have had a very interesting few weeks here at the Crystal
Cathedral. Palm Sunday was quite an amazing day here! In
the first worship service, we had five pastors baptizing
people for thirty minutes. At the second service, we had
five pastors baptizing for twenty minutes. So we had five
pastors baptizing people here for a total of 50 minutes!
People have asked me how many people were baptized? I don't
know. We just baptized a lot of people and that's all I
know. It happened because Evel Knievel came here and shared
a stirring testimony which compelled the Spirit of God and
released His power in the Cathedral and the presence of
the Holy Spirit was evident.
next morning I called a dear friend of mine to try and get
some advice. I said, "What do you do after you have
a Sunday like that?" So I called Richard Mouw on Monday.
Richard Mouw is a terrific friend of mine. He happens to
be the President of Fuller Seminary, and he is just a wealth
of knowledge and information. He knows the history of the
church like no man I've ever known. He knows what is going
on in communities throughout the world; in South America,
in Africa, in Europe, in Australia, and in the United States.
I said, "Richard, where do we go from here? What happened?
What is happening?" He replied, "Robert,
it sounds like your church is having an awakening. An awakening
of the Holy Spirit of God, which takes place when the spirit
is released. It's like an Acts 2 experience. I knew what
he meant by an Acts 2 experience!
me precede this by setting the stage. Christ has risen from
the grave, He's met with His apostles, He's walked around
with them, He has talked with them in Galilee and everywhere
else, and He has now ascended into heaven. He has left His
apostles. The apostles are terrified because they witnessed
Christ being crucified and buried. They knew they were probably
next on the list because there was a desire to eliminate
this hierarchy that was taking place called Christianity.
So they were in the same place where they had celebrated
the last supper. They were in the upper room and they were
hiding there in a state of fear.
is what happened in Acts 2 when the day of Pentecost came.
"They were altogether in
one place and suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent
wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they
were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire
that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of
them, every single last one, was filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled
them. Now they were staying in Jerusalem, God-fearing Jews,
from every nation under heaven. And when they heard this
sound, they came together in bewilderment because each on
heard the disciples speaking in his own language. Utterly
amazed, they asked, are not these men who are speaking Galileans?
Then how is it that each of us hears them in our own native
language?" (Acts 2:1-8)
that, Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice and
shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can read the account
in the second Chapter of the Book of Acts, and it concludes
this way: "Therefore, let
all of you be assured of this: God has made this Jesus both
Lord and Christ. When the people heard this, they were cut
to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, brothers,
what should we do? Peter replied, repent and be baptized
every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness
of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for
all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will
call. And those who accepted his message were baptized.
And about three thousand were added to their number that
day." (Acts 2:37-41)
is an Acts 2 experience. Speaking in tongues was not a language
that was unintelligible. The speaking in tongues was a language
that was very intelligible where people heard the gospel
of Jesus Christ spoken in a way and in a form and a manner
which they could understand and realize. As a minister of
the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is my calling; to communicate
the good news of Jesus Christ in such a way that your ears
can hear and your hearts can receive the positive beauty
and understanding of God's grace and love for you today.
Because this much I know, there is a lot of pain in the
world today. I look around at society today and I realize
how much pain there is in this world. We know that sin is
alive and real and it has negative consequences and causes
pain and grief in our world today. We are at a time where
we need to come and repent and be baptized.
is what Acts 2 is all about. Repentance is simply changing
our ways and realizing that it does not pay to run away
from God but it is time to turn and run to God. The fact
is that every single person listening to the sound of my
voice no matter where you are can make that leap of faith.
The scripture I have for you today is:
"I can do all things through Christ
who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)
biggest leap of faith and the biggest jump you make today
may not be on a motorcycle jumping a few hundred feet. But
the biggest leap of faith you can make today is to leap
into the arms of your Savior, Jesus Christ.
very last person I baptized on Palm Sunday was a young man
who I was told was pacing back and forth across the back
of the church. He was struggling, "Can I make this
jump, I don't know." I thought I had baptized the last
person, and I turned to walk away and all of a sudden I
heard someone say, "One more! One more!" He came
running down the aisle saying, "One more!" I said
what's your name? He said, "My name is Trigger Gumm."
He had made big leaps before but this was the biggest. I
said, "Trigger, I baptize you in the name of the Father,
and the Son, and the Holy Spirit." It was very interesting
that he was the last person to be baptized that day. You
see, Evel Knievel has many jumping records; and they have
been broken. They have been broken by a man named Trigger
Gumm. He's a four-time world Guinness record holder for
the longest motorcycle jump. So Evel's jumps and his records
are history. But yet, what will live on are not his records,
but rather, the testimony that he gave us on Palm Sunday
and the lives that were touched and transformed as a result
of that day. The first person to be baptized here that day
was the former record holder. The last person that day was
the current record holder. But it pales in comparison with
the reality that each and every single one of us has been
called by God to leap forward and to leap into His arms
in faith, and accept the gospel of His grace and His love
event of the last few weeks was the tragic events at Virginia
Tech. The Governor of Virginia asked Churches across the
nation to have Services, and so we did have a service here
in the Cathedral during that tragic week. We had 32 candles
and as I read the name of each victim, a candle was lit
and I thought about all of the families, brothers, sisters,
parents, children, grandchildren of those victims. I was
overwhelmed with the realization of how much pain there
is in our world today. People face trials of all sorts;
some from violent crimes. We ask ourselves the question,
"Why does God allow such things to take place? Why
does God allow evil in the world? The answer is we have
to remember that God had a choice. He could have made the
world in such a way that we wouldn't have a choice to love
or not to love. But, He decided to make us His children,
a family. As such, He gave us the freedom to choose to love
or not to love. The saddest thing of all is there are people
for various reasons and various times, who choose not to
love. In the Bible we read words that show us the comfort
of God for His children and the support, guidance and love
that God has for us.
of the most popular and well read scriptures is in the third
chapter of the Gospel of John. Many people have memorized
this Bible verse. If you haven't, I would encourage you
to do so.
"For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son;
that whoever believes in Him will not perish
but will have everlasting life." John 3:16
scripture later continues in that chapter:
"Jesus and His disciples went out into the countryside,
where He spent time with them and baptized.
Now John also was baptizing because there were
so many people constantly coming to be baptized.
today, I invite you to experience the presence of God, confess
your sins, confess your love, confess your trust in Jesus
Christ, and say YES to Him; just as Evel Knievel, Trigger
Gumm, and hundreds of other people here in the Crystal Cathedral
Heavenly Father: You have called Your people today. I thank
You, Lord that we have responded to you. We have chosen
to repent from our ways and to come to You and be in Your
presence. Thank you, Lord, for Your cleansing spirit which
fills us with overflowing joy and hope. We know that with
You we can do all things. We thank You, Lord and praise