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MOODY AND THE FILLING OF THE SPIRIT
One of the great preachers in U.S. history is D. L. Moody. He pastored in Chicago and there is still a wonderful Bible College there that bears his name and values. Mr. Moody was a successful minister, but by his own admission, he lacked the power in his ministry. One day two women came up to him after a service. They said, "We have been praying for you."
"Why don't you pray for the people?" he asked.
"Because you need the power of the Spirit," they said.
"I need the power! Why?" said Mr. Moody
In relating the incident years after he writes, "I thought I had power. I had the largest congregation in Chicago, and there were many conversions."
Moody also said that in a sense, he was satisfied. He was in a comfort zone. But these two praying women rocked the boat. They told him that they were praying for an anointing by the Holy Spirit. Mr. Moody could not get this off his mind and he wrote, "There came a great hunger in my soul. I did not know what it was and I began to cry out to God as never before. I felt I did not want to live if I could not have this power for service."
Rev. Moody began crying out for God to fill him. He withdrew, prayed, and sought it over a period of time. He writes the following: "Well, one day, in the city of New York -- oh, what a day! -- I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world."
‘Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house, nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I’d nibbled, the fudge I did taste, all the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number! When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).
I remembered the marvelous meals I’d prepared, the gravies and sauces and beef nicely rare.
The pies and the cakes, the bread and the cheese, and the way I never said, "No thank you please."
As I dressed myself in my husband’s old shirt, and prepared once again to do battle with dirt---
I said to myself, as I only can "You can’t spend the winter disguised as a man!"
So away with the last of the sour cream dip, get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished, ‘till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won’t have a cookie, not even a lick, I’ll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won’t have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie, I’ll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore --- But isn’t that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot ... Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!
IT WAS PENTECOST SUNDAY. As the congregation filed into church, the ushers handed each person a bright red carnation to symbolize the festive spirit of the day. The people listened attentively to the reading of the Pentecost story from the Book of Acts about how the disciples had heard “what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven”; about how the Holy Spirit had appeared “like tongues of fire.” Then came the sermon: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon us,” the preacher began. “Like the powerful wind from heaven!” shouted a woman sitting in the first pew. Then she threw one of the red carnations toward the altar. The preacher began again: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon us.” The same woman’s voce rang out again, “Like the tongues of fire, the tongues of fire!” Again, she threw a red carnation toward the altar. The preacher looked straight at her and said, “Now throw your pocketbook.” To which the woman replied, “Preacher, you have just calmed the wind and put out the fire.”
We laugh at stories like these, but the truth is, the whole issue of stewardship is no laughing matter, is it? This is serious business. Today, I want to approach the subject of giving from a positive perspective.
There is a story about a sunken ship that illustrates the quietness of the spirit, but at the same time His Power in our lives.
"Several years ago engineers building a new bridge over the East River in New York, discovered that the wrecked hull of a ship, sunk many years before, lay right where the center piers were to be built. Powerful machinery was brought in to remove the ship, but it would not budge.
Then one of the engineers had an unusual idea-why not have the tide raise the ship!! Some strong cables were attached to the hull when the tide was low. The other ends were fastened to the barge above. As the tide came in, the barge gradually lifted the sunken ship. It was then towed out into the ocean and sunk at a spot that would not cause future problems."
In Dwight Pentecost’s commentary on the book of Philippians he refers to an occurrence of a church split in Dallas Texas. The church split was so bad that it involved a legal suit of one side of the church against the other over who had the right of owner ship of the church property. The case went all the way to the State Supreme Court. It was dismissed on the grounds that the State Supreme Court was not going to deal with inner church issues but they would have to be dealt with by the denominational church governing body. The matter was finally settled with one side being given the ownership rights to the property. During this period of time a local news paper reporter did some investigating on the cause of this church split. He discovered that it all started during a church dinner. Apparently one of the church elders was offended when the portion of food given to him was not as large as the young person next to him. This whole church split started because someone was offended over such a petty thing.
There’s a story told of a husband and wife both of who were doctors - one a doctor of theology and the other a doctor of medicine. When their doorbell was rung and the maid answered, the inquirer would often ask for "the doctor". The maid’s interesting reply was: "Do you want the one who preaches or the one who practices?" We know the theory of Christian living but what we must do is to practice it!
Carlyle Fielding Ste, How Long Will You Limp?: "Too many churches today are devoid of the Spirit of Pentecost because they are dry and stale, where people are in a stupor; where worship services are wooden and so scripted that they are hollow; where the preaching is dull and flat; where the singing is Geritol-tired and without the vim and vigor which speaks of a crucified, died and risen Lord; where if anyone taps his foot and says, "Amen", he is stared into silence, and if anyone shouts, "Thank you, Jesus" the people call the EMS or 911! Too many churches have become mausoleums for the dead rather than coliseums of praise for a living God. They have lost the spirit of Pentecost! They have lost their enthusiasm. They have lost their joy for Jesus and find themselves suffering from what William Willimon calls "Institutional and Spiritual Dry Rot." If the Church is to survive the next millennium it must recapture some of the praise and enthusiasm it had two millennia ago."
The poet William Blake wrote a poem about Pentecost. Part of the poem says: Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen. Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard. Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named. Unless the Heart ca...
C. T. Schwarze has written a thesis called “The Bible and Science on the Everlasting Fire,” in which he seeks to prove the validity of the Lake of Fire. As an example, he uses the existence of midget or white dwarf stars. He points out the fact that there is general agreement among scientist that “…the temperature at or near the center of stars is between 25 million and 30 million degrees Fahrenheit!” (J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come: published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, pg. 560). He further points out that these stars are so dense that they are about 5000 times smaller than would be expected for their mass. Because of the tremendous heat, everything is turned into gasses. However, due to the greatness of the pressure, these “…gasses become compressed to the consistency of a liquid…” (Ibid, pg. 560). These stars are for all practical purposes, lakes of fire.
Power can be used in at least 2 ways. It can be unleashed or it can be harnessed. Drop an atomic bomb and just watch as raw power is unleashed or harness the power of the atom and it will produce energy to make enough electricity for entire states. On the Day of Pentecost, and on the day you were filled, the burst of power was evident by the tongues of fire, but the controlled release of that power has caused the people of God to go great distances and effect many lives as the Power was manifest in them.