Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Power in the Wind...

Most people who travel America’s highways today have seen the huge towers, giants in the wind, slowly turning, but generating power. Wind farms are now a common sight across America. Iowa, California, Minnesota, and even off-shore in the ocean, you can find wind farms, multiple towers with huge propellers, catching the wind, generating power to provide low cost energy to meet America’s needs for more clean energy. Those who live nearby don’t like them. They can be noisy and an eyesore, ruining the natural view of the sunset. But overall, more and more like them just because they help keep costs down, and they are a clean source of energy. Co-operatively, they provide a powerful source of energy.
I have noticed a few other qualities. They yield to the wind. They each function independently. They all function for the good of all. When there is no wind, they do not function at all. They have no purpose without the wind.
The Bible gives us a picture of the wind too. John 3:8 in the Message Bible tells us: “You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone "born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God."
On the Day of Pentecost, in the upper room, a mighty rushing wind came into the place where disciples and others were sitting and praying in unity. It transformed the early church. Wind since that day has been a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
1. We need the Wind.
Most of my life I have had the privilege of attending churches that were filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. But there have been times when I have attended churches where the Wind did not blow. Somehow, the Spirit had been stifled and they went through the motions of being a church. They looked good both inside and out. They did all the right things that were expected of a church. They worked hard at being a church, but sometime, somewhere in their past, they began doing things their way instead of His way. You see, the Wind, the Holy Spirit, has personal qualities. He is not just a power. He can be offended, wounded, grieved, and turned off. We do that when we start doing things our own way instead of His way. I have often seen well meaning people take things into their own hands, frustrating the ultimate plan of God. Their own agenda’s sound nice, please people, but in the end they hurt the kingdom of God. We need the Wind. We cannot do anything in the kingdom of God without His power and His blessing.
2. We must yield to the Wind.
Power comes when we yield to the Wind. If a windmill would refuse to turn in the wind, nothing would be generated. As we allow the Wind to move us, to flow through us, to do what He was designed to do in our lives, our lives will be transformed into spiritual dynamos of power. That power is not just for our benefit. It is to flow out of us and into others who need it. It is to flow into the darkness and light a world darkened by sin. Yielding to the Wind means complete and absolute release and trust. It frees the Creator to do with us as He always planned. It frees Him to create in us a hope and a future, a purpose for being. Many folks are struggling, holding back, wondering what they are here for and where they are going. God has a purpose and a plan. It is His desire that we yield to the power of the Wind, and let Him use us to be power filled vessels He can use to change this world.
3. Unity and Wind
One of the unique characteristics of the early church was their unity. There were no denominations….There was no sense of competition….There was unity in hearts, in congregations and in their ultimate purpose. They knew they had to love one another. They learned early to work together for one purpose, to build the kingdom of God. As they kept their focus on Christ, they succeeded. As they lost their focus, and became self absorbed… they failed. Looking at the seven churches of Revelation, we learn from Ephesus, that if we lose that ‘first love’ we will be rebuked, even if we seem to be doing everything else right. If we compromise with the world, we fail. If we are unfaithful, we fail. If we are lukewarm and self absorbed, like Laodicea, we fail. If we compromise with the world, we fail.
Maintaining unity in the Christian world today is difficult. Churches everywhere seem to be grasping for the top of the heap. They don’t like competition, yet it is competition that makes them healthy and strong. Churches everywhere need to develop a healthy spirit of respect and co-operation with the rest of the body of Christ. The battle for the most dollars in the plate sadly motivates some. Others are busy climbing the ladder of success, making a ‘name’ for themselves. Too often, they forget what got them to where they are today. It was the humble saints of God who laid a foundation for their ministry in prayer, yielded to the Wind who prayed their way to ‘success.’ It was those who kept an eye on the cross as they sought out the lost in the darkness that built the church. It was men and women of God who yielded their all, expected nothing in return and loved God more than results, who left us a heritage to live up to. Unity comes with humility and the Wind. Just as each tower in a wind farm works together co-operatively to produce great electrical power, so the churches must work together for the kingdom of God.
4. Standing alone in the Wind
I remember reading in school some of the biographies of missionaries who paved the way for world missions today. There were greats such as John and Betty Stam who died as missionary martyrs in China, Adoniram Judson. Missionary to Burma who said “The prospects are bright as the promises of God."; David Brainard, who said "All my desire was the conversion of the heathen... I declare, now I am dying, I would not have spent my life otherwise for the whole world."; David Livingston said, “I am a missionary, heart and soul. God had an only Son, and He was a missionary and a physician. I am a poor, poor imitation of Him, or wish to be. In this service I hope to live; in it I wish to die!"; Hudson Taylor said “Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all." All of these great men and women had to stand alone in the Wind. There are times when we find ourselves also standing alone in the Wind. It is easy to feel sorry for ourselves, back away, give up and go with the flow instead. But God has chosen His servants to stand alone in the Wind… Stephen...Paul...John on Patmos...and they made a difference because they did.
You may feel all alone, like no one knows or cares about your circumstances. God sees you. God knows all about you. He sees the future we cannot see. He knows the plans He has for you...a hope and a future. Look around you. You may be surprised to see others standing alone on their hill… standing tall in the Wind… moving in the power of God. Behind you is a generation who is looking for someone to look up to. Stand tall! Know whom you serve! You have purpose and power as you yield to the Wind. Let Him move you...because that is when the power flows.
You are not alone. You have the Wind all around you.
Lately I have heard of pastors who feel all alone in their struggle. They are in a spiritual battle. They need to know that you are praying for them, that you love them, that you are willing to help in any way you can. Some need words of encouragement. Others need financial help. Some need to get away for a time of rest and refreshment. The enemy of our souls will try to drag us down and he will use any means to destroy the work of God. As we face the future, not knowing what it holds, we must learn more than ever to walk in trust, in faith, with a clear vision of Christ before our eyes. He sets the pace for each of us. As He faced the greatest trials in His life, He yielded to the Father... “Not my will but Thine…” When the enemy came full force, he responded with the Word, “It is written”. When the wind fills the sails of a ship, it is empowered to move forward. The breath of God is the wind in our sails. Just as God breathed life into Adam, so today He wants to blow once again into the dust of our souls and empower us for service. There is power in the Wind! Let it blow…..
J. Johnson