I said last week that we need to stop praying for God to send more of His fullness into our lives and begin to apply what we already have received. We really don’t need to receive more, we need to stir up what is already in us. We can pray for God to send us children’s workers, musicians, men’s leaders, youth leaders, those who will bring folks to church and those who will come and help us go to the next level. But what if we are the very people we’ve been praying for.
2 Timothy 1:6 (New KJV) Therefore I remind you to stir up (sóphronismos) the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. v7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”.
Stir up, or sóphronismos means to intensify, to rekindle, to resuscitate, to magnify, and to apply what you already havereceived. If He has made us alive who were dead, what else can He do through the God life He has placed within us.
Decaffeinated coffee may be good enough for some folks and I drink it even though I’m not crazy about it. Decaffeinated coffee won't wake you up; it won't perk you up; it won't keep you up; it won't get you up; it's just there. It looks like coffee; it smells like coffee; it tastes like coffee; it just doesn't have the “KA-POW”, or the “PICK ME UP” that coffee aught to have. It’s a coffee substitute. Decaffeinated coffee just isn't real coffee! It’s not the real deal!
There is a form of decaffeinated Christianity which has spread thru our culture and we buy into it more than we think. We go through the motions of what it means to be a Christian, but we're a little afraid to get out on the edge, and step into areas we may not be comfortable with. So we have decaffeinated our faith in practice, stayed in our comfort zones where we don’t really need God’s power to show up to make anything possible, then we wonder why there is no supernatural power in our walk with the Lord. Jesus used people who had never done what He was asking them to do before. They were common folks who had done the same old, same old day after day. But when Jesus said “Follow me”, they would never be the same old, same old ever again.
I was in the phone store to upgrade to a newer phone and as I was waiting, I saw that a number of phones were plugged in and ready to go, so that customers could check them out. I saw one phone that really caught my eye, so I picked it up to check it out and it was a dummy phone. It looked right, it had all the features, the buttons, the screen, the appearance, but it had no guts to it, no purpose. It was only good to look at but it had no power…
How many go through life, never reaching their potential, and never knowing what it is to be fully alive and fully engaged by the Holy Spirit. And so many, live continually at that level, because they have not stirred up the gift that is in them.
We need to seriously ask ourselves...What is it in our lives that doesn’t fulfill our greater purpose? There is a butterfly in every caterpillar. But the caterpillar can never transform unless it surrenders in obedience. We never transform as long as there are still things that are not part of ourgreater purpose. So, just like the caterpillar, we must lay aside everything that doesn’t transform into our purpose...
This is Pentecost Sunday, the Sunday which we commemorate the event which turned a room full of caterpillars into butterflies. 120 believers went into an upper room as fearful, intimidated, and vacillating caterpillar people, and they came out as bold witnesses, kingdom warriors, and world changers, filled with the Holy Spirit!
The issue is never how much of the Holy Spirit we have, but the real issue is how much of us, the Holy Spirit has....
Notice what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do when He came.....
John16: 13 “But when He, the Holy Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth, (you will be a truth lover) for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak, (you have a hot line to heaven) and He will show you what is to come. (You have access to things concerning you in the future).14 He will glorify Me, (if you have the Holy Spirit, you won’t blaspheme the name of Jesus or God, or take His name in vain) for He will take from Mine and will demonstrate it to you. (Holy Spirit is always ready and willing to manifest God’s power in us) 15 All things that the Father has are Mine, this is why I said that He takes from Mine and will show it to you (Holy Spirit gives us access to things beyond our own ability, knowledge and capacity).
IS THAT AWESOME OR WHAT!
God created us all to be dreamers and visionaries. God’s spirit is the spirit of revelation which leads, directs and brings us to the appointments and connections which He has set for us. God knows that once you see it, you will be motivated to go after it. So He allows you by His Spirit to see the unseen, and hear the inaudible, so that you can believe the impossible!
God has a dream, custom made for you. That dream comes to bring you to your destiny and provide a stairway so that you can access your new reality
Down deep inside, if we will take the time to process it, we all know that we are part of something far greater, bigger and more encompassing than ourselves and the niche we find ourselves in at this juncture of our journey…
Many folks say, well, I’ll just live it in front of them and they’ll see my life and they’ll turn to Christ…..How’s that working so far for you? The lost are still lost…jails are full and church seats are empty… What Jesus is telling us is that we must be intentional about allowing the Holy Spirit within us, to bring conviction and truth through us to them. God uses words. The bible is a book of divinely inspired words. Over and over we are told to speak, to declare, to decree... When we are told to be witnesses, it is speaking of demonstrating God’s power, and authority, so they can observe and experience and have a personal God encounter. And as we do, Holy Spirit does the rest. He works and operates on the heart and the mind and uses dreams and memories, and circumstances and events, and words to bring about conversion....
Some boys were in front of the school skate boarding, when we were setting up for church. Winnie was talking to them, and they asked if she was a teacher. She told them that we were setting up to have church on Sunday and asked them if they would like to come. They’re answer confirmed what I’m saying here…. They said they had never ever been to a church! (Wow, that really hit me hard)
Statistics have shown over and over that around 80% of the population doesn’t go to church at all! A big percentage of the population will say they are Christians but don’t practice a Christian life style. If you apply those percentages here, it means that millions of folks do not go to church, and have never come to Christ to receive salvation unless we become the church to them, to get them to church.
So a good place for all of us to start, is get them into church, where the spirit of truth can touch their hearts and lives because they won’t get it in the world.
A shoe company decided to expand their market into a large population in an area of Africa. They sent a salesman to test the potential market. The man was there two weeks when he wrote the home office and said, “I’m coming home immediately this is a totally lost cause. No one in the entire area wears shoes! I will not waste my time another day!” The company dispatched another salesman who was more experienced to get a second opinion… When the second salesman got there, he discovered the same thing the first salesman had discovered. In only two days, they received an urgent letter and expecting the bad news they had received before, they opened it quickly and read this….“Please send me every shoe *.......you can possibly ship, immediately! This place is a gold mine, and there are opportunities everywhere I go! No one here wears shoes!”
Do we look around and see opportunities everywhere, for the Holy Spirit to work in people’s lives, or are we like the first salesman, who was blind to those same opportunities...
Holy Spirit is here, He has come, to do all the Lord, said He would do.... see the opportunities everywhere. You don’t have to look far to know that everyone needs what you have to give!
2 Corinthians 6:2 “For He says, I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I brought help and relief to you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation”.
I believe the Holy Spirit is saying to us now, “Today is the day of a greater move of the Spirit, it’s a day of signs and wonders, and demonstrations of God’s power.”
If we can hear that, and we believe He’s the same right now today as He was in the book of acts, then things will never be the same again....
Oh....I believe the Spirit of God is calling us to step over into the book of Acts again. He wants to glorify Jesus, and give a demonstration and a manifestation of God’s power!
A man named Jonathan was depressed and had been doing drugs every day for 6 months. He heard that his favorite aunt had cancer and she asked him to be praying for him. Well Jonathan hadn’t prayed in a long time, but he prayed anyway, and when he did God spoke to him and told him to go to church on Sunday. He never went to church. But his life was in such a mess that he decided to go anyway. On his way, God spoke to him and said…”Jonathan my love is all around you.” He felt what seemed like electricity go all through him. At the church, the pastor asked for people to come for prayer at the end of his sermon, and he went down. A man came and prayed for him and he was going to leave, when God spoke again and said “don’t be afraid… I’m cleansing you of your past… I’m taking away all of those things that have keep you in defeat.” He began to weep uncontrollably, as that same electricity began to flow through his body. And again the Lord spoke to him and said “Joshua, now you know I am real…you’ve heard about me since you were a kid…I am Jesus…I am the living God”… Jonathan says that his life has never been the same since. All he needed was to give God a chance…. What If We Are The People We’ve Been Praying For God To Raise Up?!!
I believe there are some here, that He wants to speak through prophetically, and some as evangelists, that He wants to use to bring in the end time harvest, and others that He will use to teach, disciple and to train, and others to administrate...oh yes!
Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us?” And I said: “Here am I, Send me!”
God is speaking who is listening?… He is declaring His ability, His intentions, His strength in our weakness, and His total knowledge of who we are and how we can be used of Him…. All we have to do is listen and obey, and be available to Him. His job is to go before us and prepare the way, and create the conditions for His plan to succeed.
Who could have known….that A small North Carolina farming community, which was committed to praying for the Holy Spirit to raise up a voice that would move the nation back to God, would discover that in their little country church was a young boy who would be the answer to that prayer, named Billy Graham… The bible tells us that Esther was just a teenage girl who used her beauty for God, to win the heart of the king of Persia, and save a whole nation of people. What a question God asked her…. “What if you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this”
Scripture tells us that Ruth was an outsider, from a despised race of people, but God gave her a connection through her mother in law Naomi, who introduced her to Boaz, that would bring generational blessings to the entire world. She was the grandmother of Joseph, the chosen father of Jesus, who was included in the linage of Christ!
Oh, the Holy Spirit does such a wonderous work, when we stir up the gift that is in us and He finds an instrument to flow through!
It never ceases to amaze me how an ordinary day can turn into an extraordinary, supernatural one in just a matter of seconds.
I’ve read this before but it bears repeating.....
A basketball in my hands is worth about $25.00.
A basketball in Stephen Curry’s hands who plays guard for the Golden State Warriors is worth a $215.3 million dollar contract. It depends whose hands it's in.
A baseball in my hands is worth about $15.00.
A baseball in Mike Trout’s hands, with the Angels is worth a contract of $36 million a year for the next 8 years. It depends on whose hands it's in.
A tennis racket in my hands might get me hurt...
A tennis racket in Venus Williams' hands is a Wimbledon Championship, and 42 million. It depends whose hands it's in.
A Hockey stick in my hands will make a good toy.
A Hocky stick in Nathan MacKinnon’s hands is worth a 100.8 milliondollar contract, It depends whose hands it's in.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches. Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in Jesus' hands will feed 20 thousand people. It depends whose hands it's in.
Nails in my hands might produce a makeshift birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus’ hands will produce salvation for the entire world. It depends whose hands it's in.
We’re just the instrument, He’s in charge of the power....But amazingly, He put His power in our hands.
When Jesus ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to operate in the earth as the administrator of this season until He returns.
We are to pray to the Holy Spirit, in Jesus name, to convict of sin, to raise up righteousness, to convince of Christ, He is in charge of the Harvest, until grace runs out and is no longer extended in the earth at the end of the millennium.
Tony Campolo, tells the story of a pastor who was trying to motivate a man in his church to become involved in ministry. Finally, the man relented and agreed to be the driver for a group of ladies who wanted to lead a monthly worship service for the residents of a local retirement community. As the ladies led the service, one day an elderly man in a wheelchair rolled up beside him and took his hand. He held it all throughout the worship. This continued month after month, until one Sunday afternoon, the elderly man didn’t show up at the service. The man asked one of the nurses, “What happened to the elderly man who was always in service?
“Oh,” she said, “we don’t expect him to live through the night”. He’s just down the hall. Maybe you should go in and visit him. So the man walked down to the room and entered. The elderly man took his hand and held it.As he was led by God’s Spirit, he prayed for him. And when he said, “Amen,” the elderly man gently squeezed his hand. As he was leaving, he bumped into a woman coming in. She said, “He’s been waiting for you. He said he didn’t want to die until Jesus came and held his hand. I tried to tell him he would see Jesus once he went to heaven, but he said, ‘No. Once a month, Jesus comes and holds my hand, and I don’t want to leave this world without holding his hand once more.” Our greatest challenge is to be Jesus to someone today….That’s what the Holy Spirit allows us to do...
Since it’s Pentecost Sunday, let me share with you what a Spirit filled church was then and is now...
First, A Spirit-filled church is a biblical church, committed to the Word of God. The early church met daily house to house, studying the word with prayer and fellowship. The early Christians devoured the word of God.
Second, It is a caring compassionate church. The bible says they had all things in common. That tells me that they shared what they had, and they lived in harmony and peace with one another. This is not socialism, this is Christian love. Jesus was at the center of everything they did.
Third, it is a worshiping church. They were not in a hurry when it came to worship. There was joy, and celebration. We’re told that in one service, it went so long, one guy fell asleep and plummeted out a window and they went down, raised him from the dead, and went on with the worship service.
And fourth, it is an evangelizing church. Everyone went out praying for the sick, caring for their neighbors, doing the works of Christ, and adding to the church such as were being saved. I’m sure, that as folks were being healed and set free, it was natural for them to want to come to church and be a part. They weren’t getting healed and delivered in church, no it was in their own homes and neighborhoods. So they came to church to be taught the word of God....to learn more and apply more of what they learned in their daily lives.
Pentecost was a contagious epidemic that spread throughout the area and eventually became a shock wave which became a global force.
(review the list of what a Spirit filled church is...)
Let’s come together here in front as we close in prayer....
“Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. I desire to be more sensitive to you so I can follow you more closely. Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me, empower me to be and to do all you desire for me to be and to do! May Your inner working bring greater boldness in me. *........Help me to produce more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.Guide My steps, my thoughts, and my attitudes as I partner with you in faith, in obedience, and in submission. Thank You that you sparked the flame of faith in me and You keep it going by Your power. Continually pour out Your Spirit on me so that I may effectively testify of You to those who need your transforming presence in their lives. Release Your wisdom, discernment, and truth, in greater measures throughout my life, In Jesus name and for His glory.