Crossroads: The Presence of the Holy Spirit

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Acts 2:1-12

My Story

Several years ago on a weekend retreat, I gathered with a group of teenagers in a dimly lit room to share an Agape Love Feast. Earlier, we had set up the room with candles, a plate of bread, and a large cup of grape juice. Before we entered the room, all of us took off our shoes and made a commitment to be silent as we entered. Music played softly and we sat in a circle around the candle, bread, and juice.

The Agape Love Feast was very simple. We took the break, broke off a piece, and gave it to the person sitting beside us. As each person offered the piece of bread to their neighbor, the giver would say, This is the body of Christ. God loves you, and I love you. We passed the bread around the circle, and then we did the same thing with the cup of juice going the opposite way around the circle.

When we finished, an amazing thing happened. People around the circle began talking about how strongly they felt God’s presence in the room. Some felt the need to talk about things they had done that they knew were wrong. Many of us cried. Most of us hugged each other. Others sat quietly praying. No one wanted to leave. It was one of the most powerful experiences of God’s presence I have ever had. The Holy Spirit was with us.

Your Story

Tell about a time when . . .

• You felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. Were you alone? Were you with other people in a group?
• How did you know the Holy Spirit was with you? What signs did you notice that demonstrated the presence of the Holy Spirit?
• What did the Holy Spirit offer you? Did you feel comforted? Happy? Frightened? Worried? Peaceful?

The Bible Story

The Bible story today is the account of Pentecost. We read in this passage that all the disciples were in one place when the wind started blowing and they saw what appeared to be fire around them. The people recognized that the Holy Spirit was with them, and they were blessed by the Holy Spirit’s presence.

This event happened fifty days after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and radically changed their lives and the lives of many others. The disciples—once timid, shy, and doubtful—received the presence of God’s Spirit and became brave, courageous champions of the Christian faith. The Holy Spirit also comforted the disciples who were still sad because Jesus was no longer with them. It is clear that only God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, could bring about such changes and miraculous events.

Discussion Questions

• The people asked an important question in verse 12: “What does this mean?” Talk with each other about what this passage means to you.
• In this text the disciples recognized the Holy Spirit through wind, fire, and as they spoke in different languages. How do we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives today?
• Why did the people speak in different languages?
• Why did the Holy Spirit come at that specific time?
• What does the Holy Spirit do for us today?

Prayer

• Thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who Jesus describes as the Comforter.
• Ask God to open our eyes that we might see the work of the Holy Spirit around us and recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Action

Talk about how you as a family can help each other recognize the Holy Spirit in your lives. Each day this week, ask each other to tell if they noticed the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives that day.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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