For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.
– 1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT)
I ran across a quote the other day from my quote book that gave me pause. It said, “Perhaps the greatest hindrance to the gospel spreading today: the people of God trying to do the work of God apart from the power of God.” I realized the truth in this statement in relation to the work we do in the streets around the world. Here’s some examples of what I mean:
- PoppaWoppa, one of our main volunteers from the streets of Benton Harbor, started getting super serious us with us after we prayed for his back and he was completely healed from chronic back problems and hasn’t had back problems since.
- Antoine has been spreading the news about Jesus and His power after we prayed for his daughter who was completely healed and began walking. Before she was unable to even sit up on her own.
- Mike has been trying to live for the Lord and is no longer okay with his gang lifestyle. This began when he was prayed over by our team and was healed, receiving full use of his arm again after it had been partially paralyzed from a gunshot wound.
- A man from the north side sought our team out intentionally because of answered prayers in his life. He had been homeless and looking for our job when our team prayed for him. In less than a week he got a job and a place to live and is very open to the good news about Jesus now.
I guess what I’m getting at is, telling people that they’re going to hell doesn’t always work so well. Although it may be true (even though we should never presume to know someone’s eternal destination but should present the news of Jesus Christ with deep humility) it hasn’t produced too much fruit in the streets. What has produced fruit is the power of Jesus Christ operating through our lives to love on a hurting and broken people. Isn’t that what happened in Jesus’ life as well?
Remember the man possessed by a legion of demons? Jesus didn’t tell him he was on his way to everlasting fire. Jesus cast the demons out and sent the man on his first missionary journey (Mark 5:1-20). Or what about the man who had been born blind who received his sight back? (John 9:1-41) The disciples wanted to know who sinned, the man or his parents, that he should be born blind. Jesus skipped ahead and healed the man before the man even believed in Him. And do you know what happens later in the story? The man puts his faith in Jesus. Why? The love of the Father moving through the Son to completely change the direction of the man’s life. Of course the man fell in love with Jesus. You would too. And that’s what I’m getting at. And that’s what the quote above is getting at.
The work of God and the message of the gospel is received much better when joined together with the power of the Spirit to love the world.
Our challenge to you is twofold: First, do you believe that there is power available to you, as a follower of Jesus Christ, to love a hurting and broken world? Secondly, if you do believe, it would you consider stepping out in faith to use that power to love your neighbors and coworkers and friends and family? Don’t worry if they don’t believe yet. We have seen from scripture and from our own experiences that even the hardest people become gloriously open to the gospel when the Lord interrupts their real problems with the power of the Holy Spirit. He wants to use someone. Can He use you?
You can donate to the ministry in the streets here.