We are coming up on the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Christians church. It was the day when the Holy Spirit came upon a group of believers huddled together in an upper room in Jerusalem and transformed them into a powerful team that transformed the world. Wouldn't it be great for that kind of experience to occur today?
It had been fifty days since Jesus' resurrection and ten days since they watched Him ascend into heaven. For forty days Jesus had taught His followers and commissioned them to continue His ministry. On the day He ascended, Jesus told them to wait in the city for the "promise of the Father," the Holy Spirit, who would empower them to accomplish Christ's will for them.
One Hundred Twenty believers waited for ten more days.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV)
We can only imagine what that might have looked like. Several years ago I wondered why we do not see that kind of phenomena in our world today and why we have not had that great an outflowing of the Holy Spirit. Yes, there have been many revivals; John Wesley led a revival in England that led to the end of slavery, The Great Awakenings in the early days of the US (1760 and 1806); The Welsh revival that transformed an entire nation, Azusa Street, the Charismatic renewal, and several more. Even today there are pockets of revival still going on. But none like Pentecost.
While reading the biblical account of the birth of the Church, I began to wonder why we do not see this happening today. I do not believe that Pentecost was a single event that started the ball rolling and then petered out.
There were five elements which all came together at Pentecost.
- They had all heard Jesus tell them to wait in Jerusalem for power.
- They obeyed His direction and waited for ten days.
- For ten days they prayed.
- They were all in one accord.
- They even took care of business while they waited. They decided upon a replacement for Judas Iscariot.
Could we recreate these elements and see what God might do? After sharing my idea with my wife, Rita, we began to plan how this might work. Could we even find a small group of people willing to hang out together to wait on the Lord, for ten days -or more? If the one-hour church service runs a little longer we have rebellion.
A couple of weeks later while we were teaching a class on hearing God, I made a short comment about my crazy idea of spending ten days locked up in a room without any teaching or preaching - just prayer, worship, and waiting on God. Unbeknownst to us, some student in the class circulated a sign-up sheet for those who desired to join us in this crazy idea. 18 out of 22 signed up!
We proposed our idea to the Aslan Ministries, http://aslanministries.org Board of Directors who quickly approved the "Break Through" event.
The results were very promising and successful. It was a time of personal renewal but lacked the outreach to the extended community.
I still wonder what would have happened if we could get a group of people together to spend the full ten days in prayer and worship and come together in one accord.
If you want a personal Pentecost, spend ten days listening to God, obeying His call, praying and worshipping Him.
Let me know what you think.