Living as walking evidence
of God's power for good
As people empowered and directed by the Spirit of Jesus, we live a life of discovery. We are not just talking about God's power. We are learning how it feels when we live it, and we are showing people what an empowered life looks like, calling them to be as empowered as we are.
To SYNC with the power of Jesus's Spirit in us means that we dance to Jesus's "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 into us so we can do more than we can do and be more than we can be. We have a bad case of Happy Feet!
We can't exactly teach them the dance either. They have to open up to the Spirit themselves and discover what "Happy Feet" do 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 because the Spirit is guiding each one to display the power in personalized ways. Fascinating to watch it play out.
We are all discovering our new identity and purpose as walking evidence that the power of Jesus works through his Spirit in people like us who open up to him. We aren't on our own as spiritual weaklings any more. We are in SYNC with Jesus and his campaign strategy, which is to empower people for his campaign work by putting his Spirit into them just like he put it into the first 120 of his followers in Jerusalem on Pentecost Day.
We are discovering what life is like when his Spirit lights a fire in us to be part of Jesus's campaign to connect, heal, and bless. He is in charge, directing us to focus on his campaign instead of on trying to control as many people and things as we used to wish we could.
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 out of reach for his campaign team. They were empowered. From then on, their changed lives and their miraculous actions would raise questions. 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 into his team 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 or miracle workers, but we all become great doers in Jesus's campaign to connect, heal, and bless the world.
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 their power 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 own agenda, increase our fame, or build our own little kingdom. He sees right through 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:
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.
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 realize they have been missing out on something great, and they want it.
We can assure them that we did not get in on 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.
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.
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 as King, 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 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 it looks to us. 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!
Experiencing deep security and significance
Like all the other SYNC seasons, Power Season links us back to something huge God has done. In this case the God-thing is that Jesus sent his Spirit down from heaven into his followers on earth to back up their message that he is the true Messiah, the power center of history.
To "SYNC" with that God-thing means to align yourself with God's intentions when he did it. His intention was to change the world for good by making his power for good more widely available to humans than it had ever been. He did not want his followers to be "power orphans," thinking that Jesus had taken his power with him to heaven and it would not return to earth until he does. He wanted his Holy Spirit to keep doing humanly impossible things through us humans who welcome him.
Like what? The Holy Spirit changes us inside at levels where we cannot change ourselves. He tells people things they have no human way of knowing. He does miracles that humans can't do, like enabling them to speak languages they have never learned to speak (Acts 2.1-12). When the Holy Spirit lives in people, they become "witnesses" of Jesus (Acts 1.8), walking evidence of Jesus's power at work.
Power Season celebrates the implications of that fantastic fact.
We know who we are--people empowered by Jesus's Spirit living in us
We know why we are here--to point people to Jesus as the power for transforming the world
We know we cannot lose--no force can block Jesus's plan unless it can overpower the Holy Spirit
This means we are secure because we always have enough power to do our assigned share of Jesus's mission to transform the world. We are also significant, no matter how large or small our share may be. Jesus as the King of this era makes it all work together so that change comes on his timetable.
The biblical symbol of this all-powerful Spirit is not some huge fearsome monster. It's a dove! Jesus gave no instructions about how to get or use any intimidating earthly power. He set up a campaign that works gently, not by grabbing power and imposing its will. As members of his campaign team, we only aim to keep letting the Spirit's power work in us and through us in dovish ways for the good of everyone.
So the theme of Power Season is, "Jesus is still the connection between heaven's power and earth's needs! He projects his Spirit, the power-spreading Spirit, into those who open themselves up to him as free citizens of his kingdom."
Power Season is the fourth of seven seasons in the SYNC annual cycle.
First season -- humanity forfeited its power over the world, and it fell under an evil power
Second season -- God promised to fight that evil power and bring good into the world through the descendants of Abraham
Third season -- Jesus announced that the new era of freedom from the evil power was arriving
Fourth season (Power Season) -- Jesus takes power, sitting down on the throne of heaven, and he sends his power back down to earth through his Spirit
The arrival of the Spirit of Jesus among his followers on Pentecost Day reminds us of the power of the resurrection of Jesus. After Jesus returned to heaven, his followers were like a dead body, a body without a Spirit. But ten days later he sent his Spirit back into them and they were "resurrected."
They came alive again, Jesus was back with them again, but now by his Spirit he was with each of them all the time, not just with those who were next to him at any particular moment. In other words, all heaven was about to break loose, and it would knock all hell out of this world of ours. The evil power would rule no more. The campaign of Jesus the Messiah would surge forward through his team, empowered by his Spirit.