Mick’s Memo – What Fills the Sail?
The account Luke recorded of the early church is breathtaking. Starting from the ashes of a frightened, discouraged, confused and directionless band of disciples, he shows how God changed them into instruments of infectious, enduring influence. Their transformation was predicated on an event and a process.
The event was the resurrection. Prior to the resurrection and multiple appearances of the risen Jesus, there was no movement. The disciples were broken in every sense of the word—no leader, no hope, no vision, no expectations, and no plan. Despite the fact that He had predicted His death, burial and resurrection, warning them on multiple occasions, they couldn’t grasp the idea of anything overcoming Jesus’ physical death. He was the One and only who could raise the dead, so with Him dead the hope was gone. But He did rise on the 3rd day, just as he predicted. Their faith was so shattered that they had a hard time believing even when He stood before them! But eventually their eyes and their faith were opened, and they knew that the resurrection changed everything. A new era of relating to God was here, and they needed to let people know that sin and death had been defeated. Faith in Jesus as divinity incarnate and substitutionary sacrifice was the door to eternal life. He had gone ahead of all to “prepare a place” for them.
The process started with the event of the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) and grew every time a follower of Jesus submitted themselves to the “filling” of the Holy Spirit for God’s use. Filled with the Spirit, they spoke persuasive messages, performed miracles of healing, exposed and defeated evil, served the hurting, and sometimes suffered martyrdom. The wind of the Holy Spirit blowing in their sails was their inspiration and their empowerment.
The launching of the church as Luke relays to us is a story of inspired people who inspired people, on and on until our time. Those founding followers of Jesus found Him to be the ultimate inspiration for life—His teachings, His sacrifice and resurrection, His instructions for the future. They certainly had to contend with other priorities of life; but those aspirations couldn’t compete with His inspiration.
What’s the wind in your sails? What inspires you, makes you breathless, wakes you up with high expectations, causes you to sacrifice other competing enterprises, arranges the order of your competing priorities? What do you think about most often and with the most intensity?
What would happen if we more intentionally and effectively aligned our sails with the wind of the Holy Spirit’s filling? What would it be like in our marriages, homes, church community and the lives of others we engage—if we took our inspiration from the greatest person who ever lived, the greatest event that ever happened, and the great comforter, teacher, persuader and source of empowerment available to any human? Our study in Acts is giving us a glimpse of those possibilities.
Looking forward to seeing you this weekend, not only Sunday morning, but with many of you at the Leadership Exchange—give it a try!