Empowered: This Ain’t Your Momma’s Temple

Jewish Temple

 

Last time we saw that God took the tradition of Pentecost and made it a moment of transformation. God changed the event, but he went further giving a new emphasis and new scope revealing:

THIS AIN’T YOUR MAMA’S TEMPLE (Acts 2:3-4) They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

With everyone gathered together for the festival—it highlighted what made the Jews unique—a God that interacted with His people—a temple that was his earthly dwelling place among his people. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 reminds us of the moment he first filled the temple, “the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”  As cool as it must have been to see the smoke pouring out of the temple, we see a radical shift from a holy building being filled to a holy people being filled.

With this change—the Spirit breaking out of the walls of the temple– Vince Antonucci, a pastor decided that his Virginia Beach, VA church would act on this change. They started holding a Tuesday night service! Radical! Not really—unless you hate Tuesday nights. What makes it particularly different is that they held the service, full with sermon, offering, communion, prayer, and songs in a bar—not a bar that is closed down, but a bar that is in operation—serving customers, in hopes of reaching them!

As I’ve driven down the street and seen a piece of a mobile home seemingly floating by, or a giant hot dog, but I’ve never seen an enormous temple on wheels. The temple was in Jerusalem alone! Yet, the beauty of Pentecost is that God shows us we are never too far removed from God, that with Baptism, the spirit of God dwells inside of us, where we go, the Spirit goes with us. –and yet in too many experiences we confine the gospel to the 4 walls of the church between 9:30-11:30 a.m. Instead of simply calling the lost to come to us—we are able to take the truth to them. We become the messengers, we become the comforters, we become the peacemakers, and we become the mouthpieces. When we live out our faith, it brings the presence of God before the audience of the lost. Jesus-in fact takes the same approach to us—when we have no way of coming back into relationship with God on our own, he became one of us to come after us!

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