Here are my notes on my big take-aways from the Foursquare Mid-Atlantic District Synergy conference with Pastor Jerry Cook on “Why I’m Pentecostal” (it was excellent, by the way):
Why I am Pentecostal with Jerry Cook
February 12, 2011
If we do today well, then we are completely ready for tomorrow because today prepares us for tomorrow. You can’t get to tomorrow until you get through today. You get through today by listening to God and doing what He says
There is geography anywhere, but the people make the place.
Pentecostal isn’t how you preach or how you worship
It isn’t style or denomination–it transcends all that
Pentecostal theology can’t be added onto an existing theology. Your theology is the template and lens through which you view and filter reality. You have to have a seamless understanding of God and living with Him. Otherwise, when e trials come it will fall apart. The God you take into the crisis is the one you’re going to have. You can’t change Gods in the middle of a crisis.
Scriptures show a progression of God breaking into the human condition, responding to our need, revealing himself through e person of Christ, and then through the revealing of the Holy Spirit. We made a mess of it, and this is His plan to fix it.
You can’t have authentic relationship without the choice of having the relationship. We are alive on the basis of relationship.
Adam and Eve had the breath of Life breathed (kissed/Spirit) into them and they became living souls. The Spirit in us answers to the very Creator. This is why i am Pentecostal.
He made the earth for you; He made you for Him (not for the world)
Satan pulled the plug of our life support system (our connection with God). Our soul dies; we made a deadly decision and all creation was pulled into a death plunge. We went into survival mode, which ultimately puts us in a place of selfishness (acting in our own self interest). We grasp for things that will make the plunge less scary.
The relationship left, but the appetite for worship didn’t. We beginning our own objects for worship. (idols) “There’s gotta be someone bigger then me, so I will make a big one of me!”
We create idols. We vest them with power. Then we bow down to the power that we put into them.
God gave us another opportunity to choose life. God can bring unlimited redemptive option to any human choice. He changes our reality.
The order to sacrifice Isaac was logical to Abraham. It wasn’t unusual to sacrifice children to gods. Abrahams response to Isaac that God would provide a sacrifice–where did he get that idea? What’s different about this time? GOD TALKS. That starts a whole new chapter in our understanding of a God breaking into our reality.
God has to communicate–that’s what distinguishes Him from all the other idols. He is not a big one of us; we are a little one of Him. We have not created Him; He has created us.
10 Commandments weren’t given to us to keep, but to realize that we can’t keep themo matter how much we want to. There is something wrong inside of us!
The Ark of the Covenant holds the broken law, among other things. The eyes of the cherubim are the eyes of God looking down. The blood of the sacrifice is put on the mercy seat so God sees the blood rather than the brokenness and sin. But the blood just covers it. It doesn’t take away what’s in the box. Every year, the priests have to keep putting the blood on the mercy seat.
You can determine how “far” God is to you by how legalistic your faith is. When God is far away, we set up structures to make Him happy because we’re never really sure He likes us.
God came as a baby because babies aren’t intimidating. Approachable. Accessible. God didn’t begin to teach us until He had lived with us for 30 years. When He began to talk, we knew Him. He lived with us.
We rejected Him because He wasn’t like any God we knew. He wasn’t mad at anyone. But if anyone had a reason to be unhappy it was Him because we had trashed the gift He had given us (which reflects what you think of the giver). Even when He drove the merchants out of the temple, the whip He used was weak–it was a show of authority, not anger. If He had been angry, you’d have a smoking crater. God isn’t mad. He loves us.
God hasn’t come to get (punish) you. He has come to be with you. Jesus is God up close.
You can’t both condemn and give life. You can condemn or give life.
We are hammered on how we need to serve God, but God did not come to be served, but to serve. There’s not a lot we can give Him.
Jesus was quite selective in whom He healed and helped.
How did He know? The Spirit. Whatever I see the Father do, I do, and whatever I hear Him say, I say. So if we are going to do the work of Jesus, we need to use his m.o.–hear and see.
Jesus ransomed us. Satan held us ransom. He wasn’t angry with us; Satan was. Satan has been paid what is due–death.
Without Pentecost(the Holy Spirit), the Church is still hiding behind closed doors for fear. Holding themselves up behind closed doors, reaching out every now and then to bring others into the fort. (post resurrection purgatory theology)
When Jesus tells us to do nothing, we cant help ourselves but to do something religious. He told he disciples to do nothing in Jerusalem until the Spirit came. But they decided they needed to replace Judas. And they did in a super religious way. Matthias. But we never hear of him again. Don’t bother doing well what you shouldn’t be doing at all. Who did God replace Judas with? Paul. They wouldn’t vote for him that day!!
At Pentecost, a mighty rushing wind came–just like at the Red Sea. They weren’t afraid of it because they had lived with Him.
Just like when Jesus was resurrected, he breathed on them and they received the Spirit. This was totally different than what happened on Pentecost. He also breathed on them at creation. Just like how we greet each other with a Holy kiss.
He puts His DNA in us–His Spirit. THIS is adoption. When He appears, we will look like Him. He is family.
Without Pentecost, all you have are stories of Jesus–stories He wouldn’t let the disciples tell until they had the Spirit.
Now we have a community of prophets made up of men and women.
God is using your job to take care of you–He can take care of you in many ways. But what are the chances that you would be where you are right when your colleague is going through a crisis? Pastor that person in that moment. Everything we do builds up to that moment. That’s what God is about. Putting people in a position (crisis) where they call on the name of the Lord. And having you placed there at that time to tap into His heart, His mind, and what He sees and to offer it to that person in that time. This is what church is about.
When faced with human need, Jesus first asked the question: what can I do for you? That begins the flow of Christ into the moment. When people are talking to you and they are calling on the name of the Lord to be saved, respond as He would.
It’s not a matter of doing what Jesus would do, but being who He was.
Tongues is critical because it’s part of Jesus’ m.o. We speak in tongues as the Spirit prompts. You’re speaking what you hear the Spirit saying. Just like Jesus did.
Tongues is to a believer what driving range is to golfer. Its our forum for practicing hearing and speaking, hearing and speaking. We don’t buy shoes without tongues, nor do we strap tongues on our feet without shoes.
We are not here to get people to God; we are about bringing God to people. In one day out of Sunday service, the congregation will come into more contact with people who don’t know Jesus than will come through the doors of the sanctuary in 5 years. Jesus didn’t set up an office and invite people to come talk to Him. He went to our weddings and our parties. And He got in trouble for it.
You pastor where Jesus has placed you. You are strategically placed. All you have to do is show up and care for the people God has placed there because He died for them.
Eph 4 gifts are to make the body strong so it would be strong wherever it goes. That’s what Sunday service is about. You get strong by doing it, not by reading about it or listening to it.
If you set yourself to love people, then you’re going to find yourself surrounded by a bunch of unlovely people.
Put up with people’s nonsense. Those are the people God is wanting you to get close to. All you have to do is be you filled with Him and open for business.