Read Acts 1:1-11
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)
The way Luke tells the story in Acts, this is the last thing that Jesus says to his friends before he ascends into heaven. I imagine that after this they were ready to take on the world, but sometimes I also wonder about the dialogue or thoughts that didn’t end up getting recorded. What did they initially think or say? I wonder if the disciples felt immediately empowered and confident or if they had to wrestle through feelings of doubt or inadequacy. Did they ever lose heart or were they, as often portrayed, laser focused and always faithful? Beyond what is written down in scripture, I don’t know. My only other reference point is my own life as a disciple. Often, shortly after a powerful or confidence building experience the poison darts of doubt seem to penetrate my being. I feel the sting of that which would try to undermine my identity as a child of God. In my younger days this usually turned into major setbacks and frustration. In the last few years, however, I have come to a place where I feel much more confident being the person created me to be. I am good at some things, and that is a gift from God. I am also not good at some things, but God’s power is made great in my weakness. One of the things I feel like I am learning, however, is to anticipate the attacks that will surely come. I am learning to name them – to call them what they are and proclaim Jesus’ victory over them even before that is fully realized.
My family and I are getting ready to embark on a new adventure in mission soon. We are moving to a new city and a new church community with new challenges and opportunities. Honestly, we could not be more excited, but the attacks have been coming from all fronts. It has been a hard couple of weeks. Last night I feel like I was set free by launching a counter attack of worship and praise. I led worship with a community of people through a local ministry here and as I sang the words, “I am set free” repeatedly in a song by the same name… I was. I came into the night with a headache and failing energy and a depleted spirit yet God’s power was made perfect in my weakness. I was set free, and I feel like others in the room were as well.
So bring it! The Spirit of God is alive and well – living in me and through me and I will be his witness here and there and to the very ends of the earth.