Monday, February 17, 2020
30 LETTERS TO MY CHURCH on DISCIPLESHIP - LETTER 22
LETTER 22 - A DISCIPLE IS A VESSEL FOR THE POWER OF GOD
Dear Redeemer Family:
I want you to know that a disciple of Jesus has access to His power to heal.
When I was a boy in Rockford, Illinois, we had a black and white TV. My father put an antenna on the roof of our house. It picked up three stations. Sometimes, when we wanted to watch a show and it was not coming in, dad would get the ladder, climb on the roof, and turn the antenna to get better reception. From inside the house we would yell things like, "No, that's worse!" Or, "There - that's good!"
One show mom and dad liked watching was Oral Roberts. Roberts was a Pentecostal preacher who claimed to have a gift of healing. Sometimes I watched with them. I can still hear the voice of Roberts as he commanded people to "Be healed!" It seemed like power shot through Roberts's fingers, and people said they felt it. And people cried as they were healed.
We were Lutherans. I don't remember us ever hearing about things like healing and power. We did sing some hymns, like "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name," and my favorite, which was "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." I remember thinking that Martin Luther must have believed in a powerful God to write a song like that.
And then it happened.
My grandmother was healed of cancer.
She lived with us six months out of every year when we were growing up. When she was in her mid-80s, Grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. She decided not to have it medically treated.
The cancerous tumors in her breasts grew. My mother used to bathe her, and visually saw and physically felt the hard tumors growing.
Grandma knew she was going to die. She had lived a long life, and was ready to leave this world for a better one. She even bought the dress she wanted to be buried in.
When Grandma had spent what we assumed would be her last six months in our home, she went to live with my aunt and uncle in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. One day my aunt called. She told my mother that, while bathing Grandma, she noticed that the tumors did not appear to be there. My mother could not believe this, yet wanted to believe it. Mom traveled 400 miles to visually inspect Grandma and confirm it.
Grandma lived twelve more years. She bought three more dresses to be buried in. She died at age ninety-seven.
What happened? How can we explain this? I, and my mother, concluded two things:
- Grandma once was cancer-filled, and then one day the cancer was gone.
- God healed Grandma.
In the book of Acts the disciples are told, by their Teacher, that when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, they will be "clothed with power." And they were, as one can see from reading the book of Acts.
In Acts we have the original church. It's made of disciples of Christ. They have access to the power of God, just as Jesus promised. This is the prototypical church, the way church is meant to be. It is an assembly of empowered followers of Jesus who do the things he did.
The apostle Paul confessed he wanted to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. Me too. I want to know this. I want you to know it, as well.
I have access to the power of Almighty God. I have this because I am a disciple. I have journals filled with examples. One of them is recorded in Lee Strobel's book The Case for Miracles, and in Craig Keener's monumental Miracles: The New Testament Evidence.
This morning, in our Sunday gathering, I saw the power of God in operation, as I prayed for some people to be emotionally healed.
Today is another power-filled day! I have access to supernatural power to heal, to deliver, to set captives free, to tear down dividing walls, and to save.
I am a disciple of Christ, and have access to God's power.
I have experienced God's power many times.
I have seen God's power heal people.
My desire is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Because I have access to God's power, I can do all things through Christ who empowers me.
Jesus tells me I will do the things He has done.