FAQs for Power Season
Do I have to be a spiritual powerhouse in order to be walking evidence of God's power for good? What if feel weak and I fall short a lot?
You don't have to be a powerhouse but you do have to be a work in progress. Don't beat yourself up about your weakness but don't accept it either. God wants you freed and empowered, and it is the Spirit's work to get you more that way every day and more connected to others in Jesus's campaign team.
There is a very widespread idea that feeling weak and falling short are pretty normal, and they are really nothing to worry about as long as we are believing the right things about God's mercy and Jesus's sacrifice for us. That idea claims to be realistic and humble. After all, we are only human, right?
But when we think like that we are overlooking the fact that Jesus sent his Spirit to make us more than human. We are humans with the Spirit of Jesus living in us. We are not weaklings, just treading water spiritually, going nowhere. If we are still just as weak as people who do not have his Spirit in them or as weak as we were a month or a year ago, we are saying that the Spirit makes no difference in our lives. The Spirit adds no power! Do we really want to say that?
Of course, we won't go to the other extreme and say the Spirit has already made us perfect. The Spirit's work on us is not magical and instant. We are works in progress. But there is visible progress because God has some plans for us as empowered members of the Messiah's campaign team.
We will tire him out if we keep talking about how weak we are and how kind he is to put up with our ongoing, unchanging weakness. And we will anger him if we use our weakness as an excuse to ignore the assignments Jesus gives us for the campaign. Do we really want to see how fed up he can get?
He gave his life for the campaign to connect, heal, and bless. He gave us the Spirit so we would have all the power we need for each assignment as he gives it to us, and we say we don't have what it takes!
If you are not already watching the Spirit replace your inner weaknesses with inner strengths, get serious about seeing yourself in Christ. Spend some time around people who know this power. Spend some time in the parts of Scripture that explain it, especially the book of Acts. Listen to what the Spirit tells you as you read and as you connect with others who have the Spirit. And never insult the Spirit by treating spiritual weakness as normal and acceptable. God has much better things in mind for you.
Isn't it pretentious to think you are "walking evidence of God's power"? If people see themselves that way, won't they look down on everybody else?
People may get a big head about this, but if they do, it shows they don't realize what is going on. They either think the power is their own or that God gave them the power because they were better than other people to start with. But if they do understand the power of the Spirit of Jesus, they know they have no more bragging rights than the kindergartner who "won" a marathon riding on his father's back.
They also know that the power is supposed to be used to attract people to the ultimate power-holder, Jesus the Messiah. When people see us as empowered people, they are supposed to realize that the power is available to them too if they open up to his Spirit. They won't realize it if we look down on them because they don't have the power yet. We will drive them away. We will be going directly against the intentions of the King.
How do I know if Jesus has already put his Spirit into me?
One way to tell is is to ask yourself what you think power is. If you can name something that used to dominate your life but it doesn't any more because of your connection with Jesus, you are in. If you think freedom means being free to do whatever you choose or having no master, no debts, and no unwanted responsibilities, you are not in yet.
Another way to tell is to ask what you are doing to spread the news of freedom and call others to enjoy it like you do. The experience of freedom in Christ pushes you toward living as a freedom activist. If the "activist" part scares you, you aren't into Christ's freedom yet, or not very far in.
If you still aren't sure, here is a third way to tell, though it is a little more work. Read the story, "The Mother of All Power Struggles" (see under "Story of the World" tab) and ask whether you see yourself as part of that story. The "Reflections" at the end of the story include five ways to tell whether you are in or not.
If I wanted to become walking evidence of God's power for good, how would I do it?
One way to get started is to respond to the story mentioned above by saying, "I'm in," the same way you might say, "I'm in" when someone asked you whether you wanted to go along on a trip or take part in a business deal. Obviously you have to understand the trip or the business deal. Otherwise it doesn't mean anything to say, "I'm in," and you will probably opt out pretty quickly.
In this case, your "I'm in," means, "Yes, King Jesus, please put your Spirit into me to empower me for my part in your campaign to connect, heal, and bless the world. I love the idea of being on your campaign team. I want to share in its purpose of making heaven's power available for good on earth. Thank you for sending your Spirit to make me part of the team. Please empower me so I can be evidence that you are alive and at work."
You become a different person because you belong to Jesus's empowerment campaign. Do you remember wanting to make a difference in the world but always falling short of what you had in mind? It was the old you who wanted to make a difference in the world. The new you wants to participate in Jesus's campaign to make a difference in the world, which is a different way of going at the same goal.
In this new approach, Jesus gives you personal assignments in his campaign. If you listen for those and stick with them, you don't fall short. He may not give you the power to do all the good you can wish or imagine but he will give you the power to do everything he assigns you. 100% guaranteed.
If Jesus’s campaign team members have all this wonderful power, why don’t they routinely use it? Why can’t they heal all the sick and bless all the poor right now?
Using the power of Jesus’s Spirit is neither magic nor science. If it were, there would be a way to learn the secret formula or incantation, bottle the power, and predict the effect. The Holy Spirit is our connection to a person (Jesus, the campaign leader) not to an impersonal force or energy. As members of the campaign team, we do not control the campaign leader the way a scientist, technician, or sorcerer controls a force. We respectfully make requests.
We try to ask for what we think is the good of the campaign, things that fit with what we know about the King’s character and his campaign goals--connect, heal, and bless. Some of these, like combatting world hunger, poverty, abuse, and depression are no-brainers. Of course the leader wants those to end.
Why doesn’t the leader answer all those prayers then? We don’t know. What we know for sure is this—if we quit trusting God when he does not give us a complete explanation for something, we repeat the original, most basic mistake of the human race. Adam and Eve did not have a complete explanation for God’s warning about the poisonous tree, so they quit trusting him, used their own judgment, ate its fruit, and we all lived miserably ever after.
There was no hunger in the Garden of Eden, nor any of the other problems mentioned above. They will not bother us in the coming kingdom of Jesus, when he visibly rules everywhere. They only plague us now because the world is out of SYNC with its past and its future. So we keep on praying for God to bring more of the healing power of the future into the present. And we keep trusting him for an eventual explanation of his timetable.
What is the difference between Jesus's power and power as we know it from history and our personal experience?
We think of power as "being able to force what I want to happen." We trust our own judgment, and we are sure that everything would be a lot better if we had more power. But look at Jesus. He knows what is good for the world and he has held power for 2000 years, but he still isn't forcing things. He is not using his power to compel people to do things they don't want to do. He is empowering people to do what their deep inner self really wants to do.
This is liberating. On our own, we do not consistently do all the good that our inner self wants. Our dark side interferes sometimes. Jesus's Spirit reaches the parts of us that are too deep inside, too far down in our subconscious, for us to reach on our own. The Spirit's power heals and repairs us at that level. Gradually the changes work their way up to the conscious level. When they do, they feel more like discoveries than achievements.
This slow and subtle exercise of Jesus's power fits with the spirit of the "Freedom Era" that Jesus announced. How could it really be a "Freedom Era" if people were only in it because they were forced in or terrorized in by power displays?
Earthly power works through force and intimidation. Earthly empires always choose intimidating emblems of power, like a bull, a dragon, or a bear. The emblem of Jesus's kingdom is a sacrificed but living lamb, standing on the throne (Revelation 5.6). And the symbol of the one who brings the Lamb's power into our lives is a dove.
When we get the meaning of the Lamb and the Dove, when we realize how Jesus handles his power and how he wants us to handle it, it is like a bomb goes off inside us. It blasts our old idea of power into a thousand pieces, and we don't even care. The new idea of power is a thousand times better.
This Lamb-Dove power does not intimidate its subjects. Neither does it corrupt the power holders. Instead it inspires and empowers its subjects, and it purifies those who hold it. This power serves the people it rules, which is what all earthly powers falsely claim they are doing. The Lamb and the Dove get it done! Long live the Lamb and the Dove!
As "power holders" of this new kind of power, we are more like ambassadors than governors. The Lamb does not delegate his power to certain people to rule certain sections or nations of the earth on his behalf. His strategy is not to consolidate his power over one nation, make it "Christian" by force, and then go on to conquer the next nation.
Instead he covers the whole world at once with his ambassadors, his "witnesses." That's what his "Power Promise" was about (Acts 1.8). His goal is that the whole earth will voluntarily welcome his rule because of what they see his Spirit doing in and through his ambassadors. They are the walking evidence of his friendly take-over of the world. But powers who don't want his take-over see his ambassadors as infiltrators.
What does it mean for Jesus to "put his Spirit into people"? Is this getting spooky?
Imagine that great people could project their spirits onto or into other people, who would then be empowered to do some of the things the great people are famous for. For example, if Shakespeare could project his spirit into people, they would become great writers. If Einstein could project his spirit into people, they would become great scientists, etc.
Of course, great people can't actually do that. Instead, they try to train and inspire others to be like them, and others try to learn from them and copy them as best they can. A lot of people look at Jesus that way--a great person to learn from and try to imitate. But that approach totally misses the actual "Force" of Jesus.
The power of Jesus is much more than the power of an idea or a truth. It is an actual thing, a force to be reckoned with. It is like "the Force" in "May the Force be with you," but this Force has a name--the Spirit of Jesus the Messiah. And this Spirit has a purpose--to turn willing people into replicas and representatives of Jesus.
Jesus the Messiah does what other great people can't do because he is not dead like they are. He spreads his Spirit around to empower others to be like him. That is how he builds the team he is using to carry out his campaign to connect, heal, and bless the world. Shakespeare and Einstein did not lead campaigns or build campaign teams. Jesus did, and he still does.
That is why it is so important for his campaign team members to be like him and to show his power as his Spirit enables them. They are his "witnesses". They are the walking evidence that he is alive again. They are proof that he is still using his power to further the same campaign he worked for when he was here in person.
Power Season is the time to look at Jesus from that angle--the Power-spreader, the Spearhead of the campaign. It is the time to re-SYNC with the drumbeat of the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, or to start SYNCing if you have not been doing that.
Open your ears to the Power Rhythm and start moving with it. Open up to the transforming influence of the Spirit of Jesus. You will discover a new life, and you will become walking evidence of the way the Spirit works. That will draw other people to discover what you are discovering. They were born to love what you are discovering, but many of them are still missing out on it.
What powers would I have to give up to get God's empowerment?
It's not a question of which powers you give up. It is more a matter of your whole mindset about power. What do you think it is? How does it work? What is it for? All that has to get into alignment with Jesus's strategy for sharing his power with his campaign team members so we can do our campaign assignments.
The campaign is a campaign to connect, heal, and bless the world, that is, God's power is working for the good of the world. When our view of power is governed by Jesus, the director of the campaign, he entrusts us with some of his power because he knows we won't use it for our own advantage and become corrupt because of it.
Everyone knows that power is a corrupting force. The entire philosophical movement of postmodernism is based on the idea that no power holders can ever be trusted. They are all in it for their own gain. To "deconstruct" them means to break their power by exposing the selfish motives they try so hard to hide.
This drives revolutions. The revolutionaries believe that if they forcefully removed the current power holders and took power themselves, power would not corrupt them. Their nations would be better off. But the revolutionaries do not pledge their allegiance to Jesus and his campaign. They do the best they can without Jesus, and gradually their hopes and good intentions are overpowered by the corruptive reality of power-holding. The new power holders look more and more like the old ones, just as selfish, just as corrupt or more so.
The change in mindset is a change to trusting Jesus as the ultimate and incorruptible power-holder. He is genuinely committed to the campaign objectives--connect, heal, bless. He has broken the power of the human mindset about power, the belief that power structures and brute force can cause things to go as the power holders want. We simply don't believe that any more because Jesus gave his life to show how earthly power fails and heavenly power works. The power of the resurrection is the power of the new mindset.
Wouldn't everything have been simpler if Jesus had announced that he was the Messiah while he was on earth in person? Why did he keep that a secret but then tell his campaign team to tell the "secret" to the whole world after he left?
Timing is everything. Jesus had to keep the secret for a while in order to change the world's understanding of power. If he had said straight out, "I am the Messiah," people would have assumed he was going to use his messianic power like all other power holders, forcing enemies into submission.
Some of them would have tried to "help" his cause by starting terrorist attacks against the Roman imperial soldiers in their land, expecting that the Messiah would be pleased with their courage and loyalty. The Roman army would have crushed the terrorists and many innocent suspects with them.
That is exactly what the Jewish establishment expected would happen, and they killed Jesus to prevent it. They thought they were working in the nation's best interests. During his trial Jesus finally did come right out and tell them he was the Messiah. That sealed their verdict. They assumed it was only a matter of time until he would tell his followers to use power to seize power, launching a revolution against Rome.
Wouldn't Jesus's followers have been able to spread the word about him without the Holy Spirit? They knew his teaching. They understood that his death paid for human sin. They saw him after he rose from the dead. Wasn't that enough?
Jesus didn't think so. Before he left, he had ordered them not to spread the word until they received “power from above,” power that would make them credible witnesses that he is alive and in control. If they had gone out right away with their reports and their explanations of the meaning of Jesus's death and resurrection, their focus would have been on what Jesus had already done.
Jesus does not want to be regarded as merely "a great person in history." He wants the story of his past to be intertwined with the message that his story isn't finished yet. His campaign to connect, heal, and bless the world is not over. His ongoing power is just as important as his power in the past, and that is what the Holy Spirit put into the members of his campaign team--the ongoing power of Jesus.
Once that power arrived through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost every last one of the 120 in that first group of followers of Jesus became walking evidence of God's power for good. From then on, they were not just repeating Jesus’s teaching or retelling the stories of his miracles, reliving the good old days. They were discovering the good new days of the power of the Spirit.
It started on Pentecost Day as they praised God in languages they had never learned, spreading the campaign news, "God speaks your language! He has sent his Messiah, Jesus, to lead the world into a new era, and he wants you to know it!"
Individually and together, they were exhibits that the new era that Jesus declared was no mere dream for the future. It is a dream they were living, doing things Jesus would do if he were present in person. By seeing them and their power, people who were still stuck in the old era would come to believe that the new era is really here. The game has changed.