Monday, May 28, 2007

The Day After Pentecost

Yesterday was Sunday, May 28th. It was not just an ordinary weekend. Yes, it was part of Memorial Day weekend, but that isn't what made it so special. Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. It's the day we celebrate the birth of Church Universal. On that day some two millennia ago, the disciples of Jesus Christ were in a prayer meeting that lasted 10 days. As they prayed and sought God, the Bible records this happening:

"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance."

I am sure that the 120 followers of Christ there in that upper room that day were taken by surprise. They knew that somehow they would receive power. The Lord had told them that 10 days prior, just before he ascended into heaven. And now here they were, suddenly empowered by the Spirit of God, and they began to speak in languages that they did not know. They spilled out onto the streets, speaking in these languages. The city was full that day of folks from all over that region for the feast of Pentecost. They suddenly heard these disciples speaking in their own native languages "the mighty deeds of God". God used this event not only to fill his church with his spirit, but to bring a whopping 3000 souls into his Kingdom that day.

How many times have I been in services not too unlike that? Times when I have witnessed people being baptized in the Holy Spirit? The times that I have seen people healed by God's power? Most importantly, seen people running down the aisles to accept the Lord Jesus as the Savior as the Spirit of God drew them? I have been in some great services where heaven really touched us. It is an amazing thing to experience.

But I think this is area we need to be careful. I have found from my personal experience that we can begin to think that the Spirit's power is for having great church services. There is a place for that, certainly, but that isn't the point. We have been empowered by the Spirit of God to be witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ, not to simply "have church".

Once the service is over, and we make our way back home, back to our everyday lives, is when the real work begins. That first outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as well as our fillings nowadays, serve to prepare us to minister to a lost world. The real meat and potatoes begin the day after Pentecost.

That is where we find Peter and John. They weren't back in the upper room trying to get what they felt the day before. They were on the way to the temple at the hour of prayer. In other words, life didn't pause at the initial experience, it went on. They were doing what all good Jews were supposed to do. Spend time in prayer. But that is when they found a need. That is where they saw him, the man who couldn't walk. He was a beggar. He sat at the temple gate daily, begging for money. He had no other way to make a living. But that was all about to change.

I suppose they could have run back to their friends and taken a collection. Preachers are good at that, aren't they? But that would serve to prolong his condition another day. He didn't need money, he needed a good set of legs. So, that is when we see Peter telling this man that he had no money, but something far greater. He said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk". He stuck out a hand, and lifted him to his feet. The Bible says that immediately, his feet and ankle bones received strength, and we went leaping and running into the temple, praising God!

You see, we are empowered by the Spirit for this. It is for everyday life. Going to work. Taking our kids to the doctor. Shopping at Publix for groceries. You get the point. That is where the people are. There are souls out there in the balance, they need to hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We may not happen upon a lame man everyday, but we encounter spiritually immobile people every day.

That day of Pentecost, as Pastor Noland Colkmire, associate pastor at my church, said last night, was heaven touching earth. And indeed it was. But heaven desires to touch earth now, through vessels of human skin. Every time we meet someone where they are and show them the Lord Jesus in us, heaven touches earth. Every time we give a hot meal to a homeless person in Christ's name, heaven touches earth. Every time we lead a sinner to the Lord Jesus for salvation from their sin, heaven touches earth. We were filled so God can use his people to touch this world.

I hope and pray that you "make the most of every opportunity" as the Word of God tells us (Ephesians 5:16; Col. 4:5). God bless, my friends!


Rev. Cadenhead said...

I just wanted to tell you that I was so blessed by your post.
I have been in so much prayer lately that the something would wae up these sleeping Saints, to remember that we serv the same God as then, that we can through the Holy Ghost, have that same POWER!

Brother I pray that you and your church will be saturated with God's astounding power.
Be Blessed.
Reverend Mike Cdenhead

Neil said...

The day after the resurrection Jesus breathed on His disciples and told them to receive the Holy Spirit. The day after they received the Holy Spirit He expected them to breath on others so they could receive life!

Good post, thanks for sharing your heart!

ruthrap said...

this is a test to see if i can post a comment on your site..i had difficulties the other day...testing..1....2...3.....

ruthrap said...

wow...wouldn't you know it would work when i was just goofing around...seriously..I wanted to tell you that I hadn't been checking your blog and remembered to recently....good stuff, as always, Jeff...I really enjoy your thoughts..keep them coming!