Friday, June 1, 2007

When was the Church born? Update on events of this year's Pentecost Sunday

I have frequently heard the following statement:

"Because this feast came fifty days after the Feast of Passover, it became known as the Feast of Pentecost. It was on this occasion that the Church was born."

Sorry - I have to disagree. The Church was BORN when Jesus breathed on the disciples after the Resurrection - see John 20:19-22.

19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

It was at this point that the Holy Spirit caused the disciples to be born again - thus creating the first of the called-out ones (the Church) who form the Bride of Christ.

You notice that Jesus is then very insistent that the disciples do nothing but wait in Jerusalem until the "Promise" had come - see Luke 24:49:

"49 “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
" [NKJV]

Luke continues with this narrative in Acts 1:4-8....

4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;
5 “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Here we see Jesus referring to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (which John the Baptist had witnessed (John 1:32-34) just after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, and had Himself received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with power from on high.

32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
33 “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
34“And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

Finally, on the Day of Pentecost, the Church was empowered by Holy Spirit to fulfill the Great Commission, as described by Luke in Acts 2, with signs, wonders and miracles.

We had this discussion a few weeks ago with one of the other pastors in our town, who wanted to have a Holy Ghost meeting on Pentecost Sunday to ask God to pour out the empowering of His Holy Spirit on our town. So last Sunday, for the first time ever, we had a multi-church/multi-denomination meeting specifically to ask God to pour out His Spirit on our town and region with signs, wonders and miracles - God blessed us with all of these during the meeting, and many people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The pastor whose church hosted the meeting told us that he had been praying for 30 years for this to happen!!!

I also believe we are about to witness the greatest outpouring of God's Spirit across the world that the world has ever, or will ever see, and many, many people, Jews and gentiles will come to a saving knowledge of the Cross. I am seeing the stirrings of this in my own home town - as witnessed by the Our Turn event last year, the growth of and the growing effectiveness of the town's Ministerial Group and last Sunday's meeting. The churches here in the city are coming together to pray in a way that has never happened before.

We are having a second "Our Turn" event this autumn, with another week of prayer in churches around the city, culminating in a group gathering in a local college - courtesy of the Mayor's office.

I am supposed to (when I get the info) update a web site with all the info.

My interpretation of campsmore's (Lori) dream, now that you have given it a place name would be a combination of "earthquake" events - as much in the spiritual realm as in the natural. I think we may see some event in the natural - maybe an earthquake or a limited terrorist attack - we are not really in a earthquake prone area, coupled with a great outpouring of God's Spirit on the churches, as a result of last Sunday's meeting (as described above). This will, I can assure you, bring about an "earthquake" in the local churches - some of whom will have to revisit/rethink their theology to explain what God is doing (to put it mildly!).

All I can tell you is that God is doing a "new thing" here.

Canada has NEVER had a countrywide revival. I understand that a prophesy was given out on the west coast at the beginning of this year that a great revival was about to sweep the land, like a wave from west to east. We are confidentially expecting great things to happen in the spirit realm over the coming months here in the region, with results in the natural, leading to large numbers of people seeking to know God.

Our senior pastor is increasingly being permitted to step into his God given role of apostolic ministry, and is being given more opportunities to minister in other churches. To clarify his apostolic mandate, he and his wife have already started 8 churches in the last 22 years - 2 in the US and 6 in Canada - all of which are flourishing.

He also has a tremendous gift for teaching believers, and frequently operates in the prophetic gifts. His wife has an anointing for healing - it is amazing to see them both in action, flowing in the manifestations of Holy Spirit - and we get all the benefits, praise the Lord.

I am not afraid of what may come - I too am aware that US intelligence reports have indicated that there is a very high likelihood that one or more US cities will be targeted with "dirty" bombs or small nuclear devices. I read recently that there are those in the US that firmly believe at least one such bomb has already been smuggled into the US - probably across the Mexico border - by a known terrorist - whom they cannot find at present (see here for more info).

We are preparing for a great harvest. God has promised us that we will start to see amazing things happening in the coming months, the like of which none of us have ever seen before - and we have seen some pretty amazing things already.


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