Reclaiming the power and presence of the Holy Spirit
The final command Jesus gave his followers before igniting his movement was “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my father has promised” (Acts 1:4). In order for his followers to be the witnesses the world needed (Acts 1:8), they needed power for the task. Jesus told them to wait for a movement of the Holy Spirit. He knew that for a movement to accomplish the mission of God, it must be Spirit-led.
The longer we are in ministry, the easier it becomes to forget that this simple commandment also was meant for our lives and churches today. Jesus’ charge bids us to ask, is the Holy Spirit driving everything that we do? And, if God’s Spirit were suddenly removed from our churches, would our ministry look any different?
The presence and power of the Spirit is ours to reclaim—through empowered hearts, lives, cultures and movements.
An Empowered Heart
Although the heart is desperately wicked, the good news is that we can be filled by the Spirit. The call of the empowered heart is to be emptied of striving and control. Acts 1:4 indicates that there is an empowerment that we should lead and live out of, but that we must wait for it—for him.
To pursue the fullness we were intended for, we must first recognize our emptiness. Having a holy dissatisfaction—a desire for personal renewal and living in a new way—allows us to embrace the idea that there is more, and opens us to a work of the Holy Spirit.
An Empowered Life
Allowing the Spirit to have an impact in our lives is not meant to be a one-time event but an ongoing occurrence. God is calling us to live an empowered life in which we discover how to keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). To do so, we must recapture the power of prayer and other personal disciplines.
Adopting Jesus’ lifestyle is essential to truly following him. Practices that Jesus observed such as prayer, simplicity and solitude positioned him to be in communion with his Father and move in the Spirit’s power. Our hearts leak in ways that require us to be refilled and refueled by the power of the Spirit, so we need to regularly create space and availability to receive all the Spirit’s power and presence God made us for.
An Empowered Culture
Church leaders have the unique opportunity to build an empowered church culture by creating a dependency on the Holy Spirit. This requires a willingness to ask for, depend on and listen to his leading. It means allowing people to wrestle with questions and letting the Spirit speak to their hearts.
Additionally, it involves an acknowledgment that each person in the church possesses “different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:4), and necessitates the development of communal practices of dependency on the Holy Spirit. An empowered culture calls us to withdraw from the culture that we have become assimilated to and return to the words of Jesus when he said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).
An Empowered Movement
As leaders continually shape a culture that is dependent on the Holy Spirit, an empowered movement will begin. Churches will join forces to ask for an awakening and revival. It is then that we will see a move of the Spirit like we read about in Acts 2: “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved … and about 3,000 were added to their number that day.”
A hunger is growing across the Western church to see God move among us like he has before. The brokenness and disorientation of this cultural moment is the greatest evangelistic opportunity of our lifetime. God knows what to do, and he is uniting his church in increasing dependence on his power and provision.
What Are We Waiting For?
God uses different moments in time to ignite the kindling of our willingness and availability. What begins with a sense that there must be more is fulfilled in a newfound empowerment to action. The same empowered commission that was promised to the first followers of Jesus is promised to us as well. We have received everything we need from the Holy Spirit to play our part in taking the gospel to a changing world.
It is time to ask God for a moment in which he reveals his will for our ministries through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. And, together, we can work toward and pray for another Great Awakening in our time.
Empowered: Moving With the Spirit is Exponential’s theme throughout 2022. For more information, go to Exponential.org/2022.