Tag

Holy Spirit

Powerful and Relevant

By | Envision, Equip

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

This call to repentance comes from the end of Peter’s message to thousands in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. The crowds have seen the flames from the Holy Spirit touching upon the apostles and heard their words in their own tongues. Those with spiritual sensitivity have understood, as Peter explained, that this very day is the fulfillment of prophecy from hundreds of years earlier authenticating the Gospel of the resurrected Christ.

Salvation is in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone. We can understand this amazing truth, yet fail to communicate the reality of transformation when we share the Gospel. We do a disservice to the Kingdom when our proclamation is weak and feeble. We say things like:

  • Jesus will come into your heart
  • God will bring you peace and purpose
  • One day you’ll be in heaven
  • Of course these things are true, but why are we so mundane about truth? Jesus doesn’t simply enter your life, He becomes King. He transforms you! He rescues you from the domain of darkness! We don’t sit idly by awaiting death so that we may experience heaven – no, the Kingdom is ours right now.

    Do you understand that the Gospel saves us in the present, not just the future? The same Holy Spirit of the Acts of the Apostles indwells a believer immediately upon saving faith. (Are we promised every manifestation listed in Acts? No, that is not promised – but most of us do not live as if He ever plans to show up.)

    Picking up your cross and following Jesus is not an easy road. But let’s not drag our feet as we approach Him, babbling about trying to be good people. This life is corrupted, but the Holy Spirit provides the power to live the life we’re meant to live. Right now, not one day far off after our mortal bodies have been buried.

    Are you living that truth today? You can be! And please, each time you share the Amazing News of salvation, remember that forgiveness of sins means we enter into intimate fellowship with the King and that He gives us His Spirit enabling us to live out a powerful life of faith. The Spirit of Jesus will bring His resurrection power into your life, and though circumstances might be overwhelmingly against us, we are more than conquerors! Oh, and yes, even when they kill us, we won’t die!

    Alive to the Spirit

    By | Envision, Involve

    Open Road
    We are cruising on the road through the Hungarian countryside – a beautiful, crisp morning of 3º C at the end of autumn, the shades of brown, auburn, tan, rust and gold foliage contrasting with the grey skies. Patches of green trees interrupt the landscape briefly, distracting us from the coming winter. My heart is alive this morning to the adventure that God has in store for us as we scout out His will for the partnership between New Life Eastern Europe and The Global Mission.

    Last night I had the privilege of representing church leaders in the U.S. in a dinner conversation with the director of Eastern Europe and Russia for Campus Crusade for Christ. The doors are wide open for developing missions partnership between churches and ministries for the sake of the Gospel. This is a phenomenal blessing and privilege for us to respond to the needs of the Kingdom.

    What if we could send missionaries and teams to meet as many needs as possible and accelerate the Gospel? Do we have the faith to believe this is possible? It’s not just a ministry question; it’s a personal question!

    Often we have such a limited imagination of how God would use our families, small groups and churches to advance the Kingdom. Would you dare to take a seven day challenge to pray each day for seven days and ask the Holy Spirit to show you one next step for your family in the Great Commission?
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    • He might ask you to change your schedule – would you be willing?
    • He might ask you to spend money – would you make it a priority?
    • He might ask you to recruit your friends – would you pursue them?
    • He might ask you to use your passport – would you pack your bag?
    [/arrow_list]Our car rolls to a stop at our meeting point in downtown Košice, Slovakia, and we bundle up to meet the chill. Each next step opens an opportunity to share the Gospel, to encourage a brother, to experience the Holy Spirit’s leading. What do you have for us next, Lord?   Let’s go![divider_top]Top[/divider_top]

    Power and Clay

    By | Envision

    Talking with a friend today, I found myself using a surfing analogy – which is somewhat amusing since I don’t surf. At all. In fact, apart from helping baptize a friend at the beach this past Sunday, I haven’t been in the ocean this year. Doesn’t change the accuracy of the illustration. You see, before entering the water, you’ve selected your equipment: you can pull on a wetsuit, grab your board, wax it. Everything about you is in your control. And you can check the weather and the surf report, but nothing about the ocean is in your power. Once you slip in and paddle out, it’s another thing entirely. Absolutely, there is skill involved in catching and riding a wave. But there is no swell, no wave, no tide, nothing to ride without the power of the ocean.

    When we serve God and minister to those in our communities, we bring our experience, our expertise, our spiritual giftedness and everything about ourselves. But we are completely powerless to actually bring transformation without the Holy Spirit. We are foolish to not recognize Him as the essential originator of all spiritual endeavors. And we are equally ignorant if we think that He will empower our ministry that is not focused on the Gospel. As Jesus said to His disciples, vase“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8.) All our work, teaching and theology are in vain if we are not dependent upon the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and led by the Spirit.

    In fact, all the actual work of my ministry is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Yes, God has blessed me with spiritual gifts, and given me discernment and wisdom, and years of experience to draw upon. But I am just an earthen vessel that His power might shine through (see 2 Corinthians 4.) When this Scripture is fleshed out, one can see how God brings Himself glory by indwelling His people with the same power He manifested in the act of creation. And the more broken the clay, the more His light shines through.

    I’ll try to remember that truth next time I’m asking God to give me strength. I am broken, and that’s the way it should be. It is His all-surpassing power that matters, not mine.

     For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

    But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body (2 Cor 4:6-11.)[divider_top]Click for top[/divider_top]