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Monday, April 1, 2013

The Vision Thing (19): For Everybody!

True vision is for everybody!

It was a motley crew meeting daily for prayer after Jesus ascended to heaven. There were men and women (together in first-century Palestine? shocking!), Galileans and Judeans, former zealots, tax-collectors, prostitutes, widows, businessmen, Pharisees, probably old and young. The only things they had in common were their experiential conviction that Jesus was Lord and their heritage as the children of Abraham (though that would be redefined sooner than they would have imagined). Part of that heritage was the tradition of the prophets—men (and sometimes women) who were filled with the Holy Spirit to bring a message from the Lord. They were special people, few and far between, an elite and awesome spiritual fraternity.

Could these praying disciples have guessed that they were all about to join it?

After the fiery wind of the Spirit burst upon them and they spontaneously went into the streets proclaiming the good news of Jesus in languages they did not know, Peter rose to make sense of it all, hearkening back to the words of the prophet Joel:
"And in the last days it will be," God says,
"that I will pour out my Spirit on all people,
and your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
and your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy [Acts 2:17-18].
From that moment on, vision was no longer the privilege of the spiritually elite few. Vision belonged, in theory, to anyone on whom rested the Spirit of God. No human distinctions had any bearing on whom the Spirit came upon. Every believer who asks for the Holy Spirit will receive him and the vision that he brings.

The early church was not a group of loyal followers of a few visionary leaders. It was a group of visionaries. That's why they took over the world. What would happen if your church and mine were groups of visionaries too?

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