Dancing With God (The Holy Spirit Three-Step)
I am reading through the Book of Acts for the fifth time in two months and asking God to show me why the early church had so much more passion and power than the 21st Century church. A few days ago, as I reread the words of Jesus in chapter 1, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before — the Holy Spirit 3-step.
As Jesus is about to leave His disciples, He presents a pattern that is repeated often in the Book of Acts: Rest, Receive, Respond. Perhaps, if we would like to experience the acts of the Holy Spirit in out time and in our life, we should follow Jesus’ pattern.
* Rest) Jesus tells them: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift . . .” Before we jump up and start doing whatever we want, using our own power and strength, we need to wait for the Spirit to touch us, to comfort us, to empower us, and to give us specific instructions.
* Receive) Next Jesus says: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you . . .” As we “wait for the gift” we are waiting for the Holy Spirit (and what the New Testament calls “the gifts of the Spirit”). We are waiting for the Spirit to prompt us with insight and guidance. A phrase used in the Book of Acts is: “The Spirit said to . . .” In the Book of Revelation Jesus repeats this commandment several times: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Perhaps one reason the contemporary church lacks power is our failure to hear the Spirit’s direct promptings in our heart.
* Respond) Finally Jesus says: “. . . and you will be My witnesses.” In other words, you will show and tell what you have seen and heard — you will do what the Spirit says — then as you follow and obey His specific instructions to you, you will become a demonstration of God’s power and life flowing through you.
Luke, the author of Acts, then adds: “After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.” Then two angels asked the disciples what would seem to be a rather obvious thing: “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?”
The disciples had just seen something that no one had every seen — Jesus vanishing behind a cloud. They were in shock — astonished. However, they needed to stop looking for Jesus in the sky and start waiting and listening for the Spirit in their heart. There needed to be a shift from following the physical, external Jesus to following and obeying the internal Spirit of Christ — the Holy Spirit.
So 120 disciples (including Jesus’ mother Mary) waited in Jerusalem without an agenda or a program or liturgy or a bulletin. They had no idea what was coming or how long the gift would take to arrive. Then suddenly after 40 days of waiting all Heaven breaks loose (see the second chapter of Acts).
How we need a earthly breakout of Heaven in the 21st Century! Not a another program or a new technique or a special class or a great teaching or a refreshed ritual or a Christian conference . . . In this post-Christian world, we desperately need all Heaven to break loose. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” If not now, when? If not you, who?
It is time to rest, receive, & respond. Need help? Four years ago a group began to meet in Nashville based on the 3 R’s of Jesus. After praise and worship, we rest, then receive, and then respond — we individually listen, we hear, and then we each do whatever God tells us to. The results are amazing. The Presence of God is showing up every week in amazing ways.
Come see for yourself: Sundays @ 10:45 & Thursdays @ 6:30; 225 Berry Street, Nashville, 37207 — The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center.