When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 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 as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4 NIV
On Sunday, June 4, the Church celebrates Pentecost Sunday. Not that we should need a special Sunday to remember the ministry of Holy Spirit. For those of us in Pentecostal Churches, every time we gather should be a celebration of His work among us. But the world-wide Church Calendar sets this day aside just like Easter and Christmas.
I grew up attending a Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada Church from the age of 2 years. I came into my own personal experience of being baptized with the Holy Spirit during a PAOC Youth Convention in Toronto when I was 19. I attended a PAOC Bible College in my 20’s where I grew in my theological understanding of what being Pentecostal was all about. After College, I pastored in PAOC Churches for most of my ministry. In all of my involvement in this Spirit-filled environment, I came to realize something was stifling the flow of the Spirit in my personal life and in turn my ministry. The Lord helped me to see that it was during special services at a Pentecostal Church when I was 13 years old that something had taken root in me. I realized that what was hindering a full flow of Holy Spirit in me, was a fear of the unusual, a fear of the God’s supernatural working.
Soon after I became a Pastor, I found I was very uncomfortable with ministry times that I did not have control over. During service or altar times that seemed a bit strange to me, I would find myself shrinking back or compensating with more control and structure. And I told myself, which was how I had been wired – that is, I was one who tended towards organization, I tended to embrace things that were structured. I found comfort in the predictable. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” For me, I found that embracing forms made it easier to predict what would happen. That made me more comfortable and I didn’t have to deal with the unusual. And the unusual can sometimes be a bit messy!!
As the Lord began to deal with me on my natural bent towards the predictable, I realized that I was really not trusting the Lord. I was afraid that He would not guard me from extremes. So while I’m not suggesting in this blog that we throw all structure in our services and ministry times out the window, I am saying that we can’t allow the form, the agenda and the predictable to become our master. The flow of the Spirit cannot be boxed. If we try, He will be quenched!
In John 3:8, Jesus describes the work of Holy Spirit like the wind, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” The very word that Jesus uses to describe the Holy Spirit reminds us of the impossibility of ever capturing or containing Him. The Spirit blows wherever He pleases. The natural wind is like the spiritual wind of God. You can’t control or orchestrate what He is to do but we try. And when we find we can’t control Him, we orchestrate things so we won’t be caught off guard. A fear of the unusual. Fear of the uncontrollable. A fear of the supernatural!
Every one of us is uniquely used by Holy Spirit. But the key is to allow the Spirit to blow us as He desires not as we want.
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