Guide for "Power Season"
May 21 - August 6, 2020
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No one in history ever held more power or handled that power better than Jesus Christ did. And no one else can inject his power into human beings today like he does. So catch the spirit of Power Season, start celebrating, and spread the word!
You will discover who you really are, and you will like what you are becoming under the influence of Jesus's Spirit--walking evidence of God's power for good. You will be an embodiment and an agent of the power that the risen King Jesus sent from heaven to earth through his incredible Holy Spirit.
Fire is the SYNC icon for Power Season because on the day Jesus poured his Holy Spirit down onto his messengers, they saw flames on each other's heads. He lit the fire in them to spread the message of the new era of freedom and power everywhere. There is a new king! This is a new day for the whole world!
In Jesus's day, a lot of people didn't get his teaching about power because it was so different from the way they looked at power. Even in his own inner circle there was some jockeying for position about who would be his right-hand man after he took power. A lot of people still don't get Jesus's way to use power. Power Season is the time of year to discover what you may have been missing, get in on it, and become clearer walking evidence that Jesus' power is working on you.
The "5G Quick Overview" below will establish your high-speed connection to Power Season. You may start there or with any of the links in these two lists:
Non-negotiables - the same for everyone, everywhere, all the time
As you catch onto the Power Rhythm and move with it, you will discover what it means to "See Yourself iN Christ." He is doing something huge in the world, signaling the arrival of a new era, and you are part of the signal. People, except those who are seriously locked into the old era, will like to be around you because the new era is, in a very unusual way, a "power-sharing" era. Your assignment is to make sure the whole world gets the memo, "Heaven's power is here and available, thanks to Jesus and his Spirit. Move with the times!"
Going with the "5G" flow during Power Season
1G - Game-changer. How Jesus sent heaven's power to earth
2G - Gift. The gift of Christ's power is available now because the game changed
3G - Get it. The gift helps us if we "get it" that our old idea of power is now outdated
4G - Go with it. Once we "get it," we enjoy the gift and work so others can enjoy it
5G - Genuineness. As we "go with it," we become walking evidence of God's power for good
1G - Game-changer How Jesus sent heaven's power to earth
Once Jesus took power on his throne in heaven, his first act was to inject his followers with his power so they could show that the new era he announced is under way on earth. Jesus had taught that the new era of freedom and power would not arrive like a lightning bolt but a mustard seed or a bit of yeast, starting small and gradually affecting everything. The power would work little by little.
But as it turned out, Day One of the power era actually was a bit like a lightning bolt, at least it started some fires (that's why fire is the icon for Power Season). It was a spectacular day that no one could ever forget. As Jesus’s power arrived that day in Jerusalem, his followers heard things, saw things, and did things that defied human explanation, and everything pointed in the same direction—to Jesus as the rightful King, the power holder, making his power visible on earth through his followers.
A huge crowd gathered, and Peter explained to them that they had made a colossal mistake when they executed Jesus as a fake messiah. By raising him from the grave, God had declared him the rightful Messiah, and now he was on the throne in heaven!
Horrified by their mistake, the crowd knew that Jesus’s first act as King could have been to have lightning bolts strike each member of the court that condemned him. That would have got everybody’s terrified attention! But Jesus had a different strategy.
And what would this other strategy be?
Instead of flaunting his power against his enemies, Jesus poured out his power on his friends, and he did it in a way that gave his enemies a second chance. Peter, speaking for all Jesus’s followers, told the crowd they would be forgiven if they would renounce their mistake and welcome Jesus’s Spirit, the Spirit of the King, into their lives. Thousands did that on the spot.
Jesus’s strategy was also designed to display the global implications of his power, not just the benefits for his own people, the Jews. The sign of the power that day was not a healing miracle like Jesus had done many times. It was a miracle Jesus had never done himself! Jesus’s followers were praising God in languages they had never learned, and foreigners who were present understood what they were saying.
The message between the lines was, “The Messiah’s power is going global. Foreigners no longer have to learn a special language in order to worship God properly. By the Spirit of Jesus working in his followers, God is sending his message to foreigners in their own languages! The game-changing Spirit has arrived.”
2G - Gift The gift of Christ's power is available now because the game changed
Each of SYNC's seven game-changers comes with a new gift for us. The gift we get from Jesus as Power-holder is the privilege of his power working for good in us through his Spirit who moves into our bodies. If this sounds a little eerie, it is, but in a good way.
The good thing about it is that we do not lose our normal consciousness or identity while Jesus' Spirit works on us. We are not in a trance, “possessed” by some spirit or force that replaces our normal identity or speaks in a weird voice. As we come under the influence of Jesus’ Spirit living in us, we stay fully awake and fully ourselves, yet we are gradually turning into new “selves.” We also discover that God sometimes works through our new selves in miraculous ways.
Bottom line: in this era of freedom and power, something more than human is happening on earth, and we who accept the rule of King Jesus get to be walking evidence of it. It is a gift handed to us, and it takes a lifetime to open and explore.
3G - Get it The gift helps us if we "get it," if we see why God gave that gift
God has something he wants to prove. His gift of the Holy Spirit is his strategy for proving all over the world that Jesus is still alive, still coordinating the attack that will destroy the forces of darkness on earth, and still providing his power to ordinary earthlings like us as we participate in his campaign.
We get it. When we are “evidence,” that is what we are evidence of. When we are “witnesses” about Jesus, that is what we are witnessing about.
We are not merely evidence that Jesus taught good things and that people become nicer if they follow what he taught. The world knows that already. What the world doesn’t know, and what God wants to prove, is that Jesus is the power center of the universe. The proof is that Jesus is exercising his power through his Spirit working in his people, the members of his global “kingdom” or movement.
Movements may succeed or fizzle, but this movement won’t fizzle because it has what every movement would love to have--a resurrected, indestructible person as its leader, a person who never makes a mistake, a person who can hard-wire all members of the movement to himself by putting his own Spirit into them. Jesus actually does what all other movement leaders only dream of doing.
Though we do “get it” that this is God's strategy to prove his point about Jesus, we still cannot predict exactly when and how Jesus's power will work. We have to discover it as we go along, and different people discover parts of it in different ways. There is no miracle manual because the power of Jesus’s Spirit is not a technique to master. It is a life of discovery to be lived.
4G - Go with it Once we "get it," we enjoy the gift and we work so others can enjoy it
Just before he rose to heaven to begin his reign, Jesus said to his followers, "All power in heaven and on earth is given to me" (Matthew 28.18). We go with that. We trust Jesus so much that we throw ourselves open to his influence. “SYNC me!” becomes our new mantra as we go with the flow of his power.
We want to start paying back our debt of gratitude to the Lamb who sacrificed himself to give us access to his Spirit. We live under his power, and we speak with the power of his name so everybody will realize a new day has dawned for them too.
We watch as Jesus’s Spirit changes us at deep subconscious levels. It’s a mystery, but we love it every time some new evidence of the Spirit’s work comes up to the conscious level.
When we see our character changing or even when miracles happen through us, we do not get arrogant about it because we know it wasn’t really “our” power at all. Jesus’s power is the power that did it. We did nothing to earn that power. We just went with it, and we loved the result. We invite others to discover the power of saying, “SYNC me!”
5G - Genuineness As we "go with it," we become walking evidence of God's power for good
What kind of evidence are we? Character witnesses and smoking gun evidence.
The character witness is not our witness to Jesus’s character. It is evidence of changes in our own character.
Old habits and desires break down, though we could never get free of them before
When people push our buttons, we don’t react like we used to. The buttons seem broken.
New character comes into our lives, like concern about others we never cared about before. We get generous, loyal, and exuberant about life.
All this adds up to a genuine character transformation, and we can’t even explain how it happened. We know it wasn’t because we tried harder or we got better at faking it. We say the Spirit is doing it and handing it to us as a gift we are thrilled to get—a new authentic self!
Smoking gun evidence
The “smoking gun evidence” is the miraculous part where even the people who don’t believe in God may wonder if they are seeing his fingerprints. The Spirit of Jesus mysteriously empowers different people in different ways. Some see many healings happen when they pray in Jesus’s name, some know things they had no way of knowing (secrets, things in the future, or instructions to do or say a particular thing), some speak in a spiritual language, some can translate the spiritual language into ordinary language.
All these things defy scientific explanation, but it is unscientific to deny the evidence that they are happening somehow. Our theory is this: the Spirit of Jesus, whom he sent onto his original followers on Pentecost Day, is still at large, still bringing heaven’s power to earth, still pointing to the true King of the Universe, and still saying to the doubters, “Over here! Look at this!”
These signs cannot be merely the result of some good truth that Jesus taught. In fact, Jesus didn’t teach his followers how to do miracles, except to ask in his name that God would do them. But Jesus did teach that he would be with them. Where Jesus is, his power is. Character changes. Miracles happen. And it’s all good. We are in SYNC with Jesus’s intentions when he sent his Spirit down on his followers in the first place.
1. If Jesus’s representatives have all this wonderful power, why don’t they routinely use it? Why can’t they heal all the sick, stop COVID-19, etc.?
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 King) not to an impersonal force or energy. We do not control that person the way a scientist, technician, or sorcerer controls a force. We respectfully make requests to the King.
We try to ask for things that fit with what we know about the King’s character and desires. Some of these, like combatting COVID, are no-brainers. Of course the King wants it to end. Of course he feels the pain of those who are losing loved ones or are starving because they cannot earn their day’s wage. So we ask for our planet to be healed of it, by vaccine discovery and anything else it takes. Meanwhile we pray that those who are already infected will survive.
Why doesn’t the King 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 satisfactory explanation for something, we repeat the original, most basic mistake of the human race. Adam and Eve did not have a satisfactory 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 COVID in the Garden of Eden. There is no COVID in the coming kingdom of Jesus, when he visibly rules everywhere. There only is COVID 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.
2. 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' 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 carries the Lamb's power 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 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.
3. 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 followers to tell the "secret" to the whole world after he left?
Jesus had to do it in two steps like that 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.
Only after he let his enemies kill him could he let the secret out in a way that would not be misinterpreted. After that, his resurrection would be the object lesson about power for all time. The lesson is, "Lay down your power as God asks you to, go through what he puts you through, and watch how he restores every bit of the power you laid down."
This is backwards to ordinary views of power, where power is gradually built up and fiercely protected. Nobody throws power away, trusting someone to give them more power on the rebound. It is too risky.
But that is exactly what Jesus did. He showed the world how real power works. A Messiah raised from death is the greatest power the world has ever seen. That’s what we are looking at in Jesus, and that changes everything, especially the meaning of power. That is the open secret we are now allowed to tell to the whole human race. With the benefit of hindsight, they will not misinterpret it.
3. The miracle still seems odd. How does one miracle with languages change the game of global power?
It shows that the power of heaven that Jesus is sending to earth is a power for good not for domination, and its most basic feature is that it will be heard as good news in the heart languages of all peoples. It is a celebration not an edict. It is a report about a down-to-earth fact--Jesus is alive again--not a claim about the power of truth and ideas. And it creates peace among the nations without imposing peace through force.
And there's more. This odd miracle was designed to spread this good news throughout the ancient world at great speed. It occurred during one of the three main Jewish annual feasts in Jerusalem. Jews and converts made pilgrimages to these feasts from all over the world. So imagine the conversations a few weeks later when all those pilgrims got home.
"How was your trip?"
"Great! But the craziest thing happened while we were there.
"What was that?"
"There was this roaring sound like a strong wind, and then there were a hundred or more locals all shouting excitedly at the same time in lots of different languages. And we heard some of them speaking our language, even though they had never been here."
"No way! What did they say?
That conversation, plus the news of what Jesus's followers had said, would have been repeated countless times across the world in just a few weeks. Many who heard it, even second or third hand, would have concluded: "That God over there in Jerusalem speaks our national language, and he has a message for our nation about Jesus. Let's find out more."
Everybody knows that emperors don't speak your language. They make you learn theirs. So Jesus sends his message to the world--the One who sits on the throne of the universe is not your typical emperor. The power game has changed.
4. 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 ongoing power is just as important as his power in the past, and that is what the Holy Spirit put into the messengers--the ongoing power of Jesus.
Once that power arrived through the Holy Spirit and they praised God in all those languages, every last one of them 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.
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 still stuck in the old era would come to believe that the new era is really here. The game has changed.