Raven Cannon, Children's PastorAugust 19, 2019
When God enters our lives, everything else pales in comparison to the power of His love at work in us.
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We’re talking about rise. We’re continuing this theme, and this weekend, as I said, we’re launching into the book of Acts. The opening chapters of this movement of Jesus, which is no exaggeration to say, impacted the Roman empire thousands of years ago. Even now, it continues to ripple throughout human history and continues to impact, up to this point, how billions around the world claim Jesus as the one they have come to trust their lives with and follow Him. These words that are found in the book of Acts, are not just great to look at for historical sense, but they’re also good for us to consider for today. Consider in our day, in our setting, in our city, and in this bay area that we love. What I want to put on the table, on the front end here, is what we’re going to see is that God wants to give us the power to truly live. He wants to do this.
Do you know what God never does? He never overpowers us. He doesn’t. He is a complete and utter gentleman. He only empowers those who draw near to Him and surrender and receive. It’s a fascinating thing, that there is this tension point in this journey of faith. Some of us may know this, some of us may not. But it’s good for us to be aware that there is a hinge point. A tension between our willingness, responsibility, and our need to acknowledge that we can’t do this by ourselves. We have a role to play, and so does God. Both come together. It is there where true life and power are found.
In fact, this idea of tension reminds me of a story that I recently read about the former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. The person who wrote this story says, “Well, it’s not clear if this is true or not. But he lived and spoke in such a way that it makes it sound very true.” I thought I’d share it. The story goes on to say that Muhammad Ali was flying to one of his engagements, and during the flight, the aircraft ran into foul weather and moderate turbulence. It started to toss the aircraft around. The pilot signals for everyone to take their seats and fasten their seat belts. It was one of those signals where, perhaps maybe not all of us have experienced turbulence in a flight, but it’s just one of those things we don’t want to experience. We definitely don’t want to hear the pilot tell everybody, the crew, and the passengers to take their seats, buckle up, and hold on. With the implication of, “If you’re religious, start praying.” It’s not a good sound to hear. It’s not a good feeling.
Everyone went ahead and complied with the captain’s orders. The passengers ended up buckling up and the staff ended up making their way through the aircraft to make sure everybody was safe and sound before they were able to do so. When the attendant noticed that everyone had done this except for one, they approached Muhammad Ali and asked him to observe the captain’s orders. At which point Muhammad Ali audaciously said, “Superman don’t need no seatbelt.” Without missing a beat the flight attendant replied, leaning in, “Well, Superman don’t need no airplane either, so please buckle up.” The reality is we all want to rise. We all crave it. I don’t know that we all like to admit our need for an airplane. We all like to be going up. But our need to depend on something outside of us, that’s a little more challenging.
This faith journey of ours? It’s meant to be active. Not passive. But it’s not independent. Yes, we have a role, but it is not all on us. It’s not. On the other hand, it’s not the polar opposite. This faith of ours is not completely dependent. I know. It might sound odd to say that. But it’s not. If we were to say this faith is completely dependent on God, we’d actually be veering off what Jesus came to express. This faith of ours, if it’s not passive, independent, or completely dependent, what is it then? It’s something rather different. It’s interdependent, which suggests that there is a mutual sense of need. It’s an odd thing. It almost seems wrong to say that God depends on us. But the truth is, God chose to make this movement. He chose to step into human history as what? A child. An infant, dependent on those He entrusted Himself to.
Through Jesus’ initial years, what did He do? He entrusted His life and message to the 12, and to those who claimed to follow Him. He made Himself vulnerable to the extent of complete betrayal by one of them. Along the way, it seems that Jesus lived this interplay of having a significant role for Himself, and a not too small role for those who followed Him. There was the need for both. In fact, this didn’t end with the life of Jesus. It continued through the early life of the church as it rose into human history. It made an impact, unlike any other movement. Truly. No exaggeration. In fact, if you open your hand I’d love for us to explore what I mean by this. In Acts 1, we’re told Luke is the one, the author who is writing this. He says, “In the first book of Theophilus I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach.” The first book is referring to his gospel named after him. The gospel of Luke.
Luke has written this account because he has a friend he wants to inform and verify. A physician, which was what Luke was, took extreme pain to make sure that the details, historical context, and everything around the life of Jesus were accurate. He says, “Now, in the first book I did that. But in this book I want you to know that I’m going to do something a little different. Until that day when he was taken up after he had given commands through the holy spirit to the apostles, whom he had chosen.” This is going to roll out what happened after Jesus ascended and had a word, command, and directive to those who followed Him. It says, “Now, he presented himself in verse three alive to them after his suffering by many proofs. Appearing to them for 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Do you know what Luke is basically saying? He’s saying and making it clear that Jesus was alive after death. That the cross was not the end. Thought it was real. Having resurrected, He appeared to multiple groups, sizes, and gatherings. He allowed himself to be touched, seen, and heard.
Jesus had meals with them. He had conversation with them. He walked with them. He sat with them. He was among them, we’re told for a period of 40 days. The many proofs, by the way, speaks to the conscious effort Jesus undertook to make sure His disciples understood they weren’t seeing a ghost, a figment of their imagination, or a hallucination. In fact, years later, after this gospel was written Paul would write to a group of believers in Corinth. He would say to them something that I asked them to put up there. He says, “He,” being Jesus, “Was seen by Peter, and then by the 12. After that he was seen by,” look at this, “More than 500 of his followers at one time. Most of whom are still alive upon me writing these words, though some have died.”
Do you know what Paul is basically saying? He’s asserting something. He’s asserting that this is no myth. This is no fairytale. It is not something that has become a legend that we have now inherited. No. They saw him. Irrefutable proof. Over 500 saw Jesus at one time, which is saying what? It’s one thing for one person to have some sort of experience that is altruistic and they see Jesus. They may think to themselves, “I’ve seen Him. I’ve experienced Him.” It’s a whole nother thing for 500? The same experience? It’s only possible, if true.
Paul is saying, “In fact, if you doubt my words you know them. A lot of them are still alive. They’ll contradict what I’m saying, so go ask them. Some have died, sure. Many of them haven’t.” This is a movement anchored in a real, historical event. What Luke is essentially saying is, in the course of these 40 days, not only was Jesus making it irrefutable that He truly lived. He had some words He needed to share.
In verse four we’re told that while staying with Him, He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem. Stay here. To wait for the promise of the father, which He said, “You heard from me. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” This movement began with a forerunner that is John, baptizing people with water. Jesus says, “Listen, even in the resurrection.” Do you know what this is actually saying? Even on the other side of death, Jesus is singularly focused on carrying out the purpose for which He came. He is both sober and intentional. Joyous, yes. But Jesus wants to make sure that they are utterly clear on what’s going to happen next. He says, by the way, this is this promise of the father. It’s something that had been uttered from the very beginning. In fact, John the Baptist, when he started to declare that God was on the move and baptizing people in water. That means he immersed them as a symbolic gesture of their decision to follow God, to turn back, to come back to him, to change their ways to follow him.
He would do this, but John was asked who he actually was. In the original letter of Luke, the first one, it says John answered them all saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming. The strap of whose sandals I’m not worthy to untie. But he will baptize you with the holy spirit and fire.” Something of the fire is promised. Fire is the symbolic nature of God’s spirit. It is something that will fill your soul, both warm and empower you. In many ways, it’s the idea that material substance can never cleanse immaterial reality. We have something in us that is very material. But we also have something in us that is not. Though John’s waters were meant to declare something of an intention, Jesus’s spirit was meant to fulfill that desire.
It’s hard to overstate how significant Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection were and continues to be. It was the way by which Jesus said, “Now that I have done this, your soul can be renewed. There is something about the human condition that can be addressed. There’s something within you can awaken now.” This is the promise of the father. In verse six we’re told when the disciples came together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? Is this what you’re doing? Will you at this time be able to break off the shackles of Rome with your military might? Will you be able to raise up an army? Will you be able to institute a political government that is surrounded around you and your kingship? Now that you have overcome death itself, can you truly give us freedom here? Can you do it? Is this the time that you’re going to raise Israel to the top of all of human existence and give us what we long for?”
Jesus, it’s almost as if He says, “First of all, what you’re saying has some measure of truth. Yes.” On the other hand, Jesus said in verse seven, “It’s not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority.” They were under the impression that Jesus’s movement began and ended with the rise of Israel. Jesus was trying to say, “No, no, no, no. My movement begins in Israel, but it goes throughout all of humanity. It’s not limited to one tribe, nation, or people group. No. It’s not. No. It’s not.”
It’s not like every other movement in history where the one who is oppressed rises up in power only to become the oppressor. That’s not going to happen here. This is far different. Do you know what Jesus does? He seeks to stretch out the horizon of what they see. He wants to expand their perspective. He says, “You’re not going to fully understand this, but one thing you will understand, you must understand.” In verse eight He says, “But you will receive power when the holy spirit has come upon you. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
It’s almost as if Jesus is saying, “You have a role to play here. The role would be to become a witness. That is you will testify to what will happen in you and through you. You will tell others about me. This is not a movement limited to one region, what many have thought of as the center of the world. It will not be limited there, No. This is a movement that will impact locally, the city of Jerusalem. It will go regionally to Samaria. It will go nationally to all those who live in this part of the world. Do you know what’s going to happen? It’s going to spread and sprout. It’s going to move throughout all of human history. It’s going to impact everywhere, to the ends of the earth. That is what I’m doing and you have a role to play. You are going to step into that. You are going to create that. How are you going to do it? Well, you’re going to do it because you’re going to receive power when the holy spirit comes upon you.” This word is power. They expected something physically to happen. He was speaking about something supernaturally happening. Which means what? It required spiritual power. The word ‘power’ in Greek is the word Dunamis. It’s where we get the word dynamite from. It has this sense of catalytic, explosive strength. It literally means strength, power, and ability. It means inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. That means it’s a self-sustaining, self-generating, self-renewing power. It’s unlike anything else. This is what Jesus is saying.
It’s the power of performing miracles. It’s the moral power and excellence of the soul. The power and influence belong to the rich and the wealthy. It’s the power of resources arising from the multitude of numbers when there is a movement of people that creates and generates a degree of power. It’s power consists of rising armies, forces, and hosts of political strength. Jesus says to them, “This is the equivalent of that. But it’s so different because this is meant to be a movement not locked into one place or region.” In fact, many believe verse eight was the first place Jesus made it clear what the mission of the early church was. This would be the original mission statement. Here’s why we are gathering. We’re gathering so that you can be empowered by God, to be witnesses to those near to you. So that this movement doesn’t stay with you, but it continues, and it flows throughout regions, nations, and all people groups. This is why you exist as a church. This is what Jesus was implying.
It’s why we continue to exist. Even to this day. We’re told that when the disciples heard this when he said something happened. It’s almost as if He wanted to make sure this was the single phrase and understanding that they were truly able to grasp. Once that happened we’re told in verse nine when Jesus said these things as they were looking on, He was lifted up and a cloud took Him out of their sight. Which is hard for us to imagine. Luke doesn’t qualify this. He doesn’t explain this. He doesn’t indulge us with details that we would crave to understand and know. How did it happen? Was there noise? Was there a sound? Did something occur? Did you see it coming? Did Jesus just start rising from the ground? What happened? We don’t know.
What we do know is their response. As this is happening to Jesus, we’re told that while they were gazing into heaven as He went. Behold two men stood by them in white robes and what did they say? They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This is Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven. He will come back down.” If you could imagine being in that audience, hearing Jesus declare what He came into human history to do. Now saying, “Now, it’s up to you.” And as he says, “I entrust this movement to you. You have a role to play and you need to step into it.” He is removed from their presence. We are astounded when we see those special effects in movies. Right? It’s like, “Whoa. That CGI is cool.” Can you imagine seeing it in the flesh?
They did what we would do. We would want to soak every moment in. We would want to make sure nothing distracted us. We want to make sure, “Is this real? There are no words to describe it. I just want to sit in it.” As they’re doing this, we’re told about these men in white robes, which is another illusion. It’s a way of insinuating these were messengers sent from God. These were angelic beings. They tap them, they get their attention, they say, “What are you doing looking up there? You have so much to do down here. Don’t you know He’s going to come back the way He left? It’s time to get moving. I know, it’s stunning. But you have no idea what’s coming to you. You have no idea what’s going to happen to you. Oh, you’re in for the ride of your life. You have to get going. Don’t get stuck here. It’s great, but greater are the things you’re going to do.”
Jesus said to His disciples, “You see it.” It’s actually one of those accounts that’s worth revisiting. I think it also has something to say to us here today. If this happened 2000 years ago, perhaps it has something to inform us in 2019 to those who are living in San Francisco, gathered in this church community, and in many churches throughout the bay area. Perhaps, there is something that God continues to want to do in His movement of people that He has chosen to depend on. I want to have us wrestle with a couple of things. I’d like us to begin with His power. Do you know what this tells us? His power in our lives is God-given, not self-produced. There is nothing we can do to manufacture God’s power in our lives. Religious or not. There is no action that is able to trigger, create, or come into being the very thing God longs to give us. There’s nothing we can do that is able to create this.
This is something that is God-given. When we talk about power today we think about power for what it does. For what it’s capable of accomplishing. In Jesus’s day, He chose to focus on something far deeper. He chose to focus not on what it does, but who it transforms us into. It wasn’t a matter of, “You will receive power, and then all of a sudden you will be able to do these things.” No, “You will receive power and who you are will transform. Your very nature will be touched.” Do you know what He’s speaking of? Something that nothing else truly can. Our identity. He says, “You want real power? Let’s speak about who you are.” We have to know this. What we do always flows out of who we are or who we think we are. We can fight it all we want, but who we are decides. Jesus wanted to give them a transformational experience with His own divine nature. It spoke to their identity, the core of what it is to be a human being.
In his book Making Sense of God, Tim Keller explained something. He didn’t create this, but he wrote this so clearly I thought I’d want to share it. He says, “Identity is made up of, at the very least two things. One is a sense of self. That is a knowledge and understanding of what inside of us does not change depending on the situation. There is something within us, we’re all aware of, it is the same no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. That is a part of knowing what our identity is.” He says, “But the second part is actually having a sense of self-worth. That is healthy self-regard. If identities begin with knowing who we are, no matter where we are. Identity ends with loving who we are, no matter where we are.” It’s the second one that we find a lot of ourselves struggling with. In the traditional sense, identity was formed by finding the role or discovering the role society said we needed to play.
Traditionally speaking, society had an enormous, whether that was made up of one’s immediate family, community, or larger setting. In history, it was externally determined what a role could be that somebody could step into. The way they operated in that role gave them a sense of worth and value, if they performed in a self-sacrificial manner they received honor. This is why classical films and books actually speak of the honor given to those who step into danger, self-sacrificially, and fulfill the role that society needs them to fulfill. It’s a heroic narrative. That is the traditional sense. The problem with the traditional way is that it can lock people into their station in life without any real opportunity to move outside of what many times they were once born into.
We had movements not too long ago fighting for freedom, equality, and the capacity to decide for oneself what one wanted to do, and who one is. In fact, we live in a region of our country, in San Francisco, where this is equally and widely celebrated. It’s one of the things San Francisco is admired for. On the other hand, if that was the traditional sense of creating an identity, the modern sense has gone the polar opposite direction. The modern sense of deciding who we are is to look within ourselves. When we look within ourselves we will discover the core of who we are. When we discover that, we are then instructed or encouraged, truly by culture today, to affirm what we discover. We are to self affirm and self love ourselves into a place of knowing who we are, loving who we are, and living out of that place.
If the traditional way elevated society above the individual, the modern way has elevated the individual above every other source of authority. We would think, “Well, that’s good, isn’t it?” The problem is, and with the modern form of identity formation, if we look within and we’re honest about it, what we will see is a sea of contradicting desires. We will see a sea of contradicting ambitions, feelings, and opposing views. The question that will inevitably rise to the surface is, “Which one of these inclinations am I? Which one of these desires actually addresses who I am at my core? Which one of these qualities and characteristics? What is it? Which one? Is it my ethnicity? Is it my education? Is it my position in life? Is it my money? Is it my resources and desires? Is it my attractions? What is it? Which one ultimately sums up the core of who I am?”
If, after navigating through that confusing route of discovering who we are within, we have to then affirm ourselves. At best that is stressful. At worst, it can become extremely volatile. Who of us here has not started out our week on a Monday morning feeling very good and strong, and by Tuesday we want it to be Friday so badly? Some of us get out of bed and do our routine. We’re feeling good and feeling sharp. We get into the office only to feel like, “Oh no, I want to go back home. I feel sick right now. Or this is actually not good for me.”
How many of us have had feelings that fluctuate like a feather in the wind? Emotions, and mood swings. If the traditional is to be holed into external opinions, then the modern is to be holed into internal turmoil. That is one wild ride. It only leads to frustration and insecurity on both ends. Except for those who choose to follow Jesus. With Christ, we actually have a different position. When we follow Jesus and receive the spirit of Jesus within us, you know what we discover? We discover that something inside of us starts to be ignited. We discover that our soul starts to step into who we were created to be. We start to discover that He is the one who knows us more than anyone else, even more than our own selves.
Because that is true, Jesus knows us. There is no hiding from Him. When He whispers love, value, and worth into our soul, it is more powerful than anything anybody else says. It’s more powerful even than our own thoughts and opinions about ourselves. It’s His spirit that continually generates that whisper, “You are loved. You are valuable. You were created on purpose for a reason. You were put in this moment of human history for me to love you, and for you to step into the reason you breathe.” We have this gift, that is true power. A person defined, rooted, and anchored in the love of God is unchanging. That is truthful and gracious. Show me that person, and I will show you true power and strength. They are able to move and operate. Power from God is received. It can never be earned. If that’s true, if that is what Jesus was speaking to, “You will receive power from the Holy Spirit when it inserts itself, renews your soul, awakens you to the love of God, and speaks continually day by day. It starts to incline you toward what is better, what is best, what is true, what is lovely, what is pure, what is honorable, and what is worthy of praise.”
When that starts to generate itself within your soul, and you start to hear the voice, that sometimes bothersome voice that pulls you out of whatever it is you think defines you ultimately, and you start to become defined by the love of God, then Jesus says, “You have received true power. A heavenly, divine power.” If that’s the case, do you know what it does? It automatically starts to catalyze. This is our second thought. Power catalyzes movement in action.
It was never meant to be about stagnation and observation. This was never, by the way, not a knock against reflection, meditation, and thinking long thoughts. Those are all good things. There is a time for that. There is a season for that. Some of us must come, sit, and receive the reality that God loves us. Jesus died on the cross for us. He was resurrected and He gives life, hope, and promises to us. We have intrinsic worth, not because of what we do, but because of what Jesus did. That is a good season to be in. Over time there will be a tipping point where He will say, “All right, you understand now? It’s time to move.” We want to bask in it. He says, “All right, there’s a lot to do. There’s a lot for you to do.” What does that mean? What does it mean to step into the activity of this faith? First, it means that we step into good works. We are empowered to fulfill good works. A life filled with good deeds and live-giving acts, that we are the ones who are given divine strength to improve the lives of those around us.
This is why He has empowered us. We are the ones who are able to perform. Those who follow Jesus, call on His name, draw from His spirit of life within one’s self, we are the ones who are supposed to be able to step into excellent acts. In many ways, we’re supposed to be the best or aim for it. Why? Because something within us is alive, and it’s powerful and strong. When we step into our jobs, we’re supposed to do it excellently. No longer because of what somebody might see and affirm us, or because our people around us might pat us on the back or applaud us. No. But because we have come to know the one who lives, loves, knows, blesses, and strengthens. He is the one generating this. It flows through who we are.
If good works are meant to define who we are and come from who we are, then you know what also? Good words. Good words about whom? About us? I want to tell you how good I am. Some of us, we have too easy of a time saying that. For others of us, it’s really hard. We’re supposed to say good words about God. We’re supposed to be the ones who speak about His goodness. If he is moving in our soul, we’re the ones who are supposed to be witnesses. Do you know what? Jesus decided to make His entire movement dependent on a human being willing to step into the life of another human being and to speak of the one they don’t know yet. That is interdependency. Jesus says, “You are supposed to be the ones who speak of God’s goodness. What He has touched in your life.” We’re the ones. We are not supposed to, in any way, take credit for anything that actually is. We can say, “You know what? I’m the one who did it.” No, no, no.
It’s actually, “Let me tell you about the one who has touched my soul with love that just doesn’t quit on me. When I fail he doesn’t fail me. I want to tell you about the one who has mercy. He gives me mercy every morning. No matter how dark, bad, or broken things might be, His grace is there. It’s there. It seems to not be tied to my performance. He seems to chase me down sometimes. Sometimes He hugs me and holds me. He is the one who whispers into my heart and lifts me up. I want to tell you about Him. I want to tell you about the one who is so good. He’s better than your imagination, your desires, or your cravings.” “He is better than what you could even think, and I want you to come to know him.” Now, you may not say it that way, but that is what we’re supposed to say. That is what we’re empowered to say. If we’re empowered to say good things about Him, not fake, but authentic, not pretentious, but humble, then we’re empowered to empower others. We’re the ones who are able to step into other people’s lives and say, “Listen, what you do doesn’t define your worth. Who you think you are doesn’t define your worth. I want you to know that there is a God who loves you. That’s what defines your worth. I want you to know that there is intrinsic value in your life because you’re breathing. You have a soul. I want you to know He sees your pain. But that pain need not define you. I want you to know there is a future that is better than your past. I want you to receive this power that I have received because it’s not mine to claim for myself. It’s mine to give as a privilege. I want you to know this.”
We are empowered to empower. Do you know what? We’re also strengthened to no longer get stuck in self-pity or the victim mentality that locks us into our shame. Or that says our past is too dark and broken forever, to make it possible for us to move. His power lifts us up and strengthens us. When we know we are known and loved by God, we start to get moved by God. That’s what happens. Where do we get moved? We get moved into a future that is so beautiful, but it requires us willing to move there together with Him.
His power is always future-oriented. Always. It’s amazing to me. We don’t know much about Luke’s past. We don’t know much about Peter’s past. We don’t know much about the 12’s past. We don’t know about their darkness or brokenness. The brokenness and the havoc it created, the havoc they inherited. We don’t know about the pain that they received. We don’t know about the pain they had created in somebody else’s life. We don’t know about their baggage. To an extent, we know very little compared to modern-day biographies. Modern-day biographies want to examine everything with a fine-tooth comb in somebody’s past. The gospels chose not to do that. The book of Acts chose not to do that. It’s different. It’s different with God. It’s almost as if with God something else happens. Something wildly different happens when God steps into a life. Where they come from, their baggage, what they carry, the darkness they experienced, the brokenness they created or received, it all pales in comparison to the beautiful future God wants them to build.
It all pales. It’s so less important than what is ahead. There is something of a gripping vision that gets a hold of those who follow Jesus. It’s almost as if, the truth of the matter is, we all have a past that seems to chase us wherever we go. This is true. Rather than ignore it, or pretend it doesn’t exist, you know what we’re supposed to do? We’re supposed to respect it and acknowledge it, yes. But you know what we’re not supposed to do? Choose to live in it.
We are actually invited to pack up, some of us, this is what we need to do. We need to pack up our bags from the past that we have been renting and living in. We need to say, “You know what? I’m no longer going to pay rent to a place that no longer exists. I’m going to leave this place. I’m going to leave it, and start living in the present. I’m going to live in today. Right now. Today. This is the day I have. This is the day you have made. The Lord has made it and it is good.” This is what the Psalmist says. “Today. I will live in today, and what will I do today? In today, I will call on the power of God, the spirit that is able to renew my soul, pick me up, restore me, confirm me, and strengthen me. I will call on Him, and I will build a better future. I will build a better future with my present. I will call on God to give me the strength I need, and the power I need to do it. It’s time. Today is the day. I’m leaving my past, not ignoring it, or not pretending it doesn’t exist. I’m going to respect it. Fine.”
“They will come when I’m no longer living there. They will come when I will be able to look back and I will see something different. We will start building a future.” You know what? A future we become grateful for. A future our spouses become grateful for. A future our children will be blessed by. Generations from now there may be people remembering us. Not for our darkness, brokenness, weaknesses, or failures. They will remember us for the decision we made, where we said, “I’m going to build a better future. I’m going to call on God, and I’m going to ask you to help me rise. I’m going to let Him rise within my soul. Every step I take is a step empowered by you.”
The biggest decision we can make is to say, “I want to get on that plane. I want you to lift me up, God. I want you to break me out of this place where I think my past means I can’t go forward. Or because I have darkness means your light can’t shine. I want you, I want to receive your power, I want it to rise within me. I want to impact my family. I want to impact my neighborhood and my city. I want people to talk about what you chose to do through me when I’m no longer here. Oh Lord, may that be the case. I pray God that you would help us, even now. Whisper within our soul. I surrender to your spirit. Unlock me. Revive me. Rise within me and create a future that’s far more beautiful than I ever expected. I pray you continue your movement through our lives, through our community. May you rise among us. In Jesus’s name. Amen.