Reading the events that followed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, I was drawn to an event that had far greater effects for the future other than Pentecost. Yes, Pentecost was historic, epic, marvelous, breathtaking (and any other adjective you may add). Then we realize this fullness of time moment was ordained and directed by God himself. It was going to happen, had to happen at the precise time that it did to fulfill prophecy.
In Acts 4 we see an event unfold that not only validated Pentecost, it made the promise spoken about in Acts 2:39 a reality.
"The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
In Acts 4 Peter and John raised a commotion by healing the crippled man at the Gate Beautiful. All sectors of culture were increased by this act. The religious, the business man, the government all demanded something be done to shut this uprising down. Peter and John were arrested and brought before a council of "concerned" elites of society. The verdict; never speak of this Jesus and His resurrection again.
The disciples response; we can't help ourselves, we have been with Jesus, before His death and after. What our eyes have seen and our ears have heard, we have to tell this story.
Then it happened, what I consider the key to why we are here today. Instead of folding up, shutting down, closing the doors, the disciples prayed this game changing prayer:
Acts 4:29-31 So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us. Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. 30 Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!”[a]
I found this quote from Thomas Carlyle this week, "Conviction is worthless unless it's converted into conduct."
The fires of Pentecost could have been extinguished had not the disciples asked for a touch from God. Now the template for us was in place. When faced with insurmountable situations, fear, anti-christ agendas, un-godly rules that goes against our beliefs, we do not have to turn into cowards.
I have seen this work in my life. Faced with the reality of the death of my Pastor & father-in-law Leon Vernon, in this dark night of my soul, I asked for the Lord's help. That night on a plane 35,000 feet over Arizona, the Lord poured into me unrestrained boldness! Add to that experience the signs and wonders Rhonda and I have seen in 20 years of missions work, well it is no wonder that "it is impossible for us to stop speaking about all the things we've seen and heard". Acts 4:20.
My prayer for the American church is we are all filled with Unrestrained Boldness!
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Senior pastor at Grove Christian Center.