PENTECOST: RECEIVE YE THE HOLY SPIRIT!
I remember like it was yesterday. It was Tuesday night, April 10, 1968. I was twelve years old. My mom and dad had gone to their regular Tuesday night service and left the kids at home. My two nieces and I decided we wanted to tarry that night. To “tarry” means to stay at the altar and pray until the Holy Ghost comes. Praying took on the form of saying one of three things: 1) Repetitious “Hallelujahs” 2) Repetitive “Thank You Jesus” 3) Just call on the name of “Jesus!”
We kneeled down in front of three kitchen chairs (our altars) and began tarrying. I looked over at my nieces and saw how hard they were tarrying and I felt sorry for them. Shortly thereafter, I felt the Spirit of God lift me off my knees to an upright position and I began speaking in tongues, with tears rolling down my cheeks, realizing that it had just happened to me! I was being filled with the Holy Ghost and fire! Being oh so familiar with the process, my nieces jumped to their feet, and briefly watching as God and I intertwined . Still speaking in tongues, my nieces tried to put my bed clothes on to fall asleep. Once my parents arrived home to the great news, my mom took her church clothes off and baked us a yellow cake to celebrate! It was PENTECOST!
Pentecost, the Advent occurring 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Jewish pilgrims came from all over to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The Apostles gathered into one place to await the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Beginning at 9 a.m. morning, without forewarning or fanfare, a rushing mighty wind filled the house where the Apostles gathered, immediately filling all with the Holy Spirit. Peter, now filled with the Holy Spirit, begins to preach the Gospel to the onlookers and declares that everyone can have this same infilling experience, because it is a promise to generations to come – as many as the Lord shall call. The church is born!
That was the foundation of the Apostolic Pentecostal faith. Nothing else was good enough! It was The Way – the only way. And, Pentecost was not only a collaborative annual celebration, but Pentecost became a personal experience for every believer. In Acts 2:38, Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
It gives me chills to think about how grand of an occasion it was for the many people over the course of my lifetime to receive the Holy Spirit – especially those that I have had the opportunity to experience firsthand.
I still draw on that experience. Whenever someone tries to contest the validity of The Holy Spirit, His existence, the authenticity of the infilling of The Holy Spirit with tongues, I go back to that night, that room, that moment, that feeling. You can’t make me doubt Him. I know too much about Him. That is why I love Him so. He’s so real to me. Whoever wrote those lyrics must have had a tarry-room experience of their own. Real…Indeed.
While I still commit to the infilling of the Holy Spirit, I have come to realize that the process does not have to be as elaborate. But the results will still be the same! You, too, can experience your own personal PENTECOST. And yes, the outpouring with the evidence of tongues still exists. It may be old fashioned, but it’s still fashionable. Have you received since you believed? God is just waiting for you to say yes! Receive ye the Holy Spirit!
Written By: Pastor Valerie Crumpton