Devotional: Why Does Pentecost Matter?

Pentecost happened. Praise God! On the southern steps of the Temple, God’s presence was revealed in the rushing wind and the ball of fire. That ball of fire exploded into tongues of flame that appeared over the heads of the disciples. It must have been quite an amazing sight.

But even in the pyrotechnics of the moment, there were skeptics. Some claimed the disciples were drunk. Three thousand were baptized on the spot, but tens of thousands were gathering for Shavuot, so not everyone believed immediately.

Pentecost is rightly considered the birthday of the Christian church. So, what is the church born to do and to be? Three thoughts. Continue reading

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Devotional: What Was Happening on Pentecost Day?

It is 9 a.m. on a major feast day. One wonders what the disciples were expecting. Jesus had died during Passover. He was placed in the ground on Unleavened Bread. He had risen from the dead on First Fruits. Shavuot was the next feast, and a major one. He had promised to return. Don’t you think at least a few of them expected him to return on this day?

After all, the angels had told them as he left them and ascended that he would indeed return as they had witnessed him leaving.

From the southern steps of the Temple, the Mount of Olives looms tall just to the east. It is clearly visible. I can imagine their side glances. It had been ten days since he left. They must have been longing for his return. Continue reading

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Devotional: Where did Pentecost Happen?

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-2).

“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say’” (Acts 2:14).

Where did the Pentecost event take place? Until the year 2000, the answer that I had been taught was that it took place in the upper room. Continue reading

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Devotional: When did Pentecost Happen?

“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken” (Acts 2:5-6).

Acts 2 goes on to tell us about travelers and visitors. Jerusalem was on the route to nowhere. Why were people from every nation under heaven living there, traveling there, and visiting there on this first Pentecost day? Continue reading

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Devotional: Living in Beit Ab

How do a faithful people apply the principle of beit ab to their daily lives and walk? That is a fundamental question for each of us as we apply each of God’s instructions for life to our daily living. God calls us to believe, but as importantly, he calls us to live obediently.

Beit ab is both a picture of life in shalom with our Father now and forever, and it is also a picture of the desire of God for his people to live in shalom with each other. It is a both/and, not an either/or. Continue reading

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Devotional: Jesus Christ, The Firstborn Son of the Father

Adam and Eve failed to live in perfect beit ab. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the children of Israel were conditioned by the Fall. While they lived in beit ab at times, they were sinners, and they were unable to restore beit ab. God provided the perfect way. He was Jesus. Paul called him the firstborn of all creation. Continue reading

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Devotional: The Father’s House

In Hebrew, the phrase is beit ab (pronounced “bait av”). Beit means “house.” Ab means “father.” A derivative of ab is abba (father).

Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2).

These words from Scripture, along with their cultural context, give us a glimpse of life with our God. It is a relationship that the Father longs to have. It is a relationship that was born at the creation of humans. It is what life in the world-to-come will be like. It is a portal into life everlasting in the kingdom of God. Continue reading

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Devotional: The Tomb is Empty!

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

1st Century Tomb

1st Century Tomb

Why was the stone rolled away? Certainly the Son of God did not need to have the stone moved to open his escape route. The Gospel writers make it clear that he had already risen and had already departed from the tomb. Continue reading

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Devotional: The Lamb Was Chosen!

In 1 Corinthians 1:18 the apostle Paul writes, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Scripture does not simply present the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus as isolated events. God’s redemption plan was unfolding from the story of the Fall in Genesis 3. The context of history and culture helps us to better understand the fullness and completeness of the story. There are no coincidences with our God. His plan unfolded purposefully and perfectly. And in God’s plan, his Son completed the work of redemption according to God’s calendar. Continue reading

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Devotional: I am a Pharisee

“Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.’ When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided” (Acts 23:6-7). Continue reading

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