Sunday, January 20, 2008

Holy Spirit: In HD

The SuperBowl is set and it's the NE Patriots vs. the NY Giants. It is almost poetic that any record for my beloved Pats would have to be achieved by beating a team from the dreaded Evil Empire. I digress from football to enter into a thought experiment brought on by viewing a commercial on TV tonight during the Giants/Packers game. A HDTV commercial.

Sony had their commercial for a spiffy looking HDTV and they showed on the screen the size difference, the image quality, and a peculiar white guy doing a jig. Now, I understand that they have to try and sell you on it but have you ever wondered why show images on the HDTV when I'm viewing the commercial not on an HDTV but a regular, 20-inch screen? They show these sparkling rivers, close-ups of the play, crystal clear fields but there I am-with my 20 inch screen-trying to imagine what that picture would look like on that TV. Quickly realizing that I am watching the HDTV image on my 20 inch screen and it doesn't really "blow" me away. Instead it just makes me wonder what I'm missing.

"I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."" Luke 24:49 New International Version

Jesus was just about to ascend to heaven when He spoke these words and I can only imagine what the disciples could've been thinking. Here was a dead guy, walking around, letting people stick their hands in His piercings, talking about some promise from the Father. Was He not the promise? The Messiah? The Deliver? What possibly could He mean? Even more peculiar was that this promise had already been bestowed upon them (John 20:22) and yet Jesus wasn't finished. They already had a view but still lacked the definition.

"On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized withwater, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Acts 1:4-5

Pentecostal practice and dogma is labeled as being highly exclusive and alienating. Sometimes I think the accusation is fair. It is common to see a very haughty presentation of what is supposed to be a Pentecostal message put forth with grace. For all the talk of receiving power from on high there seems to be more receiving ego from self.

No matter how you look at it however, something happened in Acts. Something that dramatically shifted some of the most pathetic men on the planet. That day made preachers out of murders, evangelists out of tax collectors, Spirit filled worshipers out of egotistical self-absorbed bureaucrats. Oddly it wasn't the resurrection that did this. It wasn't walking with the risen Savior. It was the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

"He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world."" Acts 1:8 The Message

The thing with watching the game on a regular TV is that you still get to watch the game. There isn't a different game on if you watch it on HDTV; just a clearer picture. It hit me tonight that I couldn't really understand HDTV by watching it on my regular TV but that I would have to experience it. Naturally, after just finishing a chapter on Pentecostal exclusivity, the two connected in my mind.

The Pentecostal experience is shown in Scripture to be a HD experience for the believers. They dramatically changed the way they viewed everything around them. They still believed in Jesus, they undoubtedly still led others to Christ but it wasn't till Pentecost that they saw and went out; "Clothed with Power". The Holy Spirit: In HD, opened up the believers to reach the lost and to spread out into what is known today as the Church. They had seen the Holy Spirit before but now it was up close and personal in crystal clear quality. The question then for all of us is-what about us?


"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14