Today’s Reading: Acts 4:4 (NKJV)
4 However, many of those who heard the Word believed; and the number of men came to be about five thousand.
Would you be willing to risk your own life to see 5,000 people in your community come to a saving faith and personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? This was the hot topic of conversation last night during the opening session of the 2009 School of Lay Ministry. I am here with 120 of my United Methodist friends from around the State of Missouri, who are working through their local churches to reach people in their communities with the Gospel. There is a new great awakening being birthed around the world and we can see it growing right here in the Show Me State. Can you sense a new move of the Holy Spirit in the places where you live?
Peter and John knew before they entered the temple gates they would be risking their lives to share the Good News here. This crowd would be a difficult group to convince. Many of the men gathered were the same people that condemned Christ to death in the temple courtyard just weeks before. They did not know who Jesus really was. Peter and John’s determination to reach these folks far outweighed their fear for personal safety. They boldly proclaimed Christ’s message, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and that same Spirit gave them comfort as they waited their fate all night long in a dark Jerusalem prison cell.
While Peter and John sat in seclusion, conversions were occurring minute by minute. Folks who heard their life-saving message ran to tell others, while the Holy Spirit was moving people to give their hearts completely to Christ! Lives were being changed, almost instantaneously – a new great awakening was occurring all over the city!
Sitting in the upper room last night during the keynote presentation, I was having an attack of holy heartburn. I didn’t need an antacid to quench this fire; in fact, I wanted more of it! I looked around the room and saw Holy Spirit sparks erupting everywhere. There was a clear sense of hunger and direction being birthed. Folks were getting charged up with new ideas, new ways to reach their communities with the Gospel. The question is this: how much of ourselves are we willing to give to see this happen in our cities, states, and countries around the world?
Peter and John didn’t have internet access in the prison cell that night. They had no Blackberries® or I-Phones® to text message their friends on the outside. All they had to go on was the power of Christ’s Holy Spirit encouraging and supporting them while they waited. It was more than enough. Somehow, they knew they were doing exactly what Christ had commissioned them to do. There was no turning back.
Are you willing to trust the Holy Spirit power to lead you out into the community where you live? Wherever there are people breathing, there is a message to be proclaimed. We have a job to do right here, right now. Is Jesus calling you to be like Peter and John today?
Grace and peace,