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From The President

Pentecost Sunday

June 5, 2022, is Pentecost Sunday!

It is the day that the universal church celebrates the birth of the church, but for Pentecostals, this is also the day that we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 1:8 just prior to the ascension, Jesus told his disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:39, on the day of Pentecost, Peter says that the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is for those present in Jerusalem, and their children and for all who are a far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call—that includes us in the 21st Century!

One of the distinctives of the Pentecostal movement is that we believe the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience subsequent to Salvation. In other words, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit when we come to faith in Christ—but we are empowered for service when we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Most churches go all out to celebrate Christmas and Easter, and well they should, but as Pentecostals, we should also celebrate the Day of Pentecost! What better way to celebrate than to welcome a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your church services this Sunday.

As an encouragement to you, I want to share part of an email that I received from an ACOP Pastor this week:

“The conference was a great blessing to us. It had been a long time since we were poured into.

I’ve been meaning to share what happened at our church the first Sunday back. It was our special “Kids Church Sunday” so the children stayed entirely in kids’ church. The Children’s ministry leader came in to tell me 2 children had been baptized in the Spirit in kids’ church. That was exciting!

At the end of the service, people were invited to the front to spend time with the Lord. During the altar time, I told everyone about the two kids. So we then invited anyone at the front who wanted to be baptized in the Spirit to receive prayer. We prayed for 3 who were all filled—one guy had only started coming at Easter. There was a fourth who came forward but sat in a seat at the front (she’s pregnant and too tired to stand) and she spoke in tongues for the first time without anyone facilitating it.”

I received a call this week, from another ACOP Pastor who was extremely encouraged by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their church services recently.

Could this be the effect of the Solemn Assembly at the ACOP 101 Conference?

If you or your church are experiencing a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit—I would love to hear from you!

Please feel free to send me an email, or give me a call 403.273.5777.

Categories
From The President

A Year of Hope

HOPE!

“Hope is the most evil of evils, because it prolongs man’s torment.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

“A mission shaped church has a hope shaped mission.”

N.T. Wright

I began the year by reading N.T. Wrights book – Surprised by Hope. This is a paradigm-shifting book that explorers the relationship between, heaven, the resurrection, and the mission of the church. Wright sets out to answer two questions:

  • What is Christian Hope?
  • What impact does that hope have on the mission of the church?

This book is both academic and practical as well as biblical and insightful. I would highly recommend it to you—you too might be surprised by hope!

Early in January, the Calgary Herald’s editorial comic intimated that optimism was awaiting burial in 2022!

So, I have also been reflecting on the difference between hope and optimism. Optimism is a good trait, especially when it is contrasted with its morose cousin pessimism.

But, hope and optimism are not the same. Optimism is generally based on positive trends or indicators that things are moving in a positive direction. Whereas hope is the “confident expectation of something desired”

The writer to the Hebrews says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” [1] Our hope—that is, our confident expectation—is not based on trends or indicators but in Jesus who is faithful. A drastic contrast to the cynical quote by Nietzsche at the beginning of this article.

As we look ahead to 2022, there may be some reasons to be optimistic, but our faith in Jesus gives us every reason to be hopeful. I want to conclude this article, with the words of an old hymn :

My hope is built on nothing less 
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name
Chorus
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand
When darkness veils His lovely face
I'll rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy day
My anchor holds within the veil
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay
When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh, may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne [2]

[1] Hebrews 10:23 NIV

[2] On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand by Edward Mote

Categories
From The President

Facing 2022 With Confidence & Anticipation

We stand on the cusp of a brand new year and in 2022, like all new years, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what it will bring.

Will the pandemic become endemic? Will the inflation rate decline? Will the housing bubble pop? Will racism continue to foment in our culture? Will cultural divisiveness give way to greater cooperation?

The reality is—no one knows with accuracy what 2022 will hold.

There is a verse in I Chronicles that has recently captured my attention.

Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong. Have strength of heart, and do it. Do not be afraid or troubled, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not stop helping you. He will not leave you until all the work of the house of the Lord is finished.

1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT

David is giving a charge to his son Solomon who will, in the near future, succeed his father as the King of Israel. I believe that there are 4 principles from this verse that we can apply as we enter 2022…

Be strong!

When the pandemic began in 2020, we weren’t sure if it would be a sprint or a marathon. Twenty-one months into the pandemic, I would like to suggest that it has turned into an Ironman competition! The prophet Nehemiah said, “The Joy of the Lord is our strength,” and in Philippians 4:13: Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Being strong isn’t about us pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit in our inner being.

In the same way that an athlete strengthens themself by training, so we strengthen our spirit by reading the scriptures and spending time in the presence of the Lord.

As we enter into 2022, I want to encourage you to take some time every day to “strengthen yourself in the Lord.”

Do not be afraid!

In 1989, a new brand of clothing appeared called “No Fear.” This line of clothing featured all sorts of slogans inspired by their love of extreme sports.

It has been said that the most often repeated command in scriptures is “fear not” or “don’t be afraid” or some variation of this command. I am not sure if it is the most repeated command, but it is found over 100 times in the King James Version of the Bible.

In 2021 with the Covid-19 pandemic raging, surveys indicated people’s top two fears were a loved one dying, or a loved one becoming seriously ill. Other things that people are fearful of include violence, terrorism, racism, being alone, civil unrest, and not having enough money for retirement.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

1 John 4:18

Perfect love is God’s love—and God loves us unconditionally—it drives out fear!

As we enter 2022, we need to remember that we have a good good Father who loves us unconditionally, and in the security of His love, we have nothing to fear.

The Lord is with you!

During the Christmas season, we are often reminded that one of the titles of Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us! He isn’t just Emmanuel at Christmas time—He is with us every moment of the year.

The reason that we can be strong is because He is with us. The reason that we can live without fear is because He is with us.

In Psalm 16:11 the psalmist says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

The presence of the Lord brings joy, meaning, and anticipation to our lives!

As we enter 2022, it is with the joy and the confidence that comes from knowing He is with you.

He will enable you to complete the task!

David reminded Solomon that he had a task to complete—the building of the Temple. It was a place for the habitation of God. Peter reminds us that we “are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.”

Jesus has commissioned us to make disciples. If we make disciples, Jesus will take those “living stones” and place them in His spiritual temple that He is building.

As we enter 2022, we have a task to complete, and that task is to make disciples. But we don’t do it on our own—he has promised to empower us by His Spirit in the task.

In spite of the uncertainty that a new year brings, we can be strong and we can live without fear—because the Lord is with us, and He has promised to enable and empower us in the task of making disciples!