When Ben Worley was still little enough that he would let me read to him every night, I read him the Harry Potter stories. (Harry Potter haters: Hang on. I'm about to tell you how good can come from The EvIl Literature.)
It should come as no surprise to you that I love to read stories aloud. All sorts of stories, but especially ones with characters who have distinctive voices, and most especially ones with characters who speak with a British accent. I neeeeed an excuse to speak with a British accent whenever possible. Mary Poppins. Winnie the Pooh. The Chronicles of Narnia. Lemony Snickett. Anything by Roald Dahl. And Harry Potter. These all afford me proper excuses, so I went at reading Harry Potter with Anglo enthusiasm. In fact, the best moment was when Ben and I went to the first Harry Potter movie, and Ben turned to me part way through and whispered, "They got the voices right."
So one night I was reading the book in which Harry, Ron and Hermione go to the world cup Quidditch matches. There Harry finds that there are schools like Hogwarts in other countries! As they walk among the tents of the opposing teams, they hear French, German, Russian. Harry wishes he could understand them. And Hermione, who is more accomplished with her spells than Harry and Ron, waves her wand as they pass each tent—and they can understand what's being said!
"Wouldn't that be awesome?" Ben interrupted. "If you could do that?"
"Ben, that's in the Bible," I said
"Get OUT!" he shouted, and I told him about Pentecost, how the believers were all in one place when there was a rushing of wind and flames of fire and the Spirit descended, and they all began speaking about God in every kind of language.
He slapped the covers. "WHY have I never heard this?" he whooped.
I don't know. What an excellent story to tell to a 9 year old boy. If I were the Sunday School teacher of 9-year-old boys, I would certainly want to tell them this tale. An amazing story, mostly because it's true.
I was thinking about that conversation this week because in this Wednesday's Bible study, we are learning to tell that story.
They were all together in a house. Suddenly, there was a sound like a rushing wind! No one could tell where it was coming from, but it filled the whole house! Then flames of fire settled on each ot them! God's Spirit came upon them, and they each began speaking in different languages as God's Spirit gave them the ability.
- Acts 2:1-4
"The wind blows where it wills, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going," Jesus said, and it made Nicodemus nervous. It makes us nervous. Which is ironic, because Jesus was introducing a topic that Baptists love to talk about: born again.
When the Holy Spirit shows up, God's Order of Service starts happening, and he is all about new life.
On the day the Holy Spirit showed up in this story, more than 3,000 people got new life! Have you ever heard that?
Are you all about new life?
Are you all about people being born again?
Then you should love this story.
Do you know why the Holy Spirit was given?
Do you know what happened when the Holy Spirit was given?
Do you know what God wants to do through His Spirit in you?
You should listen to this story. And find out. Even if it makes you nervous.
As my friend Esther Burroughs says with a shiver, "Embrace the whoosh!"
Click here to hear the story of the gift of the Spirit
and download the Bible study.
Who will you tell this story to?