“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”Acts 2:1-4, ESV
Summit week has started here at ACU and it has already been an amazing thing to be a part of. I went to a great workshop with Leonard Allen in which he talked about the Holy Spirit and its place in the Trinity and how we connect to it. That the Holy Spirit is not an afterthought to the power of the Father and the Son, it is part of the power of the Father and the Son. Part of this conversation started with this focus that Western culture has not been receptive to the Holy Spirit whereas elsewhere, the Holy Spirit has been an active part in the conversations and lives of others.
I say that, not to say that the Holy Spirit is not moving here in the States, but that we have not accepted, or even focused on the Holy Spirit for ourselves. He is too weird. He is too “angels and demons.” Or even, Scifi ish… If you have had your concerns on the Holy Spirit then you know what I mean. The Holy Spirit does not make sense. But in reality, other than grace, the Holy Spirit was the first gift/reach for us after Jesus was resurrected.
(Also, check out that fun image at the title, pretty interesting right?)
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement: concerning sin, because the do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”John 16:7-11, ESV
Long story short, the Holy Spirit was sent to us. Awesome. What now?
My experience over the last two summers in Eastern Europe has helped me answer this question, not completely, but I feel that I am in the right direction. That boldly praying to see the Holy Spirit but to also believe that He can move inwardly and outwardly just as He did 2000 years ago. To think of prayer in miracles instead of by human standards. Instead of praying “I pray that You would move in the hearts of those around me” but praying ” I pray that You would set a fire in every single heart that I interact with right this very second. That a revival would come and by tonight we would be on our hands and knees crying ‘Abba, Father!'” Yeah, praying prayers in the standards of boldness.
Now, before I go further, I want to say that I am in no way saying that the first prayer is bad, AT ALL. But I do think that we can be boxed in by our human standards of reality, because we can control what we see. I am calling myself out on that one, I sometimes pray in ways that I can answer that prayer, instead of praying for the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit to answer that prayer.
Today though, I asked the speaker, Leonard Allen, what He thought the difference was between Western and Eastern culture, and if He thought that there were any boundaries set by Western culture preventing us from seeing the Holy Spirit?
That is a big question, I know. I am actually not quite sure if He understood it. But He gave me some sort of answer. Leonard went on to say that He found, just like in the text, that usually poorer peoples in whom have nothing to lose usually had the tendency and faith to see the Holy Spirit because their faith is not in physical life.
I can agree with that. But I have an add-on answer to the whole Western and Eastern culture difference. I believe that in this physical life, the past can definitely affect our view of the Spiritual world. Take a look at Europe, the Middle East, and the areas surrounding, there has been wars, famine, disease, you name it, basically since the beginning of time. Whereas here in Western culture we have only been “introduced” into the world for the last 300 years, with the exception of Native American livelihood. We have only had one war fought on our land, slavery was a regular part of livelihood until that one war, and really nothing else, and that has only been for the last 300 years. Eastern culture has the rest of time on us. That is a lot of time. (Disclaimer, I don’t say all this to downplay the sufferings of either culture, not at all, just to point out major differences).
So? What now?
Now, we start seeking the Holy Spirit and trust that He can answer prayers and set us on fire, not ourselves. Trust that the Holy Spirit is there not just in suffering but in success. Trusting that the Holy Spirit would be at work in equipping us as believers. We have no say in the mission of God. That has already been established. Let us look to be used as tools.
“We have no say in the mission of God”
I am still on the journey of figuring out how I can actively search and seek the Holy Spirit. It is a tough journey, but one that I am super excited and nervous for.
Want to join me on this journey? Get this book: Poured Out by Leonard Allen. Read it with me. Let me know what you think!
Also, I am currently working on a series, probably a sermon series, maybe a short theological study. Prayers for that, but I am getting excited because it is my first time attempting it. I am not doing it for anyone but hoping to someday. And remember, pray boldly.
Extra: check out this fun video I did this weekend, it is always fun to be creative, even in the most silliest of ways: