Word of the Week

Pentecost Possibilites- Lisa Newton

headshotThere are those within the Christian family for whom the celebration of Pentecost is not a big deal or even something that is noted. As we continue the conversation about the Holy Spirit today, I've invited, Lisa Newton a fellow blogger to post some of her reflections on what the Spirit moving in her life means, though she comes from a tradition that does not host a "Pentecost Sunday" every year. Enjoy! 

I've never attended a church that celebrates Pentecost.

Though I spent my early childhood in a "Pentecostal" church, I never really  knew what that word actually meant.  I just thought it meant churches whose members speak in tongues and have lively worship services!  My teen and adult years have been spent in non-denominational churches which talked very little about Pentecost.

To be honest, I didn't even know Pentecost was a church holiday until I went to a Christian university and met students from other denominations and traditions.  But I vividly remember the first time I was aware of the Holy Spirit's presence in my life.

When I was about five years old, I went to a book fair at the pre-school I attended. I had saved my allowance money for what seemed a very long time and I had my heart set on a certain book.  But just before making my purchase I spotted a flashy, bright pink VHS box for a kid's aerobic workout video.  (Hey, it was the 80s!).  I put my book back on the shelf and grabbed the video instead.

I remember standing in line and feeling like I heard a quiet voice telling me not to buy the video.  I knew without a doubt that I should buy the book, but the video just looked so cool!  I ignored the voice and handed over my money for the video.

Of course, I was severely disappointed when I went home and watched the video.  I cried tears of regret over spending my hard-earned money on an impulse-buy instead of the book I had wanted for weeks.  When I told my dad that a little voice in my head tried to tell me not to buy the video, he responded by gently saying, "Maybe that was the Holy Spirit trying to guide you."

Since then, the Holy Spirit has continued to speak to me in small, quiet ways.

And just as He did on that day almost thirty years ago,  He still uses books (and more recently, blogs) as His main means of communication.

I'm now a professionally trained librarian and selecting books is part of my job, but I rarely "select" a book for my own personal use.  Instead, they show up in my life as a seemingly random choice Amazon recommends to me.  Or as the same title mentioned multiple times in several un-related blogs.

As cliché as it sounds, the books that find me are the ones the Holy Spirit uses to challenge and encourage me the most.  Consequently, my book shelves and my Kindle feel like extensions of my prayers and my struggles.

Hidden in each book of the stack is something the Holy Spirit wants me to learn or understand, and every time I look at it I'm reminded that He is inviting me into a conversation with Him.

When I was struggling with my extended singleness in my late 20s, Jan Meyers' books The Allure of Hope and Listening to Love spoke words of comfort and hope to me in ways that no therapist or friend had been able to.  I read them over and over again, each time understanding more about God's love.  They are full of highlights and underlining- notes that mark the passages where the Holy Spirit challenged or encouraged me, or where Meyer's own words expressed my feelings and sorrows better than I could.

These passages became my prayers when I could not pray.  To this day, I get very emotional if I try to re-read her books, and I don't let people borrow them because it feels like I'm loaning out my prayer journal.

So whenever I feel spiritually dry or disconnected from God, I read.  My celebration of Pentecost takes place not in a church service, but in bookstores and libraries.  And the Holy Spirit always meets me there.

What books do you keep coming back to?

Lisa is a blogger that chronicles her  journey through infertility and offers spiritual lessons to her readers about how to find hope in difficult situations.   She lives with her husband on the gorgeous California Central Coast. They also have a sweet orange tabby cat named Hemingway, and he’s quite possibly the most spoiled cat in the world. Lisa is a member of a non-denominational church.