Don’t Try This On Your Own

Have you seen the stunt shows that carefully remind people: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME? Christianity comes with a similar warning: DON’T TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN.  I know even as I write that last line that our DIY nature is screaming in protest.  But the truth about being a Christian is that we cannot do it by ourselves.  As Robert Mulholland says in his book, Invitation to a Journey,self-reliance is deeply ingrained in us.  To allow someone else to control our life is seen as weakness, to be avoided at all costs.” (p. 20)

Stated another way: We need God’s power to live the Christian life.  We need God’s power to do God’s work.  For the most part, western Christianity seems ingloriously oblivious to the absence of the power of God.  We have become professional imitators (fakers) of the power of God.  It has become so common for churches to replicate a worked-up emotionalism that we are incapable of discerning a real encounter with God.  Words like “atmosphere,” “experience,” “amazing” are all dead give aways of the inverted strategy of the church.  It’s far too common to see the gap between our parking lot behavior and our sanctuary performance. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m an insider.  I love the church.  I believe we are seeking after the transcendent God.  We long for more because we need more.  We are built for more.  But we are tragically prone to imbibe imitations of the real thing.  We are thrill seekers by nature.  But that makes us susceptible to fakes and phonies.  We need power from on high. 

Knowing man’s tendency toward self-reliance and self-generated results, Jesus told His disciples to “stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).  He’s referring to His promise recorded in John 14.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.  18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”  

The promised Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity who would come to inhabit every Christian giving them the dynamic power needed to live the Christian life.  Remember how Luke went on to describe this infusion of power in Acts 1:8: 

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

“Wait,” Jesus said!  Don’t run ahead of God.  You need power to do what I’ve told you to do.  And if you wait for the promised Holy Spirit, you will be “clothed with power from on high.” 

I’d love to have you join me on Sunday at one of our two services (9AM or 11AM) when we will study this promise from Jesus to “cloth you with power from on high.”  I’m looking forward to showing you the evidences that you are clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Pastor Deric

Who Will Roll Away The Stone For Us?

Removing the heavy stone that blocked the entrance to Jesus’ tomb was the first barrier that stood in the way of Mary fulfilling her mission to anoint the body of Jesus.  As they approached the tomb, the women asked, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.” 

“Don’t be alarmed,” the angel said.  “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen! He is not here.  See the place where they laid him7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Christians face a similar challenge even today.  Make no mistake about it.  The full force of the death-defying, hell-defeating, sin-demolishing, devil-chasing power of Jesus Christ is resident in the life of every Christian.  The sad reality is that way too high a percentage of Christians live a sub-standard faith.  The resurrection narrative of the first Easter morning is divorced from the day-to-day life of the average Christian.  But listen to the way that Paul described the power that is at work in us who believe in Jesus in Romans Chapter 6:4-5

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

That’s just one of the many places in the New Testament where we are told that the resurrection power of Jesus is resident and working in our lives.  We have been resurrected to new life in Christ.  We have received spiritual and moral power by being united with Jesus in His resurrection life.  The potential in every Christian life is astronomical, i.e., heavenly. 

So, why so many discouraged and defeated Christians?  The answer is that we aren’t prepared to roll the heavy stones in our lives away by faith.  Let me say it again.  At the moment of your salvation, you received everything you need to live a life of faith and obedience, but you must also “roll the heavy stones” away in your life.  You must pass through the flood waters to prove that you can’t drown.  You must face your giants.  You must step down into the water before they will part.  You must count the cost and go the distance.  When you start rolling the heavy stones in your life away by the power of the one who got back up out of the grave, you begin walking in the power of the resurrected Jesus.

I see this all the time as a pastor.  I watch people face their burdens often with broken hearts but in faith.  The heavy stones roll away.  They grow from “faith to faith.”  Their path is growing brighter each day.  Never easy or without strain, but stronger none the less. 

What is the heavy stone that stands in your way?  Fear, regret, shame, unbelief, habits, hang-ups, or hurts?  Your strength will never be enough.  But as you learn to live by faith in the Lord’s presence and power in your life, the stone is rolled away.  He will roll every stone away as you face it in faith.  He promises.  And if He kept His promise of resurrecting, He will keep His promise to you. 

He is Risen!  And you are risen with Him.  Now live the overcoming life you are meant to enjoy. 

See you on Resurrection Sunday at one of our three morning services: 8:15, 9:45, 11:30.
Pastor Deric