Today, Sunday 8 June is Pentecost for 2014!
Pentecost is based on the Greek word for “50 days”. It refers to one of the most significant events in the life of the early first century church, when the Holy Spirit descended from heaven and manifested in the Upper Room, Jerusalem to the ~50 believers.
In focusing on the Spirit of God coming alive within us the believers I would also like us to consider Ezekiel 37:3-14:
And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”
This verse came to me at the end of a “Connecting to the Head” session held yesterday. The session was part of the cell leaders training workshop where I had just helped to demonstrate the same exercise in a fishbowl variation. Thus, I had two back-to-back opportunities to connect with then head and lordship of Christ Jesus.
As part of the afternoon practical component, both myself and my cell group co-leader were invited to share our experiences – personal and cell group based – with Connecting with the Head. This was an opportunity for me to share again on my encounter with God as described in Defying Gravity.
In addition to the Spirit-led direction to Ezekiel above, I also sensed a Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I concluded this based on the presence of the Holy Spirit felt a year ago at Pentecost 2013! The same warm sensational hovered near me to the left. This outpouring was in direct response to the fervent small group prayers being offered up. I proclaimed the same outpouring over my two brothers-in-Christ who formed the two other sides of our prayer group. Both brothers are in reality uncles, a whole generation older than me age-wise. Apparently my prayer and connection to God helped him discern a deep level of Spiritual maturity that is very rare amongst people of my age group!
One uncle, who had known me as long as 20 years earlier, explained our previous background & connection to the other uncle. This other uncle has only been at Clayton Church for less than a year, and we have spent a few lunch occasions in fellowship outside of church. Both were deeply inspired by my faith and could tell that God had somehow challenged me in recent times.
Today being Pentecost officially is a birthday milestone of sorts for the global church. Having only had a taste of the Holy Spirit yesterday (Sat), I start today with great expectations that God will surely move!
The final thought in tying this post on Pentecost to the previous Defying Gravity encounter is that today/tomorrow is a very literal opportunity where I can say that I have heard and will be obeying God. The number one takeaway from Defying Gravity was hearing God instruct me to “feed my sheep”. With my cell group rostered to serve church lunch tomorrow, I will be applying and obeying his work since my group will be feeding the church!
Yesterday, my cell group spent some six hours preparing today’s lunch with the intention to refrigerate overnight and then heat up this morning. Waiting for a pot of Japanese curry to cool down sufficiently so that we could store it away was the main consequence of our decision to proceed with cooking on the Saturday/day before serving… We did our best to ensure the pots were indeed sufficiently cooled down, but we left church having entrusted them to being stored safely in the fridge. Our final act that I led our 2 remaining volunteers in was to pray over the food and for God to keep the pots safe, healthy and preserved. I pray that today we will extract a God-provided lunch.
May our lunch feed God’s house today as the Holy Spirit fills and feeds us all with His overflowing blessings.