Sunday, October 28, 2007

Are your lips burning?

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Acts 1, 2, 3

Acts 2:42-44 (NIV)

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.

Good morning!

It was a long and rainy ride to Memphis, Tennessee last Thursday. Cindy and I enjoyed each other’s company as we sipped on fountain soda and listened intently to teaching tapes as we drove along Interstate 55. We knew we were headed toward an amazing event, and we were anxious to get there. Have you ever pondered what might be awaiting you just around the corner?

We pulled into our hotel just before dark. Our family used to travel through Memphis regularly to visit my grandparents, when they lived in Mississippi. It had been years since I had spent any time tooling around town, and Memphis has changed quite a bit since I was a child. In the dark and pouring rain, we managed to find Christ United Methodist Church, our seminar location, and then drive on to the college campus of Memphis University. We were looking for a meeting room on a packed campus, in the middle of session, in the pouring rain. Totally unfamiliar with the college, we needed the Lord’s compass to guide us. It’s a good thing we got there early, because we spent an hour wandering from building to building. It was a good night to take a walk in the rain.

We had come to join hearts and hands with brothers and sisters around the world who are members of the Confessing Movement of the United Methodist Church, and to spend the evening in worship and prayer, as we prepare ourselves for our denomination’s upcoming 2008 General Conference. The prayer service was a profound and holy moment. We sat together in a large upper room. I joined hands with people I had never personally met, but knew of through their writing and work within the United Methodist Church. I listened, as the Holy Scripture was read. We sang hymns of praise together, proclaiming the love of Christ, in a room with no other sound except the rush of a mighty wind whirling around us. In moments of silence, during Holy Communion, and with every spoken prayer, my lips were burning with Holy Spirit fire. I knew without a doubt, we were standing in the presence of Almighty God, on holy ground.

Holy moments happen when believers gather together to pray. The Holy Spirit makes its presence known in simple things, like the sound of a person’s voice, or the tears welling up inside your closed eyes. One can feel the presence and power of the Holy Spirit when a humble heart seeks repentance and restoration, forgiveness and grace. I knew the Holy Spirit was falling on me, because I could feel the touch of His flame on my lips.

Pentecost is alive and well. It is not just a story told from long ago. The fire still falls on people who gather together to pray and seek God’s face in community with one another. I am always amazed at how individual members of the body can come together, join hands, and become one in heart and mind through Christ Jesus, our risen Savior and Lord. It is a miraculous work of the Living Word in our lives. We, who are many, are one body, united in Jesus Christ. We pool our gifts and resources together and offer them up to the Lord we love. This evening was a holy and precious moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Are your lips burning today? Have you experienced the gift of the Holy Spirit while joining hearts and hands with a body of believers in prayer and worship? You have a special place in the body of Christ. You belong here, and I am saving a seat for you today at Faith Church. Won’t you join me there as we experience the presence of the Lord together in worship?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: burning lips! When believers join together in one place, holding hearts and hands and raising one voice in praise, repentance and thanksgiving to Almighty God, the Holy Spirit falls down and makes us one body, united in Jesus Christ alone. Upper room moments are happening right now. Won’t you come and experience His presence in worship?


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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