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June 1, 2012 / windlessly

VERSE- Empowered by the Holy Spirit

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Acts 1:8
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

You learn so much from other people, whether it be your peers, family, friends, or just people in your community. I was invited to a gathering yesterday by my Young Life leader and met a bunch of high school graduates and college-aged students, as well as some very wise adults who shared with us their insights into the Bible and some of God’s word. The funny thing with the Bible is that it’s so dense- each verse carries so much meaning behind it that someone like me misses 98% of the message when I read it alone. But when I gather with a group of people and talk about it, I am so encouraged and refreshed by the message behind it.

Acts 1:8, for example. Jesus has just risen from the dead and is walking with the disciples again, who look to him in verse 6, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” But the verse that strikes me the most is what Jesus responds with: nothing along the lines of “yes I’m so completely powerful that I have control over death and now I’m going to destroy your enemies,” but more of “don’t worry about it- God has things under control. Meanwhile, you will gain power to change the world.” Specifically, Jesus mentions that we will receive power from the Holy Spirit, and as I learned, four distinct gifts outlined in Acts chapters 1-3.

Forgiveness– The disciples are granted the power of forgiveness, which is important because we are all human and make mistakes. Alone we feel forgiveness as an obligation and obstruction and something unnatural; only through the Holy Spirit does it become a gift and a blessing.
Tongues– In the second chapter of Acts, the people in Jerusalem all hear each other in their own language. Communication is key to God’s desire for us to spread his word, but not only along language borders, but social and cultural divisions as well. The power of tongues can be figuratively implied to being able to communicate and share God’s word with others, just being able to relate to them and help them understand.
Fellowship– Being with others is how I learn so much more about God and the Bible and his irreplaceable unstoppable love. God made us to be social creatures, to encourage each other, to learn from each other, to worship together… in Acts it says through fellowship the people “praised God and enjoyed the favor of all people.”
Healing– Being able to help others, to serve them in need, but especially in the sense that we can direct others to God, the living water. “Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'” We might not be able to heal people’s physical ailments or give them wealth or materialistic possessions, but we can give them so much more- the salvation message of Jesus Christ.

So basically my realization was this- sometimes we wait around for God to exert his mighty power and we expect him to change the world. But oftentimes it is just the opposite- God created us to do work through Him. The Holy Spirit bestows these gifts on you so you can go out, encourage others, be in fellowship with them, heal others, set an example, communicate and spend time with them. With the summer right ahead, I’m going to try to keep these goals and gifts in mind. Jesus doesn’t tell the disciples what He’s going to do, he tells the disciples that they will receive power from the Holy Spirit and start the church themselves, “in all Judea and Samaria, and tot he ends of the earth.”

With summer coming up and senior year finishing, I’ve been feeling a lot like I don’t know what to do with my time. Hang out and have a blast with my friends, sure, but is there something meaningful that I can accomplish this summer? Sometimes I even feel insignificant or helpless, but that changes when I remember that God can act through me, by empowering me with the Holy Spirit.

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