Summary: In this New Year (2010) will we take the challenge to be humble, open to the Holy Spirit, have a repentant heart, a genuine hunger and thirst for God, pursue holiness, stay continually anointed and be of one mind and spirit within the Body of Christ.
Introduction: Something’s happening ... This last week I began reading a book by James Rutz. James wrote this book to make the Christian church aware that God is moving all across the world. His observations are a wake-up call to the American Christian and churches in America. Listen to some of his thoughts: "Miracles are happening like popcorn starting to pop. That alone is amazing. But they are also attracting global numbers that no movement in history has ever seen. Back in 1970, the world had 71 million core apostolic, born again Christians with a vision to reach out to the world. As of mid-2000, it had 707 million. That comes to 11% of the planet. And it doesn’t even count the more than one billion Christians who are growing too slowly to fall within the fast-growing core. Their ingrown cultures, spiritual inertia, or liberal beliefs have stunted their growth. But surprisingly, it does not include North America and Europe, where the overall growth rate for Christians is zero …
During our holiday in Canada in November this year, I was invited to preach at an Asian church. As soon as we entered the church I could sense a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit in that place. We had an awesome time of worship. During the preaching I saw a number of people already in tears. As soon as the preaching got over and we were transiting into the final response song, the worship service broke out into a revival meeting. We were not expecting this. The Holy Spirit is manifested when least expected. God has His way in everything. He does things in marvelous ways.
God taught me a lot during that worship service. What did I see and observe amongst the people in that congregation? This is what God placed upon my heart as I bring forth His Word to you this evening. Vision 2010!
What will it take on our part to ‘Awaken, Renew and have a Revival’ in Iowa and possibly the US?
1. Humility ~ [Matthew 20: 26]
As a 7-year-old, Richard Bernstein admired Jackie Robinson’s athletic ability and courage as the first African-American man to play Major League baseball in the modern era. A few years later, while working at a small-town golf course, Bernstein was astonished to find himself carrying the bag of his hero, Jackie Robinson. When rain postponed the game, Robinson held an umbrella over the two of them and shared his chocolate bar with the young caddy. Writing in The International Herald Tribune, Bernstein cited that humble act of kindness as a mark of greatness he has never forgotten.
True greatness is shown by humility, not pride. This was powerfully demonstrated and taught by Jesus Christ, who told His ambitious disciples: “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20: 26 - 28).
When God Himself walked on earth as a man, He washed feet, welcomed children, and willingly gave His life to deliver us from the self-centered tyranny of sin. His example gives credence to His command.
We can do great things for the Lord if we are willing to do little things for others.
2. Open to the Holy Spirit ~ [John 3: 8]
Historian Laurel Ulrich received a Pulitzer Prize for her book The Midwife’s Tale. The book was based on the diary of Martha Ballard, who lived during the American Revolution. Martha was a midwife who traveled by canoe, horse, or sometimes on foot to assist women in delivering their babies. At a time when many women died in childbirth, Martha’s track record was extraordinary. In more than 1,000 deliveries, she never lost a mother in childbirth.
In God’s kingdom, there is a spiritual Helper who produces new life. But His role is to bring about “second birth” (John 3: 5 - 8). The Holy Spirit uses a variety of ways to accomplish this. He convicts the world of sin (John 16: 8), empowers the gospel (1 Thessalonians 1: 5), regenerates us from within (Titus 3: 5), and places believers into eternal union with Christ (1 Corinthians 12: 12 - 13). Though He is invisible, His life-changing activity can be clearly seen.
Jesus said of the Holy Spirit: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3: 8).
The Spirit desires to use us in sharing the gospel so others can experience that second birth.
The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s source of power.