"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." - Acts 1:8
I recently was sitting in the company of a group of pastors whom I love and appreciate their friendship and ministry. They vary in age, church size, and ministry approaches but all have doctrinal clarity, biblical philosophy, and a passion for the Lord's work. While we were exchanging blessings and burdens that each of us have experienced and shouldered, my mind was wandering from the conversation onto a quote that I recently read in Samuel Chadwick's classic book, The Way To Pentecost. "The blunders and disasters of the Church are largely, if not entirely, accounted for by the neglect of the Spirit's ministry and mission."
Samuel Chadwick was an Englishman born into a devout Methodist family who attended church three times each Sunday. Chadwick was saved at a young age and surrendered to God's call to preach the gospel at the age of 21. He immersed himself quickly into the work of God and was considered by many to be scholarly in the Scriptures, innovative in methods, and dynamic in personality. By his own admission, Chadwick began to become exhausted in his attempts to change hearts and minds through clever preaching and dynamic ideas in ministry. He longed for power, real power from on High! He began to convene with friends and they covenanted together to pray and search the Scriptures until God sent revival.
One evening, as he was praying over his text and his sermon notes, Chadwick was overwhelmed with a sense of his need for God's power more than human wisdom. Well into the night he wrestled with his own pride and arrogance until a breaking point came in his own life. He gathered seven years of his precious sermons and threw them into the fire that was roaring next to his study. Chadwick stated: "I could not explain what happened, but it was a bigger thing that I had ever known. There came into my soul a deep peace, a thrilling joy, and a new sense of power. My mind was quickened. I felt I had received a new faculty of understanding. Every power was vitalized. My body was quickened. There was a new sense of spring and vitality, a new power of endurance, and a strong man's exhilaration in big things."
Following this evening, Samuel Chadwick was used mightily by God. The next morning in his sermon, seven souls were saved, (one for each of his barren years) and a renewed sense of God's presence manifested itself in the chapel and the surrounding villages. It became obvious to all who had sat under his ministry before and after that Samuel Chadwick had a genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit of God's power and would never be the same.
"I wonder, what would happen in our churches if we turned back the clock and began prayer meetings, fasting, praying for real power and revival in our own lives, and preached with an anointing?" I blurted out. The conversation stopped. We had discussed doctrine, methodology, fresh ideas, book recommendations, controversial ministry philosophies, even divisive issues, but we had forgotten to talk about what was missing... POWER.
Chadwick writes, "Materialism, Modernism and Mysticism are also the products of a religion that is not baptized of the Holy Ghost. These things flourish on impoverished soil and dunghills. They are the works of the flesh and the product of spiritual death. The remedy for them is not in reproach and bitterness, but in floods and rivers, winds and sun - the energizing of the Spirit. The answer is in the demonstration of a supernatural religion, and the only way to a supernatural religion is in the abiding presence of the Spirit of God."
It is possible to have a full building, large offerings, busy calendars, biblical preaching, innovative ministry, spiritual decisions, and the approval of men all with power. Let us once again hunger and thirst not for manufactured results by man-driven philosophies. May we once again desire a fresh anointing of God's power on our lives and churches. Let us not settle for another Sunday without it! In fact, lets not settle for another minute without it! Maybe today would be a good day to meditate on this verse:
"For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring." - Isaiah 44:3