Archive for My Sermons

Looking Unto Jesus

Faith is the firm solid confidence that God will be faithful to his present and future promises. We hold this absolute conviction in our hearts even though we can’t physically see him or his promises. The great men and women of the past lived like this and God blessed them.

Paraphrase of Hebrews 11:1-2.

The phrase,”Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2) is one of the most succinct definitions of faith in the New Testament. “Looking unto Jesus,” is an expression of dependence, obedience, allegiance, and devotion. Faith as “looking unto Jesus” is a looking away from everyone else and everything else that would distract us from supreme satisfaction in Christ. It is declaring to the world that only Christ satisfies and fulfills. To look to Jesus and Jesus alone is our soul’s fulfillment, prize, and delight.

Looking unto Jesus is resting on God’s character, believing Christ’s Cross, and obeying the Spirit’s leadership with a certainty that surpasses physical sight and transcends human understanding. Looking unto Jesus believes God’s promises, relying on his faithfulness, and being confident in his unfailing love. When we look to Jesus we ignore bad circumstances, negative feelings, and discouraging thoughts to stand on God’s word and walk in his ways (Isa. 55:8-9). In short, this faith believes what God says is true—our sins are washed away in Christ’s blood, our lives are in his hands, and his grace will never fail us.

Looking to Jesus, with the look of faith, because our salvation is in Him alone; with the look of love, because He alone can satisfy our heart; with the look of strong desire, longing to know Him better; with the look of soul devotion, waiting only to know His will; with the look of gladness, because we know He loves us; with the look of wonder and admiration, because He is the brightness of the Father’s glory, our Lord and our God.

Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All: An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1894), 484.

 

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I Knew a Saint

“I Knew a Saint”

Cn. Glenn E. Davis

Jay H. “Dr. Jay” Ferguson Memorial Service

June 3, 2012

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.

1 Cor. 1:2 ESV

“Saint,” is a loaded term. It is used different ways in different Christian faith traditions. Scripture teaches that we are all believers are saints in that we all have been made holy by Christ’s finished work on the Cross and trusted Christ’s righteousness to be our righteousness. However from the earliest days of the church, believers have especially recognized those men and women who looked to Christ in faith, trusted him in great trial, and saw God’s provision in dark times and distressing circumstances.

Biblically, the letter to the Hebrews 11 is a great Hall of Faith calling our attention to the men and women who made themselves available to God’s saving power. Historically, the Church in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican traditions have recognized those men and women who have walked with Christ intimately and dearly: St. John Chrysostom of Constantinople and St. Gregory the Great of Rome, St. Monica of North Africa and St. Macrina of Asia Minor, and St. Patrick of Ireland and St. Julianna of Norwich.

Evangelicals avoid the naming of saints, but often recognize those whose faithfulness to God and the Gospel have been exemplary: David Brainerd, early missionary to the American Indians, Amy Carmichael, rescuer of young girls in India, and J. Hudson Taylor pioneer missionary to the deepest parts of China.

However there are everyday saints, people who will never have a biography written about them or a school named after them or a movement ascribed to their leadership. They are the everyday men and women of God who live the life of Christ before their families, at their jobs, and through their churches.

“Dr. Jay” was that kind of everyday saint.

Dr. Jay was an everyday saint not someone who was perfect, but a sinner who looked to Christ for life-transforming grace in his chronic weaknesses and on-going struggles. Dr. Jay was an everyday saint because did not pretend to be adequate in the spiritual life, but simply made himself available to the Holy Spirit’s gifts and power. Dr. Jay was needy, he knew he could not live the Christian life in his own power, he trusted Christ to live his life in and through him.

Dr. Jay looked constantly to Christ, he daily sought God’s love, comfort, peace, rest and assurance. He depended on Christ’s Cross and righteousness to be his approval with God. Jay looked to God’s grace to be his strength in the midst of his weaknesses.

To be holy does not mean being superior to others: the saint can be very weak, with many mistakes in his life. Holiness is this profound contact with God, becoming a friend of God: it is letting the Other [God] work . . . .

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

Dr. Jay was an everyday saint in the truest sense of the word: a man of God, persistent prayer warrior, God-honoring Bible teacher, genuine friend, spiritual mentor, selfless husband, godly father and doting grandfather. Jay sought God’s heart, listened to the Spirit’s voice, and trusted God’s grace to enable him to obey God’s call.

Dr. Jay was a true Barnabas, an extraordinary encourager of men and women.

[illustration: Saturday night encourager: “The Lord willing, I will see you tomorrow.”]

Dr. Jay was a true Apostle John, a devoted lover of Christ, the heavenly bridegroom.

Dr. Jay was a true evangelist like deacon Philip, sharing the gospel at every opportunity.

Even in his greatest hour of sickness, Dr. Jay was ministering Christ, prophesying in the Spirit, and prayerfully interceding for his family, friends, and church.

[Illustration: Witnesses to doctors and nurses and prophesies to visitors in his greatest hour of suffering and need.]

Dr. Jay was a true family man like the Apostle Paul describes in the Letter to the Ephesians, he loved, served, and honored his wife, children, and grandchildren.

The saint is not one who tries hard to be good, but one who surrenders to [God’s] Goodness.

E. Stanley Jones, In Christ 

Yes, indeed. I knew a saint and you knew a saint. That man of God was Dr. Jay and he will be greatly missed by all.

 

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Casper, the Friendly Ghost (A Prophetic Word)

If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Matt 10:38-39 NLT

Many believers have adopted an entitlement mentality: we wrongly think that God owes us something. We believe that God is obligated to give us a life free from disappointment, struggle, emotional hardship, and chronic physical pain. We will not admit it, but we feel that God ought to bless us with the good life, a life where all our middle-class dreams come true. Especially if we pray, tithe, and attend church regularly, God should make sure all our hopes and desires happen exactly as we have planned.

If our life plans and expectations don’t materialize according to our timetable, we feel that we have been wronged by God. We demand an explanation, and that explanation better come right now and be a good one. If an explanation does not arrive (and it never does), we grow angrier and angrier with God. We feel that we have been wronged, terribly wronged by God.

We see ourselves as victims of God’s unfaithfulness. We stagnate spiritually, we fail to trust his promises, we are easily swayed by the world. We stop growing spiritually and refuse to trust God with the simplest of matters. We wallow in our self-pity.

What is the answer? Repentance is the answer. The problem is not God, the problem is our selfish hearts. We expect God, others, and the church to cater to our every need. We expect an easy life instead of the disciple’s call to be a Jesus-follower through the pain and disappointments of life (Matt. 10:37-39). Christ bids us to “come and die” to ourselves, the world, and all our expectations (John 12:24). We must stop whining, complaining, and pitying ourselves (Phil. 2:14). We must take up Christ’s cross and follow him wherever he desires to lead (Rev. 14:4).

We should stop pretending that the Holy Spirit is Casper, the friendly ghost, who is here to meet all our needs, wants, and desires. We must fall on our knees and ask the Holy Spirit to overwhelm us by purging us with his purifying fire. We need the Holy Spirit to cleanse our hearts, check our motives, and mature us on the path of self-denial and suffering (Rom. 5:1-5; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 4:12-13).

The church for too long has followed Casper, the friendly ghost, instead of seeking the fire of the Holy Ghost. We have turned limp at the thought of our own cross; we faint when we think of suffering, sacrifice or self-denial. Beloved, it is time to embrace the fire of God’s Presence. It is the fire that purifies our sacrifice.

Francis Frangipane, “Francis Frangipane Quotes” 

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An Extraordinary Child for an Ordinary People

An Extraordinary Child for an Ordinary People

Sermon Outline

Rev. Canon Glenn E. Davis

Christmas Day

December 25, 2011

Introduction: God did not stay aloft in heaven, look down on our pain, and say, “All the best to all of you. Work life out the best way you can.” No, the Lord sent his Son, who took upon himself our weaknesses, temptations, battles, and pain. Jesus did something about our suffering world and our embattled lives, he entered our world. Jesus became fully human to God’s glory and for our salvation.

Illustration: “Father Damien was a priest who became famous for his willingness to serve lepers.

Thought: God placed in the heart of an ordinary priest, the extraordinary desire to become one with pain-ridden, disheartened, ostracized ordinary people.

Text: Luke 2:1-20.

Premise: Ordinary people living ordinary lives doing ordinary things while living in an ordinary age. Judea is poverty-stricken, backwater country, full of poor peasants barely living above subsistence.

Verse One to Three) The child was born during an ordinary time–census time–ordained by an extraordinary God. The purpose of the census was to register everyone for paying taxes–nothing more ordinary than paying taxes. The Lord orchestrates a census to get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem that prophecy might be fulfilled.

Grace of God defined (Titus 2:11-14):

“No one can understand the message of Scripture who does not know the meaning of grace.  The God of the Bible is ‘the God of all grace’ (1 Pet. 5:10).  Grace is love, but love of a special sort.  It is love which stoops and sacrifices and serves, love which is kind to the unkind, and generous to the ungrateful and undeserving.  Grace is God’s free and unmerited favor, loving the unlovable, seeking the fugitive, rescuing the hopeless, and lifting the beggar from the dunghill to make him sit among princes.”

[John Stott, Understanding the Bible, Revised  (London: Scripture Union, 1984), 127.]

Verse Five) The child was born to a woman with an extraordinary heart. Mary’s heart was word-saturated, heart surrendered, purposefully yielded, and trustfully mindful of God’s faithfulness. Mary’s heart was revealed when the angel Gabriel announced God’s intention of a virgin birth, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38 KJV).

Verse Six to Seven) The child was born in an ordinary cave/barn/one room house under strange conditions, but conceived by an extraordinary Spirit.

Virgin Birth- Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother Mary by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit without a human father. Matt 1:18-20, 24-25; Luke 1:35.

Verse Eight) The child was born and an extraordinary announcement was made to ordinary workers (i.e., shepherds).

Note: Shepherds are the unclean, low-income, non-influential, and ignored part of society. We are like the shepherds: no state funeral, no palaces, no political power, and no money. The world does not notice them or us.

Verse Ten) Extraordinary announcement for ordinary people: “good news of great joy.” The Savior, Messiah, Lord, is wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a feeding trough. The extraordinary has come in the ordinary to save the everyday man and woman.

Verse Eleven) Extraordinary child born in ordinary town with extraordinary titles to save ordinary people. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). “Savior,” means divine deliverance of God’s people. “Christ,” is Greek for promised Messiah, the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. “Lord,” indicates that the child is divine and omnipotent.

“The Shepherds were welcomed at the manger. The unclean were judged to be clean. The outcasts became honored guests. The song of angels was sung to the simplest of all.”

[Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 37.]

Verse Thirteen) The child was born as ordinary workers experienced extraordinary worship.

“Heavenly hosts” are not angels in choir robes, but angelic armies. They are spiritual armies with swords drawn, ready, and prepared to return earth back to its rightful owner-God.

Verse Sixteen) The child amazed the ordinary workers; they saw that an extraordinary God had sent an extraordinary child for ordinary people.

Christmas is necessary because I am a sinner. My selfishness has brought my ruin as well as hurting God and others. The amazing truth is that the offended God sent his Son by his grace and mercy for the purpose of freeing me (Matt 1:21).

Sin is selfishness and rebellion caused by our choices and by being a descendant of Adam. Sin turns the world upside down: it says that everyone and everything should revolve around our desires, needs, and wants, yet God in his grace has reached out to us in grace.

“Christmas is about God the Father (the offended party) taking the initiative to send his only for many sins.”

[William H. Smith, “Christmas is Disturbing.”]

How do we know that Jesus was extraordinary for the ordinary?

Verse Eleven) He is extraordinary by being the Savior: Divine Deliver, Messiah: Anointed one from God, Lord: Allmighty who is Lord over everything.

Verse Twelve) He is ordinary by being fully human: a baby wrapped in cloths (Ezek. 16:4) and lying in a animal feeding trough.

Definition: The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man in one person and will be so forever.

Conclusion: An extraordinary God sent an extraordinary son to ordinary people in order that they might have an extraordinary, grace-filled relationship with him.

 

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Worship That Causes God’s Heart to Beat Faster

Heavenly Worship

You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.

Song of Songs 4:9

We have been discussing “Heavenly Worship” (Part One, Part Two). Heavenly worship is the Holy Spirit lifting up the church with the ascended Christ into the throne of God for the worship and praise of God. Holy Eucharist unites heaven and earth by elevating the church into an experience of worship with the people of God, past and present, around the throne of God in the presence of God.

Heavenly worship is praising and worshiping the Godhead with the angels, archangels, seraphim, cherubim, twenty-four elders, and all the company of heaven. Heavenly worship is Revelation four and five in action: all of heaven and earth proclaiming the greatness, wonder, and holiness of the Father and the Lamb.

We join with the eternal throng in rejoicing over God’s holiness (Rev. 5:8), praising God in creation (Rev. 4:11), glorifying the finished work of the Cross (Rev. 5:9-10), honoring the person and work of the Lamb (Rev. 5:12) and singing gratitude for the unity of the Godhead (Rev. 5:13). Around the altar of God, the church is given a grand invitation to be lifted up into the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3) and experience now the joy of God ‘s presence in eternal worship.

Heavenly worship begins with each individual’s heart filled with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving (Heb. 13:15). This praise starts with a desire to minister to the heart of God moment-by-moment through trust and obedience. Ministry to God does not mean that he is deficient or needy in some manner, but ministry for the sake of bringing God’s heart joy in a world that rejects his love and grace. The Song of Songs 4:9 describes allegorically this heart of worship:

“You have stolen my heart.” The Lord says to the believer, “Your love for me ravishes my heart. You cause my heart to beat faster in delight over our love relationship. “With one glance of your eyes.” You minister to me when you trust me with your life. “With one jewel of your necklace.” With one act of your will to obey and believe God’s Word, my heart is blessed.

Song of Songs 4:9 (NIV)

The translations of 4:9: “captivate” (ESV), “ravish” (NKJV) or “steal” (CEV) or “cause his heart to beat faster” (NASB) are all attempts to define the one Hebrew word which means to bring God great joy and delight because of our love for him.

Jesus’ heart is filled with extravagant passion for His people. It is fantastic that God is filled with emotion. God describes His own heart as overcome with emotions of delight with people He finds unusually attractive. He feels these emotions even toward immature believers. People find it difficult to grasp this truth of the passionate grace of God. The Holy Spirit will reveal this divine romance (Romans 5:5).

Mike Bickle, “The Ravished Heart of the Heavenly Bridegroom”(Kansas City, MO: IHOP), 2.

In faith and obedience, we bless God’s heart through our worship. Day-by-day we bless him by our attitude and actions as we trust him (Heb. 11:6). God’s heart is blessed, when we live lives that worship the Lord by honoring him throughout the week in faith and obedience.

When individuals worship the Lord throughout the week, and then these same individuals gather corporately, the congregation is lifted into the heavenlies by the Spirit of God. Worship is “good” when God’s people are gathered for the one goal of blessing God’s heart in gratitude for his greatness and his grace, then and only then, we are lifted up in the heavenlies with Him. Remember, a trusting heart and a yielded will are the essence of worship–the essence of heavenly worship.

If the sinner gives one look at the uplifted Son of God, he receives love and life more abundant. When the Jews in the wilderness looked at the brazen serpent, they were healed and lived; and the sin-sick soul, in order to be saved, needs to look but once to the Lamb of God that has borne away his sins. As the Holy Spirit points to Christ dying upon the Cross of Calvary, His voice comes to ever soul, beseeching him to “look and live.”

Not only does one look secure the love of Christ, but the glance of one of the virgins of the bride is precious to Him. By one glance of our eyes, by turning our eyes and hearts. Heavenward in prayer and praise, we can hold our dear Lord until He envelops us with His love and presence. When we come to Him in obedience and submission, in love, adoration, and humility, we can hold Him and draw down answers to prayer.

Cora Harris MacIlravy, Christ and His Bride: Commentary on Song of Songs (Asheville, NC: Elbethel, 1916), 253.

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Niceness: Vice or Virtue?

Niceness: Virtue or Vice?

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.

Eph. 4:15 ESV

I recently read Banner of Truth’s review of Phillip Yancey’s book, *What’s So Amazing About Grace?* The author, Greg Gilbert,  is an associate of Mark Dever, a leading Reformed light in Baptist circles.

Gilbert picked up on a common theme in our secularist culture: pointing out sin makes a Christian ugly, intolerant, arrogant, and even hateful. A Christian who is loving and gracious is nice. Yes, nice. Niceness means being kind, supportive and never in the least way stating that someone or something might be wrong. “When you are told that because you say that certain behavior is wrong, you are not nice you are not displaying Christian love. If Christians are not nice, they are not really loving, and that means they are hypocrites” (D. A. Carson, Love in Hard Places, 12). On television and radio talk shows, the deepest, sharpest accusation a liberal thinks he or she can make against a conservative Christian is, “they are mean people.”

According to the post-modern culture, a Christian should encourage all sincere actions without calling into question their rightness or wrongness. In fact, there is no absolute standard, and to say there is an absolute standard is setting up yourself as the measure for all things. In their minds, self-measure is the worst sort of arrogance. To declare that a behavior or attitude is wrong is judgmental, prideful, and grossly unreasonable. They say, “Jesus would have never done such a thing.” Jesus was loving, uncritical, supportive and nurturing.

As a result, our culture throws together “God-words” like love, grace, and forgiveness, then shrinks their meaning down to “niceness.” Love is letting people be who they really are. Grace is overlooking any faults or failings on my part because I really did not mean it. Forgiveness is letting go of any judgmental thoughts you have toward me. It is wrong to condemn someone’s else’s behavior, let go of your condescending attitude. The postmodern agrees that God loves us unconditionally. Therefore, they say, “Spiritually, we can be who we are and stay where we are at –no need to change.”

However, God loves us too much to leave us as we are. Our behavior, attitudes, and actions bring destruction to ourselves and others. Our lives break the heart of God. God must oppose the destruction we are selfishly sowing. The nice thing for God to do is not to leave us there in our saddened and sickened condition. The nice thing to do is for the Holy Spirit to change us, transform us, and renew us. This heart-change work is painfully difficult and deeply unsettling. “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over” (John 12:24 ,The Message).

Its no wonder that young believers in the Lord get offended with God when he disciplines them. Young believers (not necessarily young in age) resent God allowing disturbances in their lives to expose the selfish attitudes in their hearts. The resentment becomes anger and a grumbling spirit often directed at the leadership of a church. Since God is invisible, I can’t blame him and be satisfied, so it must be the leadership’s fault. They misled me about this Christian thing. God loves me, therefore life should not be so difficult. My inconvenience must be someone’s else’s fault: those Christians they are just hypocrites.

The spirit of niceness is not so nice. It generates a passivity leads that leads to spiritual laziness. This spiritual laziness generates all kinds of anger and resentment. Unexpectedly and without warning, niceness has become a vice. A vice that destroys lives because it does not call sin, “sin.” A vice that ignores God’s holy standards and righteous judgments. A vice that avoids spiritual correction by God and others. After everything, this worldly vice is not so very nice.

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My Baptism in the Spirit (Conclusion)

 

He Wants Us to Ask

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

Luke 11:13

My testimony of Spirit-infilling is not intended to be a formula or a model or a pattern for others, but a testimony of God’s faithfulness. I asked for more of his Holy Spirit in my life and ministry and God answered. I found that I lack power for witness that morning in Dallas and by that afternoon God provided through a bold petite African-American witness. God’s word’s was true, “Ask and our Heavenly Father will give us the Holy Spirit” (Luke 11:13).

The Persistent Neighbor

Let us examine Luke 11:5-13 and discern what Jesus would want us to do. The context of the chapter is prayer, with Jesus telling a parable describing a persistent neighbor. In that parable, the main character is the next-door neighbor. He has suddenly received an unexpected guest. The neighbor is very needy because he lives in an age where food is not readily available. He has to care for his guest, and he does not have the resources to provide. He goes to his sleeping neighbor and asks for his leftover bread. The neighbor is perturbed. If he gets out of bed, he will awaken his whole family who are all asleep in the same bed with him. Any parent knows the difficulty of getting a group of children to go asleep, but now the needy neighbor wants to disturb them. Yet, the sleeping neighbor does hand over his leftover bread because of the friend’s boldness. Jesus commends the friend’s boldness as a true characteristic of genuine prayer. All God wants us to do is to ask and to ask boldly! “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13, NIV). How to we receive the Holy Spirit? We ask and we ask boldly!

However, we must have a flexible attitude. Whatever type of bread the Father decides to give must be acceptable to us. Many times, we will say “We want the bread of the Holy Spirit!” but when God gives it we say, “This is not the kind of bread we wanted!” “No Lord, I wanted rye, wheat, or pumpernickel!” When the Holy Spirit comes whatever gifts he wants to display through us, we must be willing to receive. Remember the gifts of the Holy Spirit are just that-gifts. Gifts are for blessing, for encouragement, and for spiritual growth. The purpose of the charismata is to bring you and me, as the Body of Christ, into a deeper love relationship with Jesus. So, Let us ask! [Robert Smith, Jr., “Christian Preaching Practicum” [class notes] (Birmingham, AL: Beeson Divinity School, 2002), April 30.]

Like the disciples, all God desires is that we recognize that we are at our wit’s end and we cannot go on any farther without him. All he waits for us to do is ask! Then, he will come and pour his presence upon us, bathe us in his love, and display his great and mighty mercy. The Holy Spirit will come and will reveal Jesus to us. If you desire more of the Holy Spirit, pray boldly, and you will be filled afresh with the sweetness of his presence.

Glenn E. Davis, “Who Is the Holy Spirit for Us Today?”, Pilgrims on the Sawdust Trail, ed., Timothy George (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 97.

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My Baptism in the Spirit (Part Three)

Holy Spirit: Power for Service

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 1:8 ESV

The Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life: fully God working in the world bestowing life, empowering for service, purifying our hearts, providing God’s presence, and guiding God’s people. My story continues . . .

Later that morning as the team moved north, we began to walk down Commerce Street. We were very conspicuous in a crowd as we carried our Bibles in one hand and held on to our sleeping bags with the other. We turned and began to walk through a plaza where a number of executive-types were sitting on park benches eating sack lunches. Out from the crowd, a short, plump African-American lady stood up and yelled, “What are you boys doing?” We replied that we were from Lindale, Texas and we were out witnessing. At the top of her lungs, she cried out, “Have you ever been filled with the Holy Ghost?” I thought, “Oh, my goodness, we have got a live one.” My team leader, who was standing front of me said, “Yes, I have.” The team member bringing up the end said, “So have I.” I thought, “Good, maybe she will leave us alone.” Then without warning, the last member of the team shouted, “No, I have not!” I thought, “Why did you have to go and say that?” Immediately, she asked us to come over, so that she could pray for him.

This is the scene: four men in their early twenties knelling in front of a park bench as this lady is standing over the one young man praying loudly in tongues. She was praying very loudly in tongues. As she began to pray, I asked the Lord whether this whole thing about the fullness of the Spirit was for real. The denomination in which I was raised discounted the gifts of the Spirit. I told the Lord that I did not want to resist anything if it was genuine, even if it seemed a bit bizarre. At that moment, I began to speak in tongues. Very gently and without great emotion, the Holy Spirit began to touch my heart and bless me with the sweetness of Jesus. My emotions were so subdued that I wondered whether my ministry team understood what God had done in my life. I was experiencing for the first time, a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit with a manifestation of a spiritual gift. Already, God was answering my prayer from that morning; he was responding to my cry for his personal power, presence, and authority. Thank God for that little African-American lady who was willing to be bold for Christ.

Glenn E. Davis, “Who Is the Holy Spirit for Us Today?”, Pilgrims on the Sawdust Trail, ed., Timothy George (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 90.

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My Baptism in the Spirit (Part Two)

My First Experience of the Holy Spirit’s Power

Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

John 20:22 NLT

Yesterday, I defined what I mean by the infilling or baptism of the Holy Spirit. Please allow me to reiterate. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming experience of the Spirit’s presence, power, and purity: a total submergence within the person of God. This individual experience is instantaneous and can be reoccurring: one baptism, many fillings. The Baptism refers to the initial work of the Spirit in uniting believers to Christ as well as on-going encounters with the Spirit bringing refreshment and strengthening in the Christian life.

It was a hot summer in late August 1979. I was a member of a parachurch organization called the Agape Force, which conducted a training program named Crystal Springs Institute. As part of that program, each of us was required to participate in a mission trip. This mission trip was highly unusual. You and your team are dropped off in a Texas town with instructions to minister to whomever God brings in your path, to trust God for shelter and finances, and to rely on the Lord for safe return. The Agape Force ministry called the trip, the “Weekend Mission,” but the students called it the “Trust God or Die” weekend.

My four-man team was assigned South Dallas, I did not know at that time what a rough area it was.  For the first time in my life, I did not know from where my next meal was coming from, with whom I would be staying, what was going to happen, and how I was going to get home. After getting off the bus, the first thing we did was pray.  We were desperate. As we prayed, we felt that the Holy Spirit wanted us to begin at the beginning. So, we decided to start by evangelizing the first people we met on the street. My partner and I began to talk with an African-American man who was obviously down and out.

As we shared, he grew more and more obstinate. The more we shared the less and less effective I felt we were in reaching him. In fact, it seemed as if my words were dropping out of my mouth and straight onto the ground. I felt that I was not communicating the gospel clearly, effectively, or powerfully. Finally, in desperation I said, “If a car hit you this afternoon, where would you go, to heaven or hell?” He just looked at me and began to curse. I walked away feeling empty and helpless. I had no authority and power in my witness. I began to pray anxiously that God would somehow help me to be an effective testifier of God’s grace. I did not want the weekend to be a waste (to be continued).

Glenn E. Davis, “Who Is the Holy Spirit for Us Today?”, Pilgrims on the Sawdust Trail, ed., Timothy George (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 89.

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My Sermon Audio

2009-christmas-party

The mp3 audio files of my sermons preached at Lamb of God Charismatic Episcopal Church are now found at the Lamb of God website. The audio sermons are availble for free. However, my sermon notes will continue to be posted here at the Glorious Deeds of Christ blog. Go to categories section and click on the “My Sermons” link for my notes and outlines. Thank you for your encouragement concerning my preaching and teaching ministry.

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