Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 25, 2013

"In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach  until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:1-8
I don't know about you, but I do better when I only have one thing to concentrate on at one time. When several thoughts or ideas or tasks compete for my attention I can get distracted and not do any of them well.
Over the past two months we have been studying seven soul shifts that lead to effective Christian living. This has been a very good study! I preached some challenging sermons and there have been some deep and meaningful discussions during the LIFE groups.
After reading the book and hearing the sermons and engaging in the discussions regarding these vitally important spiritual commitments you should be feeling a little overwhelmed about now! You may be wondering where to begin.
The tendency when you are overwhelmed is to do nothing! To do nothing after being convicted to do something by the Word of God  is dangerous. Very dangerous!
These Christ-followers were feeling overwhelmed by all that had happened to them over the past 50 days and were also feeling anxious about what would come next. What Jesus said to them would apply to us as we consider, "What next?"
In their anxiety they besieged Jesus with questions about what was next for them. Essentially they were asking, "What's next? Tell us everything that is going to happen!"
You know that feeling don't you?
If so, you will benefit from what Jesus told them!
They wanted to know everything but Jesus just gave them one thing, "Wait! ... but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about."
If you do an exhaustive study of the Jesus' exhortations to His disciples you would likely see that He never overwhelmed them with options or instructions but He told them one definite thing to do. The "next thing" was usually "one thing". In this case, the "one thing" was to wait on the promise that they would receive power from the Holy Spirit.
Going forward with the seven soul shifts let me counsel you to be very careful to avoid the two extremes that can result from the anxiety of being overwhelmed. One extreme is doing nothing. The other extreme is trying to do everything. But Jesus says, "Do one thing!"
What's next for you? Prayerfully ask God to reveal the soul shift He wants to happen in your heart. Once He makes that known to you - do that next thing!
God won't change you all at once but He wants to change you one obedience at a time!
By the way, one disobedience will change you, too.............