Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

When Fire Came Down

Churches all across the globe will be celebrating Pentecost today. Pentecost marks the time after Jesus' ascension when the Holy Spirit came down from heaven and filled the hearts of Jesus' apostles and followers. Many call it the Church's birthday. It was an amazing event and demonstrated the great love and faithfulness of our Father. 

Acts 2:1-4

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.


When  Jesus ascended he had physically left those he walked with on earth but when the Spirit descended, there was no longer a separation between man and God. God's Spirit came to dwell in the center of our souls and is continually welcoming us to awaken a relationship with Him Who dwells within.

The story of Pentecost can be found in chapter two of the book of Acts. It's a touching account that shows the power of the presence of God. I invite all of you to read it here:  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts%202&version=NIV

After reading chapter two today, to reflect on the significance of Pentecost, something struck me. It was the response to Peter's commands of those who received Christ that first day of Pentecost.   After instructing them to repent and be baptized he told them to “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

What was the response to those who wished to receive the Holy Spirit?

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The first thing that I found significant is the theme of community. They broke bread and prayed together.  Not only were they in fellowship with one another but they seemed to be in pure unity.  (44) All the believers were together and had everything in common.  

Wow! Can you imagine what the Church would look like today if we could say that of her? That we "had everything in common"? Something tells me if that were the case today we would be doing a great many more acts of charity, spreading more peace and love in this world. There would be a lot more glimpses of heaven on earth.

Their second response was (45) They sold their possessions to give to anyone that had need.  This was a sure sign of influence of the Spirit in their hearts. God calls us continually throughout the Old and the New Testament to have compassion for those suffering and in need. Not only does it show that the love of God, pouring through their hearts is manifesting Himself in their deeds but it also is a sign of them denying their own selves, their attachments, the "stuff" of this world and to cling to the promises and the presence of God first and foremost.

So that makes me wonder....what is my response to God's call for me? What is your response? Are we, in gratitude for the gifts of the Spirit and the Spirit himself dwelling in our hearts, letting God's love manifest in our lives, in our actions?  Are we denying the transient and fleeting things that are culture has to offer to pursue those blessings that are eternal? Are we stepping past our comfort zones to help the poor and the suffering?

I know I could be doing more. Perhaps most of us could be. It's a process...conforming less to this world and more into Christ's image.  I do know the Spirit, that dwells within our hearts, is their to guide us, to teach us.  Jesus himself told us that, "26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. "

Each of us has the discernment and power to help change this world and bring hope to the hopeless, good news to the poor and to bind the brokenhearted. (Isaiah 61:1) We have a way of becoming light in this world and also to experience a peace that surpasses all understanding.  We have the divine presence of God within us. He's just waiting for our minds to sweep the clutter from it's corridors and leave them bare so that He can fill every passageway. When we empty ourselves He fills us- with His promises of peace, instructions, love and discernment. 

Let's observe this day in gratitude as we celebrate the Church's first birthday. May the Spirit act in amazing ways throughout the Body this day, spurring the hearts of all towards reconciliation with each other and a zealous fervor to demonstrate Christ's love and compassion throughout our world.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear them! Please leave them in the Comments section.


  1. Wonderful, wonderful reminders for all of us to keep in mind. Thanks for a fantastic blog!

  2. I remember that last Pentecost celebration I attended at St. Timothy’s. We sang songs for the occasion, like “We are one in the Spirit” and the youth came down the aisle with dove flags and the service was so much livelier than usual. And now, in retrospect, it all seems like just one more ritual.

    The closest I’m ever come to experiencing that sense of community was back in the days of the charismatic renewal when going to church was just enlivening. It was all so exciting and the fervor was contagious and it felt like we were one.

    What would the Church look like today with that same kind of unity as the Early Church? I don’t know because somehow it (the church) seems to have lost its way. Now it’s more about new buildings and programs and fund raisers to pay for the new building. It’s more about keeping up appearances than bearing good fruit. At least this is what I’ve witnessed in some churches. I guess you can tell how disillusioned I’ve become with organized religion. Not with the Body of Christ, or the kingdom of God, which is still alive and well on this earth, embodied in true saints who are doing the works that He has called them to… but with institutional religion that just talks the talk.

  3. A timely post about the churches and our responsibility to the downtrodden. We all seem to have lost our way along the path and now we care more about material objects and collecting riches. The power of Christ is alive and well but the church and its reputation well that's another...

  4. First a little personal story to help you understand my role in helping my friends:
    Due to a variety of medical challenges I had as child, I didn't drive until I was about 26 or 27. It was NOT easy asking others to be my taxi when I wanted to go somewhere. STILL don't drive on the highway; and I STILL find it difficult to have to rely on my friends for long distance driving. THINK it's something about my wanting to do everything I can on my own.

    Anyway, now that I can drive I remember vividly how it felt when I couldn't and I had to ask for help. I live in a neighborhood where many of my neighbors don't drive. When I see them walking to town, I ALWAYS stop and ask if they want a ride. I think, like I was they may be too proud to ask for help. Don't want to let that stop them.

    The first thing I say when they accept is I remember what it's like not to have access to a car.

    That's one of the ways I reach out.

  5. I am here after a long time,and its always good for me to be here. Thank u Jessica,for everything..love u always.

  6. Debra,
    Sadly that is so true in too many cases! And it leads to spiritual stagnation and stagnation within the Body and blocks us from our purposes that we have in Christ and to live a life full of His Spirit. It's something to pray for, for sure. That a renewel will start to take place in our churches, within the Body of Christ. A new zeal for God and to live out His love and follow the radical path of Jesus rather than our plans, but God's plans.

    Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. David..so true! Thanks for your thoughts. The church is sorely lacking in many areas and by the grace of God, that will change someday. Something to pray for! May we all do our part for those who have less than us and build up the body in Christ and renew a sense of compassion throughout humanity.

  8. Chris, thanks so much for sharing. Not having a car can be a major frustration and hindrance to opportunities and pursuits. I can relate! My husband and I have been down to one car for almost 10 months now! That means, I'm without a car, he uses our car to get from work. I'm fortunate to have friends that will come over and visit and also take my son and I on playdates. It's not easy though and I look forward to the day when we do get our second car and I can return some favors! :)
    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Thanks for stopping by Alpana. My love and prayers continue to go your way. ~blessings

  10. Hi, Jessica! --

    Thank you for the Bible lesson on the Pentecost. Although I was once married to a minister, observance of this particular celebration has somehow eluded me all these years.

    "What is my response to God's call for me?" is a powerful question for each of us to ask ourselves every moment of every day! Thank you for the reminder!


    PS I love the image you chose to illustrate -- Really brings the story to life!

  11. Jessica, my family and I have been void of what I would call a 'true' church for a very long time. It saddens me to no end. Debra seemed to hit the nail on the head when she made reference to what seems to be more important to a church now. It's not like I remember it as I was growing up. The unity seems to be gone. The power of Christ is strong and guides our life, we answer His calling. I'm sure there are times that we have missed opportunities because we weren't listening clearly enough. That is an every day task for improvement :) Thank you so much for sharing. It was a great post!

  12. Audacita', Serieta', Impegno...

    I have been reflecting over this for more than three days... I'm afraid Jessica, because when the Spirit calls, I cannot resist...

    And it's a call that's been plaguing me to new reverse in a new direction...

    The first lines I wrote means we are called by the Spirit to audacity...to be bold and daring... risk takers... that's also equivalent to trust...and loads of it.

    We are called to seriousness. The breath of God involves us in God's plans... to be life givers to one another... we are called to a mission...

    We are called to dedicate ourselves to God... to turn away from what impedes us from following Him... to be free people living for Him...

    So I pray with you..."Come Holy Spirit... fill the hearts of your people ... ..."

  13. *plaguing me to reverse in a new direction...