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From Disappointed to Dynamic

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From disappointed to dynamic.doc                                                                  SD21

May 4, 2008                                                                                                    file: G2

From disappointed to dynamic

Acts 2

See if you can relate to the following —written by John Ortberg.

      "I am disappointed with myself. I am disappointed not so much with particular things I have done as with aspects of who I have become. I have a nagging sense that all is not as it should be.

      Some of this disappointment is trivial. I wouldn't have minded getting a more muscular physique. I can't do home repairs. So far I haven’t shown much financial wizardry.

Some of this disappointment, I know, is worse than trivial; it is simply the sour fruit of self-absorption. I attended a high school reunion and can't choke back the desire to stand out by looking more attractive or having achieved more impressive accomplishments than my classmates … I am disappointed in my ordinariness.

      But some of this disappointment in myself runs deeper. When I look in on my children as they sleep at night, I think of the kind of father I want to be. I want to create moments of magic, I want them to remember laughing until the tears flow … I want to have slow sweet talks with them as they're getting ready to close their eyes … I want to pray for them in a way that makes them feel cherished.

I look on them as they sleep at night, and I remember how the day really went: I remember how they were trapped in a fight over checkers and I walked out of the room because I didn't want to spend the energy needed to teach them how to resolve conflict. I remember how my daughter spilled cherry punch at dinner and I yelled at her about being careful as if she'd revealed some deep character flaw; I yelled at her even though I spill things all the time and no one yells at me; I yelled at her — to tell the truth — simply because I'm big and she's little and I can get away with it. I remember how at night I didn't have slow, sweet talks, but merely rushed the children to bed so I could have more time to myself. I'm disappointed.

      And it's not just my life as a father. I am disappointed also for my life as a husband, friend, neighbor, and human being in general. I think of the day I was born, when I carried the gift of promise, the gift given to all babies. I think of that little baby and what might have been: the ways I might have developed mind and body and spirit, the thoughts I might have had, the joy I might have created.

      I am disappointed that I still love God so little and sin so much. I always had the idea as a child that adults were pretty much the people they wanted to be. Yet the truth is, I am embarrassingly sinful." [ppg. 13,14 — "The Life You Always Wanted" — John Ortberg]

  • Could you relate to John's confession of disappointment with himself?
  • Have you ever been disappointed……with…
  • Have you ever wanted to be a better person? A better friend? A better spouse/parent? A better believer in Jesus Christ?
  • Have you ever been disappointed because you really wanted to break a destructive habit in your life? But you couldn't?
  • Have you ever been disappointed because you wanted to do great things for God and others? But you haven't? – Haven’t even tried—been afraid to???

If you answered yes to any of those questions … good!

… Because until we are utterly disappointed with our inability we aren't candidates for the ability God has for us through a partnership with the Holy Spirit! Our senior partner---

      (It's been called the — gift of inadequacy)

A senior Partner in business is the silent partner behind the scenes who gives direction, and who invests his resources and entrusts them in a junior partner with the goal of achieving success in the venture the have embarked upon…

The Holy Spirit is our senior partner

      He provides the resources, the power and the motive to accomplish the work that Jesus has entrusted to us…to go into all the world and make disciples for Him…

As the group of disciples left the Mount of Olives after Jesus had given them orders to go to Jerusalem to wait for the Promise of the Father—they were simply acting in obedience with no pre-conceived notion of what to expect.

      Certainly filled with questions

      Wonder at what had occurred

            Awed by the experience of the risen Lord

                  Yet still lacking in something…

For 10 days they waited

      While the waited the prayed, studied the scriptures and spent time with each other…they must have been working through some issues

      They must have forgiven each other for the ways they had acted…because it wasn’t until they were in one accord that the Holy Spirit showed up…

God used three signs for his presence on that specific day…

      Each related to his history of dealings with His people in the past…

WIND---they heard the sound of a mighty wind blowing

      Wind (ruach—in Hebrew, pneuma—in Greek) had always been a symbol of His presence…the breath of God!

God spoke

      God breathed

·         The ruach of God or breath of God was what God breathed into Adam that made him a living soul!

·         The ruach of God or breath of God was what Ezekiel was told to prophesy to the valley of dry bones so that they could live!

·         A mighty wind blew and the Red Sea parted

The sound of a rushing mighty wind, said this is — God's life-giving presence is here! This is the breath of God

Wind is also an element that man cannot control

      From early days we have learned to harness its power

Before power engines we put sails on ships and charted courses through the seas.

Meteorologists have charted the isobars and predict the windy days…

Giant wind-driven turbines now produce electrical power to light our homes

But no one can control the wind

      The tornadoes in the east are apt testimony to our failure to protect ourselves from the fury unleashed by violent winds.

Jesus used the wind to illustrate the work of the Holy Spirit when a person is born again (born from above)—John 3—he spoke to a confused Nicodemus:  “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.”

This is spirits work when a person is saved—

The Spirit comes in when we receive Christ—a life is revolutionized in a moment’s time—God breathes his spirit into us—an astounding miracle transforms the human spirit

      Yet no eye can see the powerful impact

The ear does not hear the mighty operation of the Spirit when a soul is saved—when man is born again—

      We can see the result—a life changed, perhaps a person bowed at an altar---but unless that altar experience alters the life it is a disappointing experience…

Luke uses the wind to describe the Spirits sweep through the upper room as a rushing mighty wind---the Spirits work on Pentecost was open, conspicuous—overpowering…

      A heavenly tornado that continued to blow the disciples around the world with the transforming message of Jesus Christ.

FIRE—in the upper room where they were in one accord in one place the observed what appeared to be a ball of fire come down into the room and then separate and rest over the heads of each and every one of them…WOW

Again—it was a symbol known to those present of the activity of God in the history of the Jewish nation…

·         There were the fires upon the altars of acceptable sacrifices

·         The fire that came down on Elijah’s offering up on Mount Carmel

·         On two occasions God showed his approval by sending fire at the dedication of the New Temple

·         There was a pillar of fire that guided the Israelis by night across the desert plains of the Sinai

It was as though God were saying — "I accept you as my dwelling place!  As a group and as individuals!"   You are my people!!!!

That's why the apostle Paul would tell the Corinthians — "You are the temple (the house/dwelling place) of the Holy Spirit!"

Fire—it too can be a thing of beauty or destruction

      Fire runs our cars with a little spark of fire in a piston chamber

      Fire warms our homes—with wood stoves and gas heaters…

      Fire gives us romantic moments and exciting fire-works…

            It too can also be destructive – out of control…

AND THEN THERE WAS THE SPEECH—speaking in languages not known by the one speaking—tongues.

This is the only one of the three symbols that was repeated in later times when people received the Holy Spirit

Prophetic speech was always a way that people knew of God’s message---and presence among the Jewish nation of the OT.

      Prophets would deliver God’s message to His people!

Let me give you a couple of examples — Numbers 11:25-30, Joel 2:28,29

Numbers 11:25-29 (NLT)
25 And the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Then he gave the seventy elders the same Spirit that was upon Moses. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But this never happened again. 26 Two men, Eldad and Medad, had stayed behind in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but they had not gone out to the Tabernacle. Yet the Spirit rested upon them as well, so they prophesied there in the camp. 27 A young man ran and reported to Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” 28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ assistant since his youth, protested, “Moses, my master, make them stop!” 29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all!”

Joel 2:28-29 (NIV)
28 ‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

Prophetic speaking -- was an undeniable sign of God's presence upon an individual-- and as the disciples began to proclaim God's greatness and mighty works in languages they had never learned it was an incredible confirmation that God was not only with them he was working in them and through them!

But note that each of the symbols of God’s presence demonstrate both the great benefit and the awesome danger when it is out of control

The scriptures warn over and over again about the danger of a tongue out of control—it is a fire born of hell itself…says James.

      Our speech has the power to build up or tear down

            Encourage or discourage

I believe it is appropriate that God reminds us through the baptism in the Holy Spirit that we must always keep our tongues under His control---not merely through the exercise of the gift of tongues but in our daily life---THAT our words would be dedicated to HIM---always used for His purpose!!!!

The signs on the Day of Pentecost reminded the people that
God was among them---it also reminded them of their own powerlessness without God…

It would remind them of Jesus’ own words,  “without me you can do nothing…”

The upper room was filled with men and woman who realized they just didn't have what it takes … they knew that their best efforts weren't good enough!

  • Peter meant it when he told Jesus he would die for him ? but when crunch time came --- he caved!
  • The disciples all pledged their loyalty to Christ -- but when he was arrested they ran and hid -- fearing for their lives!

Acts 2 describes what an appointment with the Holy Spirit can do to the disappointments in our lives … and by studying what happened to, in, and through the disciples … we discover how to go from being — disappointed disciples to dynamic disciples!

We can learn to work with our Senior Partner to become all that we are meant to be…

To become dynamic Christian Believers in partnership with God through the active power of the Holy Spirit…

I encourage you to open your life—and invite the Holy Spirit to take you to a new level of faith and experience in Christ…

The chief goal of our Senior Partner is to exalt Jesus on the earth…

John 16:14 (NIV)
14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

It is also our purpose—to know Christ Jesus and to make Him known to others…

As we approach this communion table will you pray—will you do two things:

      1. Ask Jesus to come into your life—give what is left of your life to Him…and determine to follow is leadership.

      2. Simply make yourself available to God the Holy Spirit to allow Him to fill you up and overflow your life till Jesus is known through you…


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