Last week we looked at the periods of waiting that sporadically invade our life and yet more often than not, if I had to guess I bet—you probably spend more time racing (around) rather than resting with things constantly changing around you. Sometimes change is slow and steady other decades like in music—as we moved from Elvis Presley to the Beatles with the British Invasion—to today’s classics—“What does the Fox Say?” Other times change happens in an instant—from the calm of September 10th to terror of September 11th—-Despite the speed at which it occurs, a social scientist rightly quipped, “The only thing constant in life is change!” Even the church is getting in on the action– One church in particular- located in Merced, CA- have gone out of their way to embrace change—called aptly, “This Ain’t Your Mama’s Church.” Meeting each week not in a church with four walls, comfy chairs or padded pews, no soft-spoken messages, but instead on two wheels, with lots of horse-power, chaps, leather and angels to spare, but that is only because some were former Hells Angels. It is a motorcycle church! So today we are going to look at what happens when the waiting is over!
Today we continue in our Empowered Series, through the book of Acts. We move from the church being called on to Wait to seeing that when God is ready—change can transform everything. In our text from Acts 2:1-13, we will see the three major changes in the life of the early church which still impacts our faith today!
We begin in (Acts 2:1) When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
Pentecost had come, let the party begin. But what are we celebrating? Sometimes it is easy to forget that the Jews practiced this event before Christ and still after Christ in the festival called Shavout- (Sha-voo-ot). Originally, it marked God giving Moses the Law on Mount Sinai, and annually celebrated by the Israelites honoring God’s provision, blessings, and concern by bringing the first fruits of the harvest to the temple. Yet here in our text, we see that after the every year being the same that this AIN’T YOUR MAMA’S PENTECOST- Look what happens in Acts 2:2– 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. In fulfillment of Christ’s promise, like a trumpet sounding announcing the arrival of royalty, or a major decree, the blowing wind acknowledges the arrival of the far greater power and presence-the Holy Spirit! As God bottled his love for humanity in Christ (Romans 5:8), he pours out that love through the Holy Spirit—leading John to say “It is the Spirit who gives life.”
The change in the church can easily be taken for granted, the spirit came at Pentecost and the church was formed and we turn the corner,” but don’t miss the explosive change– It would be like a farmer waking up each morning—hooking up the old plow to the old horse who has seen better days. Every inch of progress would come at the price of blood, sweat, bulging arms, and lots of naying. The contrast of Pentecost would be waking up in the morning, walking out to your field and finding the latest and greatest planter from John Deere, fully equipped with GPS, air conditioned cab, and precision planter. When we try to live on our own power—we barely break the surface, each step forward only comes at the expense of our blood, sweat, and tears yet the infusion of power, precision, and the presence of God changed the entire landscape and offers to change our entire lives.
Look what happened here, God took a long-standing tradition and turned it into a moment of transformation. Not simply the memorialization of God’s law– into a true moment of interaction with God’s grace allowing us to be real with God—breaking the surface–no fake smile, plastic halo, or hollow words. Just as God did with Pentecost, he can do in your life. What things do you do everyday nearly on auto-pilot, stopping at the coffee house for a cup of joe, meeting with your friends, maybe God is calling you to take your tradition and start using it as a moment of transformation. Usually though we avoid change as much as possible—change messes with our schedules, our sanity, and our sociability—yet sometimes only change will catapult us towards Christ! It took Moses seeing a burning bush that wouldn’t be consumed to get him out of the literal rut he probably walked in following the sheep! When is the last time you’ve tried growing in your faith by serving in a unique way, or read something that might solidify your conviction or reached out to someone new, or strived to disciple the next generation of believers? If the answer is never, or not for a long time, lets allowed the Holy Spirit to wake us up as it woke up the first Christians.