"What the world needs most today is Jesus, and what the church needs most today is the Holy Spirit."
These words came from my friend Pastor Doug Chambers as we talked on the phone last week. It made me wonder if perhaps the world is more receptive to receive Jesus than the church is ready to embrace the move of the Holy Spirit.
Today as you read this I am in Izvesck, Russia, where hundreds of pastors have gathered from all across the nation. They are hungry for the power of the living God to refresh them to walk in dark and difficult places, planting and building churches while believing that nothing is impossible with God.
What God has done across this great nation of Russia is a miracle to the nations of the world. The church is open. They love God; they love Russia; and because of this, the harvest continues to grow. Many things have changed here, including the church, and it is clear the revival they are experiencing is a move of the Holy Spirit.
But Russia seems to be the exception to the rule in the body of Christ. Instead of inviting the Holy Spirit and embracing the life-changing revival and renewal that would come with Him, churches too often restrict His operation, which strips the power of God from both the individual and corporate fellowship and weakens the testimony of the church before a world that is lost and searching for a Savior. This is not what God intended when He sent the Holy Spirit to believers after Christ's resurrection and ascension.
On the Day of Pentecost, when the crowd gathered around the apostles as they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the onlookers asked, "Whatever could this mean?" (Acts 2:12, author's paraphrase). They recognized something different had been introduced, and some of them mistakenly assumed it was the result of new wine (v. 13). Instead, the presence of an almighty God had come to rock the city with change.
Changes that impact the world forever for the better can only come by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we examine any change—Holy Spirit–led or not—there are three factors we must consider:
- the element of change
- the amount of change
- the container for change
All change begins with a new element. At Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were under the influence of the Holy Spirit. He was the new element that catalyzed a change that would forever impact the church of God. His power lit the fuse that ignited their own spirit and spread throughout the world and through generations.
The impact of any change is also directly related to the amount of the element of change that is introduced. You can introduce a little, which really brings little to no change, or you can pour out an amount of change that will blast everything from the past. When God poured out His Spirit on the believers gathered in the Upper Room—fulfilling the prophecy of the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28)—it filled up those gathered, but the impact was so great that after Peter explained what had happened to the onlookers, three thousand people decided to trust in Christ as their Savior that day alone (Acts 2:41). The apostles were filled with the Spirit to overflowing, and the radical change in their lives spilled over onto others.
This underscores the final point: when it comes to revival, we are the containers for change. We are the containers for the Holy Spirit to come in. Luke 5:37–38 says: "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the new wine will burst the wineskins, and it will be spilled, and the wineskins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
We, the containers, must be new or renewed. We, as the containers, are common on our own but filled with uncommon power through the Holy Spirit. God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit through Christ's sacrifice so that we could both be conduits of His power and experience that transformative power in our own lives. Surrendering to the work of the Holy Spirit completely means surrendering to His will to change our lives and all that is around us. When we fail to invite Him fully into our hearts and lives, we prevent the very move of God that will change us and the world.
It's time for the body of Christ around the world to surrender to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives and churches in the same way people in Russia are surrendering their lives to the Lord for the first time. Their hunger for God is intense and desperate. Today, be just as intense and desperate for God. Let Him hear you ask for more of Him, and be ready to receive all He has for you and the community you serve.
Finally, when you pray, please continue to intercede for the churches in Russia. Everything is changing but the harvest, and God is doing exciting things there, just as He will do in and through you.
You're beautiful! I see Jesus in you. Have a great week!
Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the book of hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.
NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.
The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.