Cultivating a Movement: Rely on God’s Power!

I’m working through a sermon series at Centre Grove called, Cultivating a Movement (which was the focus of my latest prayer for the Church).

I want to be part of a movement for God. My working definition for a movement is simply a people God can move through, a church God can use!

I started with Surrender. Next is “Rely on God’s Power!”

I will always remember my second sermon at Centre Grove in July 2008 when I challenged people to be contributors rather than consumers. Picking up with that imagery, consumers are like containers. They hold onto what they have; it’s all about filling the container. But contributors are like vessels, with the purpose of being used by God and passing on what they receive.

Vessels rely on God’s power. And, God moves through people who rely on his power!

The New Testament talks an awful lot about power. That has especially grabbed my attention in recent months. Here’s a small selection of verses from the Bible (all from Common English Bible; emphasis added) …

  • Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the whole countryside. … They were all shaken and said to each other, “What kind of word is this, that he can command unclean spirits with authority and power, and they leave?” (Luke 4.14, 36)

  • The whole crowd wanted to touch him, because power was going out from him and he was healing everyone. (Luke 6.19)

God’s power flowed through Jesus. That same power ought to flow through followers of Jesus. Luke, who uses the word “power” more than the other gospel writers combined (not to mention Acts), writes …

  • Jesus called the Twelve together and he gave them power and authority over all demons and to heal sicknesses. (Luke 9.1)

  • Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power. (Luke 24.49)

  • But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1.8)

One of the first passages that grabbed my attention a few months ago was 1 Corinthians 2.4-5 (see Under the Influence of the Spirit and Preaching With a Demonstration of the Spirit). Paul writes …

  • My message and my preaching weren’t presented with convincing wise words but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. I did this so that your faith might not depend on the wisdom of people but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2.4-5)

  • God’s kingdom isn’t about words but about power. (1 Corinthians 4.20)

Paul emphasizes God’s power in the midst of a prayer for the Ephesians (see Ephesians 1.17-23). In Ephesians 3.20, he adds …

  • Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us.

Finally, I love the prayer the early disciples prayed after getting into some of their first recorded trouble with the religious establishment. In Acts 4, the disciples conclude their prayer …

  • Now, Lord, take note of their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with complete confidence. Stretch out your hand to bring healing and enable signs and wonders to be performed through the name of Jesus, your holy servant. (Acts 4.29-30)

I especially love the result Luke reports …

  • After they prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking God’s word with confidence. (Acts 4.31)

God’s power at work through his people. When God moves, places are shaken. And, God moves through people who rely on his power!

With Acts 4.31 in mind, I have made a couple of lines from the Newsboys’ song, “God’s Not Dead,” part of my prayer for a movement. I invite you to do the same …

Let heaven roar and fire fall. Come shake the ground with the sound of revival!

Amen.

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Randy Willis

Follower of Jesus. Husband, Dad. Pastor.

Joleen Willis

Follower of Jesus. Wife. Mom. District Superintendent.

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