We can’t imagine treating December 25th like any other day and then waking up on December 26th and thinking, “Wasn’t Christmas around this time of year?” 🙂
But I am guessing that is exactly what is going to happen to millions of Christians living in America over the next week. Not when it comes to Christmas but to another major holiday on the church calendar: the day of Pentecost which is celebrated on June 4th this year.
That is what this blog is all about. And to set the stage for it, I need to talk a bit about cars and a bit about shapes as well. 🙂
Back when I was growing up in the suburbs of the Motor City, there was the Big 3 in the automotive industry: GM, Ford, and Chrysler.
And we were a Chrysler family. Because that’s where my dad worked and that is where he retired. So we were loyal to Chrysler. And that is a huge reason why I drive my PT Cruiser. 🙂
So there was The Big 3 when it came to the automotive industry AND there was a Big 3 when it came to church as well.
I grew up going to church and I always thought there were just the Big 3 when it came to the major Christian holidays: Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter.
Now when it comes to Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter, I have heard various pastors and Christian authors argue about which of those events associated with the life of Jesus is most important. And I have heard arguments about how each one of those trumps the other two.
To me, that is like trying to argue which side of a triangle is the most important.
Obviously when it comes to a triangle you need all 3 sides in order for the shape to be a triangle. And when it comes to our spiritual journey, all of those events of Jesus’ life are “must haves”: His birth AND His death AND His resurrection… AND, by the way, His ascension.
After all, when Jesus rose from the dead, He didn’t keep walking the earth for the rest of His existence. Instead, He rose from the dead and then He ascended to Heaven 40 days later.
You might wonder, what’s the big deal about that? Here is the answer straight from the mouth of Jesus:
“But now I am going away to the one who sent me . . . in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.” – John 16:5,7 (NLT).
The “Advocate” is another name for the Holy Spirit. So Jesus was saying He needed to leave earth and ascend to Heaven SO THAT the Holy Spirit would come.
In fact, Jesus said it was BETTER that He left earth instead of sticking around.
Think about that for a moment.
According to our Lord and Savior, if you had to pick between two options: EITHER an “in the flesh” Jesus remaining on earth for the past 2,000 years OR sending the Holy Spirit… Jesus chooses option B.
So the fact that the Holy Spirit was going to come was a big, big deal. A game changer.
And the way God sovereignly orchestrated things was to have the Holy Spirit come to earth on one particular day: Pentecost.
The day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 is the day everything changed. It’s the day the Holy Spirit came in power. It’s the day the Holy Spirit filled believers. In fact, it’s considered the birthday of the church!
So in reality, we should not think of the major Christian holidays as the Big 3, but the Big 4 with Pentecost being the 4th holiday.
So if you are thinking in terms of shapes when it comes to major Christian holidays… it’s not a triangle but a square. And just like we need all four sides of a square, we need all four holidays. We need Christmas AND Good Friday AND Easter Sunday AND the day of Pentecost.
So I have a crazy dream I am praying about…
I pray that the day of Pentecost (celebrated on June 4th this year) would be viewed by Christians at OUR church and by Christians across the country as being as big of a deal as Christmas and Good Friday and Easter. That this Sunday would be a “can’t miss” day to go to church. That this Sunday would be a day where we reflect on the role the Holy Sprit has in our lives. That this Sunday would be a day when we read our Bibles about what happened back in the days of the early church and we passionately pray that those things would happen again in our day. That not a single Christian across the country would wake up on June 5th and wonder, “Wasn’t Pentecost around this time of year?”
And by the way, if you are reading this blog and you live in southeastern Michigan I’d love to have you celebrate the day of Pentecost with us! But instead of doing one sermon about the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 and then going back to “business as usual” we are going to spend the entire summer in the first few chapters of the book of Acts in a series we are calling Acts 29.
***Please join us on June 4th at 10:30am at The Eastside Vineyard Church as we celebrate the holiday of Pentecost. We gather (for now!) inside of Shelby Jr. High (51700 Van Dyke // 2 blocks north of 23 Mile). More info at tevchurch.org***