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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Vantage Point: What Is a Pentecostal?

By Ken Horn
Oct. 17, 2010

I was 5 years old when I was first taken to a Pentecostal service. The church was a thriving Assemblies of God congregation in Richmond, Calif., known as Full Gospel Temple. (Today it continues to thrive as Hilltop Community Church.) My parents told the story of my reaction to that first visit many times. When the congregation broke into corporate praise, including forceful speaking in tongues, I stood up on the seat and clapped my hands over my ears.

At least that’s how my parents used to tell it. I don’t remember that, but I do remember later aspects of my journey there. It was at Full Gospel Temple that I was filled with the Holy Spirit and called to full-time ministry. Both of these events occurred in a “prayer room.” Prayer rooms used to be omnipresent in Pentecostal churches. This one was situated behind the platform and could accommodate some 200 people. There was always extended prayer in the prayer room on Sundays … mostly on Sunday nights.

My experience as a youngster told me that Pentecostals were:

Vigorous in worship.

Expectant … that the gifts of the Spirit would be in operation.

Prayer warriors. They prayed about everything, at the drop of a hat. And they prayed with endurance, practicing something called “praying through.”

Direct and honest. They did not try to hide what they believed, or the fact that they were “Pentecostals,” a class of Christian that many looked down upon in those days.

Focused on souls … and effective in reaching them, without feeling the need to hide their beliefs or reveal them to unbelievers gradually.

Godly. Their lifestyle was different, reflecting holiness without pretention.

Joyful. Far from spiritual prisoners bound by legalism, their lives were full of the joy of the Lord.

When I think about it, those qualities are not old-fashioned. This is what Pentecostals should look like.

For more, read Tim Enloe’s article, “Pentecost 101.”

Ken Horn


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