Participants: Mike Leno
Series Code: FC
Program Code: FC000038
00:30 The launch of the space shuttle is always exciting.
00:32 You've probably seen it on television.
00:34 They start with T minus 20 minutes
00:37 and then it comes down
00:39 and pretty soon its T Minus 10 minutes,
00:41 and T Minus 5 minutes and finally
00:43 those last 10 seconds and they count down.
00:47 Finally it's just five, four, three, two,
00:52 and then pretty soon you hear the rumble of the engines
00:54 and you hear the announcer say we have ignition.
01:00 At launch the space shuttle's two solid rockets consume
01:04 more then ten tones of fuel each second.
01:07 And produce 44 million horse power
01:11 equal to 14,700 locomotives
01:16 All that power, just waiting to be ignited
01:21 And when we have ignition,
01:23 it carries its pay load toward heaven.
01:28 You know my friends God has given us a power
01:32 infinitely greater than that of a rocket.
01:36 But I ask you today
01:38 what will ignite our souls for God
01:40 so that He can give us this power.
01:46 There is a crisis in our church today
01:50 and I believe in part at least, it's a crisis of power.
01:55 The church is not as powerful as it should be,
01:58 if you read the account of the early church
02:00 in the book of the Acts.
02:02 You see magnificent things happening,
02:05 you know, the Holy Spirit was moving.
02:08 And yet today many of our churches,
02:12 do not have the power that they should,
02:15 many of our individuals, many of our families,
02:18 do not have the power that they could.
02:24 The power I'm talking about
02:26 is not political, its spiritual power.
02:31 You see things have not changed,
02:34 the way they should have, we're still here.
02:38 People do not know the Gospel.
02:41 Oh yes, we are better organized,
02:44 we are better at technology,
02:47 we have better research on church growth.
02:49 We even know more better about the Bible
02:51 than probably ever had in any other time of history.
02:57 So what else do we want? What else do we need?
03:01 May be we're okay. Maybe--
03:03 Maybe this is the way it's supposed to be.
03:07 But if you go to the Bible with me,
03:08 I think you'll discover
03:10 that God really wants a whole lot more for us.
03:13 We go first to John 14:11 and 12,
03:19 Jesus is talking here.
03:21 "Believe me when I say
03:22 that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.
03:25 or at least believe on the evidence
03:27 of the miracles themselves.
03:28 I tell you the truth,
03:30 anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.
03:34 He will do even greater things than these,
03:37 because I am going to the Father.
03:42 Greater things than Jesus Christ even?
03:45 Can you imagine what was Jesus trying to say?
03:48 He healed the sick, He cleansed the lepers,
03:51 He forgave sinners.
03:56 And yet He says here in the Bible
03:59 that those who believe in Him
04:02 will do even greater things than He did.
04:08 Now we know that Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit,
04:13 And we know that the Holy Spirit was a source of power.
04:16 But exactly what does that mean,
04:18 let's go to John 3 verses 7 and 8.
04:25 John 3 verses 7 and 8.
04:29 Nicodemus came and talked to Jesus at night
04:33 and in the course of the conversation
04:34 Jesus said to Nicodemus,
04:36 "You should not be surprised at my saying,
04:38 'You must be born again.'
04:40 The wind blows wherever it pleases.
04:42 You hear its sound but you cannot tell
04:44 where it comes from or where it is going.
04:46 So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
04:52 Sometimes we want power,
04:56 but we want power in the way that we want power.
04:59 And we want the kind power that enables us to show off
05:04 and the kind of power that enables us to look strong.
05:09 In this conversation with Nicodemus,
05:11 we get the impression that perhaps
05:13 the power of the Spirit is a little different than that.
05:16 The wind blows where it wants to
05:18 but you can see the results of the wind.
05:20 It's like that with the work of the spirit,
05:21 you may not be able to see the Spirit directly,
05:24 but you can see its results.
05:27 What kind of result are we looking for?
05:30 Let's go to Acts 1:7 and 8.
05:37 In Acts 1, Jesus is again talking to His disciples.
05:43 And he says in Acts 1:7 and 8
05:48 "He said unto them,
05:49 It is not for you to know the times or dates
05:52 the Father has set by His own authority.
05:54 But you will receive power
05:57 when the Holy Spirit comes on you,
06:00 and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
06:03 and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
06:10 Here we again have a little bit of the clue
06:12 as to what the results of the Spirits power
06:14 is supposed to be, they were to be His witnesses.
06:17 The reason the power of the Spirit
06:18 was given is because Christ Himself
06:20 in His bodily form was gonna be gone.
06:23 And therefore His representative,
06:25 His presence through the spirit needed to be there
06:27 why so that the witness of the Gospel would go on.
06:30 There would be no brake in continuity
06:32 between Jesus ministry and the ministry of His followers.
06:35 The same Spirit would operate in both,
06:37 the Spirit would enable them to be witnesses,
06:39 first in Jerusalem and then to the ends of the earth.
06:43 Now let's turn to the next chapter Acts 2.
06:47 Acts 2 is that famous passage
06:50 that talks about the day of Pentecost.
06:52 Acts 2:14 to 18, "Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
06:59 raised his voice and addressed the crowd,
07:01 Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem,
07:04 let me explain this to you, listen carefully to what I say.
07:08 These men are not drunk, as you suppose.
07:11 It's only nine in the morning.
07:12 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel,
07:16 in the last days, God says,
07:18 I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
07:20 Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
07:23 your young men will see visions,
07:25 your old men will dream dreams.
07:27 Even on my servants, both men and women,
07:29 I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
07:31 and they will prophesy."
07:38 There is a lot of confusion in the church today
07:40 about what the power of the Spirit looks like.
07:43 In these texts that we have just read,
07:45 we got some clues.
07:47 We got some clues from Jesus,
07:49 who said that we could do even greater things than He.
07:54 We got some clues from his conversation with Nicodemus.
07:58 Which said the power of the Spirit
08:00 we may not be able to discern directly
08:02 but we will see its results.
08:04 We also got some clues from the first chapter of Acts.
08:08 When Jesus told His disciples that they would receive power
08:11 in order to be witnesses to the whole world.
08:14 And then in the Acts 2,
08:16 just after the upper room experience
08:18 where the tongues of fire had been poured out
08:20 on the disciples and they had spoken in different languages.
08:23 And everybody who was there in Jerusalem
08:25 heard the Gospel in their own language,
08:27 Peter stands up and addresses the crowd.
08:29 And interestingly enough he quotes
08:31 from the book of Joel Chapter 2
08:34 which is a prophecy about the end of time
08:37 and what Peter is basically saying there is,
08:40 the end of time is now.
08:42 You now see people prophesying, speaking in the Spirit,
08:48 and the Spirit is being poured out.
08:52 But today there is some confusion
08:56 over what the power of the Spirit should look like.
09:03 I-- I've been to a few Gospel's concerts,
09:09 at times, and I've seen a lot of excitement.
09:13 I went to a youth concert one time.
09:17 And they had a succession of bands come in and perform.
09:23 And there was one band there
09:26 that I don't remember their real name but,
09:30 my name for them was Decibels are us.
09:33 And I was standing there with the rest of the crowd
09:37 wondering what was happening, and it was kind of exciting,
09:43 and I looked couple of rows up ahead of me.
09:45 And there was a young man just really into the music.
09:49 And I looked a little bit closer at him.
09:50 I noticed he had ear protectors in, you know,
09:54 those foam ear plugs that you put into your ears.
09:56 So I'm afraid that sometimes our impression in the church
10:02 of what the Spirit is supposed to look like,
10:05 the power of the Spirit is supposed to look like
10:07 some out pouring of decibels
10:10 or at least some kind of excitement
10:12 where crowds get together and something happens
10:15 and everybody get excited,
10:18 is that really the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
10:21 is that the power that we are looking for?
10:26 If the power of the Holy Spirit just requires decibels,
10:29 then all we need is little more amperage.
10:33 I have a confession to make
10:37 here I am appearing on a religious television show
10:42 but I have to confess to you
10:43 that I don't watch a lot of religious television.
10:48 The reason for that is that
10:50 there's a lot of religious television out there
10:52 that is rather confusing to me.
10:56 For example I tuned into the church service
11:01 of a very large church one time,
11:04 and I saw a lot of very excited people,
11:07 and I saw a pastor who was very, very, excited
11:10 about what he was preaching about
11:11 and I noticed that there were people
11:13 arranged in the background.
11:15 And I don't mean to be overly critical but it almost seemed
11:19 like they were people who were apparently hired to stand there
11:23 and be as excited as they could in order to make it look like
11:28 there was an outpouring of the Spirit,
11:31 Now, we can't judge each other
11:35 according to how the Spirit is working in our lives.
11:39 But I will have to admit to you,
11:40 I've been confused at times
11:42 about what the Spirit is actually supposed to do,
11:46 is it supposed to be a tangible presence
11:53 and make people excited, is that what the Spirit is?
11:57 Is it supposed to be loud enough,
12:00 so that I have to put in ear plugs?
12:02 Uh, is the power of Spirit supposed to be miraculous?
12:07 Now we know that there were miracles in the New Testament
12:11 but, uh, does that prove that the Spirit is operating,
12:16 if we see a miracle? What is the real thing?
12:21 How do you tell the true Spirit
12:24 from a false manifestation of the Spirit?
12:29 And I think if you look closely at the text that we just read.
12:34 If you look closely,
12:35 at the conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus.
12:39 If you look at the conversation he had with disciples
12:43 about waiting for power to be his witnesses.
12:46 If you notice what Peter said
12:50 on that day of Pentecost, in Acts 2.
12:53 And you read all the way through the end
12:56 and you see what happened,
12:57 when Peter asked people to make a decision?
13:01 And 3,000 people all at once
13:04 made a decision to follow Jesus Christ.
13:08 And they were baptized.
13:11 I think I can tell you
13:12 what the power of the Spirit is supposed to look like.
13:15 Now, it may be quiet sometimes, it may be loud sometimes.
13:20 It may have people very, very, excited at times
13:23 or may not have people excited at times.
13:27 All that thing doesn't matter
13:28 but I'll tell you what does matter.
13:31 The indication of the power of the Spirit is a changed life.
13:39 That is what all of these texts are for.
13:42 That is what they all have in common
13:44 they all point to a power in the life that changes people
13:51 from being lost to being saved.
13:55 It changes people from going after their sinful,
13:58 selfish desires into wanting the things of Christ.
14:03 That is the true power of the Spirit.
14:11 How do you change a life? How does that happen?
14:17 I don't pretend to know how the Spirit works in all cases.
14:24 But I can tell you this,
14:27 a life has to be changed from the inside out.
14:32 You can't program it. You can't dictate it.
14:38 You can't force it to happen. That's why legalism is so wrong.
14:44 And so hopelessly inept, unbiblical and damnable heresy.
14:53 It's because legalism tries to change a life
14:55 by forcing it from the outside.
14:58 But the power of Spirit works from the inside.
15:03 Let me explain to you a little more what I mean.
15:06 Once in a while when I need some sermon illustrations,
15:10 I go to Wal-Mart or I go to Disney world
15:16 or just about any other public place.
15:19 Let me explain what I mean.
15:22 My family and I went to Disney world not long ago.
15:25 And I was sitting, you know, out in the public square
15:30 in one of the places we were just
15:32 kind of waiting to go somewhere else.
15:36 And as I was just sitting there resting.
15:41 I noticed a commotion not very far away.
15:44 And as I craned my head a little bit
15:47 I noticed that there was a women screaming.
15:50 Now, she was not hurt. She was not being attacked.
15:53 She was not in danger of any kind and she was not suffering
15:58 the results of a scary riot by any means.
16:01 She was screaming at her young child.
16:05 And she was berating him and she was scolding him and he--
16:09 she was calling him every name she could think of.
16:12 And she was making him feel
16:14 just as bad about himself as he possibly could.
16:18 And he was standing there just kind of hanging his head
16:20 and he would make one small little gesture
16:24 and she would just start it again.
16:26 And it got so bad that I saw a security guard come over
16:29 and kind of ask, you know, what was going on.
16:33 Now, you know, Disney world is supposed to be
16:35 the happiest place on earth so if something unhappy comes
16:38 they like to take care of it rather quickly.
16:40 So the security guard was very anxious
16:42 that whatever was going on in this little family
16:45 that it be taken care peacefully.
16:50 I was at Wal-Mart one day.
16:53 And I was minding my own business
16:55 and all of a sudden I heard some yelling.
16:58 And I looked down the aisle and there was a mother
17:05 yelling at her young child.
17:08 And right there in middle of the public place
17:11 she was calling him every name she possibly could
17:13 and she was telling him what she thought of him
17:16 and what do these experiences have in common?
17:22 There are times and believe me I am a parent
17:24 I know there are times when you just wish
17:26 you could just reach inside and change somebody.
17:31 I mean, somehow our human nature
17:34 is so frustrated with other people's human nature,
17:37 especially our kids.
17:39 That we wish we could just somehow
17:42 if not physically at least verbally
17:45 reach inside their little psyches'
17:47 and just shake 'em up.
17:49 And we want to do that so bad, why?
17:52 Because human nature is so hard to change.
17:55 In fact I submit
17:58 human nature is impossible to change from the outside.
18:02 Now, you can put in laws, and rules, and regulations,
18:08 and boundaries, and curfews, if you need to.
18:12 And you can do all kinds of things
18:14 to create the right environment for change
18:17 but you can't actually change that person.
18:21 And I'll tell you this is very frustrating for a parent.
18:23 How frustrating it must be for God
18:26 to want to change his children.
18:29 But even God doesn't want
18:32 to force change on His children.
18:36 He doesn't want to reach inside of us
18:39 and force us to change.
18:42 Now, he has the capability of doing that.
18:44 And some people actually think
18:46 that is the Holy Spirit's job is to actually change somebody.
18:50 In a sense that's true but its not true
18:53 if we think of it in terms of forcing something.
18:57 Notice what Galatians 5:22 and 23 says.
19:02 Here Paul is talking about the power of the Spirit.
19:06 And he says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
19:10 joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
19:16 faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
19:20 Against such things there is no law."
19:24 So what kind of result are we looking for?
19:29 What is the result of that wind blowing?
19:32 What is the result of that power of the Spirit
19:35 being illustrated by the wind.
19:37 It is a changed life.
19:41 Now, there are lot of what I call ugly mothers
19:47 at Wal-Mart and Disney World and any other public place.
19:51 And has nothing to do with their physical attributes
19:53 they can be gorgeous looking human beings
19:56 but they treat their kids ugly, why?
19:59 Because they want to force change
20:02 or just because they got so frustrated
20:04 that they just plain lost.
20:05 Okay, we're all human we can understand that
20:08 we all do that at times. But, God never loses it.
20:12 God is always gracious, He's always kind
20:16 and He doesn't try to force change.
20:18 His Spirit is an influence, not a force.
20:22 The result of the Spirit's work is a changed life.
20:29 Jim Cymbala was pastor of a broken down
20:39 losing church in Brooklyn, New York.
20:47 And Jim himself was just about ready to give up.
20:51 He tells his story in the book 'Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.'
20:55 How when things got so bad that even
20:59 the pews where breaking down during their meetings.
21:02 How things where so bad that they depended
21:06 on every little offering to just keep the place open?
21:12 How things were so bad that even
21:15 Jim himself didn't want to go there?
21:18 He finally went off by himself.
21:23 And he said Lord, I don't know what I am supposed to do.
21:30 And Jim Cymbala came back from that experience
21:35 with what seemed like an impossible thing to do.
21:41 He told his congregation
21:44 that they were going to regard the prayer meeting
21:49 as the barometer of the spiritual condition
21:52 of their church.
21:54 And this is why he said that
21:55 as Jim looked around at the other churches.
21:58 He saw rich churches they could afford
22:00 to send out a fleet of buses
22:03 just to bring people in and pack the place.
22:05 He saw other churches who where wealthy enough
22:08 to bring him top named preachers that would pack the place.
22:13 He looked around and he saw all the other successful churches
22:17 and he thought to himself and he prayed.
22:19 He went to the Lord on his knees
22:20 and he came under the conviction
22:23 that just because you pack a house on the weekend
22:26 doesn't mean that you have the Spirit's power.
22:33 Pastor Cymbala said we'rerevising.
22:36 What a church is today?
22:38 We believe that if you can get people
22:40 into a service for an hour in the weekend
22:42 that's the church but that's not the church he says.
22:46 The church he says was not born during a sermon.
22:50 It was born during a prayer meeting.
22:53 Furthermore he notes that all the great revivals
22:56 down through history have taken place
22:59 in the context of prayer.
23:01 But he says when prayer ended
23:04 the Spirit of God lifted in the church
23:05 went through some tough times as a result.
23:09 You remember that upper room experience
23:12 on the day of Pentecost.
23:14 That was a prayer meeting they were having in that room.
23:16 When the Holy Spirit poured itself out visibly at that time
23:21 in order to give the people the assurance they needed.
23:25 As tongues of fire and the church was born
23:28 in that prayer meeting.
23:32 The result of the Spirit's power is changed lives
23:36 but God has given us a way to access that power.
23:40 How do you get that power? You pray for it.
23:43 Now, don't expect prayer to be some kinds of incantation,
23:48 don't expect prayer to be some kind of magic formula,
23:52 don't expect prayer to be like putting a coin
23:54 in a slot of a vending machine and getting something out.
23:58 Prayer is not like that
23:59 because prayer is part of a real relationship
24:01 a saving relationship with our Savior.
24:05 Prayer is a conversation.
24:06 Prayer doesn't change God, it changes us.
24:13 You see the work of the Spirit
24:16 is not to force people to change,
24:19 the work of the Spirit is the work of Christ
24:21 to win our allegiance.
24:24 And when Christ wins our allegiance,
24:26 we want to be with Him. And we pray with Him.
24:30 Reason I say with Him is because
24:32 prayer is a decision to be in the presence of Christ.
24:39 Prayer is a way of communicating with Christ.
24:43 It is by faith we know that He hears us
24:45 even in the most difficult circumstances--
24:47 we know that Christ hears us.
24:52 I had a very good friend one time,
24:56 her name was Cindy.
24:59 It's not her real name but she had,
25:02 had a rough life and during her high school years,
25:07 she had made a conscious decision
25:11 to give her life over to the devil.
25:15 That's very unusual to find somebody who is actually
25:17 made that kind of conscious decision but she had.
25:21 She had decided that she would go ahead
25:26 and let the devil have his way with her life.
25:29 She would just follow him. And so she did.
25:35 And I found her at that time to be,
25:40 you know, how you can look in somebody's eyes,
25:43 and you wonder who's really there.
25:45 I am not talking about anything spooky
25:48 or hocus pocus or anything like that.
25:49 I am just-- I am talking about a person
25:51 who's living without living.
25:54 I am talking about a person who may be walking
25:59 but they're not going anywhere. Cindy was like that.
26:03 I lost track of Cindy for a number of years.
26:07 And then one day I ran into her again.
26:10 And even before she said anything
26:14 I recognized the Spirit' s power. The power had been there.
26:19 No I didn't hear any loud noises.
26:22 I didn't see any tongues of fire.
26:24 I didn't sense any huge excitement
26:26 or anything like that but I saw a changed life.
26:30 Where once she looked hard as nails
26:32 now she was softer, accepting, non defensive.
26:38 She was just happy to be alive with the Lord.
26:46 I was really quite stunned.
26:49 And my human expectations
26:52 I really didn't expect that to happen.
26:55 I thought pessimistically
26:59 perhaps that once that happened to a person
27:03 they would probably always be there
27:04 but I was wrong because God's power
27:07 is infinitely stronger than any human power
27:11 even the power of a space shuttle,
27:13 pales in comparison.
27:17 And how do we access that power?
27:19 God has given us the privilege of prayer.
27:23 I'd like to invite you to attend not only the worship service
27:28 at your local church but the prayer meeting.
27:32 You see a praying church is a powerful church.
27:37 Will you commit to a new experience with the Holy Spirit.
27:41 Will you commit yourself to prayer both personally
27:46 and corporately with your house of worship?
27:51 If you do, you will find
27:54 the infinite power of heaven available to you.