It started out as an ordinary Sunday morning. Upon arriving at our cafetorium, we noticed a handful of African American women dressed in long flowing skirts. They had flags with them. Not small, polite American ones like you see at a parade honoring veterans. These were bright, colorful, large flags on stout poles. These women led us in worship that day, and they danced so bold and free, It took me 35 years to reach a point where I could raise my hands in worship for goodness sake. These women celebrated Jesus in a way I never had. I won't soon forget it.
A new church started up in my hometown. A few brave souls visited, and some of those even attended this church for a time. Holy Rollers. However, in my circle, it was understood you stayed away, even though the family had once attended the church of my youth. I never visited there when I lived at home, and I have friends who eventually walked away from its fellowship disillusioned. I thought I had my mind all made up about this church family who rolled in the aisles and spoke in tongues. That is, until they reached out to my brother at a time when he seemed unreachable. One of the hardest seasons of his life, and the Christians from this church took him in; teaching him in Bible study, texting him for accountability, speaking Bible verses over him, and fellowshipping with him over meals. If I considered the fruit of their actions, my brother was a more godly man for knowing them.
Those who follow the traditional church calendar observe a certain day each year, 50 days after Easter Sunday. During this time in between, they've continued celebrating Easter, living into the victory Jesus accomplished on the cross. Then - on June 4th in 2017 - churches around the world acknowledge the power believers received when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Pentecost Sunday. We read about the event in Acts 2 - the day many believers gathered in one place. Suddenly, they saw tongues of fire rest on them, and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. About 3,000 were saved and baptized on that day. Revival!
I didn't grow up observing church holidays like these, but I want my daughter to acknowledge them. I'm still not sure what to do about the wild and brazen Holy Spirit who lives inside of me, but I do know every intimate encounter I've had with the Spirit has left me thirsting for more. That's what I want my daughter to desire - more of Jesus. So we'll be reading about Pentecost together this year. This book, The Day When God Made Church: A Child's First Book About Pentecost, is a collection of beautiful artwork delivering a powerful message. I'm hopeful some of you want to teach your children about this day on the church calendar as well. You can read through this book with your little ones and ask God to show you more of his Spirit's power.
I'm partnering with Paraclete Press to give one copy of this book away! Giveaways are so fun, and you'll be thrilled with the quality of this book. It offers an incredible sense of the feelings this crowd likely felt on that significant day. Let's keep this contest simple. If you'd like to win a copy of this book, comment below. Tell me a fun fact about the child you'd read this book with, and whether or not you've ever celebrated Pentecost Sunday. That's it! I'll share this post a couple times this week, reminding you to enter for a chance to win. I'll randomly draw a winner Friday afternoon around 5.
This contest has ended.
When Paraclete Press contacted me about reviewing a copy of The Day When God Made Church in exchange for a giveaway blog post, I told them I already had my own copy, but I'd be delighted to tell my readers about this book. A big thanks to them for giving me the opportunity!