Pentecost needs power

We celebrate Pentecost Sunday, but it feels like we commemorate Pentecost Sunday. We are figuratively limping into this day, which should be a day of celebration and calling out to God for a fresh outpouring of his Spirit.

Coronavirus has limited the ability to gather as a church. Our church will still be online this week. Then, the crushing news of the past several weeks should burden us on this day:

Continue reading “Pentecost needs power”

Losing giants of the faith

I grew up Pentecostal. When I was just starting into ministry I was introduced to the work of Edith Blumhofer and enjoyed her work on Assemblies of God history.

Years later I was able to meet Vinson Synan a couple of times. He was another great historian and was a bridge from eyewitnesses of the Azusa Street Revival to the current time.

Both of these great voices of Pentecostal history have passed away recently. I am thankful their work lives on.

Pentecost Sunday prayer

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Prayer for Pentecost

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

We should move from celebrating days to observing seasons

The other day I read a quick thought on missing opportunities of seasons in our lives as Western Christians because we celebrate days instead of walking through seasons.

We get so worked up to prepare a church for Easter weekend services, most bigger church staffs on more than figuratively dead on Monday and in need of some true resurrection themselves. Continue reading “We should move from celebrating days to observing seasons”

Today on Pentecost Sunday BE the Church God Intended

We need a refreshing touch, a new outpouring.

We need a fresh reminder of how much we need him, and how lame our efforts are without him.

We make too much noise and think it’s God. We need the NOISE of a mighty wind that makes it clear… this is God.

When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak. (Acts 2:1-4, CEB)

Reconciliation and Pentecost

I am currently reading Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration: Multidisciplinary Studies from a Pentecostal Perspective. It was sent to me as a review copy.

Renea Brathwaite’s chapter is incredibly insightful and powerful. He gives a historical perspective about Azusa Street and does so as an African American Pentecostal scholar. He retells the story of the racist Charles Parham and the spiritually hungry William Seymour, who was African American. Parham wouldn’t allow Seymour into his school, but Seymour welcomed Parham into his church.

Brathwaite chronicles the painful road from Azusa Street. What God birthed as truly a movement that did not notice race was turned right back into race after Azusa Street was over. The road back to reconciliation is far from complete.

One sentence stops me cold: Racial interaction is not racial reconciliation.

Ouch.

Let’s put this in a hard perspective with the case of Trayvon Martin. Wearing a hoodie does not make us as white people “one” with African Americans. Ranting on a blog doesn’t do it, either. It’s far more work than that.

What gets it done is the cross of Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit. We need Pentecost again. We need Azusa Street again. We need the mantle of William Seymour to rest on us one more time.

Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration: Multidisciplinary Studies from a Pentecostal Perspective (Pentecostals, Peacemaking, and Social Justice)

The Pope and Pentecostalism

Pope Benedict made the following comments about Pentecostalism:

The geography of Christianity has changed dramatically in recent times, and is in the process of changing further. Faced with a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss. This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability. This worldwide phenomenon – that bishops from all over the world are constantly telling me about – poses a question to us all: what is this new form of Christianity saying to us, for better and for worse? In any event, it raises afresh the question about what has enduring validity and what can or must be changed – the question of our fundamental faith choice.

While the Pope certainly nails our weaknesses, there is the disappointment in the lack of acknowledgement to what has happened in say, oh, the last 100 years.

We, as Pentecostals, need to do far better in our dogmatics and our stability. There are gifts we bring to the Body of Christ, and we need to partake of the gifts other parts of the Body bring to us!

The Power of the Cross

I would agree with much of what Roger Olson says about evangelical churches and a serious lack of preaching on the cross. We have stripped the symbols of the cross out of our sanctuaries (or coffee shops or worship centers or whatever we’re calling them these days).

The ironic piece is that I am actually preaching a series on 1 Corinthians from the lectionary readings and the focal point is the cross of Christ. I have been especially helped by Daniel Kirk’s commentary on the text at workingpreacher.org.

And it’s even more ironic because as I have been preaching on the cross, we have experienced more of a move of the Spirit in our services. So, to those who may still claim Pentecostals don’t focus on the cross… I just want to say…. well, I’ll refrain. 😉

120 Days

Lent begins 4 weeks from today. As we walk through this time as a church, I want to unpack more of the meaning as we prepare our hearts for Resurrection Sunday. Lent is a 40 day walk. Pentecost Sunday will come 50 days after Resurrection Sunday. Fudging numbers, that’s about 120 days.

There is a stirring in my heart for something deep and lasting the Spirit wants to do in us as a church. I am being called to some sort of fast for Lent. I don’t know all the details, but in the next three weeks I will be asking the Lord for more direction. Lent begins and we will enter into a 40 day period of preparation. I want to encourage each one in our church to ask the Lord for some way in which to prepare for Resurrection Sunday. Would the Lord ask you to give up something for this period of Lent? Together, there is something stirring the Lord desires to bring in power to us on Resurrection Sunday.

Then, 50 days to Pentecost. In these 120 days the Lord is calling us as a body to something significant. For our church, I ask you seek the Lord and let’s be open to this journey. I am anxious. The anxiety is good! The Spirit is stirring. Let us hear what the Spirit wants to say to us.