Acts #19. more from Acts 4
I remember when I have felt it…why, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in all the world!
Last night once again, I felt it.
The scene: Raleigh, North Carolina Dream Center, the chapel. I got there in time to jump in a van to go downtown Raleigh to Moore Square where many homeless, needy people gather. And wouldn’t you know it? Some of the people I met last week were there… there was Hussel (who knows his real name?). and he had a buddy with him who had just gotten here from Los Angeles…say, what? Yeah, he had been in the Hood in Long Beach even--how did I know? He had a familiar gang tattoo. Oh, I remember the 18th Street gang members I had known, had embraced, though their markings indicated they were murderers.
But on this day, we were inviting Moore Square folk to come for pizza, ice cream and Jesus. We had an agenda all right - we wanted to love on them, to offer them a safe space, at least for a little while, and offer new life.
So, after making good on our promise to feed them, we headed for chapel--a lovely old chapel with stained glass windows and beautiful wood pews and the feeling of sacred. A motley crew we were--with snotty-nosed toddlers, a guy who had just gotten here from Sacramento dragging his suitcase with him, another handsome, spike-haired guy who described himself as from the LA entertainment scene, my sweet Gwen, (she’s my favorite), and Kathy. We had Matthew for the second time, a glassy-eyed young man, with a scarf around his head, who laughs at strange times. Young, old, black and white … but we were together.
Several shared, including me, a message of love, hope, acceptance and freedom in Jesus Christ. I met a new brother, Sean Ingram, who is using his own life as an example to at-risk young people of what not to do, standing in the gap, to help them succeed. https://abc11.com/sean-ingram-academy/5761905/ At the end of his remarks, he busted out with “Pass me not, O gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry…while on others you are calling, do not pass me by…” O, how I love those old hymns of my youth! That’s when I heard Gwen’s rich voice and saw the tears running down her cheeks. I slid my rump between her and Kathy, putting my arms around them both.
There it was - the feeling.
What was it? The presence of the Holy Spirit. Love. Power. Peace and Joy. Intangibles that feel tangible when you are present.
When Peter and John were released from jail, after being questioned by the Jewish muckity-mucks, they were warned not to speak of Jesus again and released. They went directly back to the community of believers--what we now view as the first Church--who numbered more than 5,000 strong. Immediately, they began praying--even praying Scripture back to God--and you know what they asked for? Check it out: “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4.29-30
‘And God’s immediate answer? After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4.31
We sang together and a minister closed our time together teaching from John chapter 9, when Jesus healed the blind man, who then simply spoke truth: all I know is that I was blind, but now I see. Truth. Anyone who really meets Jesus is never the same; don’t get me wrong, they can turn around and walk away from him, but there will always be something missing in them until they turn back around to be with him again.
First that is an awareness that God is at work, then comes the feeling of like- mindedness, one with another. And then as God is worshipped, the Holy Spirit comes and it is oh, so sweet, as he draws people closer to himself and one another. Eight people chose freedom in Jesus last night.
Set Free, Hope Darst: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R90JuSQd6bE