As a result of COVID-19 our world has been quarantined. Cities and businesses have closed, churches are silent, and people are figuring out how to work remotely. After much anticipation, our church in Tennessee has announced that on May 31, 2020 we will re-open our doors and join back together for service. Many others are doing the same. It is not by chance that this is taking place on the Day of Pentecost!
The day of Pentecost refers to the Jewish festival that was celebrated on the 50th day after Passover. For the first time ever, churches were closed for Easter this year. We all watched online. Now 50 days later the Jewish people were celebrating a feast known as Shavuot or also the Feast of Weeks. This feast had agricultural significance because it marks the harvest of wheat (see Exodus 34:22). Lord there is a harvest waiting.
Acts 2 describes what took place on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus was crucified, rose from the dead and appeared to the apostles and others for 40 days and then ascended. Get your Bible and read along with me from Acts 2 as I share twelve things that I am praying will reignite this Sunday for an unprecedented Day of Pentecost as we gather after being quarantined:
Everyone was all together in ONE place (2:1) which for our church, we will be also be all together in one place this Sunday!!! Hallelujah! Some will still be watching online (praise God for technology), but it is significant that we will all be together in one place.
The Holy Spirit came SUDDENLY (2:2). Study the Scriptures...we serve a suddenly God.
Rushing wind filled the WHOLE house (2:2) - not just part of it. My prayer for this Sunday is the will Lord fill our WHOLE sanctuary, not just the left side of the sanctuary or the front, back, or balcony... but the WHOLE sanctuary!
They were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit (2:4). Lord fill everyone in your house this weekend with the Holy Spirit! I don't want to be a spectator, I want the fullness!
There was an outward manifestation of the filling which was speaking in tongues (2:4). Lord baptize everyone this weekend with your Holy Spirit.
What was taking place attracted a crowd with 2 types of reactions: (1) those who were amazed and astonished (2:7-13) and (2) those who were mocking (2:13). Not everyone will understand or be comfortable with the outward manifestation of the Holy Spirit. That's okay. Expect it. If it happened then, it will surely happen now. People will mock.
There was a single voice that arose, Peter, (2:14) who did two things (1) corrected the mocking spirit with the truth of the Word of God (2:15) and (2) presented the gospel through what they (the apostles) witnessed (2:22-24) and through the fulfillment of prophecy (2:25-36). For those who have been in church for a long time this may be easy to gloss over because you have heard it repeatedly. Remember, this was the birthing of the church and those around Peter had not heard the presentation of the Gospel. And there are many in our midst who have also not heard the Good News and need to be presented the pathway to eternal life.
After hearing the Good News people were convicted (2:37) and repented (2:38) and were baptized (2:38) and received the gift of the Holy Spirit and LEGACY was birthed (2:39). Wow! I don't know about you but I am praying for a powerful voice of the Lord to rise up to bring these miracles to pass. The Lord has shut every pulpit down through COVID-19 and many are without hope and living in fear. Lord, we pray that prophetic voices will rise up all around the world to be your mouthpiece and people's hearts will be pierced.
After hearing the Good News, the church GREW - 3,000 souls were added (2:41). Church we can't just be about inreach... we have to be about outreach to lost souls.
Unity continued - 2:44, 46. Lord we want your outpouring to not just be a one time occurrence but for unity to continue as we partner with the Holy Spirit to bind us together in one accord.
Those who followed had radical obedience and radical generosity... they sold their property/possessions (2:45 - 46). There are so many hurting people right now. Lord help us to be radical in our obedience to you and in our generosity towards you. We can't take our possessions to heaven!
There was not just 3,000 added that day... the church continued to grow by adding numbers to their fellowship (2:47).
Lord, touch our churches this weekend on the Day of Pentecost that we will see these 12 things in a modern day Pentecostal movement!