QuicksandJune 28, 2017
Narrowing Gates, Expanding Life: How We Enter into Greener PasturesJuly 13, 2017
Jesus’ promise of power powered the apostles throughout Acts and the 1st century and throughout the next 2,000 years into the 21st century. Wherever you are in your life following Christ, if you tap into this power, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Okay, so it’s Sunday afternoon in early June, and I have just locked my keys in the trunk of my car… at Tablerock State Park… in the middle of nowhere. I have no cellphone service, but that doesn’t matter because my phone is in the trunk.
A review of my options is despairing: hitch a ride… to somewhere but where? I live an hour away. I can walk. (Not really.) I can call a car locksmith service. Yes! But this will cost a gazillion dollars because it’s Sunday, and I’m in the middle of nowhere. And even if they are open, it will take forever. And I have no phone.
But there, off in the distance, shimmering with golden light as an oasis in the desert, is the park office! Off I go but with little hope and low expectations for any help… and high expectations of disappointment. I felt… powerless on this Sunday afternoon in the middle of nowhere.
“Yes, Sir, we have two garages we can call,” said the young ranger, “but it’s Sunday, so who knows?” He calls and, yes, of course, they are closed; it’s Sunday. No answer.
Frustration, despair, and irritation all descend at once. I feel totally helpless. I cannot fix this. I have no power at all, stuck here at Tablerock State Park.
Then, the young man perks up and says, “Do you have AAA?” Why, yes, I do. I never even thought of this asset. One hour later, the car is open, and it cost me nothing.
The power of AAA!
I had completely neglected this power that was ready at my disposal.
In a conversation with a friend recently, she related a stressful story about her ex-husband. It was about one of his scheduled summer vacation weeks with the children. An opportunity to take the kids on a fantastic family trip with her parents (paid for by her parents) had come up, and she asked him to please rework the schedule. He had no definite plans with the kids, but nevertheless, he said no.
She told me she considered her options: get the youngest child to guilt him into agreeing, try to guilt him herself, explain logically to him how illogical his lack of cooperation was (now, that really works well with ex’s), or maybe even enlist her lawyer.
She felt hopeless and powerless.
Interestingly, she told me that both she and her ex had found the Lord since the divorce, and both were genuinely growing closer to the Lord but not to each other as of yet.
Old habits die hard.
After deliberating for days with angst and aggravation over her lackluster options, she heard this voice from God in her head saying, “Let me handle this. I can, you know. He’s my child now, just as you are my child.”
Suddenly, the angst and stress disappeared.
She told me,
I heard God clear as a bell, and the light came on. I could see that anything I tried to do in my power… in my typical ways… would just aggravate the situation. But I realized the same Holy Spirit in me is in my ex, and if He wants to change his mind, He certainly has the power to do so. I don’t; He does. So, I relaxed and left it in His hands, and I was totally secure in the conviction that, if the Holy Spirit chose to change my ex’s mind, He could. And if he chose not to, I was 100 percent sure it would be for the best anyway.
A week later, her ex called and acquiesced, saying he had rethought the situation.
She, like me, had totally missed the power available to her and was instead coping with her issues in her own power and old ways. Thus, she had been living the C-minus life.
A journey through the book of Acts (please read Acts again) paints a vivid picture of the apostles—previously weak, bewildered, reticent, and reclusive without their leader, Jesus—now infused with the Holy Spirit’s power, boldly and confidently stepping out into the culture around them and meeting their challenges head on.
But the difference was not their new self-confidence; it was their confidence and comfort with this new leadership by the Holy Spirit who was leading them from within.
The great omission in the Body of Christ is this Holy Spirit missing link. How did we miss him so badly? Jesus made it crystal clear that the Holy Spirit is the link between himself, his power, and the power available to born-again believers.
Miss this link, and we miss it all.
The last night Jesus was sitting with his friends, he told them,
“I know you’re bummed about me leaving you. And I know you feel powerless about the events descending upon you. But my dear friends, this Holy Spirit is coming, and all I can say is, ‘Wow, take heart, because if you think I was something, you ain’t seen nothing yet!”