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.


Friday, February 20, 2015

GETTING YOUR POWER CLOTHES


The Lord’s Prayer gives an outline of how Jesus prayed. 

Over the disciples’ lifespan we see them grow from falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane to becoming a people whose prayers welcomed the will of God from Heaven to earth.




When did they experience significant change in their prayer life? It would appear that the coming of the Holy Spirit changed the practice of prayer in significant ways.

Consider what Jesus told them about the coming Holy Spirit. After miraculously raising from the dead, He appeared to many of his followers and gave some final teaching before ascending to Heaven.

In fact, the last recorded words of Jesus before the Ascension mention very specific things about what was happening.


Luke 24:
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”


Jesus describes the Holy Spirit in a couple significant ways here. First, Jesus is going to send the Holy Spirit in place of his own physical presence. Jesus said that this is what the Father had promised. We see this in the ancient prophecies. For example:


Joel 2:
28 “And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.


The effect of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives changes us into dreamers and visionaries. God has always wanted to bring His Holy Spirit to be in our lives. To know that this is God’s plan and desire sets the stage for a new kind of relationship with humanity.

The second thing we see in Jesus’ words is a description of being clothed with power. Clothing is something that is added on to your being. Clothing covers and comforts us. Clothing protects us and adds something to our identity.

My feet were not born wearing socks. They had to be put on. Likewise, the power of God is not something that you generate or create. God’s power comes into our life as the Holy Spirit covers us. We are clothed with the power of His Spirit.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

PSL: PRAYER AS A SECOND LANGUAGE


Did you pray today?

From earliest times, prayer has been a communal practice of the Church. 




Outside the Christian faith, there are many religions that pray in various ways to the God of their understanding. Since the dawn of man, there have been continual attempts to communicate with and hear from the Higher Realm.

Jesus’ disciples were all Jewish. They grew up with prayer. It was practiced in their homes, their synagogues and in the Temple. All these prayers reinforced and reminded people that God was approachable and wanted our communication. Why was it then, they asked Jesus how to pray?

If you’ve done something all your life, why would you want to relearn it? I’ve known how to speak English from early childhood. Why would I feel compelled to now have someone teach me how to speak English? If you have already been raised with prayer, why would you want to have ‘Prayer as a Second Language’ classes?

It would seem that the disciples observed something else going on in Jesus’ prayer life. The observable prayers of Jesus and the effect of his private praying made a strong impression on those who followed Him. So much so, that they wanted to learn from the Master of prayer.

Jesus’ prayer life was more personal than most. He was reverent toward God and recited the same prayers as other Jews, but there were also many examples with Jesus praying that brought healing, deliverance and intimate knowing of the Almighty. Jesus’ Heavenly Father was much more approachable and imminent than the common understanding of an untouchable, Holy God.

More than the childhood way of praying and the perfunctory praying over meals; more than the common prayers of the Church… Do you want to pray in the uncommon way that Jesus prayed?


Saturday, February 14, 2015

MAN OF GOD




As part of a series of men's prayer meetings in Western Ontario, I wrote this simple song to remind myself to be a godly man. What does it mean to honour my original vows?

Since it was intended to be a song for men, I took inspiration from the hymn 'Rise Up, O Men Of God'. (And maybe a little Ron Sexsmith & Tom Petty)

Having my daughter Karli sing with me is significant. Faith of our fathers living still...

I was tempted to write 'Child Of God' but perhaps the non-men can also sing the verses to God and the chorus to us guys.

Man Of God

by Kevin Rogers


Verse 1:

F                    Bb      F
At An Altar Long Ago
  Dm             C             F
I Made My Solemn Vow
F                    Bb        F
At An Altar Once Again
        Dm           C                 F
It’s Here My Knee Will Bow

Chorus:

F                 C
O Man Of God
Gm                                    F
Be Done With Lesser Things
          C             Dm   Bb          F
Give All You Are, All Your Heart
F                         C            Dm
To Serve The King Of Kings
       Bb               C             F
To Serve The King Of Kings

Verse 2:

I Will Rise Up From This Place
And Walk Today With You
There Is No Turning Back
I Will Keep My Eyes On You


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