Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Something's Missing!

Acts 8:15-16

New International Version (NIV)

15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

When I first moved to Memphis around 1995, I was a youth pastor fresh out of seminary with one youth ministry assignment under my belt and now on my second call at a mega church that would become the mother church that birthed New Direction. God was preparing me for a greater assignment without me even knowing it. I remember reaching a pint of emptiness in ministry where I was reaching kids for Christ but I felt so empty myself.

One day my youth choir director, who is now my minister of music, asked me to go to a prayer meeting over to this lady’s house named, “Mother Cleveland.” I didn’t want to go over some lady’s house for prayer! It sounded boring and spooky, plus I was burnt out on religion but something was missing! So I went reluctantly to this lady’s house. It was kind of weird at first. Just a little old brick house, the room was kind of dim but there was peace pervading the house. We began to sing praises to God and pray. I felt myself letting my guards down. Then she laid her hands on me and began to pray, then she laid hands on my throat, then my stomach and told me to let go. The fire of the Holy Spirit began to stir in my belly and something was locked in my throat. The next thing I know I was on my face speaking in my prayer language for the first time in my life!

I had been baptized at 12, Convicted in my spirit at 19, called preach at 21, and filled with Holy Ghost at 26. Salvation is a process. For some this filling of the Holy Spirit comes much faster because they are more aware of what’s missing but for me it took a while to realize that something was missing.

I believe you receive the Holy Spirit as a deposit when you receive Jesus. 2 Corinthians 1: 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

We all receive this deposit when we are born again but there is more coming through prayer and the laying on of hands. I think that might be what is missing in our churches today. We’ve done a good job in drawing a lot of people but we haven’t done a good job in filling a lot of people. Phillip had preached and baptized many people in Samaria but they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. Peter and John were sent to Samaria by the Apostles in Jerusalem as a follow up to what Phillip had been able to do. They went there so the people could receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.

When we hear the gospel and it cuts to our hearts many times we are convicted to change our behavior and head in a new direction. A seed is planted and we want to do what the word of God is saying. The problem is that we are still fleshy and prone to sin because of fleshy desires. When we are baptized it’s a statement that I’m dying only to be born again. What sustains my new birth is a second wind. When God created Adam he breathed into his nostrils the breath of Life. When we are born again God sends the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands. The Holy Spirit is the difference between a regular church member and a Disciple of Christ. Just because you’re a member of a church doesn’t mean you are full of the Holy Spirit.

If you live by the Holy Spirit you will not keep doing stuff your body wants you to do. Read Galatians 5:16-23

How do we get what’s missing?

1. You must be born again. John 3:2-4

New International Version (NIV)

2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”

2. Come to prayer meeting individually and corporately. Acts 2

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

3. Keep regular spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, and reading God’s word. Read Isaiah 58. Make sure you practice true fasting go to www.live58.org.

Dear God,

Help me to fill what’s missing in my life. I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit so I can live out this abundant life that Jesus died for me to have. I don’t want a form of Godliness but no power to go with it. Fill me till there’s more of you than me.

In Jesus name,

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