Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Living as Kingdom Ambassadors, Part 3: The Toolbox!

After Jesus ascended to Heaven, the disciples stayed in a room and prayed. They knew they were waiting for the promise from God, but they had no idea what it would look like. However, when the promise came, there was no doubt that this is what they were waiting to receive so they took immediate action.

What happened? It started with a sound from heaven like the roaring of the fiercest wind storm imaginable. It was followed by flames of fire setting on their heads. These flames were followed by the ability to speak in languages that they had never learned.

What did Jesus’ disciples do? They ran into the Temple Courts and began to speak! Suddenly it was obvious to everyone around them that Jesus’ disciples had changed. They went from being fearful followers to bold and courageous witnesses for Jesus.

The change came from the power they received as their promise. This birth, called Pentecost, is the dividing line between the Old Testament and the New Testament. That day in the Temple Courts, the New Testament Church was born because now Jesus’ followers were filled with Holy Spirit; the power to follow Jesus in his call to “go and make disciples and to do the things that he himself had done.”

So, practically, what does this power look like? I remember the first time I learned about Pentecost thinking, “I’ve never seen that power present.” However, I am learning to not only recognize it but to walk in it on a daily basis. It all comes down to understanding what we have and a willingness to use it by faith.

God has given us a toolbox which empowers us to live as we are called.

Scripture tells us at least three times that Holy Spirit is sealed within us as a deposit guaranteeing our future life in heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2nd Cor 1:22, 5:5). Because Holy Spirit is sealed within us, the power is always available to us. We just need to learn how to access it.

The first way to access Holy Spirit power is through Scripture. Because each word of Scripture is God’s holy Word, when we declare it in prayer, it activates heavenly movement that accomplishes the Word that is spoken. When we speak God’s Word out of our authority with him, literal mountains can move in response to our prayers (Mark 11:22-24).

The second pathway to Holy Spirit power is Jesus’ poured out blood on the cross. Hebrews 9:14 tells us “Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death so that we can worship the Living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for sins.”

The next pathway to Holy Spirit power is the dove: Holy Spirit himself! No longer does the Holy Spirit only rest on people, so that we don’t have to pray: “Lord, don’t take your Holy Spirit from me,” (Ps 51:11) like King David did.Holy Spirit is sealed within us for eternity, there is nothing that we can do to make him go.

This is not to say that Holy Spirit can’t become dim within a person. It is when we seek to follow Jesus in his call to live life like him that our spirits become very bright: 2nd Cor 3:18 speaks to us: “we are mirrors that brightly reflect the Glory of the Lord.”

Finally, the last pathway to Holy Spirit power is the funnel itself. This funnel is the Kingdom of God being released from heaven to earth. This is our role as Jesus’ followers to look for those opportunities to call what is in heaven to earth so that God’s original purposes for humanity are fulfilled before we go to heaven.

We remember our discussion last week about the funnel? How clear is your funnel? This weekend at the Healing Prayer Training, the participants took time to understand certain areas that clogged their funnel, stuffed it and then brought it to the bowl for clearing. It was powerful watching the papers being stuffed in the funnels, and even more powerful watching the process of removal.

Many of the funnels had papers get stuck within them. It was a struggle to get them out. That is representative of our lives. Some of the papers come out easily once we identify them and others take more persistence and attention to release them.

But, this is our promise! We have everything we need to follow Jesus in his lifestyle, along with fulfilling his word to us that “we will do the things he has done, and even greater things because he has returned to heaven and given us the Holy Spirit who is with us at all times in all places.”

Take time today to identify your “funnel clogs.” Stuff them into a funnel or a toilet paper holder and try to pour the salt through. The salt represents Holy Spirit and will not go through fully if the clogs are present. After a time of confession, remove the clogs and watch the salt pour through with great power and urgency: just like Holy Spirit does in our lives when our funnel is clear.

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