Spring Spirit: Refreshing Pt 3

Pastor Terry Inman

5-5-13

 

This week I spent a few days in Springfield MO. I was there to help shape a National Pastor’s Council for Convoy of Hope. Convoy of Hope is one of our primary partners for international compassion outreach. 

$40K allows us to feed 333 kids every day. Our day’s pay will feed a whole school in Africa, El Salvador or the Philippines all year long. Much like the miracle feeding of the multitudes our gifts are multiplied seven times. $40K enables Convoy to procure and distribute $280K of food. 

The impact is way beyond a meal or a bag of groceries. Through Convoy we help transform lives and communities with disaster relief, community outreaches, and development programs. This tangible compassion is provided through local churches. Jesus is lifted up as people are lifted out of physical and spiritual poverty. 

The day we gave our gifts I was impressed with a scripture in the book of Acts. Right after the powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the subsequent healing of a disabled man the Apostles were arrested.   

As I mentioned last week they were threatened and released. The name of Jesus was outlawed. The followers of Jesus prayed passionately in their home group. The bible says the place was shaken and they were all filled again with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word with boldness. 

Luke wraps up this astonishing story with a comment on the generous life style of these Spirit empowered followers of Jesus.    

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.  Acts 4:32 (NIV) 

Four weeks after our “One Day” offering we began a three-week series on Resurrection. Then we moved on to the subject of the Spirit’s Refreshing. There appears to be a steady increase in our experience of God’s loving and healing presence. It’s the SPIRIT’S SPRING! 

I believe there is a connection between generous compassion and resurrection power. We are experiencing a fresh expression of God’s generosity. Jesus said, Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” Luke 6:38 (NIV) I am praying for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit.

Speaking of a SPRINGSPIRIT. Monday I arrived in Springfield in 80-degree spring sunshine and left in a 32-degree snowstorm. Sometimes winter just doesn’t want to let go of its grip. God’s people Israel were suffering the cold grip of brokenness and bondage when Hosea declared new hope.     

“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. A time of refreshing is all about restoration and revival! 

Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hos. 6:1-3 (NIV) 

Spring rain or spring snow, ether one refreshes things waiting to flourish. We are returning and God is refreshing. I heard several amazing stories this week of physical and emotional healing and spiritual breakthrough.  

While in Springfield I had a chance to meet with Dr. George Wood the leader of our national network of churches called the Assemblies of God. He was so excited to hear what God is doing here. He prayed for me, for you and for our community. He sends his warm greetings.  

We may be one of the most racially diverse churches in our fellowship.

I believe that positions us to be the recipients of an outburst of the Spirit’s refreshing rain much like the one in the book of Acts. 

God’s supernaturally broke through, all religious, racial, and language barriers. His Spirit was generously poured out on all the people.   

The Masses gathered in Jerusalem for the annual feast of Pentecost were amazed and some were antagonistic to the unusual manifestations.

Peter attempted to explain this supernatural exhibition of power attended by inspired multilingual praise. He said it was a fulfillment of prophecy.   

“In the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy your young men will see visions; your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18 

Prophecy is simply divinely inspired communication. Peter also told them how they could personally experience the Holy Spirit’s empowering.   

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38 (NIV) 

Peter repeated the repentance theme in second sermon a few days later. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19 (NIV) 

Monday as I boarded my flight for Springfield, I was still thanking the Lord for the way he is so graciously refreshing us right now. I was enjoying a great conversation about Jesus the Son of God with a very receptive Iranian Muslim. Then I noticed the flight magazine.       

The cover ad read, “A gift guide to spring you into action”!   That totally describes what is happening right now. God is gifting us with His refreshing presence to spring us into action. This is a SPRIRITSPRING! 

Next week we will begin a new series called HEARTSTRINGS. The bible says, Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Eph. 5:18- 21 (NIV)     

In the ancient Greek language this was a vivid word picture…

Be constantly filled with the Spirit, making spiritual music, playing your heartstrings, and submitting to each other. Then Paul elaborates on spirit-filled, mutually submissive, marriage, family and workplace relationships!   

We will begin that next week on Mother’s Day but for today let me focus the rest of our time on repentance and refreshing. 

Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. In cities all over America sincere seekers read and prayed this very familiar verse. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chr. 7:14 (NIV)   

Hal Donaldson the founder and President of Convoy of Hope asked me to pray over the Pastor’s and Leaders in our two-day meeting. He asked us to seek God for a fresh vision and strategic partnerships that would help Convoy become a greater catalyst for healing in our nation. 

I stood in front of this conference room full of leaders. I was speechless. I took a knee and waited for the Holy Spirit to show me what to pray. Every one joined me. On our knees, we prayed according to this passage. 

As I have mentioned there are three things in focus, Humility, Hunger and Holiness. This passage is a prescription for healing individuals, couples, families, and even nations. So let me briefly touch on each one. 

Humility is the bi-product of wisdom and grace. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5) Humility is the opposite of pride, arrogance, egoism, self-assertion and self-importance. 

Humility is developed in the winter of hardship. God spoke to his people during their exodus from slavery. “You shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.Deut. 8:2-3 (NIV) 

Humility doesn’t come easy. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1Pet. 5:6, 7 (NIV) 

I was reading this scripture waiting for my delayed connection at Chicago O’Hare. A text showed up on my phone. My flight was delayed for the fourth time. I was just about to share some of my frustration when I was also notified of an upgrade to first class. Humbling our self can be a very stressful process. Especially when God has to help you. That’s why we need to learn to cast all our anxiety on him. He will he do the heavy lifting. 

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30 (NIV)

Hunger follows humility…“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face.  Hunger pains drive us to eat. Emptiness is not always bad it increases our spiritual appetite. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  Matt 5:6 (NIV)  

Soul hunger is really only satisfied by a consuming passion for prayer and consistent reflection in God’s word. Jesus told the crowds clamoring for another multiplication of bread, that he was the bread of life. He told them to eat his flesh and drink his blood. 

This was incredibly offensive to these religious people still living on the stale bread of yesterday’s traditions. Many turned away that day. He was simply using this as an expression of intimacy. Hunger is pursuing God above all other desires. He wants us to be more consumed with knowing him than going to lunch. 

Holiness is a turning away from our human bent on selfishness and sinfulness, tuning to God and receiving his righteousness. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked (bent) ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chr. 7:14 (NIV) 

Holiness, or what I like to call “wholeness”, shows up in our relationships with God and the people around us. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14 (NIV) 

Holiness is also reflected in our thoughts and behaviors. “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Cor. 7:1 (NIV)  

Humility, hunger and holiness will get answered. God hears from heaven and sends his refreshing! I want more of the Spirit’s Spring!