by Tony Nester

The Gifts of the Spirit
Tony R. Nester
Acts 2:1-38

The wind that blew upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost was no mild breeze. The Scripture describes it as ''the rush of a violent wind'' and suggests that it shook the rafters of the house which the disciples had occupied. One preacher I know describes the Day of Pentecost as a ''holy hurricane.'' (1). That's a great description.

Why did the Holy Spirit come with such force?

I believe the answer is that God was changing his people and changing people is never easy. Sometimes changing people takes a holy hurricane.

A few years ago I attended a mental health conference at which the featured speaker was Joel Slack who worked for the Department of Mental Health for the State of Alabama. He was a fascinating speaker because he had been for years hospitalized in various mental health wards where he was treated for psychotic delusions. His experience as a patient had made him sensitive to the way that mental health workers can help or harm their patients.

One of the stories he told was about a community where the mental health professionals and therapists kept a ''professional distance'' from the people they treated. These professionals did not acknowledge clients when they saw them on the street or passed them in the grocery store. There was this great gulf separating the ''healthy'' from the ''sick.'' It seemed they had little in common with one another.

Then the town was hit with a hurricane, and the next day, everyone was lined up in the same line to get food and water. Now every body was on the same playing field. For the first time in their lives these two groups got together and experienced a sense of community. But it took a hurricane! People don't change easily.(2).

God was changing his people on the Day of Pentecost and it took a holy hurricane wrought by the Spirit of God to accomplish that change. What changed on the Day of Pentecost was the center point of peoples' understanding ...

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