Is the glass half empty or half full?
- The half-empty response may reveal a pessimist or realist
- The half-full response may reveal an optimist
- A response of “it’s both” reveals how can see and accept two opposing truths at the same time
When we only consider the glass and water, we limit our responses. Something more is present than the glass and the water. There’s air. The glass is always full because the air is always there.
When the Bible describes the nature and work of the Holy Spirit, it often uses the image of air. Ruah (Hebrew) and pneuma (Greek) are two of the Bible’s favorite words for Spirit, and they both mean wind and breath.
Holy Spirit’s work is often invisible but very real – like air, like wind, like breath.
Your glass is always full. In fact, your cup runneth over. (Psalm 23:5)
Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
The story of Pentecost is the story of the Spirit being given to us. All over the world, our Christian brothers and sisters are wearing red, singing of the Spirit, and reading this story.
Pentecost, a watercolor by Estella Louisa M Canziani (1887-1964)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
- The time is 50 days after Easter. The place is Jerusalem.
2 And suddenly from heaven, there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
- We are filled with the Holy Spirit to speak, to testify.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound, the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
- The disciples are empowered by the Holy Spirit with skills beyond their human training and experience.
- This gift allows those gathered to hear the Gospel in their native language, their heart language.
- Some witness the disciples’ speaking at Pentecost and they are filled with wonder and openness. Others are trying to explain it in human terms, proclaiming the disciples drunk.
- The disciples are filled to overflowing. They’ve been praying for 9 days for the gift of the Holy Spirit. They are now filled to speak, filled with passion, filled with enthusiasm, filled with joy, filled with skills beyond their human training and experience.
- The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek word entheos which means the God within.
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
- The disciples, prophesy and testify and preach and speak so others may call on the name of the Lord and be saved. Later in this story, 3,000 persons do just that.
- Now Peter speaks the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ
22 “You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23 this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24 But God raised him up, having freed him from death because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.
- It was impossible for death and sin and evil to hold Jesus because that power is not the power of Almighty God. The power of God is the greater power of salvation, forgiveness and new life.
- Peter points out another Old Testament prophesy fulfilled.
25 For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26, therefore, my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover, my flesh will live in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29 “Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, ‘He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.’
32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. 33 Being, therefore, exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.
Over and over again, pour out, fill up, pour out, fill up… speak. What do we speak? We speak the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection, that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Rev. Magrey DeVega quote on breaking the 4th wall from his blog post, This is Where You Come In
We might observe the rest of the Bible from a comfortable distance, but not so in Acts.
We don’t live in Old Testament times when God’s voice was clearly audible in burning bushes.
We don’t live in gospel times, seeing Jesus face to face as the Word made flesh.
When Pentecost happened, God was revealed in spirit and power, in subtlety and strength, just the way we experience God today. And at that precise moment, God the Divine Screenwriter turned toward the camera, peered through the Fourth Wall that separated us from the ancient story and said to us, “This is your story now.”
We are the living embodiment of the ongoing story of Pentecost. It is now a story about us, living into the unfolding work of God’s power.
Examples of the Holy Spirit at work in our midst:
- Ruth’s testimony at her baptism
- Pru leading a memorial service
- 52 persons commissioned or ordained at Annual conference as pastors and ministry leaders who will serve across the state of Florida
- Over 300 Fresh Expressions of the church across our state. People experimenting to reach new people, in new places, in new ways with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The story of Pentecost breaks the 4th wall and the air comes through, the breath comes through, the wind comes through. That story is our story.
How is the Holy Spirit making the movement of God real and alive in your life? Breath to speak and testify, to serve and love, filled with the Holy Spirit.
Come Holy Spirit, Pour Out Your Power
Holy Spirit your unseen work is very real
like air, like wind, like breath
Fill us. Fill us now.
Fill us so our cups runneth over
Fill us with strength and skills far beyond what is human
Fill us with courage
Fill us with boldness to witness and testify
to your victory over sin and death
Fill us with passion
Fill us with enthusiasm
Fill us with joy
Holy Spirit, Pour Out Your Power © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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