There’s been a lot of celebrating going on this weekend. Folks are all in a tizzy about who said what while celebrating at the Grammys. I watched a little boy dig into his cake with both hands as his family celebrated his first birthday. An excited mom was telling everyone who would listen how her daughter received the Holy Ghost in church Sunday.
A whole lot of celebrating.
Having celebrated plenty of blessings in my own life, I want to cheer a bit for those who are enjoying these special times.
Not to take away from these significant moments that are being observed — but I think it is high time to celebrate Pentecost. I know that we shout and rejoice every time someone receives the Holy Ghost and experiences their own personal Pentecost, but I’m talking about celebrating the whole panoramic experience that is our traditional Pentecostal lifestyle.
For too long we’ve kept quiet while folks labeled our commitments legalism, called our values restrictions, and declared our message irrelevant. We’ve allowed self-appointed religious critics (a nice term for judgmental elitists) to brand us as judgmental and exclusive so long that we’ve almost come to believe that we are.
Since Pentecostals are humans, yes, there are probably some who fit in those pigeonholes. But once you’ve pointed them out, the truth remains: the Pentecostal experience was designed by God and is governed by His word in the Bible. Just as it provided a joyful and liberating experience for those recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, it continues to do so for those who will embrace it.
This Bible-prescribed Pentecostal experience breaks the chains of drug and alcohol addiction. It provides a secure and peaceful home for nurturing children. It generates love and compassion in hearts once cold and distant. It draws believers into a lifestyle of praise. It opens a direct line to the ear and heart of God. It brings meaning to life, and self-esteem to lives. It is the source of righteous contentment. It connects us with the eternal. It seals us into the family of God. It empowers us beyond our own imagination. It heals broken hearts and restores wounded souls. It rewards the faithful with intangibles impossible to explain. It is the fountain of hope. It reaps the fruit of virtue. It shields children from sin’s viciousness. It lets wives rest in trust. It incubates visions and facilitates dreams. It includes front row seats to God’s miraculous displays. It restores what satan has stolen, and turns to good what he intended for harm. It makes a house of God out of a carnal body, a heavenly ambassador out of a filthy sinner. It’s a personal adventure that no one can take away or convince you to deny.
Celebrate Pentecost! Embrace its values. This side of heaven, there is nothing else like it.