Harley Sheffield gained celebrity status through an unusual mishap. He was part of the 15,000-mile relay that carried the Olympic torch to the 100th gathering of the games in Atlanta. His section of the relay went over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington on May 7, 1996. While carrying the flame in a special stand on his bicycle, the rear tire blew out, Sheffield lost control of his bike, and the Olympic flame went out. People gasped in disbelief but the attenders of the torch knew exactly what to do. They simply reached into the van that accompanied the traveling torch, pulled out a new torch and lighted it from the “mother flame” which always stays in the van. The processional continued and Sheffield earned a spot on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
What happened on that Washington bridge happens all of the time in our Christian pilgrimage. We stumble and the flame of spiritual zeal is dowsed. We stare at the extinguished torch and wonder if we can ever again burn with spiritual passion. But when we turn in repentance we find that the Holy Spirit has been with us all of the time and He carries the “mother flame” that can never go out. Our zeal can be re-ignited and the standard of Christ can once again burn brightly in our lives.
I am convinced that most of us do not understand the Holy Spirit. Emmanuel – God with us. He who resided in Heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, willingly descended into our world. He breathed our air, felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for our sins. He didn’t come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety.
When someone understands the truth about Christ, it is always a divine miracle. Remember Peter’s great confession? Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16). How did he know? Jesus said, “Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (verse 17). There is no way to recognize Jesus Christ for who He is apart from a miracle of God to open spiritually blind eyes. But when Christ opens the eyes of a soul, suddenly truth becomes recognizable.
The Holy Spirit is the Church! If the Holy Spirit were suddenly taken out of the world, ninety-five percent of the world would go on as usual. We cannot do “The Lord’s Work” without “The Lord.”
Windows 95 displays an icon–a picture–on the screen that is entitled: “MY COMPUTER” which, when activated, reveals the contents of the computer. God has given us an inner source to help us know what is in our sanctuary, our life. The Holy Spirit is the revealer of the contents of our lives. He continually shows us how God sees us.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
Working with jigsaw puzzles can be very frustrating, or very relaxing. So it is with life! Some people accept the spontaneous nature of life and fit the pieces together in a relaxed, joyous way. Others find the irregular pieces of life almost more than they can bear, and give up trying to make a beautiful picture of it. How do we fit in the many pieces of our busy lives — jobs, family, church, spiritual growth hobbies — our myriad activities and priorities? Are your activities, thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, lifestyle and friends compatible with your ultimate goals? Patience and persistence are necessary. Study the pieces and their possible relationship. If one piece doesn’t fit, try another. Many people in the first century of the Church thought that Christians were crazy! Sometimes we have to stand back to get a new perspective, or leave it alone for a time and do something else. Our lives consist of many odd-shaped multicolored pieces. We can’t force them to fit where they don’t belong, but with Divine Guidance we can find the right place for every single piece. God can and will help you to “get it all together.”
Joel writes, 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. There is a “marking” point in all of our lives where we make a change. For some of us it was when we were “born again.” For others it was a “Damascus Road” experience. And for still others it was our baptism.
Paul says, …every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God. (Rom 14:11) To “recapitulate” is to surrender. To recapitulate means to “put the Head back on. God’s commissioning is in the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for commission is “oconamea.” Think about it, God economized by choosing you! Some people complain about our service and ask me ‘where’s the beef?’ I look at their lives and ask ‘where’s the fruit?’
Each soul has its secret place deep within. Where none may enter in but God. Every time we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” we mean that we believe that there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality and change it. If a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, his witness will not be optional or mandatory–it will be inevitable. Ps 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
A missionary came to the church. I seek your counsel in a decision which must be made and which will have great ramifications whichever way the decision goes. Let me tell you my story: “A friend of mine who is a doctor from Seoul, Korea wrote me some time ago, explaining his decision to relocate to our city. He asked me to find him a place where he could both live and have his practice. You know how hard it is to find any place much less one suitable for such a person. Nevertheless, I looked and finally found a location. I wrote to the doctor and informed him that the only place I could find was old and run down, in much need of repair, in a terrible neighborhood, and could only be purchased at an enormous price. To my surprise, the doctor sent word to secure the property and sent also the down payment needed. I went to the owner who gladly received the down payment and agreed to vacate the premises. In a couple of days the previous owner was still there and asked for an extension so that he would be able to find suitable lodging. I agreed to give him another week. But at the end of the week, he was still there. then a month went by, two months, six months, a year — and he’s still there! He and his family all have new clothes and eat the best of foods. When I come around, he just laughs at me. Now, my question is: what should be done?”
With one accord, the church elders all agreed that the man should be evicted, by force if necessary, from the dwelling. “Thank you for your advice,” said Brother Kim. “Now, let me remind you that almost two thousand years ago Jesus came to buy you with an enormous price — although you were in ruins and your life was a shamble. He sent his Holy Spirit as a down payment, and he desires to take up residence in your heart. Isn’t it about time we evicted the old man and let Jesus take up full residence?”