Friday, August 8, 2014

Creme Filled Doughnuts

There's just nothing better!

On the heals of last week's message and the inspiration of one Chris Rosati of Durham, NC this week's message is all about the blessing of being filled with God's Spirit.

Now, I have no idea if Chris Rosati is a Christian or not, but you can't miss the inspiration behind his story. Even if he doesn't know Jesus, he knows something about being filled with something other than himself. In that 'food way' of doing things in my blog, I want to compare the blessings of being filled with God's Spirit to the creme filled goodness of a special blessings called a doughnut.

My favorite doughnuts come from a special little place in Lancaster, OH called "Donut World".
This little building at the corner of Broad & Sixth streets is open 24 hours and always has a great selection of doughnuts on hand. My favorite is a their "bigger than my coffee cup" chocolate creme stick or as other might call them, "long-johns". Some folks like custard filling in their doughnuts. Those are OK. Just give me a creme filled stick of goodness.

Every year, sometimes twice a year, my wife gets the detail of covering breakfast for the teachers at the elementary school. SO, a couple times a year, I get the opportunity to drive down to Donut World and get about 4 dozen doughnuts. All kinds of goodness are in the boxes on the drive home and the blessing fills the Jeep with it's aroma. Peanut covered doughnuts. Powdered white, custard filled ones. Chocolate doughnuts and "Bear-claws". And, of course, "long-johns". There are vanilla, and butterscotch, and chocolate covered creme sticks. Jelly filled doughnuts are my second favorites. They should make a jelly filled long-john!!

Bringing a blessing to someone. Kind of follows the idea that lies within our scripture for this Sunday morning. I'll remind you that we are focusing upon "Being Filled with God's Spirit" during this month of August. Our scripture from Acts is on just such a moment. Saul (who would become Paul the Apostle) has just been struck with a major blow. He's blind. Can't see a thing. A vision of the Lord Jesus on the Damascus road has left him without his vision. Imagine how scary that would be. Our vision is something we take for granted. What if it was taken away? How would we react? How would we cope? Who would be there to care for us?

A certain word should pop into the head here. Fear.
I'd be afraid if my eyesight was taken away. How am I going to preach every again? How am I going to take care of my family? How will my family make it without me being able to work? The whole scenario presents a real problem not for our physical well-being, but to our spiritual and mental well-being also. In the midst of the story of what happens to Saul comes this line in verse 17 of Chap 9 that kicks all the fear in the pants and drive all the doubt away.

Acts 9:17

New International Version (NIV)
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Here we go. Being filled with the Spirit. What exactly does that mean?
This implies that Saul, and by extention, we, were not and are filled with the Spirit.
It is something that needs to happen. And, with nearly everybody involved in the Acts, with a couple of minor exceptions, they find Jesus first and then at a later moment are filled with the Spirit. It is something separate and special the Lord wants to do in the life of a believer. We read several scriptures out of the Gospel of John last week where Jesus was preparing his disciples for what was to come. He told them that the Spirit was coming. The Father wanted to give the Spirit to them. Jesus wanted them to be reminded of all he had taught them. The Spirit would do that. The Spirit would testify about the Father and Jesus and the Kingdom and all Jesus taught. The disciples were told they too would testify. Then Pentecost came. The Holy Spirit was poured out and everything changed. These twelve men, gripped with fear, who couldn't hold it together to stay with Jesus through his death find themselves looking over a courtyard with three thousand some people as they preach a message of what Jesus done for all in his death and resurrection.

Is it a fearful thing to have to speak to other people? Do you enjoy getting up in front of others and having to share? Most people would say no. Hey, I still get the butterflies on Sunday morning. It has gotten a lot easier over the years. I'm much more comfortable than when I started 17 years ago. But, this is a big deal. I'm speaking for the Lord here. It's my job to open this bible and help everybody make sense of it. I'm supposed to give you something to hang on to as you go through your week. That is nothing to shrug off or take lightly. So, yes, I still some butterflies. I wonder what was going through the mind of Ananias as he approaches this house in Damascus. It's Saul. We get so wrapped up in Paul that we can tend to forget about Saul. This is the guy who has been going around killing Christians for a living. That's what he was most likely on his way to do in Damascus before he is blinded by this light. Now, the word on the street is, he can't see. Word come to Ananias. Somebody should probably go over and check this out, make sure it true. Nothing other than boldness describes the words of Ananias in this scripture. He doesn't seem to come afraid. He comes with blessings.

How does this compare to the filling of a creme filled doughnut?
Maybe it doesn't. But, most doughnuts are filled with something. Jelly. Custard. Creme.
Those are the best doughnuts in my mind. That's just my opinion. Maybe you like a simple maple glaze or even a plain doughnut with your coffee. Most will agree, life is sweeter with a doughnut in hand. In a roundabout way, I think this was the point Jesus wanted to get across to his disciples back in Luke 11. Asking can be a tense, fearful moment. Having to knock can create a pit in the stomach because you have no idea what your neighbor might be in the middle of in that moment. Seeking can be a worrisome task that leaves the seeker with more doubt than hope. But, Jesus wants his followers to know that they might feel like the person knocking on the door, but actually they are the children tucked away in bed with their Father. The point is that God will meet our needs. And, we are in need of something we might not know we need.

Seek it. Ask for it. Knock.

Last week we took a look at the story of one Chris Rosati.
This fellow, in the closing moments of his life, looks to be a blessing to others.
He planned to steal a doughnut truck and give all the doughnuts away.
He just wanted to do something to impact peoples lives before he ran out of time to do it.
I have no idea of Chris' spiritual outlook, if he's a Christian or not.
Whatever he has, I want some of it. I don't want to be afraid anymore.

Check out the follow up to Chris Rosati's story here.

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