Joyful Noise

JOYFULNOISE –

I love the autumn in Houston for a couple of reasons. The temperature is beginning to moderate and it coincides with the movement into our seasons of celebration. Every year when the weather begins to change and it gets cooler and rainy, I am always reminded of how much I love gloomy, rainy and cold weather. In a brief discussion with JCIII after church last Sunday, he commented as we walked toward our cars that if it was a little cooler, it would be a lot like the weather in England. A bell went off and it was at that moment that I realized why I always wanted to go to England on one of those driven bird hunts – it is the stark contrast to the hot and humid weather that we have most of the year. It isn’t the weather I love – it’s the change.

Since JC III preached last Sunday from Acts 3 and 4, I have been mulling around what happened in the scripture section that he used. The passage began with the account of Peter and John before the Sanhedrin and how they marveled at how these ordinary, uneducated men were changed by being with Jesus. At the end of the passage, the Word says that Peter and John went back to their own people – believers – and made a report of all that happened and what the chief priests and elders had to say about it. The believers moved immediately to prayer – acknowledging that God is Sovereign Creator of the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In the prayer they had this to say about the plans of the Sanhedrin and the gentiles (non-believers) who conspired against Jesus and His ministry. There is a phrase so powerful in that next section that says, “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” They went on to ask God for great boldness and for the gift of signs and miracles to heal and do wondrous things through the name of Jesus – God’s Holy Servant.

When they finished praying, the place where they were meeting was literally shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. They asked for gifts for the purpose of furthering God’s Kingdom here on earth, and He responded. Peter and John were changed as a result of living in God’s presence as they were disciple by Jesus. The believers that Peter and John met with were changed as a result of being in the presence of God as they prayed for boldness to witness to the world in the Name of Jesus. The disciples spent three years with an itinerant evangelist and the body of believers gathered together to hear from and pray in response to Peter and John’s report spent all of two minutes asking God for power. Both groups were emboldened – both groups were empowered – the common connection was spending time in the presence of God and having a heart to serve Him.

You probably could anticipate that a couple of questions would come to mind. Are you spending time in God’s presence? Are we asking Him for boldness and power to share the gospel message with a sinful and spiritually deceased world? We started out by talking about a change in the weather – I hope we will transition to looking for change in our focus and our desire to serve God.

Karl Mangurm