Prayer and Fasting ~ June 2021
The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things. . . . You can count on it.
John 14:12 (The Message)
I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.
Philippians 4:13 (NLT)
One of Jesus’ most amazing promises is that, if we trust him, we will have the power to do even greater things than he did. Scripture attests to the validity of Jesus’ promise. While crowds of people followed Jesus during his earthly ministry in Judea, the spirit of Jesus worked through the disciples to give birth to a body of believers that has been growing ever since as the fire of the Holy Spirit spread to the ends of the earth.
We just celebrated Pentecost – the moment the Holy Spirit transformed the followers of Jesus from a rag tag group gathered behind closed doors to bold and courageous messengers of the gospel who left to tell the world what that had seen and experienced. It’s an amazing event to celebrate, but Pentecost often comes and goes as though it was an isolated, one-time occurrence. What we tend to forget is that the Holy Spirit has been responsible for a myriad of little Pentecosts ever since.
Recently I shared about a pivotal event in my own life that occurred in 1996 when I had been in ministry only a short while. You can read about it here. It was a powerful experience of the Holy Spirit in a moment when I was very much like the disciples – not sure of what the future held, not sure what God was up to, not sure if I had the ability to do whatever it was that God was planning.
And yet, in the midst of that uncertainty, I experienced a little Pentecost. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I heard the voice of Jesus within me, saying, “Yes, Kim. You are ill-equipped; you don’t have all the ability. But none of that matters. You will do what you are able, and I will do the rest. I am your source of power and strength. It is not you who is working; it is me working through you. Trust me.”
God moments; “little Pentecosts.” From that time on, everything changes – who we are, how we live. These aren’t events that exist only in the stories of our faith. They happen every day to believers all over the world, and following the Jesus way requires that we be open to those life-changing, faith-shaping little Pentecosts.
That open outlook is significant. It’s also difficult. Because often our outlook is hemmed in by common sense, or limited by the restraints and constraints of society, or clouded by our own view of ourselves.
But we follow an awesome God! A God who can do great things, even with limited resources. This means that following Jesus isn’t about what we can imagine about ourselves. It is about what God imagines about us. When we imagine ourselves, our response to the things God sets before us is often: That’s impossible! I’m not smart enough! I’ve been divorced! I’m in recovery! I’m this. . . . I’m that. . . . I’m not this. . . . I’m not that! But God says that none of that matters. None of that matters because following Jesus isn’t about what we can do for God. Following Jesus is about what God is going to do through us.
Do you remember what Moses said when God appeared to him in the burning bush? “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh?” (Exodus 3:11, NLT) But God says – it’s not about what you can imagine about yourself Moses. It’s what I imagine about you. God says – it’s not about what you can do for me Moses; it’s what I am going to do through you.
That revelation was at the heart of Moses’ burning-bush experience, and it was at the heart of my “little Pentecost” at the conference. I was transformed when I realized that it wasn’t what I was going to do for God, but what God was going to do through me.
Luke tells about Jesus healing a man who had been possessed by legions of demons (Luke 8:26-39). Free from that bondage, the man begged to be able to leave his home, follow Jesus, and be part of the amazing things Jesus was going to do. But Jesus said no, “Go back to your family and tell them all the wonderful things God has done for you” (Luke 8:39, NLT).
God is moving in our world through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And God wants you to join in that movement. There are people who need to know about the love of Jesus and some of them will only be able to discover his love and grace through you. That is why God wants you to return home, like the man whom Jesus healed. Following Jesus is about going back to our jobs and our homes—back to our ordinary lives—and telling others about the great things God has done for us, then living in ways that show others the great things God has done for us. We may not have it all together; we may have pain or shame. But it’s not how we imagine ourselves, it’s how God imagines us.
As you pray and fast this coming month, I pray you’ll understand that it’s not what we can do for God it’s what God wants to do through us.
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