"So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. But..." Acts 8: 25-26
The Conjunction is that point in time, when the Holy Spirit refuses to be ignored, dismissed, or put on hold, by people who refuse to understand His mission and their commission. The Apostles remained in Jerusalem, while the church was scattered. Then, in their absence, the Spirit of God ignited The Samaritan Awakening. They did come down the mountain, from Jerusalem to inspect it, but they hadn't been a part of starting it. It wasn't long before "they started back to Jerusalem." v. 25
There may be a pattern emerging here that is not very flattering to The Apostles. When the persecution of the church scattered believers to the four winds, Philip, one of The Seven, not one of The Twelve, "went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them." v. 5
Apparently he wasn't authorized to start an Awakening. "Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive The Holy Spirit." v. 14
The Apostles were not in on the start of this fresh movement of The Spirit. They had remained in Jerusalem, while the rest of the church was scattered. They had not expected it to happen. They had not planned for it to take place. When it did, they felt compelled to put it in its proper place, under their direction. Leading from behind is not new.
The history of Spiritual Awakening is filled with stories of the Holy Spirit's freedom of movement. He cannot be marginalized, by those who believe they were called to organize Him. The Holy Spirit moves through people willing to be used as instruments, for the honor and glory of God, in the name of His Son, Jesus.
Whenever a group of people believe they can mold and manipulate The Spirit of God, for their own purposes, they are in for a rude awakening, and they postpone the Great Awakening. This only happens...EVERY TIME!
The Sanhedrin, The Apostles, various versions of the religious elite, posturing political hacks, and well-intentioned denominational leaders, have often tried and failed to do it. The Spirit of God refuses to wear the logo or puff up the ego of people who refuse to obey Him, but want to direct and correct Him.
Note to self: It is always foolish, to be granted access to a fresh movement of The Spirit of God and then try to attach your logo, and ego to it. You don't own what you didn't create. STOP IT!
The last great movement of The Spirit of God, in this nation, was in the late Sixties and early Seventies of the 20th Century. It began outside the control of organized religious structures, creating angst and anxiety in most of their leaders, when it crashed the party they had painstakingly planned, and placed on their denominational calendars. For the most part, it was a youth movement. It was messy. It was potent, and it was real. It is now referred to as The Jesus Revolution. I miss it, mess and all, more than ever.
When The Apostles arrived on the scene in Samaria, they immediately began to supervise and sanitize what they found there. In this particular case, it is hard to separate what was in need of correction, from what they perceived to be out of order. They were convinced the Samaritans needed to have the same experience they had encountered, when The Spirit came upon them.
Certainly, there is no salvation without The Spirit of God, and there is no real Spiritual Awakening, without His Presence. In any event, in their own minds, the Samaritan Awakening didn't receive their blessing, until The Apostles had put their hands on it. The Spirit of God already had. That should always be enough.
When did The Apostles get enough of what The Spirit was doing in Samaria? Scripture says, "They started back to Jerusalem." For some reason, the capitol city held great attraction to Peter. For a country boy, raised in a rural seaside fishing village in The Galilee, he had acclimatized to big city life very quickly. He wouldn't be be last country boy to forget his roots, and come under the influence of the view from HQ. Denominational offices are filled with them.
Space will not allow me to expand on this, but let it be said. Peter struggled with expanding the grace of God beyond the lines, of his own prejudices and preferences. Could it be that pure-bred Peter was having a tough time swallowing what The Spirit was pouring out on people he had hated for years. Jonah had a problem with it, years before this. IT HAPPENS. Perhaps the greatest work in Samaria, The Spirit had in mind, was the work He wanted to do in Peter. More on that later.
In the middle of the last Spiritual Awakening, too many people who were not a part of starting it, tried to get out in front of it, and take credit for it. Before The Spirit was finished, they made plans to harness His efforts for their team, and "started back to Jerusalem." The history of Spiritual Awakening reveals that it begins with the hand prints of God all over it, and ends when the hand prints of man have contaminated it.
Note to self: The Father will not allow you, or anyone else, to put a feather in your cap, by taking credit for what The Spirit of Christ does. He refuses to allow The Dove to be treated like a plucked chicken. He will simply remove The Spirit from your grasp, and move on, in the lives of people who understand Spiritual Awakening must be received, with the gentle hands of stewardship, not ownership.
"BUT an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, "Get up and go south to the road that DESCENDS from Jerusalem...So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch..." Acts 8:26-27 (CAPS are mine)
Oh my! Samaritans AND an Ethiopian eunuch! No wonder The Spirit of God sent Philip. Peter was probably already stretched to the max. The Spirit of God uses people who function best as flexible instruments of God's grace, in His hands. He searches the hearts of those who let go of their prejudices and personal preferences, to take hold of His mission, and embrace it, as their commission.
Prayer enables you to see the Spirit of God at work, at The Conjunction. Prayer transforms your dysfunction, into His function, by removing your prejudices and preferences, and replacing them with the privilege and passion of participation. Prayer prepares you to be part of something only The Spirit of God can do. Meet Him at The Conjunction of "But God."
TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!