Summary: The Apostle Peter and the Prophet Joel testified that the Holy Spirit is able to do amazing things. Do we still believe in the Spirit’s power?

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Do You Feel the Spirit?

May 20, 2007

Acts 2:17-21

The Lord will pour out his Spirit like a mighty wind. So says the prophet Joel. So says Peter. The Lord will pour out his Spirit. When that happens, our young men and women will have visions. They will have the gift of prophecy. Signs will be visible in the heaven and on the earth. Great things will happen. Miracles will abound. Events only imagined will come to pass. All people will hear the gospel and believe. Do you believe that is possible? Or do you think that the story from Acts is just that…a nice story?

Do you believe that the wind of the Spirit can bring miracles? Do you believe that God, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit can do things that we think are unimaginable? Do you believe, for example, that the Holy Spirit can cast out demons?

I would like you to remember an incident in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Acts. Paul and Silas went to a prayer meeting one day. When they got there, they found a slave girl who was possessed by an evil spirit. This particular spirit enabled this girl to tell fortunes. Her master probably set her up in business. She put a sign out front, “Fortunes Told Here.” And she made a whole lot of money for him.

Paul saw what was going on. He came up to the girl and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her.” At that point, the evil spirit left the girl. The master was incredibly angry because he lost a steady stream of income, but the greater story is that she was free of her evil spirit. Do you believe in miracles?

Do you believe that God delivers us from danger? When Paul was in Damascus, he stirred up so much trouble that a crowd came to kill him. His friends let him down in a basket through an opening in the city wall, thus saving his life. Do you believe that God through the Holy Spirit can save us from danger?

Do you believe that God can take people who are hostile to the gospel and change them? Let’s remember Paul himself. He was on his way to Damascus to round up Christians in order to take them back to Jerusalem for persecution. God struck him down right there in the middle of the road. Then God picked him up and set him on the path to become the greatest missionary the church has ever seen.

Do you believe that God can do incredible things which, in our wildest imagination, we couldn’t even dream?

Giovanni Bernadone was born in Italy in 1182. His father, Pietro, was a wealthy businessman who bought and sold find fabrics. His mother, Pica, was French, and so after his father returned from a business trip to France, he renamed his son Francesco or “The Little Frenchman.”

Francesco was a child of luxury and grew to love the life of privilege and riches, but when civil war broke out between his birthplace and a rival city, he decided that he wanted more than anything to be a soldier. So when he was twenty years old, he joined the army, shortly after which he was captured and spent a year as a prisoner of war.

Due to the wealth of his family, Pietro was able to ransom his terribly ill son from prison. After a period of convalescence, Francesco decided that he wanted to join the Crusades and participate in winning back the Holy Land from the forces of Islam. God however, had other ideas.

Francesco was actually on his way toward the battles of Palestine when he had a vision in which God told him to return home and spend his time seeking God’s will for his life. On the return journey, Francesco continued to listen to God, and was led into a deeper and deeper sense that he was being called into a life of service.

One day, after he had arrived back home, he was meditating beside an old, abandoned church and distinctly heard God’s voice telling him to rebuild his church. At first, Francesco took that quite literally and so set about to restore the building. Later, he understood that it was a word meant to rebuild the spiritual heart of the church and especially to reach out to the poor.

One day, he went into his father’s shop, took some very expensive cloth, sold it, and gae the proceeds to the poor. Pietro was livid and took his son before the local bishop, demanding that restitution be made.

At that point, Francesco renounced his claim to his father’s estate and returned everything he had, even the clothes on his back. He stripped off his clothes, stood naked before the bishop, and spoke to his father. “Until now, I have called you father, but from now on I can say without reserve, ‘Our father who art in heaven.’ He is all my wealth and I place all my confidence in him.”

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