Everyday Evidence

Last week we learned that speaking in tongues was one of the most noticeable and consistent characteristics of those who were baptized in the Holy Spirit. 

Speaking in tongues as the Spirit enables you is the unmistakable, objective, outward, initial physical evidence. The Bible makes clear that continuing to pray in tongues has huge benefits for both our personal prayer lives and for the corporate church body. But don’t stop there! 

The initial, outward evidence is primarily for the individual Christian—it’s a way of knowing that you know that you have indeed been baptized in the Spirit. But there also needs to be some everyday evidence for others that testifies to them that something is different about your life. 

Consider the disciples of Jesus before and after being baptized in the Holy Spirit…

Their vocabulary

Before being baptized in the Spirit they said stupid things because they didn’t know what to say (Mark 9:5-6) But after being baptized in the Spirit there was no more foot-in-mouth disease. Just as the Holy Spirit enabled them to praise God in an unlearned tongue, He also empowered their natural dialect. The same Greek word is used in Acts 2:4 (enabled by the Holy Spirit), 2:14 (Peter addressed the crowd), and 26:25 (what I am saying is true and reasonable). 

Their spiritual power

Before it was limited, and often thwarted, but afterward, it was limitless and effortless (Mark 9:17-18; Acts 3:1-8; 5:15; 6:8).

Their understanding of servanthood

Before they argued about who was the greatest. Afterward, they gladly gave all that they had to others (Mark 9:33-34; Acts 2:44-45). 

Their boldness in the face of adversity

Before they abandoned Jesus, ran away, and hid in locked rooms. Afterward, there was no intimidating or silencing them (Acts 4:8, 13, 18-20). 

Their understanding of Scripture

Before they had virtually no understanding of Scripture’s application. Afterward, they understood how to apply God’s Word in almost every situation (Acts 2:16, 33-35; 4:24-26). 

Jesus promised that the baptism in the Holy Spirit would empower us TO BE His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Not just to do things for Him. There’s nothing wrong about doing Jesus-glorifying things, but in themselves, they are too short-sighted. Jesus doesn’t want us empowered to do things, but TO BE a living, breathing, walking, talking witness of a life transformed by His power. That’s the reason why I say to you again and again: Don’t stop at salvation. Press on and press in to be baptized in the Holy Spirit so that you can BE an empowered, transformed and transforming witness for Jesus!

Join me this Sunday as we continue to explore what it means for Christians to be Pentecostal. 

God’s Promises Every Day (book review)

Psychologists tell us that babies are only born with two innate fears, yet many people’s lives are constricted because of numerous fears that they have allowed to creep in. A great way to begin defeating those fears is by learning what God has to say about them, and a great place to begin that journey is with Jack Countryman’s book God’s Promises Every Day.

It’s not very effective to simply tell ourselves, “Don’t be afraid of that.” Instead, we need something with more authority—like God Himself. The Bible is jam-packed with promises that God has given us; promises that will counteract our limiting fears. 

Jack Countryman has put together a marvelous resource to bolster your fight against crippling fears every single day. Each day’s reading begins with a short portion of Scripture, followed by just a couple of short paragraphs unpacking the truth in that Scripture, and then concluding with a one-sentence-long prayer based on that biblical truth. 

Short, but very powerful and effective! The Bible itself says that faith is built by hearing and applying God’s Word, and that’s exactly what God’s Promises Every Day makes so accessible to us.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus refuted every one of satan’s attack by quoting a portion of Scripture. Reading this book every day will similarly arm you to attack the temptations and fears that the enemy wants to throw at you as well. 

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer. 

Thursdays With Oswald—Public And Private

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Public and Private 

   My worth to God in public is what I am in private.

From Run Today’s Race

Run Today’s Race contains short statements from Oswald Chambers intended to stimulate Christians to ponder things like:

  • Do I spend enough time alone with God, or am I too quick to run off to accomplish my tasks?
  • Am I listening to what God really wants to tell me in private?
  • Am I applying those private lessons to my public life?
  • Jesus spent much time in solitude with His Father; am I spending enough time in solitude with God?

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Be not satisfied, my dear friends, with being saved; desire to know how you are saved, why you are saved, the method by which you are saved. It is a rock on which you stand, I know, but think upon the questions—how you were put upon that rock, by whose love you came there, and why that love was set on you. I would to God that all the members of this church were not only in Christ Jesus, but understood Him, and knew by the assurance of the understanding whereunto they have attained.” —Charles Spurgeon

“I get the impression that some Christians think there are two kinds of history, two kinds of time. First, there is Bible time, and Bible history. Things happened in the Bible that were unique, and that we don’t expect to see happen in normal time and history, where we live, you know, today. Things like God doing extraordinary acts of deliverance, help, and support, or extraordinary empowerments for witness or service. Like Moses leading the people out of Egypt, or Joshua leading them to subdue the land of promise, or David leading an entire nation to build a glorious temple for the Lord. That was then, many Christians seem to think; this is now. But when we think this way we may be cutting ourselves off from one of the most powerful resources for visionary leadership, and that is the promise of the past … Visionary leaders understand that God has done remarkable, nearly incredible things in the past, and they reach back and recall those mighty works of God in order to encourage His people in the present. They recognize that the straight line of the covenant continues from Scripture through Church history right down to our day.” —T.M. Moore

“The psalmist does not yield. He battles unbelief with counterattack. In essence, he says, ‘In myself I feel very weak and helpless and unable to cope. My body is shot and my heart is almost dead. But whatever the reason for this despondency, I will not yield. I will trust God and not myself. He is my strength and my portion’ [Psalm 73:26]. … God has put these testimonies in the Bible so that we might use them to fight the unbelief of despondency.” —John Piper

Yesterday I posted a book review about our brains. Here is 11 things you need to know to keep your brain healthy.

“If homosexuals are bullied, we need to protect them. If they’re unjustly discriminated against, we need to help them. If they’re treated with contempt, the person hurting them should be stopped. If a family member comes out as gay and then is belittled, harmed, or vilified, then the offending family needs to be corrected. If Christians ridicule people who identify as gay or lesbian, they need to admonished. If a church doesn’t welcome seekers of all stripes (including people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual), then it needs to change. But none of these circumstances are reasons to reinterpret Scripture to affirm homosexuality” (emphasis mine). Read more in Bad Reasons To Adopt Pro-Gay Theology.

The Compliment Of Application

As a pastor, sometimes I wonder if all of the time and effort I put into prayer, study, message prep and message delivery are effective. How do I gauge my effectiveness? One word: application.

I love seeing people not just listening, but doing. Applying what they’ve heard and what’s been revealed to them by the Holy Spirit is the greatest compliment a congregation could give a pastor.Sophie

So I am absolutely thrilled to see the incredible folks from Calvary Assembly of God so quickly applying what we’ve been discussing!

My inaugural series was called “I My Church.” We looked at the practical ways the Acts 2 Church turned dechurched people — those who knew about God but didn’t have a personal relationship with Him — into those who ’d their church. How exciting it is to see such immediate application in our community.

Just a couple of examples —

  • The message board in the lobby immediately sported the message “You are the church.”
  • Stephanie helped Sophie get into the act with her new t-shirt.
  • A group of our Impact! students volunteered their afternoon yesterday packing more food boxes than they could count for the needy.
  • Last week we cleaned the house of a woman recovering from hip surgery.
  • Tomorrow we’re helping a family move into their new house.

Wow, am I a proud pastor! I can’t wait to see how God is going to continue to use this group of committed people to change the world!

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