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Not by Might, Pt. 3

Mark is an ordained minister, treading the tumultuous waves of a developing writing career, daring to dream a new dream.

man holding a coiled rope

man holding a coiled rope

Three Questions

I’ve had the privilege of serving on the staff of several churches. One of my earliest tasks was to learn the history of each respective church. I wanted to get a feel for what the neighborhood was like, the founding members, the original pastors, especially the struggles. The history of any church can give you a better feel for the capability of the church.

Consider the current and future ministry focus of your church? How do you ensure the current ministry continues to be a godly influence on the community? How do we ensure the ministry receives the blessing of the future? This plan doesn’t involve mergers, acquisitions, or some ‘belly flop’ investment practice. It should always involve and depend upon God.

Let us agree on this. No one wants any ministry to fade into obscurity, but maintaining the status quo usually means “stagnant”. We want to have an active plan, a robust process, an enduring vision that will enhance, expand, and deepen the godly influence on this community. So, to do this, where do we begin?

First, how's your relationship with the Holy Spirit?

shaking hands in front of a window

shaking hands in front of a window

The Corinthian church was a complete spiritual disaster. The ministry conducted by the Corinthians at one time was powerful and effective. Yet, Paul reminds them they cannot do any godly thing on their own. The power to do good, godly, and eternal things comes from God alone. While our weapons do not resemble bullets or bombs, they are more than capable of destroying the enemy's stronghold. (2 Corinthians 10:4) Let us learn, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”

As the people of God in this time and place, where do we live? Do we live in the Wilderness of Zin, where the Israelites wandered for forty years, never entering the Promised Land? (Numbers 14:26-32) They had hopes, dreams, plans, programs, and activities. They had God’s promises of health and blessing, but the risks, fears of the unknown, the commitment, the obedience were too much for them. They stayed in the wilderness and died. They never learned, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”

Do we live in the Wilderness beyond the Jordan, where John the Baptist proclaimed, “... repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand”? Have we fled the wrath that is to come? Are we hard at work making rough places smooth, lowering mountains, and raising valleys? Do we feel the cool waters of baptism and expect the coming of the Messiah? (Matthew 3:1-3) What are our hopes, dreams, and plans? Do we know God’s promises of health and blessing? Those that followed John met Jesus, but are we in any better position to learn, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit?”

Second, who’s in charge?

man holding a gavel behind desk

man holding a gavel behind desk

When we consider the past, present, and future, what are our plans for God? When we pray, invoke God’s spirit, intercede on behalf of anyone, what do we expect? Do we expect suns to shine, stars to twinkle, seas to part, or rushing mighty winds? When we express our intent in our plans for God, did we ask what God thought about them? When we consider our resources (people, time, money, energy), do we ask God what he thinks we’re capable of? If the Children of Israel, handpicked by God, died in the wilderness because they tested God's Spirit rather than be obedient, what might happen to us? Are we following in the footsteps of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) who died because they lied to the Holy Spirit? Are we following in the footsteps of Philipp the Evangelist (Acts 8:4-40) who evangelized Africa because he obeyed the Holy Spirit? Are we willing to disregard tradition for the sake of the gospel as Peter did (Acts 10)?

When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed for unity among his disciples in spirit and purpose. But what is “oneness” in the Spirit of God? What is the focus and vision of the church, the Body of Christ? What does it mean when the church decides, sets a goal, or gives its support? What are the expectations of the church when the church decides? When we, as the Body of Christ, make decisions that affect the Kingdom of God, are we going to follow through with it? Are we going to support those decisions made in due process? We must put all our individual desires aside and take a risk. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”

Third, how can I serve?

The Spirit of God calls us as individuals to obedient action for a kingdom purpose. So, we all have an important role to play. Yet, the Bible tells us not only that we shouldn’t go it alone (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Peter 5:8) but that we needn’t go it alone. The Bible clearly tells us we are all responsible for the community of faith around us (Acts 7; Hebrews 10:23-25). God loves it when ‘the Body of Christ’ lays siege to the devil’s schemes.

As we’ve proven time and time again, when we pool our collective time and talents together, the kingdom of God benefits. As you look around, what can you do to move the kingdom forward? Where can you move us forward? Where is the greatest potential for you to be involved in that will change a life?

Can you imagine that your direct influence could save someone’s life? Do you believe that your gifts, times, energy, money, could send someone straight to heaven? (I won’t mention that opposite because we don’t want to do that, do we?) Even though your personal involvement might not seem significant. (Mark 12:41) God can make big things happen. (Luke 9:13-17) The problem lies with us because we don’t think God is capable because we’re too small.

This is the heart of the problem and the solution. Is your God too small? If the Israelites had not believed God wasn’t capable (Numbers 13:25-33) there would be five fewer books in the Old Testament.

The Holy Spirit can do great and mighty things among us. All of them are too wonderful to imagine, but we can dream, make plans, and set goals. We can certainly become united in focus and direction. Let’s come together and lay siege to the kingdom of darkness because we know and believe that our God is mighty and capable of great things.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Mark Lewis

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