Last Sunday I taught on the miracle at Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the gathered followers of Jesus. You can hear it here. One point I made was:
The miracle of Pentecost was that everyone heard about "the wonders of God," not that the followers of Jesus experienced something. (Acts 2:5-12)
American Christianity has come to place more value on religious experience than on the purpose behind the Holy Spirit in our lives. We judge our church services, which include the music and message, by how we feel when we leave the place. If we are inspired or encouraged, "God was there." If we leave feeling flat, something must have been wrong with the musicians or preacher.
We travel from church to church like fast food junkies looking for the best meal deal that satisfies our experiential appetites. (Of course, the worship leaders, which includes the preacher, are responsible for bringing their best to the Lord.) Given the equality of excellence, we still look for the next spiritual high and tend to forget we are here as "sent servant" of Jesus.
Pentecost is evidence that the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit in a church is empowered disciples boldly telling the Story of Jesus. Evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is looking something like Jesus in every arena of our lives, love for each other, acts of compassionate service to those in need, and a joyful witness to those far from God.
We share the same Holy Spirit as those who received it at the Festival of Pentecost. Will we allow it to lead us into the streets like the first followers of Jesus?
Have I shown you pictures of my granddaughter? Here are two from her trip to see the Bears play Connecticut last Saturday. Who cares if the Bears lost? The cheerleader was cute! You can get more pictures and the full story from my daughter's blog, Cooks Love Kisses.