From now until the end of the month we will be re-releasing highlights from our Wake-Up Call Acts journey together. Join us on December 1 when we begin our new series celebrating Advent—Protagonist by Matt and Josh LeRoy.
PRAYER OF CONSECRATION
Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
Jesus, I belong to you.
I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.
Jesus, we belong to you.
Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.
Acts 9:26–31 (NIV)
When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
We have witnessed dynamic and dramatic things as this massive Holy Spirit story continues to unfold. Jesus physically lifts off of the earth, defying gravity, and ascends into Heaven. The Holy Spirit comes like a roaring wind and tongues of fire and men who don’t speak foreign languages all of a sudden not only speak foreign languages but declare the gospel of Jesus in said languages. A man paralyzed from birth begins walking and jumping and praising God. People suffering from all kinds of sickness are healed. People oppressed by all sorts of evil and impure spirits are delivered. Last week we witnessed the stunning conversion of an Ethiopian eunuch, not to mention the thousands and thousands of men, women, and children who have professed faith in Jesus, been baptized, and joined the church. Signs, wonders, and miracles abound as the presence of God fills the people of God with the power of God (which is the love of God), for the sake of the world, and all for the glory of God.
All of this is extraordinary and truly incredible, but this week, we are witnessing what is perhaps the most profound and convincing proof of them all—the power of a transformed life. This story of the apostle Paul is next level. Here was a man who was so convinced in his established faith in God and so convicted by his convictions he committed himself to destroy anything that came against it—especially the church. The disciples in Damascus were terrified of him. They didn’t believe the story, and with good reason, because it was unbelievable. I love this bit of the inside story:
But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
As an aside, don’t underestimate the significance of Barnabas giving his thumbs up on Paul. Also, don’t underestimate the significance of your own endorsement of a perhaps unlikely witness of Jesus. It matters a lot.
So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
This is unprecedented. Saul, who weeks ago was holding the coats of the men stoning Stephen for his faith in Jesus; who days ago was breathing murderous threats and dragging men and women from their homes to punish them for their faith in Jesus; is now in the Holy City, Jerusalem, and he is “speaking boldly in the name of Jesus.”
Take this in. Behold what Jesus is doing here. This is the stunning power of a transformed life. Signs, wonders, and miracles are important. They play a key part in the story. They become important moments with ongoing significance. A transformed life is like a sign and wonder that keeps on going. A transformed life is like a miracle turned into a movement. It keeps on going, picking up steam, overcoming obstacles, enduring suffering, doing impossible things, winning unwinnable battles, and all while demonstrating unfathomable love.
It’s why your life and your transformation matter so much. Never underestimate the significance of the transformation afoot in your own life. It just might matter the most.
It’s why this prayer of transformation matters so much.
THE PRAYER OF TRANSFORMATION
Lord Jesus, I am your witness.
I receive your righteousness and release my sinfulness.
I receive your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive your peace and release my anxiety.
I receive your joy and release my despair.
I receive your healing and release my sickness.
I receive your love and release my selfishness.
Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that my consecration becomes your demonstration; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, amen.
Tell me the story of your transformation. Here are some journal prompts for you today: How has Jesus transformed my life in the past? How is Jesus transforming my life right now in this season of my discipleship? How might he transform my life in the future? Who and how did I used to be? Who and how am I now? Who and how am I becoming?
Every day we sing a hymn together on the Wake-Up Call audio edition/podcast. Get your Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise at the Seedbed Store today.
For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt