So my world got rocked last Wednesday night. A group of us decided to surprise Pastor Tim at his new ministry with North Asheville Baptist’s Youth, and it was incredible. The word that God laid on his heart was so powerful, passionate and real that it kept my mind racing until late into the night. Now, you didn’t think that I would keep all this crazy good news to myself did you? Don’t worry the purpose of this post is to share bits and pieces of what I heard with you and I promise it will make you think.
Pastor Tim was preaching out of the book of Acts. [Side note – Acts is one of those books that once you start reading it, it is so difficult to put down! Intense.] If you aren’t very familiar with the book of Acts, some pretty cool things go down in this book like the formation of the Christian Church, people speaking in tongues, the Holy Spirit is everywhere…yes, it is awesome. Pastor Tim specifically pointed out that he and his lead Pastor-Jim Dykes, have been studying the book of Acts at the same time, so it was cool to get to email back and forth with the things they were learning and working through. He said that he got a message from Pastor Jim specifically about Chapter 1 verses 1 and 2 which states, “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, (2) until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen”… His point about this passage of scripture was specifically verse 2 where it points out that Christ had been taken up. He went on to say that what he felt was that before the people in Chapter 2 of Acts could have the Holy Spirit pour down on them and lead them to subsequently speak in tongues and do wonderful works of God, Christ had to be lifted up. Ok, just let that resonate for a minute.
So basically you can see in the context of the first and second chapters of Acts, Christ had to be literally lifted up in order for the Holy Spirit to descend (as He had promised), but days later when the group of 120 followers of Christ went into the upper room to worship on the Day of Pentecost Christ was lifted up in a more ‘figurative’ or worshipful sense. When they were all together to worship Him, the Holy Spirit was poured out over the group to the point that they were speaking in tongues. They were literally speaking languages that they had no advance knowledge of, but people living in Jerusalem that were from different places, who spoke completely different languages, could understand them. These people even said in Chapter 2 verse 11, “We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” Whoa. Look at what lifting up Jesus Christ has the power to do!
So let’s take this and apply it to our lives. If we are Christ followers, we intimately desire to feel Him in our lives, don’t we? Therefore, to feel the Spirit we must lift Him up in our lives; daily. [Side note: It takes no time at all to get down and depressed and feel a lack of joy with life. This is usually indicative of falling out of communion with the Father. Very easily remedied: Praise Him! Talk to Him! Read the Word! But take it from me, it is pretty obvious when you haven’t been spending the amount of time with God that you deeply desire.] When we feel the Spirit it draws us closer to Him. For example, I am a worshipper. My heart is all about worship, especially singing praises out to my Lord; I absolutely love it. Why do I love it? Because when I am lifting my God up in a passionate way I feel His Spirit all around me. I know that He is getting glory and I feel insanely close to Him. It then makes me hungry and my heart more prepared to hear the Word that will either be preached to me if I am in a church, or that I will study personally in my Bible at home if I have worshipped in my car (which I do quite frequently..to the shock of the drivers next to me!), etc.
Worship is a cycle: Christ gets lifted up → His Spirit comes down to us → We feel His presence which draws us closer to Him → We get hungrier for Him and His Word → We, then worship and lift Him up → And so it continues, every day drawing nearer to Christ.
As He ascends within our worship, He descends from above.
John 8:39 – “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
John 9:31 – “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshipper of God and does His will, He hears him.”
This idea that we must lift up the name of God to feel Him come down to us, seems like such a simple truth; and it is. Meditate on the truth of this, and let your heart run wild with the thought that the God of the universe meets with you personally when you worship Him. Yeah, just got chills. “I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” – A.W. Tozer
Title Inspiration. Click and give it a listen: “Incense Rise“