We all want to help each other, but sometimes we are not sure where or what that help should be. Of course we can pray for each other, but sometimes they may need more than just a prayer. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Provide rides to doctors’ appointments. If your friend is ill, take her to her doctor appointments. Wait with him, comfort her. Don’t turn away from him discomfort.
2. Go grocery shopping. Provide food and necessities to someone who isn’t able to make it to the grocery store or who can’t afford it at the moment.
3. Cleaning house. This one is for all the new moms out there. People tend to want to come over and hold our babies. What would be super helpful instead would be for people to come over and wash dishes or do laundry so that mom can take a nap with her little ones.
4. Cooking. Make regular meals for someone who is ill, just had a baby, or is otherwise unable to cook for themselves.
5. Babysitting. If you know a couple whose marriage is in a difficult place, offer to watch their children so they can have some time together, just the two of them. Or maybe you know a mom who just needs an hour or two on her own to regain her sanity.
6. One on one Bible study. If you have a friend who is struggling in their faith or wants to build a deeper relationship with the Lord, meet with him weekly. Disciple her. Live out Titus 2.
7. Regular phone calls or video chats. If you’re far away and can’t be there to physically help, commit to spending time weekly to pour into your hurting friend.
8. Go for walks together. Simply spend time together. Sometimes just being there and being willing to listen is more than enough.
9. Share about yourself. Be willing to open up. Let go of the “perfect Christian” façade and be willing to share your struggles and faults. Let your friend know they are not alone.
10. Possibly the most important one: Ask your friend what he or she needs! How can I help? Then be ready and willing to follow through.
If you feel like whatever you have to offer is inadequate or that you have no idea how to help just do something! God will equip you. God will multiply whatever small offering you have for someone in need. God will use you to bless many, you need only be willing.
It’s time to start being bold, brave, loving, and fearless in living out our faith with others. It’s time to start living an authentic life in Christ. It’s time to become more like Jesus.
For most of us, this Sunday isn’t flagged on our calendars as Pentecost Sunday, but if it weren’t for Pentecost, we wouldn’t know about Easter. It should be a big deal for Christians, and there are some reasons why it’s a day worth celebrating and wear RED.
Back Story is Important Before we jump into the importance of Pentecost, we must remember what lead up to it through the remembrance that Jesus spent forty days after his resurrection with his disciples (Acts 1:3). Imagine those moments — the risen Savior in a glorified body talking and praying with his close friends (Luke 24:39-43), but it could not last because Jesus must ascend to the Father and establish his everlasting reign by receiving, as the God-man, all dominion, power, and authority (Luke 24:44-51 & Daniel 7:13-14). Watching Jesus ascend to heaven (Acts 1:11), the disciples must have felt an immediate sense of loss. But Jesus steadied them with an important promise: “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).
Remembering Israel’s Deliverance So, on the seventh day after the ascension, we find the disciples gathered in Jerusalem, praying, waiting, and celebrating the Feast of Weeks. This important annual festival was observed on the seventh Sabbath after Passover. At the conclusion of Passover, the first sheaf of the barley harvest would be offered before God in the temple, anticipating the greater harvest that was to follow in the summer. On the fiftieth day after Passover (Pentecost comes from the Greek word for fifty), all Israel would come to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate in God’s presence. Parents, children, male and female servants, sojourners, the fatherless, and widows would all give thanks and feast in memory of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Deuteronomy 16:9-12).
In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke tells us that when the disciples were gathered on the day of Pentecost, suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance—Acts 2:2-4.
According to Luke, Jews from every tribe under heaven were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. Learning what had happened, an international multitude gathered to find the disciples declaring the gospel in languages that each person could understand. As they marveled, Peter explained the miracle as the fulfillment of God’s word: This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”—Acts 2:16-18
Peter goes on to proclaim that what has happened in their hearing is the validation of the lordship of Jesus the Messiah and the realization of the promises of God (Acts 2:29-36). Those gathered are “cut to the heart,” and three thousand of them receive the good news of Jesus as Messiah and are baptized (Acts 2:41). The rest of the Book of Acts develops the world-transforming changes that have begun in these moments at Pentecost.
So what is the importance of Pentecost for us? Jesus’ promise to never forsake his own is fulfilled. As painful as the parting at the ascension might have been, Jesus assured the disciples that it was to their advantage that he would go away, “for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. . . . When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:7, 13-14)
The fulfillment of the promise of Jesus was the outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and, as Peter proclaimed, on all of God’s people in this new era (Acts 2:38). The promises of the new covenant are ours through the indwelling Spirit (Jeremiah 31:33 & Ezekiel 36:26). Jesus did not end his work on earth with the ascension — he continues it now through his Spirit-indwelt church. We, therefore, can take fresh courage in Jesus’s words, “Behold, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age”—Matthew 28:20
The global proclamation of the gospel is launched. Jesus’s death at Passover and his mighty resurrection three days later signaled the “first fruit” of God’s victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:20-24). Jesus had accomplished everything necessary for the gospel to run and triumph (Hebrews 2:14-15 & Revelation 20:1-3) and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost signals that the greater harvest has begun. The three thousand souls added to the church on Pentecost hailed from all corners of the Roman world. They, in turn, would carry the gospel to their families and communities. The narrative sweep of Acts follows the Spirit-indwelt disciples as they carry the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). You heard about Easter because of Pentecost.
The coming of fuller restoration and a greater celebration arises. At Pentecost, Peter proclaims that the prophecy of Joel 2:28-31 has come to pass. Intriguingly, this prophecy of the eschatological gift of the Spirit comes immediately after another striking promise from God in Joel 2:25-27; I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lᴏʀᴅ your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lᴏʀᴅ your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.
While Jesus’s reign is secure and eternal, it has yet to come to its fullest expression on the earth. While death has been decisively defeated, it has yet to be put to a final end (1 Corinthians 15:24-26). Paul reminds us that creation longs for its final restoration and that even we ourselves, who “have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23).
Pentecost is a pointer that history is inexorably moving towards the restoration of all things. The bridegroom has come; his bride is making herself ready. We await the greatest celebration of all. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9)
I have just given you the scriptural supportive importance of Pentecost and why we celebrate it. For me, Pentecost is that special celebration of how much God and Jesus wants us to succeed in our spiritual connection to them. To the very end of his earthly ministry, Jesus was concerned about us being alone; so he promises us that the same spirit that sustained him during his ministry will be given to us. The same spirit that unites the father and the son can be set loose in our lives, bringing us in unity with the trinity.
It is possible for God to place a small portion of himself within each of us, but only if we yield to the presence of his spirit. God’s eternal desire is be so close to us that he is in us; God-in-you and God-in-me. Do we have the same desire that God has? Do we want to be as close to God as God wants to be to us?
My answer is a resounding, YES and I’ve have it because of Pentecost. See you on Sunday celebrating the yielding to the Spirit.