Summary: Part 12 of "Being the Church," focusing on the reasons why we don’t experience more of God’s power in our daily lives, and how God overcomes them when we allow Him.
Stephen N. Collins
Millville – 8/31/08
Being the Church
God’s Power to Change Your Life
Scripture: Acts 19:8-20
Icebreaker: I was browsing in a souvenir shop when the man next to me struck up a conversation. Just as he was telling me that his wife was getting carried away with her shopping, a brief power shortage caused the lights to flicker overhead. "That," he sighed, "must be her checking out now."
Received from Thomas Ellsworth.
Intro: Our power sources wane sometimes. But consider God’s power. With a wave of His hand, he can carve out a canyon, shift the tides, or fling a million stars into space. He can topple a mountain or slice an atom, rearrange the seasons or redesign a snowflake.
-So then why doesn’t He change the circumstances of our lives with the same “wave of His hand” kind of power? Let’s be honest, we all go through time in our lives when we wish God would just “fix things.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed that God would just snap his fingers and make everything right during certain periods of my life. But in my experience, that rarely happened. And the more I get to know people, the more I see that scenario play itself out.
-So what gives? If God has the power to change our circumstances, why doesn’t He? Does He not care? Is He punishing us? Is He weak?
-This morning, I’d like to suggest to you that every one of us who are followers of Jesus can experience God’s power in every area of our lives. The same God that we have seen powerfully working throughout our study in the book of Acts is the same God that you and I serve today.
-And this same God wants to give us a lives full of purpose and vigor. But how many people do you know that really live lives of full of purpose and vigor? If we’re truthful, not many. Most of us consider our day a success if find a good deal on gas somewhere. It will be a topic of conversation at the dinner. We’ll brag to our family on the phone. We’ll recommend the station to our co-workers. We may even testify at church that God helped us save 7 cents a gallon on gas!
-Maybe He did, but I can’t help but think that God wants so much more for our lives than cheap fuel. And I can’t help but believe that God wants to reveal His power in our lives in more ways than just 7 pennies per gallon.
-So why don’t we see His power revealed in our lives the way we feel it should be? That’s a good question. Let’s follow it up with two more: Could it be that your circumstances aren’t what needs to be changed? What if, instead of simply waving a magic wand and changes your circumstances, God changed you…from the inside, out?
-Imagine how things in your life would if you experienced that kind of power. The power of a new outlook. The power of a new mind. The power of a new heart. That’s the kind of power our God has. And that kind of power makes all the canyons and tides and mountains and stars pale in comparison.
-And that is what God wants to do for each of us. But there are forces at work against us…forces that keep us from tapping into that power. And until we allow God to fundamentally change us, we will never experience that kind of power. And the circumstances that we keep praying for God to change…will rarely get any better.
“If you could change on your own power, you would have already done so, but you can’t. That’s why you need a power source greater than yourself.”
-So this morning, we’re going to see in Acts 19 3 forces that keep us from experiencing God’s power, and how God overcomes them in our lives…if we will let Him.
(Read Acts 19:8-20 and Pray)
3 Forces that Keep Us From
Experiencing God’s Power
1. Fleshly Resistance (Vs. 19:8-9)
Illustration: (Getting in our own way) I was the last person in my kindergarten class to learn to tie my shoes. Not because I couldn’t, but because I refused to.
-I was like the little girl who had been trying for months to learn the art of tying her shoes. She finally grasped the knack and was able to do it by herself. Her parents expected her to be delighted, but were surprised by her disappointment. Her father asked why she was crying. She sobbed, “I just learned how to tie my shoes.” He told her, “That’s wonderful, honey, but why are you crying?” She told him, “Because now I’ll have to do it all by myself for the rest of my life.”