The Social Dimension of the Power of God

power“What will people think

When they hear that I’m a Jesus freak

What will people do when they find that it’s true

I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak

There ain’t no disguising the truth.” – Jesus Freak, DC Talk

If there is anything Christian song that characterized my experience as a young person, it would have to be DC Talk’s Jesus Freak. Released in 1995, it defined what it meant to live a life completely sold out to God. Living a life on fire, as we so affectionately called it, was a big deal for youth like me who grew up in a Pentecostal context such as the Assemblies of God. In the era of the Brownsville Revival and the Toronto Blessing, being consumed with anything else simply wasn’t an option if you were truly a Christian.

We competed for God’s blessings, well rather, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The true marker of our commitment to God was whether or not we could speak in tongues. The second was whether we would get slain in the Spirit or at least, have a prophesy directed our way when the evangelist laid their hands on our head. And because I experienced both of these things, I was confident that I was a truly living a life that was pleasing to God.

We were mainly concerned with the visible works of the Holy Spirit. Sure, we cherished the fruits of the Spirit – things like love, joy, peace, and patience – but there were very little sermons preached about how we live in comparison to ensuring that we were full of the Spirit. We prayed for it. We fasted for it. We did all nighters and See You at the Pole rallies to prove just how sold out to God we were. We toiled and tarried at the altar, sometimes for hours, convinced that if we did our part, God would show up and pour out His Spirit in the same way He did in the early church, at least in the same way He did in the Azuza Street Revival. And we judged other Christians who were not pursuing God in the same manner, attaching value statements to believers, and churches, who were not experiencing powerful demonstrations of the Spirit.

And as God filled us with the power of the Holy Spirit, we hoarded the anointing and spent it on ourselves. We did not care, or cared very little, about how the same Spirit might turn the world upside down. Unlike the early church, fullness of the Spirit to us meant more manifestations evidenced in increased church attendance, new conversions, and acts of speaking in tongues. My, how we prioritized speaking in tongues. But we did not think about how the Holy Spirit might use us to dismantle the systems of injustice that were holding people captive to oppression and pain.

See the rest of this post over at Pentecostals and Charismatics for Justice >

What If the Disciples Never Left the Upper Room

What if the disciples never left the upper room? What if they decided to stay there and continue to pray after Jesus returned to heaven and never bothered to take their ministry outside of those doors? What if they sat on their gifts and when visited by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, kept all of that power and all of that anointing to themselves? What if they they allowed fear of the unknown keep them from moving forward – fear of persecution, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fear of speaking the Gospel? What if? What if?

Thankfully, the disciples decided to move beyond their comfort zone. Although this Christianity thing was completely new to them, they stepped out in faith and in one single day 3,000 people were added to the kingdom of God. Since that time, nearly 2,000 years ago, the number of people that have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ is unquantifiable and it is all because a group of 120 took their ministry outside of the four walls of their ‘church.’

That God would likewise touch our hearts to move our ministry outside of the four walls of our church. That he would give us the grace, the insight, the power to touch the multitudes that are within our reach so that they may likewise believe in the hope that we have received.