The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
I recently found myself in a church service where no one was singing. There were great musicians, good songs, even a fog machine. Most everyone was just standing there with their hands in their pockets. I whispered this question to Jesus, “Why is no one singing?” I sensed this response, “Because they don’t have anything to sing about. They need a demonstration.”
In the earliest church and churches, the most significant fact about Jesus was not his life, death, and resurrection. It was his ascension to the right hand of God. Certainly, these verities of his death and resurrection were core and central, without which nothing else would matter, but the Ascension mattered most.
Why? Because this was not doctrinal religion for them. It was reality and life itself. They knew Jesus was raised from the dead and that he had died for the sins of the world. They were asking the what now question. They wanted to know where Jesus was and what he was doing and how it involved them.
The most quoted verse in the New Testament from the Old Testament may surprise you. This text was the life verse of the early church. It is Psalm 110:1.
“The Lord says to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool underneath your feet.'”
It was important to these first Christians that Jesus had won the war in his death and resurrection. It was more important to them to understand and experience that Jesus was winning the battles as the Ascended Lord of Heaven and Earth—according to his power at work within them—”until I make your enemies a footstool underneath your feet.“
The Resurrection of Jesus was not a doctrine they were trying to get people to believe in to keep them out of hell. For these early believers, it was about demonstration. It still is. Essential as it is, most people are not convinced by doctrine. People are won to faith by demonstration, which is precisely what is missing in so many of our lives and churches. We are long on doctrine and short on demonstration. Demonstration is the stuff of awakening.
O.K., back to the church where no one was singing and my conversation with Jesus about a demonstration of his power. I knelt on the ground and began to pray quietly for a demonstration. Then from out of nowhere, this came into my mind. “There is a woman here wracked with grief and sadness from a protracted battle with infertility, and there is another woman here who is wracked with guilt and shame from an abortion earlier in her life.”
Filled with fear and a sense of dread, I knew I had to do something with this information. I went to the pastor as the service was ending. He publicly shared what I told him, inviting anyone who wanted to come for prayer for any reason. Several people came to the front and in the midst of them—quietly and under cover of the departing crowd—came these two women. We circled each in prayer. Shackles seemed to break off of the woman who suffered from the abortion. Hope seemed to infuse the hearts of the young couple who had tried for seven years to conceive a child.
It was quiet, unobtrusive, real, simple, and demonstrative. It was a demonstration of . . . “until I make your enemies a footstool underneath your feet.” Guilt and shame disintegrated by grace and forgiveness. Grief and sadness wrapped in a blanket of faith and hope. It was a demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power manifesting the love of Jesus through the Body of Christ.
And this just in. I learned recently this couple reported back to the pastor of the church of their joyful expectation of a coming child. They are pregnant! Blessed be the name of the Lord!
God our Father, who with your son Jesus, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for your willingness to demonstrate your presence, power, grace, and love in our midst. Awaken in us the stirrings of a holy discontent. And kindle in us the fiery faith of your love. We confess, we have lost expectation for demonstration. Renew and refine this expectation in us as faith, hope and love. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Doctrine matters, but demonstration matters more. How do you relate to and process this statement? Are you ready for more demonstration?
O.K., friends, if you were encouraged by today’s Holy Spirit Story #1, you must join the LiveStream BookClub launching now. It’s not too late. We will rush you a book. This is what the book is all about—the every day ordinary extraordinary demonstrations of the love of Jesus through the person of the Holy Spirit and how to participate. And its my favorite kind of book—a short one! ;0) (written by one of my heroes) Come on and join in. I’ll be in the club. It will be a veritable faith feast. If you need a scholarship, reply to this email and we will make it happen.
Yesterday we shipped out 230 seeds of Domino Effect. Can we make it 500 today? Seeds don’t sow without sowers and soil. And the deal stands: two copies for the price of one. Come on, Sowers!
For the Awakening,