The older I become the more I value the gift of a person’s presence instead of a tangible gift that is unwrapped, and then forgotten. As we visited my 91-year-old mother in law. I hear her say in so many words, “All I want is your presence, for you to come and see me. I don’t need anything except to be with you and your family.” Presence is the golden gift that we all are able to give to others, along with the companion gift of listening.
Just what is it that should motivate us to want to be present in a person’s life? I believe that it is love that draws us to want to be as close as we can to a person. It is love that makes us want to listen to what another person has to say, to hear their story without interruption. So when we fall in love with a person, we desire their presence and value their story.
God, who not only loves us, but is love, desires to be as close to us as he can. So he sent his Son Jesus to live with us, to die for us, and to give us eternal life. He sent his Holy Spirit, also known as the Spirit of Jesus, to be our guide, advocate, comforter and so much more. Jesus said that his Spirit would take Jesus’ place here on this earth. Therefore, this Holy Spirit would be God’s personal presence in our daily lives, making it possible to walk the disciple’s path as God intended for us.
The Holy Spirit is far more than the symbols mentioned in scripture such as fire, wind, water, breath. The Holy Spirit is a person, a Someone, to whom scripture says that we can cry out to, asking God to come and personally fill our lives.
Without the Holy Spirits involvement in your life you are not living the larger Christian life.
ALLIANCE HISTORY AND THOUGHT
The Great West Mission
I mentioned to you last week the name John Woodward, He and his wife who were living in New York. They had planned to go to the mission field. Then A. W. Roffe, the superintendent of the Alliance District of Canada, sent him a letter with a request to start a branch of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Edmonton, Alberta. Beulah Alliance had already started a mission in Edmonton, and so they wanted to see the work continue to build from that one church.
After much prayer, God softened the Woodward’s hearts for the need in Western Canada. John left for Edmonton in August 1921 by train.
The Woodward’s arrived and immediately began to ride around this new community to get to know people. On one occasion, he was riding down a trail. While passing a school yard of children, he stopped his horse and asked, “Do you know Jesus?”
The tallest of a group of boys looked at him quite innocently and replied, “No, sir, he doesn’t live around these parts.”
John realized ignorance of Biblical truth was evident. He found, to his amazement, vast stretches of prairie without any religious organization of any kind. God challenged him, “How shall they hear without a preacher?”
John needed workers for the Great West Mission. As was mentioned last week students would arrive for the summer and would be sent out on horseback in different direction.
There was no salary. They would be dependent on God to provide all their needs. They would eat what people were kind enough to feed them, and sleep where people were kind enough to bed them. If the people were not that kind, they would need to trust God to provide in another way.
This method of evangelism was not overly successful.
John ordered a one-ton Ford chassis, and contracted a specifically-designed body to be built on it. The “Gospel car” became a mobile home and backdrop for outdoor Gospel services wherever they could gather a crowd. A tent seating 1,000 was ordered to gather large masses of people in a central location for a week of mid-summer teaching.
The Gospel car arrive one day at Gwynne, Alberta and were met with excitement by the towns people. They ended up staying and hosting a 6 day revival meeting in Gwynne. A few years later a radio station was erected to broadcast the Good News of salvation and you know the rest of this radio story.