Countdown to Pentecost - Printable Version

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Countdown to Pentecost - DeanZF - 05-15-2010

As I write this entry, Pentecost is a mere nine days away. Nine short days. Passover and Resurrection have come and gone, exciting bursts into Spring here almost as bright yellow or purple crocus flowers bursting through the snow to bring hope and the promise of life through snow and blear. But counting down to Pentecost still captivates my spirit. What are we counting down FOR?

I remember a book the title of which intrigued me no end, The God Chasers, by Tommy Tenney. I sometimes feel as though I’m chasing God, wrestling with the ethereal rather than a physical manifestation as with Jacob renamed Israel. Then there are other times when I’m sitting on my spiritual haunches, rather wishing that something would happen instead of praying and pressing in. Flip-flopping from passing gear and hot-pursuit to spiritual neutral is a rather normal condition for us as humans. If you have any doubt, think about Israel’s history with God: hot, cold, antagonistic, tepid, hot, neutral… It makes me scratch my head about how God can maintain patience with me, with them, with us.

Today was the last launch for the Atlantis space shuttle, and very few launches are left in that program. I watched with near breathless anticipation as the numbers neared zero. Then suddenly, things began to happen and then there was launch! Smoke, fire, and a ]i[huge[/i] skyward plume of rocket and condensation. Something awesome happened!

In a sense, I feel the same way about the countdown to Pentecost almost every year, but especially 2010. I think about the disciples in the upper room, waiting with anticipation as the Lord had instructed, waiting for the Comforter, the Paraclete. What did that even mean? Did they know or even have an inkling? And could they have even imagined the impact of what was about to happen. They were simply being obedient, but what about us? We know how that story ended. Those of us who have had a taste of Pentecost through the Charismatic Movement or through contacts with the Assemblies of God or similar churches should be living Pentecost each and every day. Do I? No, sad to report. Not for a lack of wanting, but perhaps for a lack of pursuit?

What might happen if God’s people could renew the covenant and find ways to encourage each other to press into God? What might happen if we could carve out time and energy to focus on praying His heart and praying for the mindset and eyes of Christ? Could we affect our immediate world? Could we impact our cultures? Could we begin to see the changes that we have dreamed of or imagined?

I recall a conversation with the Lord many years ago. I was lamenting that there are no Pauls in our world today. The Lord drew me to different scriptures as if to say, “Look at what Paul went through in order to have his mind and life converted. How many believers are willing to spend years in the pursuit of power in ministry? The implication in Galatians 1:16-18 is that Paul spent about three years in training to be a Christian, mostly at the Lord’s hand, and certainly in the fellowship of believers. Paul was an educated man. He knew the Law very well. He described himself as a Pharisee and son of a pharisee (some have translated that as being a Pharisee among Pharisees, “superpharisee”). He knew the written word, but after three years of tutelage by the Living Word, Paul was a powerful man of God. He was not hesitant about who he was or Whose he was. I do not believe that he was the compulsive “gotta tell somebody” that some have made him out to be. From his letters and from the Acts, we know that he certainly shared his faith with lots of different kinds of people, believers, non-believers, Jews and Gentiles. A famous evangelical teacher feels that evangelism is what drove Paul. Bishop Davidson looks at Colossians 1:28 and sees a different Paul: “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” Yes, Paul proclaims Christ to all, but his goal is to present every man as a mature believer to the Father. That’s more than an evangelist!

My hope this Pentecost is for a couple of men to join me in the pursuit of Pentecost, more specifically in pursuit of the God of Pentecost, that He could have more of me so that I could hear Him better, respond quicker, and serve Him more effectively. Pentecost is a festival associated with tongues of fire. Consider glowing coals in a fire pit: when there is only one coal, it dies quickly, never fulfilling the fullness of its potential. When there are many coals of one mind and purpose—to glow for God—those coals accomplish so much more than any single, lone coal could ever aspire to. It’s the three-stranded cord principle all over again.

In pursuit of Pentecost… Nine days … eight days … seven …