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The Purpose of Pentecost

Last weekend about 50 members of our church travelled up to Divide, CO, for a weekend retreat.  Our theme for the retreat was: “What Happens When the Spirit Comes?”  It was a question formulated out of the Pentecost story in Acts 2, and it is a story that we are looking at again this Sunday morning as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday 2012.

So what is the purpose of Pentecost?  That is a multi-faceted question; there are really many purposes of Pentecost.  Pentecost literally means “fiftieth day,” denoting the fiftieth day after Easter.  Pentecost is also considered the birthday of the Christian Church, even though the original apostles and disciples most certainly still considered themselves Jews.  Perhaps most significantly, Pentecost is the moment in scripture when the Spirit comes in a new and powerful way.  Jesus promised that this Spirit/Helper/Comforter would come after his ascension, and indeed, on this Sunday of each year, we celebrate the fulfillment of that promise.

So, with our very successful all-church retreat behind us, I ask again: What Happens When the Spirit Comes?

My answer to that is simple, just one word: Transformation.  When the Spirit comes things change.  Rev. Elder Ken Martin spoke about some of the types of transformation the Spirit brings, but really the work of the Spirit is limitless.  Sometimes the Spirit brings joy, other times comfort or peace, or conviction, determination, passion, sorrow, wonder, and more.  In essence when the Spirit comes, change happens.  The Spirit is life—and life abundant, and abundant life is life that is kinetic—moving and transforming and growing.

So, what happens when the Spirit is not allowed to come?  Nothing.  Stagnation, soul atrophy, and one might even say death.

pastor wesJust pay attention to the stories of Pentecost that we will reexamine today.  See the Spirit’s transformational work at work in the lives of those who were a part of that initial outpouring of the Spirit in fire and wind.  Then, after you witness those things again, ask yourself if you have kept your soul open to the transformational work of the Spirit.  Are you moving, transforming and growing with the Spirit, or is there some soul atrophy happening within you?  Today is the day to join with the disciples and open yourself to the Spirit once again!


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