Share This Episode
A Call to the Nation Carter Conlon Logo

Thought on Faith and Prayer – The Stirring of the Holy Spirit

A Call to the Nation / Carter Conlon
The Truth Network Radio
November 21, 2021 6:00 am

Thought on Faith and Prayer – The Stirring of the Holy Spirit

A Call to the Nation / Carter Conlon

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 140 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

November 21, 2021 6:00 am

Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
A New Beginning
Greg Laurie
Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
Clearview Today
Abidan Shah
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Grace To You
John MacArthur

Carter Conlon from the historic Times Square Church in New York City. I'm asking the question that's in your heart.

How can I make a difference? You're going to see a story of a man who made a tremendous difference in the kingdom of heaven. Thank you for being with us for A Call to the Nation with Carter Conlon. In the book of Acts, there was a Roman citizen named Saul of Tarsus. Although he was zealous for God, he wanted religion on his own terms. He orchestrated persecution to anyone whom he felt threatened Judaism, but he found himself blinded after an appointment with God on his way to Damascus. And in today's message, Carter will explain how another man named Ananias was used by God to make a difference in this story because of the stirring of the Holy Spirit.

Here's Carter. In Acts chapter 9, I'm going to paraphrase it. I'm just going to share some thoughts from it with you.

We see a type of what you and I are facing today. There was this man called Saul who was going to become the apostle Paul, and he was in a rage against the testimony of Christ. He didn't mind religion as long as he headed his way. He wanted to craft his own sense of well-being, his own pathway as he sought to God and to eternity. I don't know how deep that was in his thinking. It was probably there quite deep because of his position as a Pharisee, but he wanted it all his own way.

And there's a lot of people in our society today who are like that. They want God on their terms. And it was a man who could not be reasoned with. I mean, he was threatening people. He was elsewhere in the scriptures that tells us he was even torturing some. He was causing them to deny that they knew Christ. He was an enraged man. He hated the testimony of God.

And if there's ever a man that you think in society you can't reach, it's a man like that. Or if there's ever a time in history when you think a society can't be reached, it's when society turns to this kind of behavior or they are vilifying the testimony of Christ. They hate the things of God. They've crafted their own sense of righteousness and they're going out and their purpose is to eradicate, to be rid.

One more time, it's happened many times throughout history in many places, but one more time, if people rise up and said, we're going to be rid of this Christ and we're going to be rid of those that he uses to convince us that our ways are not right. What I want to talk about is what is my part? If God is going to send an awakening, if God is going to allow a moment of mercy to come into such a society, what is my part in all of this? How do I fit? I feel so small. I feel so insignificant.

I can get it if the preachers make a difference or if there's a choir that can sing or some other ministry mechanism. But me, what about me? And I'm talking about you. I'm talking for you. I'm asking the question that's in your heart.

How can I make a difference? You're going to see a story of a man who made a tremendous difference in the kingdom of heaven. There's this man called Ananias. The scripture is like a player that only appears. He just kind of goes across the stage of the Christmas production. That's all you ever see of him. He just runs across. He's part of the crowd, maybe comes across, sings a quick Christmas carol and he's gone.

You never see him again. That's Ananias in the pages of scripture. But what a profound difference one obedient man makes. All the scripture tells us about him is that God was able to speak to him. The scripture says that the Lord came to him in a vision. And that really means that he came to him with a, it was very clear.

He made it very clear to him what he wanted him to do. Ananias had to be a man of prayer. And he's praying most likely, Lord, use my life as you do. Use my life for your glory.

Make a difference through my life. And then as he's praying that prayer, suddenly God speaks to him and says, down at this particular street in this house, there's a man called Saul of Tarsus. And I want you to go and lay your hands on him that he might receive his sight. I want you to pray for him. And I want you to believe that his present blindness will be taken away. That God will give him vision and sight for the future.

Ananias was dumbfounded. Lord, I've heard how many reports about this man and all the harm he's done and how he hates the people of God. And he has authority from the chief priests to bind all the call on your name. It's like as if you're here in the sanctuary one day.

And let's even change that. You go to work, and there's somebody in your workplace that's really had a violent temper. And it's a person you'd rather avoid.

Just that kind of obnoxious person and you just rather not approach them. And suddenly you're in prayer. Oh Lord, use my life for your glory. Tuesday night, and suddenly the Lord says, go lay hands on brother so and so, sister so and so.

Oh God, that person could have me fired if I do that. See, that's bringing it into the modern situation we face. But what Ananias couldn't have known is that there was already a divine intervention happening in this person's life. That's called an awakening. And awakening is when God comes himself to individual people. He comes.

He begins to touch them. Saul of Tarsus had a moment where the script says a bright light shone around him. And he began to hear the voice of the real God, not the God he was serving, but the real God began to speak to him and asked him why he was standing against all the testimony that he'd set around him to lead him to a place of life. Why are you persecuting me, Saul? Why are you standing against or fighting against the people I've set around you to point you to eternal life?

That's what happened to him on the Damascus road. And you know, there are people that you work with. There are people in your neighborhood, your community. They know you're there. They know you're a Christian and there comes a moment maybe in their despair that suddenly God starts speaking to them.

It happens all the time. The problem is most often we're not even aware of it. And we're not aware of it because we don't pray like we should many times. We don't go into the prayer closet and our prayer is not God use my life for your glory. It's Lord, come bless me.

Come deliver me. Help me. It's very self-centered. And when it's self-centered, God can't speak about others. But this man had had a divine intervention. God was already speaking in his life.

And I feel in my heart we are approaching if not already in a moment like that in our society. When God is speaking to people, people are discouraged. They're despairing. They're enraged. They're tired.

They're sin sick. And God is starting to speak. And for the first time, they're starting to hear his voice.

And the very first thing that comes out of his heart is, what do you want me to do? And the Lord tells him, go into the city and you'll be told what to do and takes away his eyesight. And when people are experiencing an awakening, they become aware of how blind they have been. God makes Saul physically blind for three days.

The scripture says he didn't eat or drink, but he started to pray. And when people are being awakened to the reality of eternal life, the reality that there is a hell as well as a heaven, the reality that there's only one way to eternal life, and that's through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. When they're being awakened, what happens to people is they become aware of how blind they have been, that their whole course in life has been wrong. Their thinking has been dark. And it's God's mercy that makes them aware of it.

And that's part of it. And suddenly, God comes to this ordinary person like you and me, who's praying and says, I want you to get up and go and lay your hands on this man. But oh God, I was thinking as I was meditating on this while we were doing the announcements of several years ago, after a Tuesday night service, we had a guest speaker here and I took him to a restaurant not too far from here. And in that restaurant at the table right at the window was about four or five men. And there was one lady. I've never heard vile conversation like this in public ever.

I've heard a lot of stuff over the years, but never like this. These people were inappropriate in an inappropriate place. And they were in a restaurant and what they were talking about that they were going to do after they left.

You can only imagine. And the owner of the restaurant came over because he knew I was a pastor and he apologized. And he said, Pastor, I'm so sorry that you have to be in vicinity of hearing this.

He said, I'll clean, I'll clear a table for you in the back and move you. And I said, just wait a minute. Because I was stirred. There was a stirring starting to happen.

I know that now. I know that stirring of the Holy Spirit. And the Lord just told me go up and talk to them.

So Pastor Claude to this day says if I hadn't seen this, I never would believe it. I got up and walked over to the table. And I said, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm the pastor of the church just around the corner called Times Square Church. And I don't know exact words. I said something like you look like you could use some time in church.

So I thought maybe that I'd like to invite you to come out. And I told him we had services Sunday at 10, three and six and a service on Tuesday night. And the guy with the biggest mouth on the end of the table, the really vile guy. And let me tell you guys, these guys were not slouches. If they turned on me, I was in big trouble. I knew I had Pastor Claude with me.

He's a good fighter. I thought maybe. But it was still a five on three with the owner of the restaurant.

We'd still probably come out on the losing end of this one. And the guy with the real big mouth, he said all this the guy sitting in front of you, he's a real big sinner, real big sinner. He said he really needs prayer. So I put my hands on his shoulders. I said, Okay, let's pray for him right now. And I began to pray, God, show him your love for him, show him that you died on a cross, so that he could be saved.

Show him that he doesn't have to live the way he's living, that he can have life. And he can have it abundantly. And Pastor Claude and another man who were there said, when you started praying, the whole restaurant dropped their utensils and everybody bowed their head. Now the guy at the end of the table, then he turned on me.

And he started to really, really, really verbally trash me and curse me out in the restaurant. Basically, I'm not going to repeat his words. But who do you think you are to come in here and stand here? And who gave you the blankety blank authority to do this? And what do you think you are?

And you're an idiot? And what are you doing at this table? And he was really agitated. And I looked at him and I said, I'm here, because God speaks to me. And he stirred my heart.

And he told me that somebody at this table is desperate to know who he is, who God is. And the guy was trash talking me started to cry. And he said, it's me.

It's me. And he was crying. I'm talking he's crying. It was a snotty nose cry.

We had to pick up the napkin from the table and put on his face. It's me. I just have to know if there's a God. I have to know who he is. And how do you find him?

I just have to know. And he pulls out a chair and he says, sit down, talk to him. Talk to me. The guy had prayed for said, this is weird, man. I'm going back to my hotel.

He got up and he left. And I sat there for the next 20 minutes or so and laid out the plan of salvation. And I said, why don't you do it now?

Why don't you do it now? Open your heart now and give your life to Jesus. Christ. He said, I found out he was from England. He said, I'm going to go back to my hotel room. I'm going to call my wife first because I want her to know about this. And I'm going to do it after I speak to her. I said, you promised me said, I promise you, I'm going to go to my niece, and I'm going to ask Jesus Christ into my life to be my Lord and Savior.

You see, my point is simply this. When God starts to speak in a society to people when they're, we're not introducing something they don't already know. God's already speaking. He's just always looking for somebody somewhere who will just be obedient.

Somebody, somebody who will just speak, somebody who will take a chance. Now, I'm not saying that once in a while, it's not going to backfire. It could. But isn't it worth it if God's stirring you to step out of the box? And Ananias went his way and he went into the house and I'm sure he was afraid. And we are afraid when God asks us to do things that don't fit in with our sense of safety even. And we ask us to do things that are very, very different.

It's a fearful thing. But he went into the house, he laid his hands on him and said, Brother Saul, and I love that he calls him brother. He doesn't even know the guy. He doesn't. He doesn't.

The only report he's got is how violent and vile this man has been. But God says, I'm sending you because he's a chosen vessel of mine. And so before even praying, he calls him brother.

I love that. Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to on the road as you came and sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And he doesn't even pray. He doesn't have a chance to pray. As he's saying these words, it says immediately there fell from his eyes.

That's Paul, something like scales. And he received his sight at once and arose and was baptized. In other words, he died to his own way of living and turned with all his heart to Christ. And from this simple act of faith we have today, the greatest apostle that has ever lived the Apostle Paul. Now God could have done it through a preacher. God could have sent an angel to that house. God could have done it on the Damascus road. But the point God is trying to make is that he does not do his work without you. And without me, he could do it all himself. He could wrap trust tonight, take us all to heaven, just send angels to preach in our place. But that's not what he's chosen to do.

He has a body of believers on the earth. People like you and I and Ananias. We might not be a 15 act play.

We might just have a short pass across the stage, but it can change history. You touch somebody's life. You touch their family. You touch their children.

You touch their grandchildren. You touch a whole lineage for years to come when you touch one life with the power of God. I want us to pray for courage. Courage. That Oh Jesus, would you give us the courage to step out of our comfort zone? Would you give us the courage to endure the scorn of the ungodly? Would you give us the courage to simply, we don't have to seek a burden. It will come to us as we seek you Lord. You will begin to speak and tell us to do something. If we will obey you, the miraculous begins to happen. We are the one link in the chain that still needs to be strengthened. If we're going to see and know an awakening of the miraculous again in our generation.

If we're going to see this and other churches filled with men and women crying out to receive God, crying out for new vision, crying out for a new pathway that only God can set before him. The link that has to be in this chain is you. The link is me. I want to encourage you not to be afraid. I haven't always obeyed.

There's sometimes I haven't and I've regretted it all my life. When I was a police officer, I had a sergeant one night. I didn't know him very well. I was working inside and I was having to do a lot of paperwork and he was following me around the department and he was talking to me and talking to me and talking to me and this never happened before. And I felt the Holy Spirit stir me and say, tell him about Jesus. Tell him about Jesus. And I had the chance to do it, but I was so busy. And you always run the risk in these environments that it's going to backfire on you anyway.

So it's sometimes good just to find an excuse not to do it. And God kept convicting me. Tell him about Jesus. Tell him about Jesus. And so finally in my heart, I said, okay, we're working together tomorrow night. His name was Bernie. I'll tell him tomorrow night. So I came in the next night and I had been thinking about it throughout the day and said, I'm going to, I'm going to tell Bernie tonight because we're working together tonight.

So I'm going to tell him about Jesus. So I come in and I started working and I noticed Bernie wasn't there. And I said, Hey, where's Bernie tonight? And my friend said, Oh, haven't you heard?

He died of a heart attack this morning. I sang at his funeral. There was the hardest song I ever had to sing. And I swore I'd never do that again. That if God moves upon me, I will obey him.

If I know it's the Holy Spirit, I will obey him. We have to press through our pride. We don't want to be laughed out. We have to press through our fear of being mocked. We have to press through our fear of our own safety. It's late, but I'll tell you one more story.

I'm on a train heading back to New Jersey where I lived back then. And for whatever reason in the car, they turned the seats to face each other that day was very awkward. If you've ever been traveling on a train and that happens.

You've got three people across from you three, two on your side, there's three versus three, your knees are about a foot apart. And I'm reading this, this newspaper that you can find in most stores. And it's just stories about nothing because I'm not really reading it. I just don't want to look at anybody. I don't want to talk to anybody. I'm tired. I don't want to witness.

You ever been there? I just don't. I just, I'm tired. I just want to, I want to read the sports section, see what's going on.

I want to read a couple of front page stories and I just want to get home. And the stirring starts again in my heart and right across, there's two guys beside me and two guys beside the person in front of me. And the person in front of me is a young lady in her thirties.

I'm in my fifties at this time. And the Lord said, tell her that everything is going to be okay. And I said, you tell her.

You are God. I am not. I am 50.

She's 30 something. There's two guys here and there's two guys beside me. I know what they're going to think. Ma'am, I just wanted you to know everything is going to be okay. And it's going to be so incredibly awkward after that moment.

I am not doing this. So I kept trying to read my paper. And the one thing about God is that if you do love him, he doesn't forget and he doesn't go away. And he kept telling me, tell her everything is going to be okay.

I can just imagine my heart, the sneers that are going to be on these guys cross from her. And you know, I just, you know, this is New York, you understand what I'm talking about. So finally, I put down my paper after fighting with God for I don't know how many train stops. And I said, young lady, excuse me, I said, I'm a pastor in New York City. And I want, I feel God telling me.

And as I started speaking to guys, I could see that. And so I said, I feel God telling me to tell you that everything is going to be okay. And she bursts out crying. I'm in tears shot from her eyes. She bursts out crying. She says, Oh, thank you, Jesus.

Oh, thank you, Jesus. She said, I am a young mother. I've got two, I forget how many, I've got two children home. And my husband, I've been diagnosed with cancer.

I'm going in for surgery tomorrow. And I've been sitting here saying, God, you've got to tell me if everything is going to be okay. You should have seen the look on the guy's faces across. It was all Oh, my God. God speaks to people. And I don't know where that would lead.

I know it comforted her heart. And there's guys that had a lot to think about. And I don't know where it would lead. But I know it would lead nowhere if I didn't take the chance. And so I want to pray. I'm going to ask God give us courage.

All of us, I fight the same struggles that you do. I don't want to be laughed at. I don't want to appear like an idiot. I don't want to go into a restaurant, lay hands on somebody to get punched out.

When I could be enjoying my lasagna in the back of the restaurant. But I've never known, ever, ever known God to leave me in defeat when it's been his voice. And I'm telling you this because I believe there's going to be a brother Saul moment in your life. I want you to believe with me for the miraculous. I want you to believe that something miraculous is going to happen here. Sometimes you'll get to see it right on the spot. Other times it will take a little while longer and you will just become part in it in a link a chain of people that came into this person's life before they surrendered their lives to God. But it's so important that you and I learn to obey God now and start to walk in the miraculous again.

God will use us, each of us, for something miraculous to happen in somebody else's life. The message today has been brought to you by Carter Conlon from Times Square Church. For more information log on to That's Plan to be with us next week for A Call to the Nation with Carter Conlon.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-20 03:58:30 / 2023-07-20 04:08:16 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime