From Tired to Fired

When we are completely exhausted—physically, emotionally and spiritually—how does God expect us to keep on keepin’ on? How do we go from tired to fired up? That answer is pretty simple—the Holy Spirit.

We’ve all seen them. The before and after advertisements on TV and in magazines. There’s the skinny little kid at the beach who gets sand kicked in his face by every passing bully. Enrollment in a specialized weight-lifting and exercise program makes him the envy of every young boy and the idol of every pretty girl.

There are diet ads showing an overweight man or woman who has lost 50-100 pounds in a minimal amount of time. The after picture always shows a well-proportioned, trim individual holding his or her “fat” clothes.

If you are a plant owner, you are also encouraged to get into the act. Your sickly, scraggly, malnourished plant can become lush, full and healthy with “just one application” of Miracle-Gro.

The Before Picture

The Bible, too, presents a “before” and “after” picture of sorts. It is a picture of the followers of Jesus before and after Pentecost. The before picture is bleak. In the Garden of Gethsemane, these loyal friends ran away. Peter pledged his allegiance to the Messiah, yet stood in Pilate’s courtyard and vehemently denied ever knowing Jesus of Nazareth. At the crucifixion of Golgotha, most of the faithful band stayed on the outskirts of the mob. Only John and Mary, the mother of Jesus, dared to venture near enough to the cross to be recognized.

Even after the resurrection, the disciples did not seem all that different. You would think that they would be excited about their incredibly good news of the Master’s return to life. Certainly, it would seem that they would not hesitate to shout from the rooftops that Jesus was alive. Yet, the apostle John declares in his gospel, that even though the women had reported seeing Jesus alive in the garden, on the evening of that first day of the week…the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews.2 Even after the women had declared the good news of the resurrection, the brave men who had been Jesus’ closest companions continued to meet behind closed and locked doors because they were afraid.

Tired and Bored

Later, we read in the gospel of John that although they had seen Jesus alive with their own eyes, the men who had sat under His teachings for three years remained unchanged. Simon Peter, Thomas, Andrew, James, John and a couple of others, decided to head north once again to the Galilean district from whence they came to go fishing. No reason is given for their decision. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing.

Maybe they were running from the Jews. John had already indicated they were afraid of being “found out.” Perhaps they had “cabin fever”. They had been cooped up in that upper room for a long time. Maybe they were just bored. No doubt they were drained—emotionally and physically exhausted by the tumultuous events of the past few days.

Perhaps the best word to sum up how the followers of the Prophet from Nazareth in Galilee felt is “tired.” They were worn out, emotional and physical wrecks who had been on an emotional rollercoaster of incredible proportions. They had, literally, been in the depth of despair and on the pinnacles of ecstasy!

But then, something happened—something that Jesus had prophesied and yet something that was BEYOND their wildest dreams. The Holy Spirit came. With a rushing sound of wind, appearance of dancing tongues of fire and with the Sprit-inspired utterances in languages they had never learned, the followers of Jesus were transformed from tired disciples into fired apostles.

Gone was the “ho-hum” attitude, boredom and fear. Gone too, was the hesitancy to declare the good news of the empty tome and their risen Lord.

Fired and Bold

After the Holy Spirit infused them, they no longer ran away and hid behind locked doors. In fact, when the Jews came running to find out what was happening on the first Pentecost, the disciples did not hesitate to witness to them about Jesus. Peter, the once-cringed coward in the courtyard and denounced knowing Jesus, stood before thousands of skeptics and preached to the gathering mob about the Jesus they had crucified. He preached so convincingly of Jesus’ divinity that 3.000 people were converted to the Christian faith that very day!

After the coming of the Spirit of God, the followers of Jesus no longer hung on the outskirts of the crowd. In fact, if a crowd was gathered anywhere, usually one of the Nazarene’s followers was at the center of it. They were no longer meeting behind closed doors. They met in the open, worshipped in the synagogues and, when they were arrested, did not hesitate to preach to the ones of whom they had previously been afraid. Even when ordered not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus, Peter and John declared without hesitation, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.3

Gone was the inclination to go fishing on the Sea of Galilee. As “fishers of men,” the disciples were too busy sharing who Jesus was and what His death on Calvary meant to worry about casting nets and setting fishing lines. In fact, the disciples and new converts had to pick deacons to do the administrative work of the church so that these fishermen-turned-preachers could give their attention to prayer and ministry of the word.3

What Made the Difference?

What was the plus factor that changed fearful fishermen into fearless proclaimers of the good news of Jesus Christ? How did they go from men and women that were tired to people who were fired up to preach, witness and testify to the good news that only THEY knew?

It was not just a “strength in numbers” mentality. Luke’s account in Acts says that there were 120 people meeting in that upper room behind LOCKED doors! They were afraid to go out—even to go to the synagogue to observe the festival of Pentecost (a Jewish holiday celebrated 50 days after the Passover). It was not just the rushing wind, the tongues of fire or even the new languages they received with which they praised and glorified God that made the difference. These were only signs of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, the Comforter that Jesus promised would bring power to make the disciples His witnesses throughout the entire world.

The plus factor was the Holy Spirit Himself—the coming of the Spirit of God into the spirits and lives of those men and women gathered together in the upper room. The Holy Spirit changed things. He shook up the religious status quo.

The coming of the Holy Spirit in our lives makes a difference just as His coming made a difference in the lives of Peter, James, John and the others. We cannot remain the same when Jesus Christ gets control of our lives. In the same way, we will be different (as the disciples were different) when the Spirit comes. The tired believer becomes the fired witness of Jesus.

New Speech

Our speech and testimony will be different when the Spirit comes. We will have a new boldness—a new  confidence—that we did not have before. Luke declared in the Acts of the Apostles, hey were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with BOLDNESS.5 Like the disciples of the first century, we will be given the right words to testify to our faith. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, the right words will be given to us at the right time.

Jesus promised that. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.6 His students found it to be true when they stood before the Council in the fourth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

Help in Prayer

Not only will the Holy Spirit give us the right words at the right time to share our faith, He will also give us the right words to pray. There are times when we don’t know what to pray. Indeed, there are times when any words we utter in prayer seem to be the wrong words. This is when the Holy Spirit helps us. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know who to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”7

Peace in Trouble

The Holy Spirit at work in our lives also brings us a peace and a comfort in times of difficulty and trial. Jesus promised it in John’s gospel. “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.”8 There are times when we are so overwrought, distressed, anxious and “up tight” that we are absolutely certain we will go crazy! Yet, at these times, there often comes a peace that passes understanding that enables us to not only survive the crisis, but even overcome it. Even if we are facing persecution and trial for being true to our faith, the Holy Spirit is with us.

Stephen sensed the Spirit’s presence as he was being stoned to death. The disciples, when  brought before the Council, knew that they were not alone. Martin Luther, when he was tried for heresy, knew that God was with him. Our brothers and sisters in Christ who live behind the Iron Curtain or the Bamboo Curtain are conscious, every day, of the Spirit’s presence.


Jesus promised another gift would be ours when the Spirit comes—the gift of guidance. The guidance into all truth in our life, in our word and in our study of God’s Word will be available to us. When the Spirit of truth comes, John wrote, He will guide you into all truth.9


Perhaps the most sought-after promise of God’s Spirit as work in our lives is the promise of power—power not only to testify, but power to also live the Christian life without compromise, fear or surrender to the forces of evil at work in our world.

Our Own Plus Factor

The plus factor in the Christian life is the Holy Spirit. He turns fearful, timid and tired Christians into bold, fearless and fired proclaimers of the Gospel. The Counselor brings peace and comfort to the upheavals in our lives. He brings assurance to the uncertain and wavering one. And He also brings conviction to the sinner—whether Christian or now. He cleanses us, renews us and restores us.

The Holy Spirit is the POWER CHARGE for the Christian be restoring our drained spiritual batteries. He gives us the impetus we need to get out of ourselves and into a world that needs to know about a God of love. The Spirit is the One who gives depth to our faith, meat to our prayers and boldness when we’re afraid. He thaws the words frozen in our hearts and mouths and gives them utterance.

Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”10 That promise is to you and me as well as to the first century disciples. The power is there for the taking if we will receive it. It’s there to change us from discouraged disciples to faithful believers, from tired to fired. The Holy Spirit is for you and me, here and now. Will you receive Him?

Scriptures Used in Today’s Message

  1. Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-6
  2. John 20:19
  3. Acts 4:18b-19
  4. Acts 6:4
  5. Acts 2:4
  6. Matthew 10:19-20
  7. Romans 8:26
  8. John 14:16 (RSV)
  9. John 16:13
  10. Acts 1:8

Maple UMC Calendar

March 2023

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  • SWMi Young Marines
  • Adult Sunday School
  • Worship Service with Holy Communion
  • Worship service
  • Fellowship and Coffee Time
  • Breakfast Buddies
  • SWMi Young Marines
  • Adult Sunday School
  • Worship service
  • Fellowship and Coffee Time
  • Breakfast Buddies
  • Golden Maples
  • SWMi Young Marines
  • Finance Team
  • Amateur Radio Society
  • Leadership Team
  • Adult Sunday School
  • Worship service
  • Fellowship and Coffee Time
  • Breakfast Buddies
  • SWMi Young Marines
  • Adult Sunday School
  • Worship service
  • Fellowship and Coffee Time
  • Breakfast Buddies
  • SWMi Young Marines


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