Last Sunday was Pentecost — a day set apart each year in our church calendar to remember and celebrate the Father’s Gift of the Holy Spirit who came upon those gathered in the Upper Room to empower them to take His Kingdom into the world. As I mentioned in my Sunday sermon “Pentecost Promise, Passion and Power”, in less than 100 years the Gospel was carried on the lives of Spirit-filled Christians as far as Spain to the west, India to the east, and Ethiopia to the south. The ranks of Christianity grew because people who were attracted to Jesus Christ had their lives changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I’m one of those lives that’s been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. And I am grateful … so grateful.
There is a word that St. Paul used often in his writings. It is the word “compelled” and variations of it. Paul often experienced being “compelled” by the Spirit. He felt led, yes, but more than led, he felt compelled. Sometimes that meant “prompted” and sometimes it meant something more like “propelled” — thrust forward by the will and the power of the Spirit. When we read in the Gospel of Mark that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness after his water baptism, the word “led” implies that same sort of powerful urging.
Since my May 15 teaching at Teen Challenge in Riverside on the healing of the lame man at Gate Beautiful in Acts 3 (see May 16’s post “Back Up to Bat”), I have been experiencing a similar sense of being “compelled” by the Spirit. Quite frankly, the Spirit just won’t leave me alone. And I’m glad for that. The move of the Spirit in the interior of our lives is a little like the move of the waters of the Pool of Bethesda in John 5. When the waters were stirred supernaturally, the first person in the pool was healed. When the Spirit stirs the waters of my soul, I can be assured God is at work and He will do a supernatural thing that is worthy of my desiring.
And so I have been compelled. Compelled to dream spiritual dreams at night where God speaks in supernatural language. Compelled to sit longer in my prayer chair and weep grateful tears at His sweet presence. Compelled to teach and preach with greater conviction. Compelled to love Him more and to love people more, especially the lost and the suffering. Compelled to greater boldness to share His love. Compelled to remember that every minute of my life can count for the Kingdom of God.
As I look around me and see our nation groaning in pain in the face of natural disasters, school shootings, economic failure and moral destruction, I ask the Lord “what can I do?” And I hear Him say, “Be compelled by My Spirit. Take Me to the world around you. Don’t waste a moment I have given you. Be compelled to share the same Presence and Power that changed your life. Go!”
In less than 100 years, the Kingdom of God grew immensely — spiritually, numerically, geographically. All on the Wind and Fire of the Holy Spirit’s Presence and Power. The Kingdom is still ready to grow — on the lives of Spirit-filled believers … like me.
So today is another day to be compelled. Another day to take what I have been freely given and to give it freely to others. Today is another day to go.
After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.