Tuesday, July 9, 2013

God is Powerful!

I'm giving you my camp talks while I am away this week. Well, I'm giving you parts of my camp talks. Here's night 2.

God is Powerful!

Let me ask you a question. If you have one apple and I take your apple, how many apples do you have? None, right? If I ask you for another apple, will you be able to give me one? No.
But there was a time, back in the Old Testament, a prophet named Elijah went to live with a widow and her son. He asked her for some water and some bread. This is how she answers.
12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
Most of us would hear that and say something like, ‘Oh, sorry. Never mind about the bread.’ But Elijah says, “Hmm, don’t be afraid. Go ahead and cook it up, but could you bring me a piece first?’ I love this. The woman says she is going to die from lack of food and Elijah still asks for the food.
But here’s what happened. She went and did it and the Bible says they had food every day to eat. She would take the last of the flour and the last of the oil, but the next day there would be some more. Imagine I asked for your last apple and then you looked and you had one more. The math doesn’t work.
There’s a story like this in the New Testament, where Jesus wants to feed 5,000 people but only has 5 loaves of bread and two fish. That’s like going to McDonald’s with my family and trying to feed us all with a Happy Meal. It’s not going to happen.
But Jesus does it. He starts handing out bread to the disciples and they start handing it out to the people. Every time they turn around, Jesus has more food for them to pass out. All 5,000 men eat and there are even leftovers.

  • Power over sickness - Jesus heals so many
Part of the reason Jesus came was to bring healing to people. He did this so many times, that sometimes the writers of the Bible just put, ‘Jesus healed many people there’. Because Jesus healed so many, they couldn't provide details each time.
But we do have many stories of Jesus healing people. Sometimes He healed by touching the people. Sometimes they were healed because they touched Jesus. Jesus healed one blind person by spitting in some dirt and making mud and putting it on the guy’s eyes. He healed a deaf guy by giving him a wet willy.
He healed others just by saying the word. But even the disciples would heal people. We can read in the book of Acts about Peter walking around and whoever his shadow would fall on would be healed. Other people were healed by touching the handkerchief of Paul.

  • Power over death
But even better than all this is a story found in John 11. Jesus gets word that one of His close friends was sick. But instead of going right away to help him, Jesus decides to wait a while. This didn’t make sense to people around Him, because they didn’t have great medicine like we do now. But Jesus said this sickness would not end in death.
But Lazarus did die, and then Jesus decides to go for a visit. Everyone is sad and confused, but when Jesus gets there, He decides He doesn’t want Lazarus to be dead, so He raises Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus has power over death. In fact, you might think Jesus has to be alive to work His miracles. But a little while later, Jesus Himself was crucified. No one understood it at the time, but Jesus died in our place.
We’ll talk a little more tomorrow about what this means, but for now, I want you to know that 3 days after they crucified Jesus, He raised Himself from the dead.
That’s power like we have never seen! And even though we have been told this story many times, it seems like a fairy tale to us. Oh, we say we believe it, but imagine for a second that you had a friend die recently. You went to their funeral. You saw them buried.
But a couple of days later, imagine I came up to you and said I saw that same friend walking around the neighborhood. You’d probably look at me like I was crazy and was seeing things. Maybe you’d think I was playing a mean trick.
That’s what some of the disciples of Jesus thought.
But God has that kind of power. God has used that kind of power. And God has given us that kind of power.
God is sharing His power with us, through the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

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