We happened to pop into a “to go” pizza shop for a quick meal option and there he was ringing of youth and a first job while in high school. I had seen him at gathering where God’s presence was evident and by evident I mean Pentecostal, full of the Spirit kind of evident.
At the gathering I had been, with my wild unsaved mother and conservative understanding of church, a bit reluctant to the idea of such an expressive faith. Sinners and children were expressive, loud, and wild. Church was to be respected, holy, quiet, dull, and boring. You know so boring that grandpa would fall asleep and we would sit restless just waiting for the candy at the end of the service. So I decided to publicly right there on the spot ask this youth if he really subscribed to all this expressive faith and even speaking in tongues?
With strength in his voice he said a bold, “yes.” He was out numbered as I had another twenty something young mom standing next to me staring back at him with curiosity. He wasn’t ashamed. He stood in his work place and confessed his belief. Plain as day you could see he knew the opportunity and grabbed it like my older brother and I would the candy at the end of the church service. He unlike Peter who denied Christ when questioned set an example for me I will not soon forget. That is the difference the Holy Spirit brings to God’s followers. Boldness. Ability. Unashamed love.
Recently while visiting New York we wanted to see the iconic Statue of Liberty. Boarding our boat on a hot September day we approached. There she stands for 122 years off in the distance weathered and yet strong. She is a national symbol of freedom.
Like her that is exactly what you and I are in our work places, universities, families, cities, states, and nation. We are a living evidence of the freedom found in faith. Found in forgiveness. Found in weakness. Found in the living King.
Unlike the statue we are not hollow on the inside we are full of Spirit. Encounter Christ’s Spirit and you will be full to the brim. Like the statue we are unchained from unbelief and all oppression. Like the youth in the pizza shop strong faith is possible. God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace. Psalm 29:11 MSG
Sometimes strong is just standing. Saying yes I beleive. Consider the verses today and with whatever strength you have stand fast. Endure. It is by faith you stand firm.
So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!—to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain. 2 Timothy 2:3-7 MSG
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13
As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:15 (ESV)