Tag

power

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!

    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]

    The Centurion

    By | Envision
    Roman Soldier

    Tomas Arana as the conflicted Roman leader Quintus in the movie Gladiator

    Here’s what I love about the centurion – he’s a man of honor, faith, and respect.  He is well-trained, and ready to implement his training.  When he comes into a conflict, he is ready for battle and chooses the proper weapon for the fight.  Never identified in the Bible by more than his rank, this soldier comes to Jesus with a God-sized problem – one of his servants is paralyzed and in great pain.  (In today’s society, the servant would be an excellent candidate for euthanasia, particularly in the Netherlands.)   He doesn’t seek a doctor, because a doctor can’t heal paralysis.  God can, so the centurion goes to Jesus.

    Click for how the centurion teaches me to live