The Same Holy Spirit Falls

The Christian’s Bond Through the Ages: Mar’s Hill to Grenada

Phillip in Samaria  Acts 8:6-8  “And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things phillip-in-samariaspoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.”

Peter at Cornelius’s house  Acts 10:44 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word”day-of-pentecost

What do you suppose it felt like to be in the streets of Samaria, or in Cornelius’s house when the Holy Spirit fell? It sounds like a far off fantasy, doesn’t it? It’s in the Bible, so it was 2,000 years ago, and everything was different back then. That means people felt differently back then right? No! Of course not! Their love was the same as we feel, their fear was the same fear, their joy was the same joy. They just had to experience them without electricity and running water.

whitefield-preachingWhenever there is a revival, the same Holy Spirit falls. George Whitefield had a booming voice and preached a message of holiness to tens of thousands in the American colonies. Ben Franklin estimated a crowd in Philadelphia to be over 80,000 people! Jonathan Edwards read his sermon called jonathan-edwards-resolved“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and people moaned out loud, “what shall I do to be saved.”

In “From Woodstock To Eternity” Dustin Morgan is in Grenada and witnesses the Holy Spirit fall in response to the preaching of the Word.

While they are singing, many locals gather around to listen or join in, clapping along in their rhythmical, island beat.  Suddenly, Pastor Terry steps out in the open air and starts to proclaim a message about the saving power of Jesus.  They are having a revival right here in the middle of the street!  A couple of local islanders raise their hand to get saved and walk up to the Pastor.  He lays his hands on their heads and they bow in prayer.  Dustin whispers in Lisa’s ear,

island-people“I tell you what, I never would have seen anything like this in my old days.  I feel like we are experiencing something that has been going on for centuries.  I bet people felt the same Spirit when George Whitefield was preaching in the colonies, or even when Paul was on Mars Hill in Athens.  I had no idea being a Christian would be anything like this.”

Isn’t it something? When we get saved, or filled with the Spirit, or feel God’s presence, we feel the same Holy Spirit that people felt in the Bible – or in The Great Awakening – or in Cornelius’s house! Just pull up a chair, listen to Peter and start speaking in tongues… it’s that easy, and it’s part of our bond. The fellowship of believers spans the ages.

Rites of Passage

Before and After: How a Rite of Passage Imparts a Permanent Change

In the movie, The Bourne SupremacyJason Bourne’s boss, Conklin, encourages him bourne-supremacybefore Bourne goes into a building to carry out his first assignment – kill a Russian politician.  He has been trained and brainwashed to be an assassin for the CIA, and now is his first test.  Conklin urges him on with the words, “see you on the other side.”

The fact that there is “another side” means by implication that there is a barrier of some sort that must be crossed, or gone through.  In Bourne’s case, it was the physical barrier of shooting another person, as well as the emotional barrier of committing the act.  Conklin knew that once Jason had crossed that emotional barrier, he would be a different person because of it… he could do it again and again.

Although this may be a grisly way to make the point, this scenario perfectly illustrates a vital part of everyone’s life.  The Rite of Passage.  But just because it’s called a passage does not mean everyone goes through it.  Only those who take up the challenge and summon the courage actually come out “on the other side.”

rockwell-footballIt starts out in our youth.  It could be a schoolyard wrestling match, or joining the military.  Once you’ve done it, you know you can do more.  It could be a one time mission or years of study in a college program, but then one day, POW!  A diploma and job offers.

In my article, “The Heart of a Pioneer” I try to articulate the inner desires and motives that drive someone to take the plunge, so to speak.  There are compounded benefits, along with multiplied risks.  But whether you Wagons 3succeed or fail, there is one benefit no one can ever take away – you did it!  You went through the gauntlet and you survived, and that very experience has left an indelible mark.  It has changed you, and you are no longer the same.  As a matter of fact, now that you

know you can do it, you may go for it again, and again, and again until you get it right.

There’s nothing wrong with refusing the Rite of Passage while others go on.  Nothing bad will happen to you, and it may happen to them.  But empty-ball-and-chainyou will experience what I call “The Agony of Not Trying.”  You will simply stay the same, but you will never taste the delicious honor of victory.  To a pioneer, even defeat contains a trace of victory.  Why?  Because he did it – he went for it – he came out “on the other side” – and he has left sameness behind.