Sunday’s Message | September 25, 2016
Series: Building A Church From the Ground Up
Message: Flipping the Switch (2/8)
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
The Spirit will lead you into the way of the cross, as He led Jesus to the cross, and that is definitely not a safe or pretty or comfortable place to be. The Holy Spirit of God will mold you into the person you were made to be. – Francis Chan
What were you made to be? I ask myself that same question just about once a week – usually in the middle of the week when my deadlines are starting to break and my expectations for the week are running away like malicious gremlins bent on destruction.
So, I sit down with my Bible and a cup of espresso and ask God, “Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” Now, I’ve been ordained in pastoral ministry for six years. I guess a lot of people might ask, “isn’t that good enough?” Hey, when I was working in a graphic design studio ten years ago, I would have asked the same question. “Really – isn’t it kind of sown-up for pastors? Of course they’re serving Christ and His Kingdom! Not like us 50-hour-a-week grunts just trying to pay mortgage and keep our kids flush in Fruit Loops and iPods!”
Ah, hindsight. As I get older, I have more hind to sight, and I have a different set of glasses to use when looking. One thing that hasn’t changed in the years between shifting from design & marketing to pastoral ministry is: the nature of my Christian anointing.
An Anointing for Ministry vs. Super Power for Super-Christians
God often does something for a specific purpose. Say He gathers thousands of people in one place on earth and then pours out His Spirit on a few of them, in order to promote the good news of Jesus as Savior. That should mean something for us; not just in how we know God but how we relate to him and how we serve His Kingdom purpose. The point of Pentecost gives us some perspective on our daily life: if we are Christians, then we should be more defined by how we serve the Gospel of Christ than by our dreams, desires, schooling, income, address or even our family.
“Wait a minute – you’re the minister. You went to school and got a fancy degree to be a minister. I get up wondering if I’m going to catch the bus on time.”
If you and I have the Holy Spirit by faith in Jesus as our Savior, then you and I were called to Christ and anointed to be His ministers. Again, I can hear your thoughts: “Wait a minute – you’re the minister. You went to school and got a fancy degree to be a minister. I get up wondering if I’m going to catch the bus on time. You get paid to read theology all day; I (barely) get paid to deal with angry people all day.” If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re not entirely wrong. But, here’s something else to think about:
Out of the 120a people in the first Christian Church of Jerusalem, only 12 were “Apostles” with the power and authority of Christ to preach and teach. Only 12 were professional ministers. What do you think the other 108 people did on a daily basis?
Take Doctor Lucas, the writer of the Gospel of Luke and Acts. We know that he was a doctorb, and most likely he trained for several years to be one. While a Christian, having the Holy Spirit and assured of the forgiveness of sins, we have no record that he healed people miraculously. We don’t even know if he spoke in tongues or prophesied or any of the “super” things Christians are supposed to do. Luke did his regular doctoring according to the training he had. But, he also lost his life for Christ – he went with the Apostles Peter and Paul on various trips and recorded their preaching. The Spirit of God made Doc’ Lucas a servant to the Cross of Christ.
Later, in the Bible we read about Lydia (a fashion buyer), Onesimus (a slave), and many others who had regular, everyday jobs, but became more defined by God’s work in the Gospel of Christ than by the regular problems of their day job – even though they didn’t completely abandon their day job.
A Unique Opportunity
Our lives boil down to a lot of either/or choices. Lots of times, I make these decisions based on how they will make me happy. I wonder how many decisions go by that, had I made the decision to become more involved with the Gospel – with my job and my family – I would be fulfilling my anointing. And because of that, I’d have been even happier. What if we are missing out on a greater purpose and happiness by running from our anointing to be ministers of the Gospel? What if that’s the purpose that fulfills us like nothing else?
I may have talent to be an artist and a public speaker, but I think I question my purpose less when I spend more time trying to live out my anointing in the Holy Spirit to serve God in “a royal priesthood”c – wherever, however, and whenever God defines that.
a Acts 1.15
b Colossians 4.14
c I Peter 2.9