As a Spirit Filled Church in Kansas City, we are always anticipating the presence of God at every service. This blog is from the message that I spoke at our Cure Conference where we encountered a move of God each night as we declared that there is MORE.
During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.
Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:3-4
Jesus Commissioned His followers to preach the gospel all over the world, this we know. But before they went Jeus told them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
I want to clarify something. The Holy Spirit is not for speaking in tongues or for theological debate. According to Jesus the Holy Spirit gives us the power to be a witness.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Jesus went through much on the cross. He suffered so much only to tell His disciples they needed to wait for the Holy Spirit and then go to the ends of the earth. But after the Holy Spirit fell in the upper room we find that disciples somehow lost focus and didn’t move forward.
Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. Acts 8: 1-7
God can create something out of nothing. Many of us are good examples of being rejected and coming from the wrong side of the tracks. Yet we have the Holy Ghost and He can do great things through what many would count as the least of the least.
As a young believer I had a heart to start a church in Chicago. Because of my passion, I studied the history of that city. I read of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The story claims the fire started because Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern. One house after another caught fire until the whole city burned. You know, it really doesn’t take much to start a mighty fire. Every great fire started with just a little flame. Whatever you are doing today God wants to take it and bring increase.
Let’s take another look at the early church. They did not move out. They were not expanding as they were commanded, that is, not until persecution came. There is something about major trials that have the power to get the church in gear and cause it to grow. God is going to get everything He requires of you one way or another.
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best! 2 Cor 4:7-12
Anointing oil comes through crushed olives. And so it is with the anointing of God. It comes through crushing, troubles, and conflicts. There is danger in a church that’s idle. God’s church needs to expect more and move forward.
It’s very important to be involved. I am not just talking about ushering or some other ministry. Philip and Stephen were faithful men who were chosen to wait tables for widows. In modern vernacular they worked in the food pantry. They let God use their lives.
And he has appointed some with grace to be apostles, and some with grace to be prophets, and some with grace to be evangelists, and some with grace to be pastors, and some with grace to be teachers. Eph 4:11 TPT
Leaders are to help you be better than you are.Your leader’s job is to build you up and equip you. Stephen was a man who had been built up. He preached with boldness and became the first martyr for Christ. Philip went onto Samaria to speak about the Messiah.
There are cities riddled with prostitution, drug addiction, and murders. City leaders meet together asking what can they do to fix the crime in their city. This is where an on fire church comes in. If you want more there needs to be a mobilization. The church has an opportunity to win cities for Jesus. Churches need to reproduce themselves, plant other churches, spread out, and win the lost everywhere.
In the 1400’s Before Columbus made his voyages, the Spaniards thought they had reached the outer limits of earth. Thus their motto was “Ne Plus Ultra,” which means “No More Beyond.” You could see these words on a map signifying that there were no other lands beyond what they already knew.
Many believers have that phrase written on their hearts. They believe they have seen and lived it all. They believe there is no more for them. I believe the blood of Jeus has scratched out that “No” and declares to us…
Are you putting that “No” back in that old phrase? You say you want to be used but when asked to serve you have no time.You want to be blessed but you won’t give.
Do you remember the story of the 12 spies? These were leaders sent to spy out the promised land. But when they came back most of them had nothing good to say. There attitude was Ne Plus Otra.
But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next, to them, we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” Numbers 13: 31-33
Do you realize the price for every “no” are the souls of people? Your “no” affects others. Do you realize that every miracle in the bible started with someone saying “yes”? Every victory required trust and sacrifice. Can you get to the place where you desire and expect the “more “ that God has for you? We as a church must have unlimited expectations that God wants and has more.
There are cities and nations that God has His heart set on. Has God given you a vision to win people to Jesus. Well don’t wait for the church to call and outreach. You be the outreach. Be a person hungry to spread the gospel. Be the one who will sacrifice, serve, and give. Be the one who will believe “Plus Otra”.
Father forgive me of small thinking, small living, small believing. Forgive me for thinking and speaking doubt. You are a big God and nothing is too hard for you. I choose Plus Otra. There really is More. Amen!
MEDITATE ON THIS
Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” Numbers 14:6-9