Sunday, March 1, 2015

THE CLASH AND JOHN WESLEY

1981… The Clash…

Darling, you gotta let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I'll be there till the end of time
So you gotta let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
[1]

Ranked by Rolling Stone Magazine[2] as one of the top 500 rock songs of all time, it describes the tension of an uncertain relationship. No vow has been made to secure the commitment, so the guy is wondering where he stands with her.

It seems that relationships that last a lifetime require persistence and a mutual willingness to stick with it. Everyone experiences the tides of love; both the ebb and flow of certainty.

Romance is not the only venue for the question, “Should I stay or should I go?” It is a question that haunts job choices, living arrangements and the questions we bring to God.

Sometimes you should let go. Other times, you need to maintain in spite of the apparent contradiction of circumstance.

John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher wrote in his journal:


Sunday A.M., May 5:Preached in St. Anne’s. Asked not to come back.
Sunday P.M., May 5:Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said, "Get out, and stay out!"
Sunday A.M., May 12:Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there either.
Sunday P.M., May 19:Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting, and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday A.M., May 26:Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday A.M., June 2:Preached at the edge of town. Kicked off highway.
Sunday P.M., June 2:Preached in a pasture. Ten thousand came.[3]


He may have concluded from the first rejection that he was not called to preach. He may have concluded it was just a bad day, when the 2nd rejection came. But a whole month of rejection was suddenly met with 10,000 people listening.

John Wesley decided to stay…




[1] Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Written by Topper Headon, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Joe Strummer ©1981

Thursday, February 26, 2015

THE SPIRIT SATURATED CHURCH

Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit? Have you received God’s promised Spirit presence? 





Has the power of God clothed you in spite of your weakness and nakedness?

There is an experience of the Holy Spirit that can be described as a baptism. Before you were dry and lacked power. After the coming of the Holy Spirit, the church was alive and empowered to do the works of Jesus.


Acts 2:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 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 were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.


Charles Finney, the American revivalist wrote about an experience he had in prayer:

As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. ... He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at His feet. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. ... As I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. ... No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept with joy and love.[1]


Have you had that kind of encounter with the Living God? If you have, you know that your heart is not satisfied unless you are able to return to God’s presence. Like Mary sitting at he feet of Jesus, there is a choice of the best thing. All other activities will wear us out, but a moment in God’s presence gives life and strengthens us.

Welcome the Holy Spirit when you pray. Heaven is not shut. We can speak to God and Holy Spirit leads us to an understanding of God’s openness to listen and respond.

What happens when a church prepares itself for the coming of God’s Spirit? In Acts chapter 2, the disciples gathered together in response to the Lord’s direction. They prayed, talked and came together in such a way that Luke describes them as being in one accord. In the unity of Christian brothers and sisters, the Spirit came in power and they were all filled with the Spirit.

Their mouths opened and they spoke in new ways. They spoke God’s message in languages they had no prior knowledge of. And through the work of God’s Spirit thousands of people were suddenly added to the church as Jesus was proclaimed.

New Song Church has a downtown campus that meets on Saturday nights at Central United Church. When that church’s current building was dedicated in the early 1900’s as a Methodist Church, there were 10 days of preaching meetings that resulted in 1200-1400 people making a confession of faith.

Windsor has not experienced that kind of large-scale immediate response, before that time or since. God has been faithfully working, but there is a dimension of God’s power to touch people and change them that we need today.

You may feel, “What can a small church like yours do that will make any difference?” You can pray and God can baptize you in the Holy Spirit, giving you power to proclaim Jesus to a world that needs hope.

Is that what you want in your life and in your church? If so, let us be united in asking God to move upon us.



Monday, February 23, 2015

DRIPPING WITH SPIRIT


These are the famous last words of Jesus, repeated before leaving the world and returning to the Father.






Acts 1:
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


The promised Holy Spirit would clothe the disciples with power and is now described as a baptism.

Every good Jew knew that baptism in water was what you did when you wanted to surrender your life to the plans of God. You stepped into the water and were soaked in the idea that you needed to be cleansed from shameful, godless ways.

Now Jesus describes a 2nd kind of baptism; the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The disciples were sent to wait on God for an immersion into this life of the Spirit. The effect of being soaked in God’s Spirit would be an empowerment to represent Jesus to the rest of the world.


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