Devotional by Jim Short
I remember the excitement of the annual visit of Jennings fair to our town as a young teen and the ‘must have’ dodgems’ ride. The adrenalin rush to get an empty car to yourself dreaming of what you will do when you have the ‘power on’. We called them ‘bumper cars’ and this is what the power did to us. All too soon your five minutes of fun is over and despite all your efforts you glide to an unceremonial stop.
We all recognised through 2020 how powerless we felt at times when we could not do what we wanted to. In Acts 1 v. 8 Jesus said ‘You will receive power from the Holy Spirit’. God was about to build His Church by the power of His Spirit (see Zechariah 4:6) and using ordinary people just like us with the words ‘you will be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’. Paul says the message of the gospel is good news and it is still the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes as it crosses the boundaries of unbelief today.
A young lad, just released from prison, on a cold Saturday night, made his way to the food shelter in Bristol; he was hungry and cold. The prison service’s ‘get you home cash’ had all been spent unwisely on drink and gaming machines. Now, shivering and weary, he crouches against a wall, staring at the puddles and an empty future. He noticed a group of young people offering hot chocolate and bacon baps. With the words ‘God loves you’, the hot drink, and an invitation to come to church tomorrow, a girl departed with a friendly smile.
Many months later he shared his journey of his broken life of drugs, crime and violence that led to prison and how the young girl’s smile had led him to the church and to the Saviour. The power of the cross had changed his life and now he was about to be baptised.
On the day of Pentecost 3,000 lives were transformed by the power of Peter’s sermon and still today the global church proclaims the same message. The gospel of Christ ‘is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes’ accompanied with the same promises and the same power.
This power is not a five-minute dodgem car ride but a life-changing reality that is able to change a life for eternity.