Limitless: when they heard THIS!

Acts 2
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

I just couldn't leave Acts chapter 2 yet!  You NEED to go read the whole thing today!  Peter unashamedly preaches the gospel of the resurrected Christ.  He lays blame for his crucifixion on this people.  He denounces any power that many might credit to their lineage; all power belongs to God.  Peter didn't preach an "easy-believism" sermonette.  He downplayed that in which so many had trusted.  He proclaimed a risen Savior.  He bore witness of that which Jesus had done.  

"Now when they heard THIS, they were pricked in their heart..."  

Friends,  I don't have a long or super deep thought to give you today.  I have no hidden gem or buried truth to present.  I see in this scripture a simplistic thought that challenges my heart:  The message of Christ still changes hearts.  It wasn't a self-help podcast that made the difference.  It wasn't a fluffy, feel-good talk delivered by a social media personality.  It was simply the gospel.

The Spirit did the work and pricked their hearts.  The question arises, as a result of what they've heard and felt, "what do we have to do?"  The answer was simple and at the birth of the local New Testament church,  the world would forever be altered.  

If it's that simple, why do we make it so hard?  Why have we limited our witness to the walls of a church building?  Why are we scared that we won't know what to say?  What is limiting us from telling the world this good news?  THIS is what we need to be telling everyone!  If someone can predict his own death and resurrection then actually pull it off,  I'm going to believe whatever he says.  

Then,  to see how my heart has been stirred toward the repentance that has changed the trajectory of my downward spiraling life makes me all the more willing to tell anyone within earshot.  JESUS STILL SAVES!  There's a world out there waiting to hear what you have to say.  Don't limit the power of the gospel.  And surely don't put a limitation on the word of your testimony.  #WeAreLimitless

Limitless: PUI - Preaching Under the Influence

Acts 2: 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

I wish we had the space and time to put several chapters worth of scriptures here, but we will keep it to these few verses. In context, Jesus has already come and gone, and the Holy Spirit has been poured out over the disciples. Acts 2 is where we find what most refer to as "The Day of Pentecost." Pentecost literally means "the fiftieth day." It was the second of the three great Jewish feasts, celebrated at Jerusalem yearly, the seventh week after the Passover, in grateful recognition of the completed harvest.  Side Note:  I love how God always does things in order and brings them to completion.  

As the disciples begin to speak,  the Holy Spirit interprets their words into multiples of languages listed in the chapter.  Everyone heard the word in their own language.  While some were amazed,  as in most situations,  there had to be a nay sayer.  Some said, "these guys are drunk!"  You can probably hear the whispers of, "oh yeah...those the got ahold of the new wine."   Personally,  if said "new wine" makes my voice be understood in multiple languages, I'll have what they're having!  Imagine the ease at which I could now order in the drive-thru!  

But Peter,  ready not only to save face, but also deliver a word,  says, "HOLD UP!  We're aren't drunk!  It's just the third hour of the day!"  In other words, "uhhh's only 8am.  No way we've been drinking this early."  Being the sarcastic person that I am,  I'm sure I would have been the one to respond to Peter something like:  "Ohhhh okay!  Give it a few hours." 

I know you're wondering why I've belabored the whole "drunk point."  Here's why:  The power of the Holy Spirit was so strong on these men that it was noticeable!  They acted differently!  They talked differently!  I've been around some drinking people in my lifetime,  and those who've had the "new wine" are typically pretty excited party people.  So why is it that the original power of the Holy Ghost made these men appear to be drunk but most of us appear to be dead?  

I wonder if we couldn't tap into that Holy Spirit power today?  Not to be limited by our personalities, comfort zones, or insecurities, but so dramatically affected and empowered by that same Spirit that people take a step back and wonder what's up.  We've been shyly peaking through the peep hole of our box for long enough.  It's time to shed that fear and be limitlessly excited about our faith.  


Limitless: Confession Time

Romans 10: 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Okay Christian,  it's confession time.  No,  please don't comment your sins would take way too long to read through all those comments.  Not to mention how depressing it would be fore most of us.  It's Christ confession time.  I've noticed a trend in the "Christian realm today.  We're happy to go to concerts and lift our hands and sing.  We're excited to sit in small group and "be real" with the church people.  But throw a Christian in the middle of a group of strangers who obviously don't have a relationship with Jesus, and that girl from small group who always "just wants to share and be transparent" is totally silent.  

Whoa!  What happened?  We went from "please shut that girl up...there's no way God said that much to her while she was having her devo's at Starbucks" to lucky if she hands them an invite card to church for fear of being mocked or looked at funny. I think the major reason most of the world is skeptical of our faith is because most of us are silent about it. 

I'm not telling you that in order to be saved you must visit Jehovah's Witness training camp and ask everyone you meet if they know where they would spend eternity if they died today.  There's no magic number of doors you have to knock to level up your faith.  We don't confess Christ in order to be saved,  we confess Christ BECAUSE we're saved.  

I believe a major breakdown in the American church is those who believe "in" Christ and those who believe "on" Christ.  It's easy to spot which side of the equation most people are on based on their level of embarrassment when they see the pastor in public.  Believers are not limited by the stares of the skeptics or the cackle of the cynic.  #WeAreLimitless 

Limitless: Your Cross

Matthew 14:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

I always thought it was scary reading or hearing, "To follow Christ you have to give up everything." We're talking scared to death as a kid that God would call me to be a missionary in a hut village of Africa. I'm light skinned and red-headed. I love the outdoors, but the outdoors doesn't love me. Nightly prayers included, "Dear God, I want to want to follow you anywhere, but I'm scared to death. Please don't ask me to go to Africa."

Can I give the passage some context? Jesus is rebuking Peter in the verse prior for savoring the things of men instead of the things of God. In the verse following our text, Jesus asks what it would profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul. He is not implying that you will miss out on the comforts of technology or that you will be required to live in misery in order to be an effective witness. Jesus is challenging the disciples that in order to glorify God we must learn to deny ourselves. Not thinking less of ourself, but thinking of ourself less. Recognize that you surrender your selfish ambition to the will of God and where he leads.

We all have a different cross to bear. God's calling on our life, cross and all, are in complete alignment with the passion and personality he has created you with. Your cross will never be outside the context of God's calling. But now that we've breathed a sigh of relief, can I ask you a question? Are you willing to surrender everything? I'm not threatening that Christ will take it all away, I'm simply asking if you're willing to give it away if He asks.

It's all about perspective. I cannot lose what I've already lent to the Master.


Limitless: Water Walking

Matthew 14
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

You've heard sermons and lessons on this Scripture SO many times... don't look at the waves...just look at Jesus....etc. I'm not here to minimize the power of your focus, but can we agree to give Peter some props here? The dude had never seen someone walk on the water before. Jesus had never spoken about walking on the water. I's Jesus, he can do what he wants. But me? Nahhh... I'm human. At least that's what most of us think like.

Against all odds, Peter makes a crazy request and gets a scary response. "Lord, if it's you...tell me to come to you. And Jesus tells him to come! At this part in the movie, the ship disappears and Peter's first surfing lesson and extreme wipeout are in full-focus. But pan the camera back and notice that inside the boat are 11 scared men sitting on the sidelines. Guys who served the same Jesus, sitting in the same ship, in the same storm, looking at the same Savior, hearing the same speech all sitting idle.

Real Talk: That's probably more like you and me. It's easy to critique the water-walker from the safety of our comfort zone. We pray, "Dear God give us safety, comfort, and joy," never realizing the miracles that can happen when we're brave enough to pray dangerous prayers. Then, at our request, God always provides a word to walk on. Faith comes from Christ, and we lack faith because we lack the ability to pray for it.

What's your ocean? You know, that place just outside your comfort zone that seems immeasurably deep and dangerous? Deep down you want to conquer it like others have, but maybe you've been content just watching from the fellowship of comfort. Can I challenge you today to pray a dangerous prayer? For instance, "God, please do whatever it takes today to draw me closer to you." Shhhhh...just wait.... Listen for a word. Then, when God speaks, trust him enough that you won't drown, even amid the sinking feelings of your own doubt.