In his bestselling book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg draws a comparison between the flight behavior of birds and human behavior.
Ornithologists say birds have three methods of flight. The first is flapping—keeping their wings in constant motion to counteract gravity. Hummingbirds can flap up to 70 times per second. Flapping keeps you up in the air, but it is a lot of work.
A second flight method is gliding. Here the bird builds up enough speed, then coasts downward a while. It is much more graceful than flapping, but unfortunately it does not get the bird very far. Reality in the form of gravity sets in quickly. Gliding is nice, but it does not last.
Then there is the third way—soaring. Only a few birds, like eagles, are capable of this. Eagles’ wings are so strong that they are capable of catching rising currents of warm air—themal winds that go straight up from the earth—and without moving a feather can soar up to great heights. Eagles have been clocked at up to 80 mph without flapping at all. They just soar on invisible columns of rising air.
When Jesus gave the final instructions to His closest disciples, He let them know the plan going forward and the purpose behind the plan. The same power that they had seen demonstrated time and time again would rest on them and in them. It would energize them for the mission of spreading the gospel (the good news of redemption through Jesus Christ). But first, they had to wait—they were told not to leave Jerusalem until that power came (Acts 1:4).
Much of our life is spent “flapping” and “gliding” to get us to where we need to go. But Jesus suggested that “soaring” is what He really intended for us. And it is totally dependent on the “wind” of the Holy Spirit. That’s where waiting comes in. Waiting is not a time of inactivity, but a time of preparation for what is being anticipated. It is a time to engage actively in prayer and fasting to seek God’s direction and guidance. True empowerment comes to the heart that is available and aligned with His person and His purpose.
That’s one of the reasons that we are stoked about the season before us. The Global Call to Prayer + Fasting for the first 21 days of 2016 is given in anticipation of God’s eager willingness to equip and empower His church for these days. The world desperately needs an empowered church, not just a busy one. The Burris household is a “no flapping” and “no gliding” zone in 2016. We’re totally committing ourselves to be a “soaring” zone for Him. I hope you’ll join us.
To participate in this spiritual adventure, sign up to receive a daily update on the specific focus points of that day. Also, I’d love for you to read the initial challenge that I shared about prayer and fasting.
There are at least 2 billion people who have never heard the name “Jesus” spoken or have never seen His name written. There are billions more who have heard but not yet been convinced.
Jesus said that Holy Spirit empowerment would take His message to the ends of the earth. That’s why we have chosen “Empowered” as our 2016 theme. Let it be so, Lord Jesus!
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