No, Virginia, Pentecostals Do Not Swing From Chandeliers

Pastor Bill LeachWow! We had an absolutely amazing service yesterday morning at Calvary Assembly of God! All throughout the service we could feel that the Holy Spirit was moving, and we were all blessed by His presence.

Pastor Bill Leach was our guest speaker, and he used Acts 2 as his text to talk about some of the misconceptions people have about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the correct biblical perspective of this empowerment for a Christian’s life. I tried to take notes as fast as I could, so below are the thoughts which especially caught my attention. Pastor Leach’s message was entitled “No, Virginia, Pentecostals Do Not Swing From Chandeliers.”

Our Pentecostal experience must be firmly established in the Word of God. Peter made this clear in his Day of Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:16, 25, 30, 34). This experience is not a fad, but we are involved in the eternal plan of God. So it is an important movement for us to be a part of (Acts 2:39).

When Jesus said “stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), He said it in the form of a command. Our Savior commands us to receive this Holy Spirit empowerment.

Luke describes the followers of Jesus as being “all together in one place” (Acts 2:1). In other words they were together together. This is a characteristic of followers of Jesus.

God’s temple is not a house, but people. Just as the fire was to be kept burning in King Solomon’s temple, God’s eternal fire fell on His followers on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3), symbolizing His abiding presence in Christians.

The whole Godhead continually points to and glorifies the other aspects of the Godhead—“This is My Son in Whom I am well pleased”; “The Holy Spirit will testify about Me; and “I have come to glorify the Father.” When man was created God said, “Let Us make man in Our image—worshiping along side Us and enjoying Us!” The baptism in the Holy Spirit empowers us to do this!

Impossible obstacles must give way to the Spirit-anointed trod of the Spirit-baptized Church.

Pentecostals do not swing from chandeliers, but they have yielded their lives to the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, to be Christ’s witnesses and to display God’s glory throughout His creation.

This coming Sunday (May 24) is Pentecost Sunday, and I will be launching a new series about the Holy Spirit called simply The Counselor. Check back on my blog later this week for more details.

Special Guest: Bill Leach

Pastor Bill LeachI am so excited to welcome back to Calvary Assembly of God our District Superintendent Bill Leach and his wife Marilynn! Pastor Leach will be sharing a message with us this Sunday, May 17, in our 10:30am service.

After 27 years of serving our District as Superintendent, Pastor Leach is retiring at the end of the summer. We will miss his leadership, but on Sunday we will have the privilege of celebrating his faithful service.

Please don’t miss this very special service! 

A Mother’s Prayerful Perseverance

Prayerful perseveranceNaomi had it rough. It seemed like everything in her life fell apart. And to add insult to injury, everything around her seemed to mock her pain—

  • She lived in Bethlehem, which means House of Bread, but there was no bread because of the famine.
  • Her husband’s name was Elimelech, which means God is my king, but instead of him trusting God, he trusted his own wits.
  • Her sons were supposed to bring her joy and a hopeful future, but their names also haunted her: Mahlon means sickly, and Kilion means wasting away.

Naomi hit rock-bottom—Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died… And after they had lived there about ten years both Mahlon and Kilion both died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband (Ruth 1:3, 5).

Is it any wonder Naomi—whose name means pleasant—wanted to change her name to Mara (bitterness)?

But somewhere deep inside, Naomi had courage enough to hang on to hope. She heard that God had once again provided bread in the House of Bread, and she returned home. She had no prospects for success, and her husband’s debts were still awaiting her, but she went back to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth.

It was here they encountered Boaz. His name means pillar and he is described as “a man of standing” (2:1). Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer. Boaz is a picture of Jesus. As our Kinsman-Redeemer, only Jesus can…

  • Give our needs a voice as He intercedes for us
  • Bring us peace as He asks us to cast all our cares on Him
  • Pay all of our debts
  • Give us a hope-filled future

Especially as we remember Mothers Day, it’s a great reminder that a mother’s prayerful perseverance on her Kinsman-Redeemer yields blessings now and for generations to come! 

Don’t give up! Jesus is your Kinsman-Redeemer, and He is waiting for you to cling to Him.

(The Book of Ruth is an absolutely amazing, hope-inspiring story. It you haven’t read it lately, you can read it through in just a few minutes.)

We ♥︎ Moms

We Love MomsThis Sunday is Mothers Day, and I cannot wait to celebrate the special ladies in our church. Both the biological Moms and the spiritual Moms have definitely earned my respect and admiration!

I’m going to share a special message about the power that comes when Moms persevere in prayer. These prayers with the feminine touch not only change our present, but have a lasting impact for generations to come.

Please bring Mom with you to Calvary Assembly of God this Sunday!

Salty Disciples

The hope of gloryWho are Christ’s disciples? It is only the people who walked Earth at the same time and place as Jesus? Was it an exclusive club of the 12 men Jesus selected as His apostles? Can anyone be a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Great questions!

First of all we must know that discipleship is not something we DO; it’s who we ARE. We have to start thinking of discipleship like a job search, where we need to have the right education and experiences that will build up our spiritual resume, and then Jesus will “hire” us to be one of His disciples.

We do the being, and Jesus does the preparingAnd Jesus said to them, Come after Me and BE My disciples, and I will MAKE you to become fishers of men (Mark 1:17, AMP). We are to just BE with Jesus, and being with Him will prepare us to be made into something else.

We don’t negotiate with Jesus on how much time we can give Him. We don’t say, “As soon as I get through this busy time in my life I’ll follow you” or “After the kids are grown, then I’ll have more time for you” or “As soon as I get my business situation taken care of.” Jesus wants us to come to Him just as we are right now—Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be My disciple. (Luke 14:33, MSG)

As a disciple of Jesus we don’t try to act a certain way, we simply AREYou ARE the salt of the earth… (Matthew 5:13). We can do this because of the Atonement (or as Oswald Chambers says, the “at-onement”). You are in Christ, and He is in you—when God sees you, He sees Jesus; when others see you, they see Jesus. 

Here’s the amazing thing: God wants to use you to show Jesus to others. God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ IN you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Make it your goal to simply be with Christ, and then be prepared for His God’s glory to be on display in you. You will then BE salt and light to a needy world!

An End To Tears

No more tearsI was asked the age-old question: Why is there suffering and pain? This is usually accompanied by the other often-pondered question: Why do bad things happen to good people?

I’m not sure that I can answer that one, because I’m not a “good” person. I’m a sinner. I’ve messed up more time than I can count, and it is only by God’s mercy that His righteous judgment hasn’t consumed me.

Here’s what I do know:

  • God loves me so much that He sent His Son to rescue me—John 3:16-17
  • I am of immeasurable value to my Heavenly Father—Luke 12:6-7
  • Suffering on earth is temporal; rewards in Heaven are eternal—Romans 8:18
  • God develops something in my through suffering that I could learn in no other way—Romans 5:3-4
  • God can be glorified through my suffering if I will let Him—John 9:1-3; 11:3-6

I also know that Jesus is Perfection. If anyone ever deserved to not have anything bad happen to them, it was Him. And yet He was rejected by His family (Mark 3:21), betrayed by one of His companions (John 13:21), abandoned by all His followers (Mark 14:50), and even felt the sting of God forsaking Him (Mark 15:34).

What makes this even more startling to me is that He knew all of this was coming (Isaiah 53:3; Luke 9:22; Matthew 26:54-56). But He went through all of that pain because His suffering meant He could become the prefect Intercessor and Mediator for our suffering (see Hebrews 5:7-9; 4:14-16).

Jesus us told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

And the last book in the Bible promises that eventually God’s children will have every tear wiped away! There will be no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, and no more pain! (Revelation 21:4)

In the midst of your pain, hold tightly to the One Who loves you so much and is interceding for you!

If you are near Cedar Springs this coming weekend, and you don’t have a home church, I would love for you to join us as we continue to learn about the greatest words ever spoken.

Are You Grace-full?

The order that words and phrases are listed in the Scripture is not haphazard nor random; each word is divinely inspired, even the order in which they appear. So look at the order in these verses:

  • But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)
  • The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, Who came from the father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Do you see it? Grace then truth/knowledge.

FullOur human tendency is to switch this order: we want truth and knowledge first. But the Bible never teaches this, and the One Who delivered the greatest words ever spoken never said this. Our tendency is to want to get the facts, and then choose which ones we’ll embrace because they “fit” with what’s comfortable to us. Then we argue with others over what we claim to be “truth” and get labeled as judgmental and haters.

Bottom line―We cannot know what “truth” is without first having received grace. 

To fix this, we need to pursue grace, not more knowledge. We need to pursue Jesus. Look at the order again: IF you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. THEN you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32).

Why can’t we know what truth is without having first received grace?

  • Jesus said this about the devil, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
  • The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Jesus never talks about grace. Why? Because He IS grace.

For IN Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form giving complete expression of the divine nature. (Colossians 2:9, AMP)

...I am IN My Father, and you are IN Me, and I am IN you … Remain IN Me, and I will remain IN you… (John 14:20; 15:4)

And you are IN Him, made full and having come to fullness of life IN Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature… (Colossians 2:10, AMP)

You grow in grace by growing in Christ. You grow in truth by growing in grace. When you are full of Christ―when He is IN you and you remain IN Him―then you are grace-full, and therefore you can also be truth-full. This is how you can reach full spiritual stature.

So here’s a question for you: How grace-full are you?

If you are around Cedar Springs this coming Sunday, I would love for you to join with us as we continue our series answering your questions with the greatest words ever spoken.

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