Ring of Fire Pt 2
Pastor Terry Inman
Today we are going to continue with the theme from the last couple weeks, “The Ring of Fire.” Before we go I want to share a dream I had couple weeks ago. The bible says old men are dreamers.
Just before waking I was dreaming I was in a second floor room in the rear of the auditorium about to deliver my morning message. I was not down front, center-stage. I was one story over your heads and preaching behind your back. Now we could have some fun with that imagery.
In the dream I am wondering, what I am I doing up here behind these windows? This is really no way to connect with the audience.
Dreams sometimes help us work out concerns, problems or fears. Maybe it feels like there are some invisible barriers or filters that keep the message from being clear. The bible says, We know in part and we prophesy in part…we see through a glass, darkly. 1 Cor.13.9,12 (NIV)
Just as I was ready to speak I noticed the microphone was off. No one could hear. What I was doing seemed totally futile. I have to admit sometimes I do feel that way. Then I looked down over the audience.
Below me the whole congregation was lying face down on the floor in the center of the sanctuary. From the back to the front they formed what looked like a winding river. There were no pews just a stream of people seeking God on their faces. I left the room headed down the stairs and joined everyone. Maybe it’s time to do less preaching and more praying!
Now you don’t have to spread out on the floor. It was only a dream, but it seemed to be spiritually significant. It was rather vivid and it has stayed with me. I am still processing the meaning of it. If you get any insights please let me know. Now let’s shift gears to present reality.
There was an unusual visitation of the Holy Spirit this last Wednesday night at our Monthly Prayer Team Training that may be related. The presence of God was evident the entire evening. We actually spent a few minutes soaking up the presence of God while relaxing on the floor.
A couple of our trainers Rick and Joni Holcomb brought an inspiring teaching on the power of the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ. It covers our sinfulness and brings cleansing, healing, freedom and forgiveness. We concluded by breaking bread together and praying with one another.
Most of the team left for home when there was an extraordinary manifestation of the presence of God. Several were touched deeply by it.
In particular three of our women, leaders with an Asian background, fell face-forward to the floor when the Holy Spirit came upon them. For two hours they wept, they wailed, they prayed in the Spirit and at times broke out in hilarious joy. Most of the time they were face down like the dream.
They experienced the Father’s loving, healing and powerful presence but I must admit it was a bit overwhelming. I could see why Peter had to explain the first outburst of the Holy Spirit at the feast of Pentecost.
These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, 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.’ Acts 2.18 (NIV)
Last Sunday the Lord refreshed us with needed rain outside and inside. Old men are dreaming, women are prophesying and God’s Holy Spirit is impacting all of us in unique ways. Throughout the scriptures God employed prophetic signs and symbols to communicate to his people.
Last Sunday as the prayer team gathered in the chapel for pre-service prayer, another Asian woman on the prayer team experienced a confirming sign.
She felt an impression of a circular stamp or seal on her forehead. It became very hot like fire. The bible does say that God set his sealof ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Cor. 1.22 (NIV)
She felt this might be a confirmation of the message the Ring of Fire. This week I was impressed to continue with Part two of this theme.
If you were not here be sure and listen the message on our web site. The Ring of Fire is a volcanic, earthquake prone zone that borders the nations of the Pacific Rim. This week there was another huge volcanic eruption in Indonesia. A hundred thousand have been displaced. I didn’t predict it.
There appears to be parallel spiritual tremors and eruptions within these nations and people groups. Many of these people continue to pour in from all over the Pacific Rim to the Bay Area. Fremont is more than 50% Asian.
Could we be experiencing the detonation of a Holy Ring of Fire! Is God empowering and equipping us with his passion for unreached people.
What about this river in the sanctuary? Will we are humbly posture our hearts and pray for God’s empowering presence? The bible says…
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) Will we humble ourselves? Will we seek his face? Will we turn from what we care about and turn to what God cares about?
In a couple weeks we are going to do a 40-day journey of Love and Light. We will be praying together, many will be fasting. Together we will be practicing the simple Prayer-Care-Share lifestyle. We will seek God’s help as we bless and reach out those not yet following Jesus Christ.
This 40-Day journey will help us go beyond the window of Sunday’s sermons. Six weeks in small groups will encourage us to experiment together. We will talk together, pray together and learn how to reach out to our friends and neighbors. We will have the support of one another.
I hope many of you will consider being hosts and begin inviting a few friends, maybe even some new guests. Anybody can do this even an average Joe! No offence if your name is Joe.
Now I want to share some insights from the book of Acts. Last week we talked about how the Ring of Fire ignited in Jerusalem. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s fire engulfed Judea, Samaria and the whole known world!
The eruptions and shakings are still happening in our world two thousand years later. I want us to notice some things that happened right after the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s fire at Pentecost.
In Acts 3, the Apostles, Peter and John were on their way to the Temple for daily prayers. It was three o’clock in the afternoon. They saw a disabled man asking for support. There was nothing unusual about that.
They likely had noticed him plenty of times before. The story says he was carried there every day to ask for money. Charity was considered a religious responsibly. They may have even donated before. This time they were out of coins, but they didn’t ignore him.
They looked right at him and said look here friend. We are totally out of silver or gold but we have something better. We have no hand-outs but here’s a hand up! In the name of Jesus Christ let’s take a walk.
Peter clutched his right hand. He helped him to his feet. Bam! First his angles then his feet were energized. He jumped and skipped and followed the Apostles right into the temple, praising God all the way.
People were shocked. The miracle drew an astonished crowd to the massive Temple Colonnade. For the second time in just a few days, Peter seized the opportunity to do some public preaching. He informed them that they had unknowingly murdered their Messiah. But God raised Jesus from the dead and in his name this man born a cripple was now healed.
He challenged them to turn their lives around. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Acts 3.19-20 (NIV)
The bible says many who heard the message believed. As the result of the miracle and the message the church exploded from about 500 to 5000!
The temple authorities were not happy they arrested Peter and John.
They were jailed and held overnight for a hearing with some of the same religious rulers that condemned Jesus. The first question revealed their intentions, By what power or what name did you do this?
Peter’s answer is incredible. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Acts 4.8-10 (NIV)
There are a couple things I want to observe in this story. First you can’t give away something you don’t have. They didn’t have any money but they did have power. We have money but not much power.
This man was no longer dependent. He was, no longer disabled he was enabled by the powerful name of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ!
Peter defended this miracle a simple act of kindness.
The Holy Spirit’s power can turn a simple act of kindness into a miracle. We can only give away what we really have. We need more of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit needs more of us.
The ruling council could not refute the miracle and feared the reaction of the people so they released Peter and John with a gag order. They were threatened and told to no longer speak or teach in Jesus name.
The Apostles joined a small group prayer meeting. In the face of these serious threats they prayed for greater boldness, more healing, miracles, signs and wonders in the name of Jesus! That’s pretty significant in light of the fact that just days earlier that same religious counsel crucified Jesus. Now they are defying their orders and asking for greater courage.
The bible says, 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(NIV) Will we do that. What so do we fear?
Last Sunday at the close of our service many of you came forward be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. I observed many trembling. Several were shaking, and some were even dropping to the floor under the powerful and loving presence of the Holy Spirit.
In three weeks we are going to begin our 40 Days of Love and Light. Together we will be learning and practicing the prayer-care-share lifestyle.
But we can’t give away anything we don’t have. We have money we have plenty of stuff. We are even willing to give it away but we really need power. We need the Holy Spirit. We also need each other.
There’s a clue at the end of Acts two on what prepared the apostles for this simple act of kindness that turned into a miracle of multiplication.
Following the awesome outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s fire Luke says…
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2.42-44 (NIV)
So let’s get ready to come together, eat together, learn together, pray together and reach out with Love and Light to our friends and neighbors.
These circles of Love and Light will become our Ring of Fire! I am asking you to begin praying now. You don’t have to wait for three weeks. Let’s form that river of people seeking God’s face for his favor and his fire!