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Living with power

By Randy Hurst

The last few decades have seen explosive church growth throughout the world. The greatest growth is among Spirit-filled churches.

The largest church in the world — Yoido Full Gospel Church, in Seoul, South Korea, with more than 800,000 members — is characterized by fervent intercessory prayer in the Spirit. At the 30,000-member New Life Assembly in Madras, India, hundreds are filled with the Spirit on a normal Sunday morning. In recent interviews, Dr. David Yonggi Cho of South Korea and David Mohan of India both expressed that it is essential to the spiritual vitality and evangelistic effectiveness of the church to have members filled with the Holy Spirit.

Miracles, signs and wonders are accompanying the great world evangelization that is taking place. But people whose lives are changed by the power of the Holy Spirit and who are living witnesses of Jesus Christ are making the greatest impact. The fruit of the Spirit is seen in transformed lives.

In Bosnia, where hundreds of thousands were killed in a bitter civil war, Croatians, Serbs and ethnic Muslims now worship together in unity and love at Pentecostal churches.

Ten years ago almost a million people died in bloody tribal genocide in Rwanda. But today, in Assemblies of God churches, members of tribes once at war worship together as powerful examples of the peace that only Jesus brings. Hatred and violence have been replaced by love, joy and peace.

All over the world, Spirit-filled people provide compelling testimonies of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Practical power
People often think of the Holy Spirit’s empowerment only in terms of signs and wonders and spiritual gifts. But the word translated “power” in Acts 1:8 (dunamis) is wonderfully comprehensive. It simply means “ability” and applies in practical ways to everyday life. The power Jesus promised His followers is for every aspect of Christian living, enabling us to do and be whatever our Lord has purposed in our lives.

The Helper
Randy Hurst

Questions and Answers about the Holy Spirit
Compiled & edited by Hal Donaldson, Ken Horn, & Ann Floyd

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Each individual is unique. We struggle with different personal weaknesses. The Holy Spirit knows our hearts, our motives and our personal flaws. When we depend on Him, He will help us in our uniqueness to live in obedience to our Lord. The help — the power — that we need varies with each individual. The shy, inhibited person may need courage to speak up. The outgoing, impulsive person may need restraint to shut up. The Holy Spirit’s power will provide whatever help we need.

We need the Holy Spirit’s working, not just in church on Sunday, but every day — in our homes, at school, in our neighborhoods and in the workplace.

Spectacular or supernatural
When people think of the power of the Holy Spirit, visible, spectacular works usually come to mind. Most of the time, the kind of power we need in everyday life is neither spectacular nor sensational, but it is supernatural. Accomplishing God’s purposes in the world requires divine help beyond our natural abilities. Supernatural living is not always outwardly dramatic.

After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, spectacular miracles took place. The sick were brought into the streets and laid on beds and couches so that the shadow of Peter might touch them.1 Luke records that “God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.”2 Notice that Luke describes these miracles as “extraordinary.” Other translations use the words “special”3 or “unusual.”4 Placing the sick where Peter’s shadow would touch them or taking Paul’s handkerchiefs or aprons were not regular practices of the church. Instead, the sick were instructed to call for the elders of the church and be anointed with oil.5

In recent years, much has been taught concerning signs and wonders. Those two words are frequently used in the Book of Acts.6 Jesus only spoke about signs and wonders twice. He warned His followers not to be deceived by false prophets in the last days who would show signs and wonders.7 And when the official at Capernaum whose son was sick came to Him, Jesus said, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”8

When Jesus taught His disciples about what would convince people they were His true followers, He did not talk about signs and wonders but about love. He said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”9

One of our greatest personal needs is motivation. The Spirit works in our desires. He moves us to do what we don’t have the internal motivation to do. He inspires our passion!

The Spirit also helps us when we pray. The apostle Paul wrote, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should.”10 He encouraged believers to “pray at all times in the Spirit … with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”11 Praying in the Spirit enables us to seek the Lord and intercede beyond our own understanding or wisdom.

The fruit of the Spirit in the believer’s life — love, joy, peace, patience and all the other characteristics Paul describes in Galatians 5 — may not seem spectacular. But they certainly can be supernatural, beyond our natural capacities. When people look at our lives and see love (especially for those who have wronged us), overflowing joy in the midst of sorrow, peace in the crises of life, patience in tribulation, and gentleness in response to hostility, these can be supernatural evidences that we are not merely subject to our own natural emotions. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live the life to which our Lord has called us. The supernatural working of the Spirit will not always be spectacular or sensational, but it is convincing evidence of the presence and life of the Spirit within us.

A continuing inpouring
In the Old Testament when the Israelites were fleeing Egypt for the Promised Land, God gave them bread from heaven, called manna, to feed them during their wilderness journey. It was not a supply to be stored up and carried with them. It was given to them as they needed it.

A life overflowing with the fullness of the Spirit is much the same. When Paul exhorted the Ephesian Christians to be filled with the Spirit12 the tense of the verb means to “keep on being filled.” The infilling of the Spirit should be ongoing. We must keep praying in the Spirit, loving in the Spirit and living in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit baptism — as wonderful as it is — is not just a one-time experience. We need to keep being filled. We need a continuing inpouring of the Spirit daily in our lives.

We don’t need signs, wonders and miracles every day. But we do need the Holy Spirit’s help in everyday living.

We need the power of the Holy Spirit in our spiritual lives, in our emotions and in our relationships. We are not naturally capable of being all God wants us to be without His divine help.

It is the difference between ordinary living — and living with power.

Randy Hurst is commissioner of evangelism for the Assemblies of God.

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1 Acts 5:15,16

2 Acts 19:11,12 (NASB)



5 James 5:14

6 Acts 2:19; 2:22; 2:43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36:

14:3; 15:12

7 Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22

8 John 4:46-48

9 John 13:35 (NASB)

10 Romans 8:26 (NASB)

11 Ephesians 6:18

12 Ephesians 5:18

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