecost Offering 2020

Worship Resources for the 2020 Pentecost Offering
of the Church of the Brethren

Worship Resources for the 2020 Pentecost Offering
of the Church of the Brethren

Shine on: a study Bible” produced by Brethren Press

The day when God made church” by Rebekah McLeod Hutto

Filled with new life
Photo by Glenn Riegel

A scripture medley with Acts 2:1-12 for the 2019 Pentecost Offering

ONE:  When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

ALL:  For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.

ONE:  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

ALL: The Lord God … breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

ONE:  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.

ALL:  In the last days I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.

ONE:  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

ALL:  I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever.

ONE:  Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

ALL:  You shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.

ONE:  And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

ALL:  I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

ONE:  Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?”

ALL:  For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.

ONE: Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

ALL:  I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

ONE:  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

ALL: By your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves.

ONE: Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

ALL:  Now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

ONE:  All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

(Matthew 18:20, Genesis 2:7, Joel 2:28, John 14:16, Exodus 19:5-6, Isaiah 43:9, Matthew 19:26, John 10:16, Genesis 22:18, Ephesians 2:13)

Find this and other worship resources for the Pentecost Offering or support it today at

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Wait for the Spirit Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

An excerpt from “Sermon starter: the witness of work” written by Paula Bowser, pastor of Trotwood Church of the Brethren, Ohio.

I want to begin with a familiar story. Cinderella is the stuff of royalty, but nobody knows it. She’s the stepsister in the background. She’s in the ash heap cleaning the soot from the hearth. She’s working behind the scenes like a common drudge, and her older sisters either ignore her or treat her like a slave.

But when her fairy godmother comes to visit, everything changes. Cinderella is clothed in fine silks and outfitted like a queen. Her beauty and her worth are finally recognized. And when the prince throws a party, she’s the belle of the ball.

I once heard a famous theologian refer to the Holy Spirit as the Cinderella of the Trinity, and I agree. For most of the Bible, especially in the Gospels, the focus is on the Father and the Son. But as the ministry of Jesus draws to a close, he begins to teach the disciples about the Holy Spirit.

Right before Jesus goes to the cross, he says, “I’m leaving you. Pretty soon you’ll look for me and I won’t be here, because I’m going to the Father.” He then says, quite mysteriously, “But I won’t abandon you like orphans. I’m going to come to you. God will send the Comforter. This is the Advocate, the Counselor, the Paraclete. This is the Holy Ghost, who will guide you into all truth, and help you remember everything I taught you. You’re going to need this, because without me you can do nothing.”

Just before Jesus ascends into heaven he says, “Wait for it. Wait for the promise of God. John baptized with water but you’re going to be baptized by the Spirit. You’re going to receive power when the Holy Spirit falls on you. Then you’ll be my witnesses—starting here in Jerusalem, stretching out to Samaria, and then all the way to the uttermost parts of the earth. But don’t start out on your own. Don’t do anything until it is time.”

Read this worship resource in full and find others for the 2015 Pentecost Offering at Support the life-changing ministries of the Church of the Brethren today at

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