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Pentecost: The Holy Spirit is poured out on Christ's disciples
Pentecost: The Holy Spirit is poured out on Christ’s disciples

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you,” (John 14:16-17)

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, a celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Fifty days after Christ’s resurrection, He poured out His Spirit on His followers as He had promised. As they began to speak, they were heard in the languages of all the God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Festival of Weeks. When Peter stood up and preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, 3,000 repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. And the church was born.

Lynn Sorrell shared this personal experience with his Sunday School class and now with us…

“I think everyone who is a Christian has been visited by the Holy Spirit. EVERYONE. Sometimes it’s a small voice; sometimes it’s a feeling of peace; most of the time we don’t know what gave us intuition to do something big or small. It’s that Counselor, that friend, Jesus left to you.

“For one fleeting moment in my life, His presence was dramatic. Around winter 1978, the Methodist Hour radio team came to my church, First Broad Street United Methodist, for a district-wide evening during their southeastern tour. The sanctuary was packed.

I went reluctantly as I often did; but I was curious and was caught completely off guard. It seems the best moments can be when we are most vulnerable or resistant.

“I don’t remember what the radio team said, but I do remember an altar call. Those who wanted to be anointed or have hands laid on them or just pray, were invited to kneel up front. I listened intently. People were quiet; the organist played background music– hymns, most likely. Then, I heard an approaching sound. Way off, I heard what I thought was an air plane. ‘A fly-over,’ I thought. No, it was a FLY-THOUGH. A jet plane, the sound of a high speed wind, flew down the center aisle. It was intense for me, just like an F-14 fighter jet. The sound slowed as it came down the aisle, picked up momentum after it passed the kneelers, and left as suddenly as it arrived.

“Acts 2:1-2 says, When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

“To my knowledge, no one else heard the sound. Maybe they just ignored it. How could they? The jet-like sound was only a few feet away from them and me.

“Sometimes, when a dramatic visitation occurs, those visited speak with an unknown tongue. Such it was for me. My unknown tongue was silence. I could not speak. ‘Unknown’ to those whom I know. Silent. Struck dumb.

“The unknown tongue left me about an hour later. It may have been sooner, or even later. I was shell-shocked. Nothing like this had happened to me before in my Christian journey, nor since. I asked others what they heard. All who were there just heard organ music and quiet words being spoken to those who came forward. But I heard a jet. I am certain of that.

“What did this do for me? Did it make me a Pentecostal or a Charismatic Methodist? No. Rather I felt reassured that the Spirit was with me and will be my friend as I face celebrations and tough times.

“Seldom does the Holy Spirit come in such a surprising fashion as the rush of a mighty wind at Pentecost or a jet plane sound down the center aisle of a mainline Protestant church. But since then, I have had feelings of peace, ideas, comfort, intuition, guidance and other manifestations of the Holy Spirit in my life. He is with me. He is with you.”


Unity: That They May Be One


Did you know that people learn a lot about us when we they hear us pray? Through prayer, we reveal what is foremost in our hearts and on our minds.

As Jesus faced His crucifixion, He prayed for unity, and He allowed His disciples to listen as He prayed for Himself, for them, and for us as future believers. We are privileged to read His Words.

In the first three verses of John 17, we witness the intimate interaction of the Holy Trinity–the divine mystery of perfect unity. Listen as the Holy Spirit prays from the realm of eternity to God the Father for Jesus, the Son. Listen as He intercedes for Jesus.

“Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.”

To know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us today, in the same way, is beyond my understanding. But Jesus continued this High Priestly prayer by giving an account of how He lived His life here on earth.

We, too, will be called to account for how we have lived our lives. Will we be able to say to our Father as Jesus said, “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do?”

Jesus recalled for God that He had revealed Himself to His disciples. He gave His disciples the Words God had given to Him. He prayed for their protection from the evil one, and He prayed for their sanctification–that they would be set apart as believers.

Then Jesus explained that He set Himself apart to die for us so we could be set apart to live for Him. He told His Father He had lived His whole life, “So that they may be one as We are one.” In other words, He prayed for the unity of His disciples.

Unity. That special oneness with the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spiritual bond that crosses the boundaries of denominations and knits His church family together.

Hebrews 7:25 tells us that, “Jesus is still praying for us today.”

Isn’t it comforting to know that we are on His prayer list?

He prayed, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me, and I am in You.” He even gave us the glory that God gave Him, so we may be brought to complete unity. He said it was, “to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved me.”

Can you imagine? Jesus, Son of the Most High God, not only loves us and wants perfect unity with us, He wants us to be with Him where He is. He wants us to see His glory.

Jesus taught His disciples, so they could teach us. Now, we are to continue the work that God has called us into perfect unity to do. When we focus on Jesus instead of ourselves and jointly seek a closer walk with Him, we are assured a closer relationship with each other. We are assured the unity He seeks.

We can do this. For Jesus’ sake.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for hearing our prayers, too. Help us to set ourselves aside and follow Your will to protect the precious unity of Your church.