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Week 4 June 2024, Devotion Part 2

These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also…   Acts 17:6

 Because Pentecost ignites a movement to the future, it explodes with amazement and perplexity. Wind and fire expose chaff we never knew existed. The flames of faith are fanned in every direction, unleashing praise and persecution of unparalleled scope. When God’s majesty rides herd on His people, myths and misconceptions must yield to His revelation. The body of Christ must conform to the Head who wore a crown of thorns. His breath will scatter us to the four winds if we do not heed His gospel fully.


Our inner life is regenerated along the God-size outward challenge. Fellowship among believers becomes a survival matter. The Holy Spirit showcases individuals like Peter and John to teach confrontation – the art of “facing together.” He highlights a Barnabas as a model encourager. He pops the anonymous “three thousand” (Acts 2:41-42) into our congregations to force us into drastically revised “body language.” Together we forego blandly polite community affairs in favor of small-group intimacy with a previously abhorred Simon the tanner, or a secretly envied Cornelius of the Italian cohort. In radical realignments rooted in allegiance to Jesus Christ alone, we become those equipped to turn His world right-side-up.  (Part 2 of 2)


 Comment: Long ago when my house was bustling with lovable goofy kids, the expression “Mom is a force to be reckoned with” lent itself to all sorts of banter.  But when Mom drew the line, her authority was unmistakable  This brings me to some people’s mistaken notion that the Holy Spirit is a special kind of force.  In fact, He is the third Person of the Trinity, who reveals Himself to believers who cultivate an intimate love relationship with Him.  To such He gives dunamis power, meaning the kind of strength and ability showcased on Pentecost. This Greek word, used 120 times in the New Testament, is the root of our English words dynamite, dynamo, and dynamic.


Back in the turbulent sixties, a dynamic woman exploded on America’s religious scene, intent on turning it upside down.  She lectured in colleges and universities, wrote books, was the darling of daring talk shows, and founded several corporations.  Born in 1919, she mysteriously vanished in 1995.  It took the FBI several years to finally locate her hacked-up body in a shallow grave in Texas. The woman who had prided herself in being called “America’s most hated woman” was Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the ardent atheist who got the Supreme Court to ban prayer in schools. She regaled her audiences with every four-letter word in her prized profanity collection.  In an interview with Johnny Carson she explained that the term “profane” is rooted in the Latin profanus, “pro” meaning outside and “fanum” temple  She called it church to make sure it was understood that she was a delighted expert in “desecrating what is holy.” To her the Holy Spirit was “the Spook.”  According to Jesus, the one unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the third Person of the triune Godhead (Matthew 12:22-30).  The Book of Acts instructs you and me in what makes for God’s genuine dynamic witness.  Acts 17

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