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Summary: We are powerless to change things only because we give power away and do not know how to reclaim it. We can do so first by affirming that change comes only through Jesus Christ, and then by believing that He partners with us when we pray. To do any less

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We are never powerless. We think we are. We think we

cannot change the things that trouble us. But in fact we are

never powerless. We just give away our power.

We give away our power and do not know how to claim it

again. Those who have power over us have it only because

we let them have it.

The President of the United States is described as the most

powerful man on earth. For example, he is Commander-in-

Chief of all our armed forces. But he cannot at will do

whatever he wants with our military muscle. He must

operate within the law, he must consult with Congress, and

the President must win and keep the consent of the

American people. Viet Nam showed us that. So even the

most powerful man on earth has power only as we the

people give it. We are never powerless. Those who have

power over us have it only because we let them have it.

Sometimes I get a little envious of my colleagues in other

branches of Zion. Catholic priests and Episcopalian rectors

and Methodist pastors have power. They have authority,

and their people are supposed to do what Pastor says.

When Father Harmon was installed as rector of our

neighboring church, Trinity, Bishop Dixon admonished the

congregation to follow his guidance and treat him well, or

else, she said, “You will reckon with the bishop.” Must be

nice! I wonder where I can find a Baptist bishop!

And yet, I will wager that even in churches where the pastor

has power unlike anything known in a democratically

governed Baptist church, those pastors discover that really,

their power comes from their people. The pastor cannot lead

them where they refuse to go. Church people are never

powerless. They just give their power away. None of us are

without power. Those who have power over us have it only

because we give away our power.

I hear many of us talking about being powerless. I hear us

saying there is nothing we can do about the things that

trouble us. Nothing we can do about our own brokenness.

Nothing we can do about the plight of others. Nothing we

can do to change things. Too many of us feel powerless.

We feel frustrated at the immensity of our problems, and so

we give up. “What’s the use?” And we surrender without a

fight. We believe that against the forces of evil, against the

stubborn mischief of others around us, and against our own

shortcomings, we are powerless.

But we are never powerless. That is not what the Bible

teaches us. That is not what Christians who know their faith

believe. We are taught that we are never powerless. The

most wrong-headed, damaging, and blasphemous thing we

can say is that we are powerless to do anything about evil in

this world. It is wrong-headed because it ignores the facts.

It is damaging because it holds people back. It is

blasphemous because it means that we think that God is

powerless. No, hear the word of God: God is never

powerless; and so, we are never powerless.

But we do give away our power. We need to learn how to

claim it again, so that we are never powerless.

I

To do that, first we have to affirm that it is in Jesus Christ

and in Him alone that there is power to change anyone. We

have tried all kinds of strategies to effect change, but I

submit to you that anything that does not have at its core the

redeeming power of Jesus Christ is doomed to fail. In Jesus

Christ and in Him alone is there power to change.

Jesus was working to prepare His disciples so that they

could function once He left them. Jesus knew that He could

not stay with them and hold their hands for everything. They

would have to be responsible for their own lives and for their

world. That meant that Jesus would empower them. He

said something most challenging:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in

me ... I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the

Father except through me.”

“Do not let your hearts be troubled” That means, don’t feel

powerless. But know that in Him, in Jesus, there is the way

that lives are changed. If you want to feel empowered; if you

want to hope that your own brokenness or that the issues

others around you face can be dealt with, you must begin

with this: that in Jesus Christ and in Him alone there is the

power to change.

I know that this is a controversial point. I know that what I

am saying is not politically correct. We live in America,

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