“I can guarantee this truth: Those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing. They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12 (God’s Word Translation)
There has been this, oh call it a nagging thought, that has been haunting me for some time now. It centers around this statement from Jesus in that Upper Room hours before the events that would lead to His death will roll into motion. Never forget that Jesus knows exactly when and how He will die. It was a death He freely chose for Himself. And He was determined to make it happen. And this morning I will share with you my nagging thought: “Where are the greater things today?”
Jesus said, “Hey guys, all this stuff you’ve been watching me do, I guarantee that you are going to do them, too and guess what? You are going to do even great things!” And what are the things that Jesus did? Well, giving sight to the blind, healing incurable diseases, causing those who couldn’t walk to dance, giving those who couldn’t talk the ability to sing, causing those who were told they were unlovable to know they were loved by God, raising the dead, feeding thousands with a kid’s meal, put the fear of God into demons, and the list goes on. So, where are these things nowadays?
Last week I was blessed to be at the New Room Conference 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee. It’s a gathering of people from a broad spectrum of ages, places and Tribes (otherwise called by many human minds, “denominations”) for praying, worship, fellowship and learning in order that collectively we would see another “Great Awakening” for our churches and communities. I guess you could call us “Revival Seekers” and personally, I’m OK with that moniker. It’s one of only a handful of “Christian Conferences” that I actually look forward to attending.
On Thursday, we were given the opportunity to choose from 5 break-out sessions to attend. Originally I had signed up for a session about learning about John Wesley’s concept of “Bands”–not musical bands but small groups of followers of Jesus designed to be a way to hold each other accountable to the cause of The Kingdom. But something, well, actually it was Someone kept pulling on me all morning long to attend another session that was about the work and power of the Holy Spirit. I was looking for something to help me serve this congregation, but The Holy Spirit was saying, “Look, Randy, YOU need this for YOU!” Can you guess which break-out session I attended? And now? The Holy Spirit has only intensified that question: “Where are the greater things today?”
Here’s the truthful answer to that nagging question: “For the most part, the greater things are missing.” Around the world in other places the Greater Things are happening. But here in the good old U.S. of A., we’re suffering from Spiritual Anemia. And on this Monday Morning, I believe the Holy Spirit has helped me understand why. The Spirit knows me, all too well, so He gave me a one word answer for the why: MEDIOCRITY! Mediocrity means “the state of being mediocre; so-so; nothing remarkable”. The best way to understand the meaning of mediocrity is to look at words which are the exact opposite (we call them “antonyms”): “excellence; superior in quality and value”.
Mediocrity has become the new standard of “excellence” in the church. Now I just heard someone thinking, “Oh, that passage was just for those guys. It wasn’t meant for today’s times.” Oh, really?????? What twisted logic did you use to arrive at such an incongruous and wacky conclusion? Did you walk under a coconut tree and a coconut fall on your head? That kind of thinking reveals some serious brain damage from somewhere. And do you really think that being safe and smug in a church building, avoiding the controversies of life, and feeling that you’re good enough to get into heaven qualifies as “the greater things”? Wow! 4 or 5 coconuts must have hit you in the head.
Jesus said, “Those who believe in me“ and not “Just you guys”. I know, I know, it’s an overwhelming thought to think, “I can do greater things than Jesus?” Well, for most because there are some who think they are smarter and greater than Jesus. Doing greater things than Jesus, well that really can’t be done, IF we do not recognize The HOW we can do greater things. Jesus gives us The HOW: “They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father.“
I just heard someone say, “HUH?” Quit scratching your head wondering about The HOW. Keep on reading and you will discover that Jesus is talking about The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not come upon and within us until 3 things happen: 1) Jesus Dies; 2) Jesus Rises from the dead; and 3) Jesus ascends back to Heaven. Those 3 events have happened, and now the Holy Spirit comes to us, to live in us and through us with great power–power so great that it will cause Believers to do exactly what Jesus did, and MORE!
But mediocrity keeps us grounded. Me? I’m sick and tired of scratching the ground looking for grubs. I want to soar with the eagles. I’m tired of average, I hunger for excellence. And here’s the take-away truth on this Monday: The Holy Spirit that lived in Jesus as He walked this earth in human form and empowered Him to do great things, can live in your heart so that you can do the great things Jesus did, and even greater things. But it is not automatic. To break free of mediocrity here’s what you must do:
- You must acknowledge the Person and Power of the Holy Spirit. Too many Churchians and Tenured Pew Sitters haven’t a clue about The Holy Spirit;
- Invite HIM (not “it”) into your heart. Yes, Jesus said He would live in our heart, but He does so through the Person of The Holy Spirit;
- Hunger for HIS power. Stop doing it with your understanding and through your best intentions. You know which road is paved with good intentions and where it leads;
- Listen to HIS guidance. God still speaks today into our hearts and minds. We must give up human logic and human reasoning when it comes to living;
- Trust all, I mean ALL, that Jesus said about HIM. Stop wanting to be spoon fed the Truth and give up the fallacy of “Microwave” maturity. It takes time, time you spend reading the Scriptures about The Holy Spirit. Forget what others teach about the Holy Spirit. It’s all there in The Book! After all, faith isn’t always about us understanding, but us TRUSTING what God said.
When we forsake the paths of mediocrity for the Walk WITH The Holy Spirit, then we can say, “Good! Lord it’s Monday! What shall we do together?” Let’s pray:
I am sick and tired of average. I confess that I’ve said I trust YOU, Jesus, but I haven’t trusted what YOU said about The Holy Spirit. Deliver me from myself. I invite YOU, Holy Spirit, into my heart. I know I need to be hungry for YOU, Holy Spirit. So I repent of me doing my best for YOU, and am now allowing YOU, Holy Spirit, to do YOUR Best in me. Help me starve that mediocre spirit in me to death by hungering for YOU! I don’t fully understand how it will work out, but I believe that YOU will cause me to do the things that Jesus did, and even greater things. And if I don’t see them happen immediately, I’m not giving up until I do see! Amen and Amen!