By Mark Harris, Founder and CEO of 4Tucson
Observing the Christian calendar, we are preparing to celebrate a fascinating series of historical events that followed the resurrection of Jesus and further shaped the foundations of mankind for the next two-thousand years. The next two holidays are the commemoration of the Ascension of Jesus (May 26th) and then a few days later, Pentecost (June 5th).
Each of these historical events have a rich story behind them. I cannot help but to think of all the unrecorded conversations that took place leading up to Pentecost. Just before the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, the Bible records that the apostles asked Him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus responded, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority” (v. 7).
Even after witnessing the miracle of the resurrection, the Apostles could not get it out of their minds that His triumphant kingdom was a certain reality in their lifetimes. In the next scene the apostles were “gazing into heaven” witnessing Christ ascend into heaven (Acts 1:11) with instructions to wait for the Holy Spirit (v. 5). In between the promise of the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:8, Jesus provides the framework for the rest of the book of Acts: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The rest of the book of Acts records the progressive expansion of the kingdom of God, not by force as the followers of Jesus had expected, but by their preaching and living out the Gospel during their time on earth.
I have often thought how cool it will be to talk with Moses, Elijah, David, Gideon, Paul and the other disciples and hear their stories firsthand. Here is how I imagine story-time in heaven will go. There is Moses. He tells his story of being 80 years old when God sent him to Pharaoh. “When the people had been released from bondage and we had gone as far as the Red Sea, we could see chariots coming in the distance.” Moses further explains, “We were unarmed and our backs were against the sea.” “By faith,” he says, “I held up the staff God gave me and the water parted. We all crossed on dry ground. Then when Pharaoh’s army was almost upon us, I held up the staff of God and the waters overwhelmed the chariots and the whole army drowned. It was amazing to be alive during that time in history and see God use me like that.”
You look over to David and say, “Tell us your story”. “Well,” he said, “when I was just a teenager, I went to check on my brothers at the frontlines of the war with the Philistines. There was this thug named Goliath that called our God all kinds of names and the adults were scared of him. I could not take it. Something had to be done. So, I took my slingshot and went out against him. I hit him in the head with a stone and then I cut his head off with his own sword. It was really an amazing time to be alive on earth and see how God used me for His purposes during my lifetime.”
I can imagine hearing Gideon tell his story of God using just 300 men to take an entire enemy army of 135,000 men.
I can imagine hearing Ezra tell of how the temple was rebuilt after the captivity and how the king miraculously supplied all the timber and stone to build it and even giving back the temple furnishings from King Solomon. “It was an amazing time to be alive on the earth,” as Ezra recounted it.
Now imagine everyone in the circle of those who served God in their generation turns to you. They ask you to tell your story. “Tell us how God used you during your time on earth?” they curiously inquire.
What is your story going to be?
Will you have a story of how you were faithful to follow God in the face of opposition? Will you have a story of how you were obedient to God’s leadership, even when things looked hopeless and overwhelming? Will you have a story of how God mightily used you in a miraculous way when you made yourself available to Him?
I hope your story will not be one where you try to explain to that “great cloud of witnesses” that you tiptoed through life trying not to bring too much attention to yourself to avoid being required to take a stand for God. Can you imagine how sad that tale would be to tell?
According to Ephesians 2:8-20, you and I were born to live on the earth at this particular time because God believes we have what it takes to impact the world for Him in our generation.
Great problems create great opportunities for men and women of God to be used mightily by Him in their generation. This is one of the greatest times in the history of all humankind to be alive on earth. Don’t miss the opportunity to live out the purpose for which you were created to live. Live your life in such a way that one day during story-time in heaven, you will have a glorious story to share of the time when God used you against all odds and, through you, displayed His power to deliver His people from the hand of those who would enslave and oppress His people. God Believes You Have What It Takes! Do you believe it?
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