Whenever I read through the Bible I’m always awestruck by the men and women that God used build the story of the Bible. The Bible is God’s message of salvation to all people! He used people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph to build a nation that would produce Jesus, the savior of the world. Then he used people like Moses and Joshua to lead those people out of Egypt and into the promised land. He rose up great leaders like David and Solomon to govern the nation. This is just the Old Testament! The New Testament gives up people like the Apostle Paul, the twelve disciples and of course Jesus! Specifically when we look at the founders of the church. People like Peter, Paul and Timothy, and the many others who were martyred for their outspoken faith in Jesus Christ, I am humbled that I, we get to stand in their corner.
One thing I like to say is that the Bible includes many examples of ordinary people who got to experience an extraordinary God, and while that is very true, God’s influence of their lives made them extraordinary. Peter wasn’t an ordinary man when he stood up on Pentecost and quoted the prophet Joel, shared his faith in Jesus and 3,000 people committed their lives to Jesus that day. The Apostle Paul wasn’t an ordinary man when he traveled from city to city planting churches, being beaten for his teachings, and writing divinely inspired text that would ultimately fill out the majority of our New Testament. John wasn’t ordinary when he had a vision that would detail the book of Revelation and give us a glimpse into the final days and fulfillment of Christ’s return.
The truth is these were extraordinary actions. And they’re not specifically limited to the Bible. We’ve seen the extraordinary in our own lives. I will never forget one summer at youth camp, our students were locking in an intense flag football match when a student from a different youth group went down with a nasty ankle injury. Our students stood and watched as this young lady was helped off the field and we all saw her swollen and badly bruised ankle as the nurse attended to her. Then, that night in chapel, the speaker asked if anyone needed a healing. Obviously this girl could use a healing and so she and her friends went to the front and prayed. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever had an ankle injury, but it takes a good 1-2 months to come back from, and even then there are times when you feel the injury. I’ll never forget when our Youth Director brought this girl up on the platform after they had prayed for her and she walked up the steps without the crutches she came in with, jogged across the stage and jumped when she got to the end. It was one of those moments that you’re just completely awestruck at what you’ve just seen. This wasn’t one of those phony TV gimmicks, this was a girl from a youth group just down the road from ours. No smoke and mirrors, just God being God. And it was really cool.
We all left that service impacted by the unlimited possibilities of our God, and humbled by the fact that He used one of us to do it! Another amazing story about healing is the time a good friend of mine came to the altar one Sunday morning at church. He had lower back pain, and asked for prayer. I told him that I would be happy to pray with him, I also told him that the power of healing comes from the Holy Spirit. We agreed together to ask for prayer and before either one of us said a word, his back popped and realigned and my friend was healed! I still check in regularly with my friend and today he is still pain free and completely healed!
I can tell you with 100% absolute certainty that there is nothing special about me. I’m ordinary. But I can tell you that the Holy Spirit that is in me is extraordinary! The Holy Spirit can take anyone of us and make us extraordinary!
This series is going to take a look at the Book of Acts and pick up right where the Gospels left off. Jesus has just been resurrected and has ascended into heaven. We’ve been given the great commission, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” And now we come here; Acts 1:1-5,
In my former book [Luke], Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 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. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not