Where is the Power?

Acts 9:33-35 Peter found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralysed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

The Apostle Peter was on the move, preaching the gospel and ministering healing and freedom in Jesus name, wherever he went. In the town of Lydda, Peter encounters a paralysed man, bedridden for eight years. The reality of the situation is intimidating for anyone of us but Peter doesn’t appear to miss a beat. He pray’s a simple but powerful prayer of faith in Jesus name and commands the man to get up. The bible records the man immediately rose up from his paralysed state and started to walk. I’m challenged by Peter’s faith and simple prayer. I’m confronted with the fact that although, I too have seen miracles in other’s lives through the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name, and yet I hunger for more of God’s love, grace and power to flow through me into the lives of other’s, helping them to be restored into a place of freedom, healing and purpose. Where is the power of God? God’s power is found in a revelation of the name of Jesus Christ. God’s power is found in the expectation of faith that believes God will move in any given situation, no matter how intimidating the circumstances. God’s power is found in the daily pursuit of relationship with Jesus where a greater portion and awareness of his presence grows with each prayer and step of faith. I encourage you to not settle for the comfort zone of your life but to seek God and step out in faith, releasing God’s power into the lives of the people around you. Explosive Insights!

Catalyst for the Supernatural!

Acts 13:12 “Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”In Acts 13, Barnabas and Saul are on Cyprus ministering but Elymas the magician, demonically inspired, is opposing their ministry and leading the proconsul away from hearing the gospel. Paul, filled with righteous indignation curses Elymas with blindness for a season and immediately darkness falls upon him. The proconsul witnessed first hand the miraculous power of the spirit and the demonstration of authority through the apostle Paul. Not only was he astonished in his teaching but he believed that Jesus was the Christ. No one wants resistance in life but opposition is often the catalyst for supernatural intervention. Many of us pray for miracles but miracles are needed because of the contradictions and paradoxes we encounter in life. Growth in the supernatural is often birthed out of an encounter with opposition that drives us closer to God in faith and prayer. See resistance from Gods perspective and watch God move mightily on your behalf as you boldly step out in faith. Explosive Insights!

Buried Blessing!

new-life“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7)

Everything in God’s creation, He created by the words of his mouth with the only exception being us. He created us by reaching down into the dirt of the earth and forming us in his image. Thus, every one of us have God’s fingerprints all over us. Dirt doesn’t seem very appealing but when you plant a seed in it, that seed will eventually produce life. God has planted seeds of blessing in every one of us. You may not be able to see the blessings God has planted on the inside of you but the seed within you has potential within it to produce life. It’s just buried at the moment. You need to water it, nurture it and have the courage to let God bring the seed forth out of the dirt of your life.

Focus on the Process, not the Outcome!

new-lifeI planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1 Cor 3:6)

God hasn’t made you responsible for the outcome. That’s his responsibility. But He has made you responsible for the process. Often we work harder at trying to control the outcome rather than just putting the right ingredients into the process. Paul was the initiator of the process by planting and Apollos continued the process by watering what God had initiated through Paul. Planting and watering in all it’s forms made up the process but God was the agent who gave the growth. When you stop trying to control the outcome, you are freed up to give your best to the process and maintain peace along the way. Having to control the outcome is stressful and not in our job description. God says, “Trust me with the outcome by not leaning on your own understanding and focus on the process of what I’ve asked you to do and watch what I do with the outcome.”

Come out of the closet!

There will be no surprise confessions today but simply a call to come out of the closet with the gifts that God has given to you. Stop hiding them away and use them.

The manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)

Your gifts and talents are not given to you for private admiration but public demonstration. The Greek word for manifestation is (phanerosis) and it means revelation or manifestation. When we use our gifts publicly to serve others, we are revealing or manifesting the presence and power of God to the world around us.

Spiritual gifts aren’t God giving something external to himself, like you would give a present to someone at Christmas time. Spiritual gifts are God himself manifesting an aspect of his presence through your life. God manifests himself through us in a variety of ways and we are to celebrate the unique way God has wired us up.

Unfortunately, the western church has privatized God. We have made faith in God a private matter. Rubbish… The gospel is meant to be heard and God’s power is meant to be witnessed to (Acts 1:8). Stop being a secret agent for God and start being the city on a hill God has called you to be. The church is the Spirit’s public. You are the mouth, hands and feet of the Holy Spirit sent to the world.

Grace!

Power of the Spirit!

Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

When I was 6 years old I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that changed my life. Since then I’ve had several supernatural encounters that have been eye-opening and life transforming, both for me and for others. One thing I’ve observed in our culture is the deep spiritual hunger people have. This is seen particularly in the rise of movies and TV shows centered on supernatural themes. I read a survey recently that said more people believe in aliens and ghosts than God. This is an unfortunate reality check for the church because as a believer I think we are called to manifest God’s power in a tangible way in our daily lives, and clearly there is a misrepresentation of God taking place.

One of the most important things to understand about the Holy Spirit is that the core manifestation of his presence is POWER. Jesus could have said, ‘You shall receive PEACE when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.’ Peace is a fruit of the Spirit and the Spirit works this character quality into our lives but Jesus didn’t emphasize the role of peace when he talked about what we would receive when he came upon us. Jesus could have said, ‘You shall receive TRUTH when…’ But he didn’t, he said, ‘You shall receive POWER’. You get the idea!

YOU can receive the power of God. God’s power isn’t just for so called ‘Holy’ people or ‘Preachers’ only. If you are a believer in Jesus, you have received an anointing that abides in you (1 John 2:27). God’s power is supernatural strength, ability and capacity to affect something or someone for the glory of God. God’s power manifests as boldness to proclaim the Gospel. It also manifests as spiritual gifts to meet needs in people’s lives and in the church.

The power of the Spirit is given for a PURPOSE. God never does anything without purpose. He is incredibly intentional, especially when it comes to giving us his power. To be honest, I think most believers have all the power they need. What they lack is purpose. Make sure you are directing the power of God towards the purpose for which it was given in the first place. To be a witness of Jesus Christ in the earth. You can only witness to what you’ve personally experienced. Do you have a vital and growing personal relationship with Christ or are you distant and aloof to the things of God. Maybe there is a lack of witnessing because there is a lack of personal first hand revelation to actually knowing God.

PRAYER gives birth to God’s power. Devotion to prayer always precedes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is 2 way communication with God and God’s power was never meant to be used separate to a personal relationship with God. Power is a byproduct of intimacy with God. In particular, speaking in TONGUES releases God’s power in a our lives very effectively. Tongues has been under assault from both within and outside the church over the years but the bible clearly states that, ‘The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself’ (1 Cor 14:4). The Apostle Paul went even so far as to say, ‘I wish that you all would speak in tongues’ (1 Cor 14:5). Regularly speaking in tongues releases revelation knowledge into our Spirit and empowers our witness to the world. I’ve personally experienced an impartation of supernatural knowledge about people, churches and events that came directly out of time spent praying in the Spirit.

God’s power is available for you because His Spirit dwells on the inside of you, if you belong to Christ. Author and Evangelist Dave Roberson once said, “The very measure of God’s power in a believers life is dependent on how much of his life is ordered by the Holy Ghost.”

Insight!

Doing Church with guests in mind!

Acts 10:23 “So he invited them in to be his guests.”

Acts 10 is an important chapter in the history of the early church because it transitions the church from focusing on itself and it’s own cultural heritage to focusing on the Gentiles and God’s heart for all people, not just the Jews. Peter’s vision of the great sheet descending with all kinds of animals to eat was a powerful metaphor for ministry to the Gentiles. Peter’s encounter with the men from Joppa, with Cornelius and the outpouring of the Spirit accompanying the proclamation of the Gospel gives us insights today into doing church with guests in mind.

What direction is your vision heading in? Too often our vision is focused inward, rather than outward. Peter’s vision from God was about others, the Gentiles. Authentic visions from heaven will be more about others, than they will be about us. Check the compass of your vision. If your vision is more about you then it is about others, you may have the wrong vision.

God will send guests your way if your vision is in alignment with his plan – Immediately after Peter’s vision, the Holy Spirit sends three Gentiles to Peter to ask him to come and share God’s Word with them and their master, Cornelius. Why should God send guests to a church where no-one in the church has them in mind? They’ll only get disappointed and potentially hurt. When our vision is in alignment with his plan for the salvation of lost people, guests will be sent our way.

Presume that God is already at work in guests lives – Peter was told that Cornelius had a supernatural encounter with an angel. Often we think that God’s not at work until we meet them cause apparently we are God’s answer to the world’s problems but the truth is, people are more ready than we realize. Trust that God has already been at work in their lives and gone before you to prepare the way for your ministry to them.

Invite outsiders in to be your guests – Peter invited the three men to be his guests. Build an invitational culture into your life and ministry. Make it easy for guests to connect with your life group and church. Don’t make guests jump through 10 steps to access the gospel, take them straight to it and bring them into your world.

One guest is a doorway to a whole new network of people – When Peter met Cornelius, his influence expanded to everyone that Cornelius knew. One of my team said to me once, “I don’t know where the people are going to come from.” I said, “That’s easy, through the relational networks of the next guest that walks into our church.” Everyone of us has a network of people that we are connected to that also has a network of people that they are connected to. One person is a doorway to many other people. As God works on one person, he also creates space for you to minister to the other people in that persons life.

Keep the focus on the message of the Gospel – Peter didn’t teach some weird doctrine to his new friends. He kept the message simple and straight = Jesus Christ and him crucified. He kept true to the Gospel and to what he had personally witnessed to. The Gospel works but we need to stay centered on it.

Don’t shy away from the supernatural – As Peter was speaking to them, the Holy Spirit pours out powerfully on them and they start to speak in tongues. Now right here is where many seeker-friendly churches draw the line because it’s presumed that this is not what people are looking for but it’s what God does when he is given room to move in people’s lives. As people hunger for God, He shows up and performs the miraculous. Never make excuses for moving in the power of the Spirit. Let God be God and get out of the way.

Lastly, be prepared for criticism from religious people – When Peter returned to Jerusalem with news of what God had been doing amongst the Gentiles (11:2-3) he was severely criticized for hanging out with the uncircumcised party let alone ministering to them. Satan hates people getting free and he will even incite religious people to look down their nose at you to try to stop you from doing church with guests in mind. Love these people and be gracious with them but keep doing church with guests in mind and God will continue to bless your ministry.

Insight!