A couple of other things...prints of my painting entitled "PENTECOST" (above) are available at www.churchinthenow.org...and I hope to see many of you today at CHURCH IN THE NOW EAST! I've got a good for you...
I've broken up most of the chapter with an acrostic for the word PENTECOST that I've posted before. Enjoy...
P - ushing limits
(Acts 2:1-4 - Acts In The Now)
For well over a week this group stayed in the Upper Room, praying and communing...connecting...basically, just waiting for whatever, as Jesus had instructed them. Day after day, for hours on end, they had been in the same flow...the same mindset...the same hopeful expectation. So by the time the day of Pentecost finally rolled around, they were all together...all together in one place, physically...all together in one place, mentally…all together in one place, spiritually. Then, suddenly, without warning, a thunderous, earthshaking sound like the blast of a violent windstorm burst out of the heavenly realm, and permeated the entire building where they were meeting.3. And they began to see a manifestation of fire hovering above their heads, which eventually separated into individual flames. Each of these flames somehow resembled a human tongue, and these “tongues of fire” came to rest on each of them. Every last one in the place was filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled him or her.
E - mbracing diversity
(Acts 2:5,6 - Acts In The Now)
Now there were staying in Jerusalem devout Jews, pilgrims from literally every nation in the known world. And when they heard this sonic boom send shock waves through the entire city, a huge crowd of them came together in excited confusion to see what was going on. They traced the sound to the Upper Room, and when they arrived there they became even more disoriented because each one heard their own language simultaneously being spoken.
N - etworking nationals
(Acts 2:7,8 - Acts In The Now)
Utterly amazed, they said "Hey…aren't all these who are speaking Galileans?! How is it possible that each of us hears them fluently speaking in our native language?
T - ranscending culture
(Acts 2:9-11 - Acts In The Now)
Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs…we hear them declaring nothing but the wonders of God…describing His wonderful works and mercy to all…and we hear and understand what they are saying in our own tongues!"
E - mpowering believers
(Acts 2:12,13 - Acts In The Now)
Utterly perplexed, they tried to rationalize what it was that they were seeing and hearing, asking one another, "What on earth does this mean?" Some, however, unable to comprehend or accept this phenomenon, simply made fun of them, attacking what they didn’t understand by saying, "Ahhh…this is nothing but a bunch of drunks acting crazy."
C - ommunicating truth
(Acts 2:14,15 - Acts In The Now)
Then Peter, being the first one to speak up, as usual, stood with the Eleven, raised his voice, and boldly addressed the crowd, saying, "Listen, all of you who live here in Jerusalem…and listen, all of you who are here visiting. Let me enlighten you as to what is happening here and now…listen carefully to what I say! You are trying to make sense of this spiritual occurrence with your natural minds, which is why you have opted to believe that these people are just drunk…but you can’t honestly believe that. Not only is it only nine in the morning, but you know full well that drunkenness doesn’t enable anyone to speak fluently about the wonderful works of God in languages that they don’t know!
O - vercoming divisions
(Acts 2:16-18 - Acts In The Now)
No, this is what was spoken centuries ago by the prophet, Joel, when he said, " 'In the days of fulfillment, God says, I will pour out of My Spirit on all people…on the entirety of humanity…and when everyone, everywhere, ultimately encounters a revelation and manifestation of My Spirit, both your sons and daughters together will prophesy, your young people will walk in visionary insight, and your old people will dream the dreams of God. In other words, this outpouring will not favor one generation over the other. Neither will this outpouring have any preference for station or status…it will touch the full range of servitude, from slaves, to the totality of the working class…nor will it discriminate because of gender, for it will be equally experienced by both men and women, alike. I will pour out of my Spirit with full abandon in those days, and they will all prophesy...every one of them!’
S - eeing globalism
(Acts 2:19-21 - Acts In The Now)
Then, speaking in poetic, prophetic vocabulary, or in the symbolic language of prophecy, (Genesis 1:14 - 16; Isaiah 13:9, 10; 34:4; Amos 8:9; Ezekiel 32:7, 8), Joel went on to say, ‘I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, that will appear as blood, fire, and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the full manifestation of the great and glorious day of the Lord.’ In this way He used the same imagery that the other Prophets of old employed to speak of the downfall of earthly authorities and governors. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved from any chaotic fallout that will come as a result of the transition of power, when the earth is no longer ruled by natural thrones and crowns (“suns and moons”), but totally and completely by My Spirit!
T - aking dominion
(Acts 2:22-28 - Acts In The Now)
"People…Israelites and foreign delegates, alike…listen to this…Jesus of Nazareth was a man thoroughly accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God performed among you here in Israel through Him. I‘m really not telling you anything that you don‘t already know. But to give you some context, allow me to tell the whole story. This man, Jesus, was handed over to you by God's deliberate plan and foreknowledge…in other words, from the eternal perspective…in the God-reality…it was absolutely the Divine will for it to happen exactly as it did. But here in the natural, temporal realm, you, with the help of manipulative men who found a loophole in the law, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. In this dimension and reality…from the human perspective…it was simply an unjust execution of an innocent man. But, regardless of what it was on this side of these parallel realities, God raised Him from the dead, totally freeing Him from the agony and authority of death. The obvious truth is that, in the grand scheme of things, it was just impossible for death to keep its hold on Him in any way. David had this to say about Him: 'I saw the Lord before me for all time…and because He was and is beside me at my right hand, nothing in the world can shake me.Therefore my heart (my spirit) is in a state of ecstasy…and my tongue (my speech) is overflowing with expressions of joy. And when my physical life comes to an end, my body will rest peacefully in hope, and in confident expectation, because I know that you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead…you will not allow your Holy One to be contaminated with the stench of death. You have revealed to me all the paths of life…you will fill me to overflowing with joy in Your presence."