The Extension

And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness." Acts 4:29-31

The early church leaders knew their limitations. It was the source of their confidence, and effectiveness in ministry. If contemporary leaders would take a page out of their playbook, it would be a huge step in the right direction, towards the next Great Awakening.

#1 - They took the threats of their enemies seriously, but instead of taking them to heart, they placed them in God's hands. Big difference.

Talking about threats results in taking threats to heart. This usually leads to a heart condition called cowardice. Instead, the early leaders didn't ignore these threats or inflate them, they took them to God in prayer. The result? The Spirit of God infused them, with a blood transfusion for courageous living. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!

#2 - These early leaders recognized their role in life was that of a slave or bond-servants. Their role model was Jesus, not the latest author, celebrity, guru, or politician.

#3 - These leaders understood their mission was to "speak Your word with all confidence." (v. 29b) These leaders were not wall flowers, or shrinking violets, trying to find a way to fit into a system that intended to intimidate them into self-imposed silence. They had no desire to take on the status quo, by giving the current power brokers a piece of their mind. They had a passion to speak a word from God, and it gave them peace of mind.

#4 - These leaders knew, instinctively, that they were part of a movement of God that could not be extended, one minute fraction, beyond His reach, or sustained, one second longer, without His touch. They gave ALL the glory to God. The left no room for doubt, or speculation, in their own minds, about The Source of the movement. Those who observed what God did through them, and those who opposed it, knew they took no credit and claimed no power. Everything. Not just some things. Everything pointed to this one great truth...

"This is the Lord's doing: It is marvelous in our eyes." Psalms 118:23

These four observations are offered as a word of encouragement to pray for the next Great Awakening. They should also serve as an admonition.

Movements of God are ushered in by prayer, but suffocated by pride. Taking credit for God's handiwork may make a name for those leaders crass enough to engage in it it, but it short-circuits the power source for an extended Awakening.

Pride leads to the establishment of systems that overshadow The Savior, and magnify man. Credit claimed by man results in effort that must be sustained by man. When a movement of God becomes a system of man, it may become death-defying, but it is no longer life-giving.

Prayer and humility are two sides of the same coin, that serves as the currency of Heaven. Prayer is given great value and priority in God's Kingdom. When offered up, God's Spirit takes the weakest prayer to The Son, and He makes His strongest case to The Father.

The Spirit interprets prayer. The Son intercedes in prayer. The Father infuses His power and authority into His children through prayer. The weakest prayer ignites, initiates and inspires movements of God that can only be sustained by the power of God. Know this. God answers prayer. Know this.

Prayerlessness is pridefulness and both delay a movement of God, in the hearts of His people. Once a movement of God is launched from Heaven, prayerlessness and pridefulness insure that there will be no extension of the movement. Prayers uplifted result in God initiating and extending Awakening. Pray before, during, and after the next Great Awakening. Start today.

"If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray,... then, I will hear...." 2 Chronicles 7:14

Personal Awakening is the greatest need of every believer. Make it your heart cry today.

"And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness." Acts 4: 31

Note to self: The filling of the Spirit leads to the telling of HIS Gospel, not the glorification of YOUR experience. You are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. Don't be surprised when God shakes your container, to fill you up and to pour you out. You were not created and saved to contain or maintain power you cannot sustain. You are the salt of the earth. With confidence and boldness, shake it, man. Shake it!