Moving with the Power Rhythm
Our goal during Power Season, May 21 - August 6, 2020
Becoming better walking evidence of God's power for good, calling the world to embrace this power
To SYNC with the rhythm of the Power Declaration means that we dance to that "Power Rhythm." When we bust some moves that are wildly better than anyone thought we could do, they may ask, "What got into you? How did you do that?" We tell them that we can't explain it except to say that Jesus is alive, and he has put his Spirit and life into us so we can do more than we can do and be more than we can be.
We can't exactly teach them the dance either. They have to open up to the Spirit themselves and see what happens in their case. As they do that, the dance party gets better and better. Everybody is moving to the same rhythm but each one is making different moves. Fascinating to watch it play out.
How do we move with the Power Rhythm?
We say "Yes!" Access to the power of Jesus does not come by any secret formula except saying "Yes" to Jesus himself. We see that Jesus is fulfilling the ancient promise God made to Abraham, bringing heaven's power to earth for the good of all, and we say, "Yes! Over here please. I want some of that. I want to be part of Jesus's distribution network. I want the little red light in my life to indicate that the power is on." "SYNC me!" is one way of saying "Yes."
We keep looking at the Pentecost story. The Holy Spirit made a spectacular entrance that day, undeniable evidence that Jesus was not dead and his power was not too far away to do his followers any good. They were empowered. From then on, their miraculous actions would raise questions, and the answer to those questions would always be some version of this good news--heaven's power is available on earth now because the all-powerful Messiah has sent it through his Spirit. This good news would unite people from every language so they all praise the same Messiah. World peace!
We become the kind of walking evidence that Jesus was. If everything about us can be explained as merely the result of trying hard to follow the teaching of Jesus, it does not rise to the level of "evidence" of the power of the risen Jesus. Evidence appears only when we change at a deeper level than we can change ourselves or when things happen to us or through us that can't be mere coincidence or luck. Jesus's Spirit gives us his power and energy so we become exhibits that a mysterious power is having visible effects. We may not all become great religious teachers, but we all become great doers.
We don't expect everybody to like Jesus's terms for access to the power. Many people today go after the power of Jesus, thinking they can get it to work on their own terms if they just learn how. But that quest assumes that Jesus's power is an impersonal energy, a thing we can tap for our purposes. The Spirit of Jesus is always attached to the person and the agenda of Jesus. We insult him if we try to tap his power to further our agenda, increase our fame, or build our own little kingdom. He sees right through us.
Non-negotiables - the same for everyone, everywhere, all the time
Risen and living King Jesus, please let your power go to work on us. Change us so much for the good that people who used to know us will wonder what is going on. They will know we couldn't have changed ourselves like that. And let us have an opportunity to tell them how it happened. Do things through us that bless other people far more than we could bless them with any human power. Turn us into compelling evidence that your power is at work, and let the suffering of the world be reduced because your Spirit lives in us.
Living as walking evidence of God's power for good
When we experience the power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, we let it define us and our purpose in life. We call this "SYNCing" with Jesus and his strategy, seeing ourselves in Christ.
Living with the power of the Spirit of Christ inside us is not an instant thing. We keep discovering more about it as we go along. We can open the door to new experiences and discoveries with prayers like this:
If we are in Christ, the power center of the universe, we also become evidence that will draw others to open up to his power. They see what it is doing to us, and they want in.
We can assure them that we do not have this power because we were any better than anyone else to start with or because we worked hard and earned it somehow. No, we were totally ordinary. But now that the Spirit has moved into us, we will never be ordinary again.
No one else has to stay ordinary either. Ever since the game-changer on Pentecost Day, the power of the Spirit is available to all those who say "Yes" to Jesus the King. It doesn't matter how weak or helpless we feel; in fact, the weaker the better! The Spirit specializes in transforming weak people, and every transformation is more evidence of Jesus' power at work.
As walking evidence of God's power for good, we keep coming back to four key ideas:
God is working a strategy to bring heaven's power to earth
Jesus is the key figure in that strategy, the power center of the universe, the being who brought the power down to earth in person
Jesus sent his Holy Spirit down so his followers could show that he is still alive and still making heaven's power available on earth
True power operates under Jesus' kingship, serving his agenda not ours
As these ideas soak into us, heaven's power goes to work on earth in us and around us. Our lives change. We have new stories to tell about how the power of Jesus works.
Power Season (May 20 - August 6) is the time to re-SYNC with the Power Rhythm. Remember who we are. Remember how we got here. And act like it--grateful to God, living in the Spirit's power, using the power for good, and pointing people to Jesus as the source of it all.
He has the key role of bringing heaven's power to earth because he himself was an impossible combination of heaven and earth, of God and humanity. It took such a one-of-a-kind being to connect the unseen "heaven" with the world as we know it and see it. He does not just make the connection. He IS the connection.
And that is why the power of Jesus cannot be an impersonal energy we learn how to manipulate. The power is so entangled with Jesus himself that there is no way to separate the two. We have both or neither. Let's go for both!
God, please give [name of person or group] your power. Draw them to say "Yes" to the Spirit of Jesus and to get the power you want everyone to live with. Turn them into walking evidence of your power as you change them into more than they think they can ever be. Let the suffering of the world be reduced because they get empowered and emboldened to do the things they always knew were the right things.
FAQs about the Power Rhythm
1. Do all citizens of the kingdom have to be "walking evidence of God's power for good"? What if I'm not very good at that?
If you see yourself as someone who "isn't very good at it," you probably see yourself as someone who has trouble measuring up to the standards God has set. Change your view of yourself, but not by kidding yourself that you are doing better than you actually are or by gritting your teeth and repeating, "I think I can, I think I can . . ."
Change your view that says, "What I need to do is live up to a standard." The game-changing Holy Spirit has changed the goal line. It is not keeping a standard. The new goal line is living under an influence. It's no longer our job to measure up to a standard. We can't. But it is our job to open up to the influence of the Spirit. He carries us across the old goal line that we were never able to reach by our own power.
When we do measure up to the standard, it is a tribute to his power not ours. He carried us. We just hung on for the ride. So we don't yell, "I did it! I did it!" We yell, "Jesus did it! He helped me score! Isn't he amazing!"
On the other hand, if we don't open up to the Spirit's influence, if we don't let him carry us, that really is a problem. We are not walking evidence of his power because we are not letting him take us where he wants. We are just heading wherever we want, as if he wasn't even there.
That is very easy to rationalize as our human weakness, but it is extremely dangerous. If we ignore the Spirit, we prevent the impact. We show that we are just as weak after the Spirit moved into our lives as we were before. That is the wrong evidence for us to give. It leads people to believe that the Spirit makes no difference at all. It undercuts the center of Jesus's strategy.
2. 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.
3. How do I know whether the Spirit of Jesus is already living in me? Isn't God's Spirit in every human?
In a way, God's Spirit is already in every human because we are all created "in the image of God," that is "God-like" or "God-ish." However, we are all conflicted. Our problem is that God's Spirit is not in charge. We are. That means we have a deep inner tension, conscious or otherwise. We are always trying to decide whether to go with or against God's Spirit in any given situation.
When we consciously say "Yes" to Jesus and invite him to send his Holy Spirit into us, we basically give his Spirit a blank check. We quit dragging our feet. We invite the Spirit to change anything about us, even things we don't know about ourselves.
That opens up a new kind of life. Our nagging inner conflict is left behind as we begin a voyage of discovery. The Spirit takes us to places we did not know existed.
4. If I wanted to invite the Spirit of Jesus to move into my life, how would I do it?
It will make more sense to you if you have the big picture of what you are doing. Get that by a 2-minute read of the "Mother of All Power Struggles" story, and then respond to the story by saying, "I'm in." It's 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 may opt out pretty quickly.
In this case, your "I'm in" to this story means,
"Yes, Jesus, Source of all power, please include me in the group you created by putting your Spirit into people. I want to be empowered. Light me up. Make me clear evidence that your transforming power is still on the march, still turning anxious people confident, stingy people generous, and sick people well. I'm not saying I'm qualified to be good evidence of your power, except that I have lots of room for improvement. But I am saying, 'Thank you' for making your power available to the world through your Spirit. Please count me in. Please give me a power story to tell."
You become a different person once the Holy Spirit moves in to take charge of your life. The Spirit empowers you to take part in the mission of Jesus, bringing heaven's power to earth. No longer are you stuck in the rut of trying to do the best you can. Because of the Spirit, you are going to do more than you can. It is like you have finally discovered the empowered life you were born for. Spiritually speaking, you have discovered part of it, and you will discover a lot more as you go along. Enjoy the ride!