And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. Acts 2:17-18 (ESV)
Several years ago, while serving as a student minister, I took a group of teenagers to a water park. I told them to check in with me at a water playground between 12:00 and 1:30pm.
When noon came, I bought a giant iced drink, plopped down in a shaded lounge chair and waited for the students to check in. Within a few seconds of sitting down, I watched as a ginormous bucket, suspended above the entire playground, tipped over and soaked the whole place with an overwhelming amount of water. There were a dozen or so kids struggling to stand beneath the deluge.
But here’s the thing – there was a look of sheer joy on their faces as the water hit them. One kid even shouted, “That was awesome!” as he wiped the water out of his eyes.
After the bucket had finished its job, it turned itself back upright and started the cycle of filling back up with water. Then five minutes later, like clockwork, it tipped back over and doused everyone underneath.
On the fourth or fifth cycle, I noticed a little boy about 7 years old in bright green swim trunks – that put himself in the exact same spot each time that bucket tipped. And each time, he would bring someone along with him.
In the time between the bucket’s outpourings, he even raced around the playground telling the other kids how awesome it was going to be when the bucket tipped over and all that water came pouring out. I literally heard him say, “It’s going to be awesome – you don’t want to miss it!” And as he made his laps around the playground, he would keep his eye on the bucket, not wanting to miss the next outpouring.
It took me a few minutes, but I finally figured out that this kid lived by two principles:
- He was going to put himself in a position to experience that bucket’s outpouring each and every time.
- He was going to bring as many people with him as he could.
In Acts 2:17-18, Peter preached a sermon and he quoted the prophet, Joel, saying: “In the last days, God declares ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.’”
The word “pour out” means “to bestow liberally”. It is a word that conveys overwhelming volume. It’s not a sprinkle of the Spirit that’s coming down. It will literally saturate you. And the tone of God’s voice in the verse isn’t “this might happen.” It’s a promise.
This promise was fulfilled at Pentecost when the Lord poured out the “bucket” of the Holy Spirit on the first believers (Acts 2:4). On that special day, the Lord ushered in a new era where His Spirit would dwell within anyone who “calls on the Lord” and trusts in Christ for salvation (Acts 2:21).
And while Pentecost was a one-time, historic event, we can still pray for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit – on our lives, on our churches, on our families, on our nation, etc. After all, we don’t just want to read or talk about the Spirit. We want to experience His power in such a way that others around us take notice and are drawn to His work in our midst.
But here is the catch – we have to put ourselves into a position to experience it. And how do we do that? By living in a Christ-honoring way. By crying out to Him in prayer. By spending time reading His Word, serving His Body, and participating in His mission in the world.
And that’s where that kid’s attitude at the water park challenges me to my core.
Our desire as followers of Christ ought to be two-fold:
- To put ourselves into a position to experience the Spirit’s outpouring every chance we get.
- To bring as many people along with us as we can.
So this is my prayer in response to God’s promise and that kid’s example:
“God, give me a passion for your presence. Help me to see the value of putting myself into a position to experience the power of your Spirit again and again and again. And Lord, give me the courage and passion to invite those around me to come and experience you alongside me.”
Deep down in my heart, I want to be that kid.
Written by Kevin Wood, Guest Contributor