We are heirs of a Spirit-empowered community

Posted Aug 1, 2022

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Daily Scripture

MONDAY 8.1.22 Acts 1:2-8

2 Before he was taken up, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus instructed the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed them that he was alive with many convincing proofs. He appeared to them over a period of forty days, speaking to them about God’s kingdom. 4 While they were eating together, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised. He said, “This is what you heard from me: 5 John baptized with water, but in only a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

6 As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?”

7 Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 Rather, 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.”

NOTE: Resurrection’s Young Adult ministry is leading a special young adult retreat on Saturday, August 6. Click here for full information about the retreat and the Young Adult ministry.

Reflection Questions

A common confusion, if all we’ve heard is Acts 2’s story of the day of Pentecost, is that the Holy Spirit didn’t exist before that day, or at least had never been active on earth before then. In fact, the Holy Spirit, as fully God as Jesus or the Father (albeit in ways beyond simple explanation), was always an active partner in God’s dealings with the human family. Luke said Jesus himself was “working in the power of the Holy Spirit” (verse 2) as he told his followers to wait for the Spirit’s power.

  • Jesus' mission for his followers was not primarily to create organizational charts or articles of incorporation. Things like that are often helpful as tools to carry out Jesus' mission, but his basic commission (“be my witnesses”) meant evoking a response from real people. How do Jesus' marching orders make it clear that, in the end, our mission as individuals and as a church is much more about reaching people than labels or job titles?
  • Surely the creator God could have thundered the news of Jesus from the skies if that were desirable. Instead, God’s main way of carrying out the mission also employed people: “You will be my witnesses.” What made it more effective, in the end, for God to use people as witnesses? Whose witness has shaped your life? In what ways have you been able to live out Jesus' calling for you to be one of his witnesses?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, give me a heart open to your Spirit’s power, and a willingness to answer your call, wherever you and your mission may take me. Amen.

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Mindy LaHood

Mindy LaHood

Mindy LaHood serves on the Worship Experience team at Church of the Resurrection. She loves all things related to worship and enjoys working with our talented team of staff and volunteers. One of her favorite things to read about and study are stained glass windows, and she considers herself very blessed to work and worship in a place with such a magnificent window.

My very first job, at age 16, was in the Catalog and Credit Department at JC Penney in Decatur, Illinois. Looking back, I really didn’t have a clue as to what the job entailed or what it looked like to even have the responsibility of a job. I remember being both excited and anxious. With most jobs, there’s a level of training that helps to equip employees with what they are about to do and spell out the responsibilities of the position. I quickly learned that before my managers would send me out on my own there would be hours and weeks of training. I shadowed co-workers, watched training videos, and even learned how to properly giftwrap presents, as that was also a service my department provided. (Side note-–it was also my favorite part. To this day, I love wrapping presents.)

Since then, I’ve had many jobs, and most have been accompanied with some training, education, and opportunity to practice. A few, here and there, were a bit of sink or swim type of situation, but even that method provides a level of training, so to speak. The point is, no matter what the job or mission we are called to do, we need to be equipped to handle the tasks before us in order to carry them out.

In today’s Scripture, Jesus was speaking to the apostles and reassuring them that he was equipping them to fulfill their mission to spread the gospel. The training they had received through his teaching was a start; but Jesus was equipping them with the power of the Holy Spirit to continue the mission in his physical absence.

I’ve always been a bit anxious whenever job training has ended, and I’m sent out to do the work on my own. I imagine the apostles felt the same. But Jesus didn’t leave them to do the job alone. He gave them the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission. And he gives us that very same power through the Holy Spirit.

In preparing to write this blog, I did some studying in my Bible's commentary. My study Bible is the New Living Translation--I think a few points I read are worth mentioning in regard to the power of the Holy Spirit. In reference to verse 8, “the ‘power’ believers receive from the Holy Spirit includes courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability, and authority,” * all important tools to help us take the message of Christ out into the world. Also, it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are made more like Christ. “The Spirit marks the beginning of the Christian experience. …The Spirit is the power of our new lives. He begins a life-long process of change, making us more like Christ.” *

When I think about the gift of the Holy Spirit and power he brings into my life, not only do I feel more connected to Christ, but I feel more excited and ready to carry out the mission and vision he has set before me. God is never going place a call on my heart without preparing me through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s my job to let the Holy Spirit work through me and to humbly listen for all the ways in which the Holy Spirit wants to guide and direct me-–and to help transform me to be more like Christ.

* Both from Life Application Study Bible. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2007, pp. 1814-1815.

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