The Foursquare tribe is being encouraged by our leaders to make the Book of Acts the focal point of our family for 2011. The “lot” has fallen to me to draw my devotion this week from Acts, chapter two.
Initially, I thought surely Harold Helms or Jack Hayford should have been given this assignment, but then again, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39, NIV). At one time, everybody is “far off,” even Harold and Jack.
None of us miss the importance of the day recorded in Acts 2:1, when “Pentecost had fully come” (NKJV). Acts 2 has been considered the Pentecostal Primer for 2,000 years. The faithful Jew had been celebrating this feast since the time of Moses, but at this Pentecost, God would break in on their traditional yearly observance with a new thing, and the first fruits of Holy Spirit-empowered believers began to emerge.
None of those in the upper room—or any of us—would dare say that mere man could accomplish the task of making disciples of all nations. Yet that has been the on-again-off-again approach of the church for two millennia.
In their book, Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts, A.W. Tozer and editor Gerald B. Smith observe: “A Christian congregation can survive and often appear to prosper in the community by the exercise of human talent and without any touch from the Holy Spirit! All that religious activity and the dear people will not know anything better until the great and terrible day when our self-employed talents are burned with fire and only that which was wrought by the Holy Ghost will stand forever!”
Tozer also writes: “in most Christian churches the Spirit is quite entirely overlooked. Whether He is present or absent makes no real difference to anyone” (Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional). I suspect this is a sad commentary on ministry in general in Western Europe and North America.
While it may be true that the church has exercised its ministry in the power of human strength and wit, the Holy Spirit in every generation is faithful to bring the church back to the reality that being witnesses for Christ (see Acts 1:8) is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit.
Not only will our gospel witness be fruitless without His power, it also will not be fruitful if not aligned with the Word of God! There is a timeless truth from the mouth of the apostle Peter when he said: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams,’ ” (Acts 2:16-17, NIV).
The earliest moments of Spirit-empowered ministry took its lead from Scripture. That which was, should be that which still is! I pray that focusing on the book of Acts in 2011 will result in another level of renewal for all of us by His Word and His Spirit.
By: Michael McGovern, supervisor of the Great Northern District
- Share your journey through Acts. Comment below to share what God is showing you personally as the Foursquare family reads through Acts together this year!