26 years ago the watchman first encountered God in a big way and the amazing experience imprinted in his heart had never faded all these years when he continued to seek God’s presence through God’s words. However, he sometimes thought with sadness that he would never encounter God again in that way. Last Sunday he attended the first Sunday morning worship service in a place where a small group gathered to pray. God met him in exactly the same way and more powerful and touching. He was totally overwhelmed!
It was like any other usual worship except that it was in the morning for the first time. They started the first Sunday morning worship with the leader singing in the spirit followed by the first hymn, which was a short chorus with the full Gospel message in the song. As he knelt down and sang, he was totally surrounded by the words (lyrics) which became alive and real. The Holy Spirit worked deeply in him and he was filled with such great peace and joy and gratitude as the Gospel of Christ was sung.
Tears streamed down like a river and washed him through out the worship. The love of God came to him and worked into his heart. He was led (in the spirit) to focus on the cross and Jesus’ painful yet powerful humiliation, suffering and even death, just for the sake of all mankind. He felt the heart of God saying to him: “How much I have loved you, and many others, indeed, the whole world!” All the hymns (and choruses) were Jesus-focus. The whole Gospel of Christ was narrated in the lyrics.
The Word of God became real: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
As they took Holy Communion, he was reminded of the body of Christ, broken for him and many, and by which (Jesus’ stripes) he was healed, and the blood of Christ, shed for him and many for the forgiveness of their sins. He was redeemed, and set free, all because of God’s love.
He was reminded that God is love and God’s perfect love cast out all fears. God is light and darkness must flee in the presence of God. God is life and Jesus has conquered death! As Paul has declared victoriously: “O death, where is your sting?” He took the bread and cup in grateful tears.
What a morning! He was completely soaked in tears but he was not alone. He shared this experience with someone in the evening and was surprised that two persons of the small gathering had the same encounter that morning with God (the Holy Spirit) and were equally soaked in tears too!!
The sermon (based on the Acts of the Apostles) was another blessing. The message was about the first incidence of the Holy Spirit pouring onto the disciples of Jesus Christ on the Pentecost Day at the third hour (around 9am, the time of the morning sacrifice) of that day followed with their speaking and praising God in many tongues (other languages) and preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, converting three thousands to Christ, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. The church was thus born empowered mightily by the Holy Spirit.
At the ninth hour (around 3pm, the time of the evening sacrifice) of a day, Peter and John went up to the temple and Peter healed a man who was lame from his mother’s womb. This was the first miracle specifically recorded after the out pouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples.
Indeed, God has answered his prayer on looking for a church (read chapter forty-three: “I am looking for a church”). He was grateful and filled with great joy.
On the last day, that great day of the feast (of Tabernacles), Jesus stood and cried out, saying: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water (Holy Spirit).” (John 7:37-39)
January 6, 2010