Some have said that “The Acts of the Apostles” should have been titled “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit is mentioned over 50 times in 28 chapters! Here are a few places we see the Spirit working:
Acts 1:2 – The Holy Spirit moved the selection of the apostles
Acts 1:8 – Jesus tells them the church will start with a move of the Spirit
Acts 2:4 – The Spirit enables them to speak in tongues to preach to the masses and start a movement of 3,000+ people!
Acts 2:38 – The Spirit is a gift given to all those who responded and moved them into unity and fellowship.
Acts 4:31 – The Holy Spirit moved the disciples to boldness in response to persecution and suffering.
Acts 6:3 – The Spirit moved the selection of the first deacons.
Acts 8 – The Spirit moved Philip to reach the Ethiopian
Acts 9 – The Spirit moved Ananias to reach Saul
Acts 10 – The Spirit moved Peter to reach Cornelius and family
Acts 13 – The Spirit selected missionaries to go out and plant new churches
Acts 16 – The Spirit guided the missionary journey
Acts 20 – The Spirit sent Paul to Rome
You get the idea!
The same is just as true today as it was then – there are no movements without the Holy Spirit. We cannot orchestrate it. We cannot plan movements. All we can do is lean into the ongoing and ever present work of the Spirit and if the Spirit wants to use us in movements, so shall it be!
Let me say it bluntly – there is no program you can buy online to create a movement! The Holy Spirit doesn’t operate like that.
Our churches don’t need more strategy…
our churches need more Spirit.
Now, you might be saying – you don’t know my church. We need a strategy! I am would say, “You are probably right!” But strategy alone isn’t sufficient.
The Spirit can show us how to do the mission. The Holy Spirit will open up the hearts of people we encounter. The Spirit will help us select people to send out. The Holy Spirit will give us words to say to people we talk to. The Holy Spirit will help every step of the way.
We need to get out of the Spirit’s way.
We need to give up on models and attitudes of the heart that hinder the Spirit’s work. We need to select leaders who are spiritually minded/spiritually attuned people. Our worship services should highlight the work of the Spirit we are seeing in our lives and let our songs arise from stories of God’s working! Let our prayers reflect thanksgiving for the testimonies that are shared and the acknowledgement that God is moving among us. In short, the Spirit is working and we must recognize and celebrate that rather than continue with things that hinder it.
There are no movements without Spirit movements and (often) the Spirit movements coincide with prayer movements. Numerous times in Acts the Spirit responds to times of intense prayers of faith (See Acts 4 and 13). If all we do is boil prayer down to “opening” and “closing”…mealtime and bedtime, we may disconnect ourselves from a heightened awareness of the Spirit’s activity. If we do that, we will kill any movement God tries to place among us!
There are times in our church services when something heavy is said…the feel changes…and someone will recognize it and go up to be with the person who is talking and pray with them. That is being in step with the Spirit.
So let us move to prayer and ask God to humble us…ask God to use us…ask God to move among us and in us and through us. And let us ask God to empower us to reach a world that is desperate for the good news of Jesus! Maybe we can see a movement of the Spirit in the church in our lifetimes!
If you would like to learn more about this from the Gospels, Acts and today please watch this next…