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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sacrificial Summit Prayers of Ascent - Day #14


THE LAST ONE (for those of you who are tired of seeing these. :) 

Ephesians 3:20-21 – “20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
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We stand atop the summit.  It’s easy to think that just because we made it that we made it happen.  But by now anyone who has been doing the Jesus-followin’ thing for any length of time knows that anything we do is “his power that is at work within us”.  Nonetheless, there is something exhilarating about setting out ‘way back when’ looking at the steep climb ahead and knowing—knowing deep in our being—that we aren’t getting up that incline without Him.  It’s that feeling that fills my spirit this morning as I write this final entry.  

The takeaways from this power-passage could fill a library of pages…but I’ll try and pair it down to a handful…

#1 – When we come to the end of our ability, we serve a God “who is able”.  His ability is what any sane Christian relies on in seasons of need.
#2 – It’s easy to have a small imagination and to simply not ask for God to do “immeasurably more”.  It’s not that we don’t believe He can, but I think we struggle to think He will.
#3 – Get this…God does amazing things as “his power is at work within us”.  We ask him to move, when he really wants to move us.  Unimaginable power lays dormant in most believers, untold and untapped.
#4 – It’s staggering that God’s glory is connected to the actions of the church.  The power of God that is demonstrated/at work through His church has everything to do with whether He gets the glory due his name.  
#5 – The generations to come will not see the immeasurable ability and unimaginable power of God unless the church lets Him be “at work” in and through their lives in the present.  The future depends on the present.

In the Old Testament when God’s people would fail to be God’s presence in the world, the prophets would say that God’s name became a “byword” among the nations.  That’s another way of saying “irrelevant”, “unknown”, “impotent”.  The degree to which God relies on the church to be His powerful presence causes me to shutter.  That He has chosen to be “at work in us” to accomplish His purposes in the world continues to challenge me.  We must believe in Him, but it is just as important that we believe that He believes in us.  He thinks we can and will carry his power and presence from generation to generation, glory to glory.

I think that’s why the New Testament unfolds with Matthew, Mark, Luke, John…ACTS.  It is the action of the church empowered by the inner working of God that made the potent impact that we currently enjoy in this generation thousands of years later.  The power is there, the ability is there, the glory is there…the question is whether the church will let God move through them.  Only then will we become a movement.

“God Almighty, we humbly ask for you to do more than we could ask or imagine…but we know it is your intent to do that through us.  I don’t know how we could have missed this.  We keep praying for you to show up and you keep praying for us to show up.  So we believe that you believe we can be your presence and power in this world.  We open ourselves to the idea that “your power is at work in us” and we ask for you to do the impossible, the unimaginable, and the immeasurable through us.  We say with the Apostle Paul as he concludes his prayer: To you be all the glory in all generations, forever and ever!  Amen.”

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