Posted tagged ‘power’

Power Priorities

April 2, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         April 2, 2016

                                        

One of my favorite authors is a deep bass-voiced man named Steve Brown. I know he has a deep voice because I heard him speak several years ago, and that’s when I started buying his books. In his book entitled What Was I Thinking? (Things I’ve Learned Since I Knew It All), he writes these words that I underlined, starred, and highlighted.

“My mentor, Fred Smith, told me once that Christians, if given the choice between spiritual power and political power, will almost always choose political power. I agree with that and would even expand on it. Given the choice between the supernatural power described in the Bible and the power of money, fame, and status, for most Christians it’s a no-brainer. Money, fame, and status win every time.” (page 80; Howard Books, 2008)

When given the choice…

Most of the first followers of Christ didn’t have power, fame, or money. In many ways, they didn’t have the personal struggles with power.

Exception: Judas!

Okay, second exception: Ananias and Sapphira!

What they did have was spiritual power. The lack of other power sources seems to have intensified their attention on what God was up to and doing.

For us today…let me put it this way. Whatever power source we focus on the most is the power that will dominant our decisions, behavior, and belief system.

If we seldom look for the supernatural hand of God in our life…seldom consider the closeness of his awesome power, we will seldom rely on him.

If we get so wrapped up in the current political campaigns and focus our efforts on the gaining of political power…in whatever form that takes for you, your party is triumphant…your dislike for a certain candidate takes over your thoughts…you take on a mission “to convert” as many people as possible to vote for your political candidate. Political power becomes your heart cry. In recent months political power has become the heart cry for many Americans. And what has happened, and will increasingly happen, is that the thirst that people have to see their political agenda win will filter into a large number of churches. There will be pastors who will tell their congregations that a vote for a certain candidate is a vote against Christ. The lust for November victory will try to chummy up with the ways of God. Believe me! Knowing how polarized our nation is politically right now, and having a daily dose of verbal jabs between candidates being fed to us, the potential for churches to lose their way and their purpose will be great!

Another power priority is money. I’ve known, and know, a lot of Christ-followers who have dollar signs tattooed on their brains. Their money is their security blanket. It’s their method of impressing others, and reminding people that the church would be in a pile of hurt if they took their money and went and played somewhere else. If someone was handing out twenty dollar bills for those in one line, while the opportunity to meet Jesus was the focus of a different line there would be a lot of people lifting up “Jackson’s!”

That takes me back to the spiritual power that has been offered to us through our journey with Jesus, and the companionship of the Holy Spirit. This week my wife and I had something happen that we both identify as a God-story. We decided to take the blessing we received in that God-story, the impact it had on our lives, and, for lack of a better term, pay it forward. I won’t give you the details of that, although they are incredibly humbling. I’ll just say this! It has made us more acutely aware of the supernatural power of God and the presence of God.

If we had dismissed the situation as a coincidence we would have missed it! In like manner, if our eyes are so focused on the natural powers of the world, and blind to the moving of the Spirit we will become increasingly sight-impaired to the presence of God. If we seldom rely on the power of God we will seldom see him.

Losing Power At Starbucks

April 25, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          April 26, 2013

 

I was at Starbucks yesterday!

Not a surprise, for those who know me. But what happened while I was there was…interesting!

Starbucks lost power! Not one of those little momentary hiccups that we have all experienced. No, this was the loss of power that kept staying lost!

Of course, it happened while I was in the men’s restroom. And, of course, this restroom had no windows…just a while lot of darkness! It allowed me to find out one more reason to have a cell phone. Not to call from the restroom, but rather to shed a little light on the situation.

I emerged from the restroom to a coffee shop that was quiet. If you have been in a Starbucks you know how unusual that is. There is usually the sound of blenders, expresso machines, oven doors opening and closing, music being played from the ceiling speakers, orders being taken. But this time it was quiet and still.

Power that is lost stills the presence. Customers who were about to order waited for a few moments, before giving up and exiting. No frappuccinos…no cappuccinos…no lattes. Donuts were visible, but since there was no power to operate the register they couldn’t be sold. Things came to a halt. Employees stood around not knowing what to do. Losing power was not a chapter in their employee training manuals.

I stay for another twenty minutes or so, long enough to finish my tall coffee, and then made my exit. Several other people had already gathered their belongings, laptops, and workbooks, and preceded my departure. Several stayed.

Losing power leaves people in a quandary. Will it come back? How long before it returns?

It was an object lesson for me about the church. What happens to a church that loses power? Who notices? Who quickly exits, and who waits in hopeful anticipation of its return? What do we do when the power of God is absent? Do we stand around trying to find something to busy ourselves? Do we walk around in confusion?

Hard questions for the church. Harder questions because there are times when we are much more comfortable operating under our own power than we are operating under the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit is suddenly absent how aware are we that the lights have gone off?

Perhaps another relevant question is how urgently do we pray for the moving and empowering of the Holy Spirit in our churches? Every church has its times of delight and periods of desperation, green pastures and dry deserts. Consistent praying gets us through the desert journeys. It gets us through those times when the darkness is evident and we’re not sure when the light will return.

I was back at Starbucks this afternoon…go figure! One of the employees who was here yesterday told me that the power came back on after about forty-five minutes. I told him that I had been in the restroom when it happened. We were able to laugh about it, but if it happens again I’m heading to McDonald’s. Their coffee is just a buck anyway…although their restrooms are more suspect!