Thursday, April 9, 2015


"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about...  You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
                                                                                                    (Acts 1:4, 8)

After the first Easter-- when Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to those He loved-- the disciples were faced with a whole new reality to embrace.  Out of the most extreme feelings of loss, confusion, grief, and in some cases, guilt-- just when they thought that everything had come to a tragic end--  Jesus showed them a new beginning.   Even then, they had trouble embracing what it meant and what was expected of them.  Jesus was talking to them about a new kind of power-- the power of the Holy Spirit-- but their thinking was still old-school:  "Are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel?"  They still didn't get it.  They were hoping to take part in an earthly kingdom, but Jesus was offering them something different-- something better:  the POWER of the Holy Spirit living inside them.  A new reality.

New beginnings often come out of pain and loss.  A few months ago the little church where I was associate pastor merged with a much larger church.   Within just a few weeks I realized that I was losing  my church and my ministry.  There was a lot of hurt, confusion, loss, and grieving.  But what felt like loss was actually an open door directing us to our new ministry here in Austin: a ministry mainly to our family, who needed us close by.  And we're already experiencing the joy and excitement that comes when you're in the place God wants you to be.

It is just like God to replace a loss with something better.  But just like the first disciples, you have to hang in there through the pain and confusion to see the new beginning He has for you.  Because God is always good, we can trust Him to always  do what is best for us.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the HOPE to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great POWER for us who believe."     (Ephesians 1:18-19)

~Pastor Rick