What is God’s Mission-Part 2
Tongues of Fire
One thing that fascinates me is the differences between churches. Nothing fascinates me more than the debate of speaking in tongues. Some churches believe that it was only for the first century church. Others believe that we can still speak in tongues today. When I was helping to plant a Southern Baptist Church in the Biddeford/Saco, Maine area, I asked where the SBC stands on this issue. I got a funny answer. Any Southern Baptist Church can start speaking in tongues, but it would be one of the quickest ways to be removed from the convention. Aka, they will be voted out. I have to say that I laughed. Other churches believe differently - and this is one topic that, because the churches can't agree, they refuse to work TOGETHER for souls and for the Kingdom. I hope that they will work together.
In Acts 2, we have the first time of people speaking in tongues. After the disciples had received the Holy Spirit (this must have been a sight because it was like tongues of fire. I think I might have been afraid if I was there - talk about SIGNS and wonders!), they were given the ability to speak different languages. And it paid off, because many Jews from around the known world at the time were gathering in Jerusalem and God was making a way for them to hear the gospel. Just look at Act 2:9. It lists places people had come from to be in Jerusalem. This act and these acts brought people and the Church TOGETHER. They were all speaking the SAME MESSAGE - to different people with different languages.
Revival Fire Fall
If you remember anything, remember this: the Holy Spirit gave them the ability to do this. Speaking another language doesn’t come naturally or quickly. I should know, because I barely got through Spanish in college. This had to be done by the Holy Spirit. What happens next is Peter’s explanation of what was happening by quoting Joel reminding those Jews of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Peter also explains the gospel in the context of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The most amazing part happens next. THOUSANDS of people were saved! I wish I was there to see that. I know that I would have been praising God.
No matter what your particular doctrine is regarding the Holy Spirit, I do know this: WE NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE THIRD PERSON of the trinity.
Map of UMaine, the Closet University to Where I Live
At this point you are probably wondering what my suggestions are for praying for GOD'S mission (not OUR idea of what God's mission SHOULD be, according to OUR doctrine). Well, have no fear, here they are!
You Need the Holy Spirit: No question! The first thing I would pray is for the Holy Spirit to help you. This is one of His main jobs. You might not need to speak in another language, but pray for HIS help to make the communication easy to understand in YOUR language. I had a Pastor who many times would say that it is BOTH the church and the Spirit who says come. Ask the Holy Spirit to say "come" as you are saying "come" - with an open heart and mind, trusting the scripture and the Holy Spirit to teach and enlighten to obtain revealed knowledge. Scripture tells us the Holy Spirit is poured out to us all, gushing, greedily and spilling out (Rom.5:5). The Holy Spirit cannot be corralled under the microscope of any one person's or group's interpretation but by those holy men of old who prophesied forth God's wise and full truth (2 Pet. 1:9) - speaking of Peter! A sign and power - that's what I see in God's Word about the Holy Spirit - especially in Acts. We need that in our witness, yes?
Pray for the Closest University/College: Many universities have a significant, if not large population of international students. Just like in Jerusalem, universities in this country are where the world comes to us. Connect with one or all of the campus ministries to learn how to pray for the international students. I also really suggest that you connect with International Student Ministries with InterVarsity. All that ISM does is reach out to international students for Jesus. I’m sure that they would want your prayer support.
Pray for Salvations: Who are the non-Christians that are the closest to you? Is it family? Friends? I suggest that you pick one or two people that you know and focus on praying for them. Pray for their salvation. Pray for an opportunity to share with them what you believe. Above all, pray that you can get to know them better so you know how to love them the best way possible. Pray along the lines of Billy Graham's "My Hope America" - become a "Matthew". Pray for signs from the Holy Spirit regarding who to witness to and when and how. And for the power to do it.
Pray for One: This type of prayer was shared with me by my Pastor. The idea behind it is to pray for one person that God is going to choose. This can be done by looking at a list or just asking God. Then look for ways that God might use you to be a blessing in someone’s life. This could be a stranger or someone you know. You might need to pray for (Holy Spirit) strength as you look for the person that God is having you pray for. Again, this takes the Holy Spirit working in your life. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Your Turn: If you have thoughts, please share in the comments below or the social media site that I have shared this on.
What does your tradition teaches about speaking in tongues?
Prayer is so key to God’s mission and in revival. My hope with this blog is that you the reader will spend more time in prayer for those that are lost around you. Thanks for reading. I hope to hear from you in the comments section.
One more thing: Pray, Pray, and Pray: early and often!