Day 7 Acts 2:1-4; 8:14-17
We were gathered in a small room. Forty or so pastors and a few spouses, we were in our second day of meetings, learning how we might help our churches turnaround from declining or plateaued positions. There was a sense of passion and desire for more of God that permeated the space. And then it happened. A perfect stillness as the Holy Spirit settled upon the room. No one moved or spoke. Everyone was aware that something special was occurring. There were a few sniffles heard as God’s very presence brought tears to the eyes. It felt like we were sitting in the upper room on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and baptized all of them, filling them with His presence and power. No one wanted to leave. We were basking in the presence of God and nothing had ever felt so right or so good.
What caused this experience? Was it just a random “God-sighting” or did anything precipitate the Holy Spirit’s anointing? In Acts 2:1, we are told that on the day of Pentecost, the disciples were all gathered in “one accord.” They had the same desire, the same purpose and were all in harmony with one another. Their focus that day was solely on God, seeking Him with their whole hearts and God responded in a great way. During this gathering of pastors when the Holy Spirit came in such a tangible way, we, too, were in “one accord” – and God came.
It is possible to believe in Jesus and follow Him without experiencing this kind of anointing of the Holy Spirit, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. When Peter and John came to Samaria in Acts 8, the first thing they did was to pray that the new believers there might receive the Holy Spirit because “the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them” (vs. 16). Some believers – and some churches – exist without sensing the empowerment and blessing of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They may not even yearn for Him because they don’t know what they are missing.
But if you have ever been “visited” by the Holy Spirit, you know that you never want Him to leave you. You want to dwell in His presence and to have Him dwell in you. That is why Peter and John prayed for the Samaritan Christians to receive the Holy Spirit. Not only did they need Him, Peter and John knew that once they had experienced His presence, the Church would want Him.
Have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence? Either personally or gathered with other Believers, have you ever had the Spirit of God come upon you with His overwhelming peace and power? If so, don’t you want that to become a regular or constant experience in your life and in your church? What, then, are you doing to prepare for His presence? Are you “in one accord” with Jesus, i.e., is your life in harmony with Him and His purpose? Is your church in harmony with one another and with God’s purpose? What might you do to help both yourself and your church be prepared for the anointing of the Holy Spirit?
If you have never experienced anything like what is described above, ask the Lord to help you prepare your heart so you would be available to Him. Check your priorities and values. See if there is anything out of line with the Lord’s will and do what needs to be done to correct it. In his book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller states that experiencing the Holy Spirit’s presence “is not imagination – it is the genuine, bona-fide reality of everyday life. There is a calm, quiet repose in the knowledge that He is there to direct even in the most minute details of daily living.” There is no better place to be or way to live.