Central Christian Church Message Podcast

Courage Over Cowardice | From Now On... | Danielle Strickland

April 18, 2021 Central Christian Church of Arizona
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
Courage Over Cowardice | From Now On... | Danielle Strickland
Show Notes Transcript

What does it look like to demonstrate the power of God in our country today? The apostles of Jesus did not simply talk about making a difference in their world. They did something about it and used the power Jesus promised to them to do courageous things. Don’t you want to find out how to have that same courage and power in our world today? Join us as Danielle Strickland shows us how powerful God’s people can be when they live out the courage God has called them to have.

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Cal Jernigan: [00:00:00] Hey, Central family, Pastor Cal here. Thank you so much for being a part of the worship this weekend. Before we get to the message today, I want to talk to just from my heart. I want to thank you. Church, thank you for Easter. Thank you for doing what you did. You brought so many people. It was such a fantastic celebration.

[00:00:15] And we started a series From Now On and last week, Pastor Caleb brought the message and we are just moving and incredible things are happening in our church, and I just celebrate you. Thank you. But before we're done with Easter, there's one element before we shut it out, close it up, finish it off.

[00:00:31] There's something I want to talk to you about. I, I was meeting with our executive team actually this morning as I'm filming this. And we just said, we, the people of our church did fantastic with the offering. You gave $294,000 to the offering. The offering that we dedicate to go to help women in crisis. To go to help women who have unplanned pregnancies, women who have,

[00:00:56] who feel overwhelmed with a single mom situation who are trying to raise kids, take care of kids. I know the heart of our church to help women in crisis. And I believe that we can do more than 294,000. In fact, folks, I think we can go over 400,000 and I know we believe in this cause. I know these women matter to us.

[00:01:16] So church here, so the deal went to the accounting department, said, don't close, don't close the books. Don't, don't shut it down. Church one more week. Can we reconsider? Is there more that we can do? Is there more that you can do? And I know some of you can't. You, just everything you can. Awesome. Is there more that we could do to get us over this thing?

[00:01:32] So we can actually make an incredible dent in helping the need of women in crisis. I think that's where our heart is. So I just want to plead with you if you can help, help. Thanks for what you've already done. Okay. Now I can't wait to introduce to you our special guest speaker today. Actually we scheduled this person to bring the message today over two years ago, but because of COVID, we had to delay, she is a resident of Toronto, Canada, and obviously travel in the last year has been tough.

[00:01:59] So we couldn't wait to get her here. Her name is Danielle Strickland. She has a very dear friend of our church and a personal friend and a friend of my wife. And I'm just telling you, this is an awesome lady. She is married to her husband, Steven. They have three boys. This woman cares about justice. She has a justice advocate.

[00:02:15] She travels around. She fights that, she's involved with the anti-trafficking movement. She cares about all kinds of ways to help make people's lives better. She has organizations like Brave Global, which helps raise up young women. She works with Women's Speakers Collective to teach women how to lead.

[00:02:31] She again, with my wife founded an organization called Amplify Peace. Yeah, I could go on and on and on she's an author of six books. She has helped train people at Alpha, at Chick-fil-A. Uh, she, we first met her through the Global Leadership Summit. She works with World Vision. Uh, again, an officer in the Salvation Army I'll go on and on and on and on about this incredible lady and folks, we consider ourselves very, very fortunate to call Danielle a friend.

[00:02:55] And today, this very moment, she is going to bring the message today. Central, do what you do so well, make her feel welcome as she returns to Central.

[00:03:04] Danielle Strickland: [00:03:04] Well, good morning. What an absolute joy it is for me to be here. I'm not saying that lightly. This is the first live worship I've been at for a year. Yes. And I got to do it with you.

[00:03:16] So how exciting is this? What a gift in my life to be here. And obviously I'm always, every time I come to Mesa Church in Central Church, I'm always like, it's like coming home. It really is. And I know that's not that big of a stretch because I am Canadian. So that might actually be a thing that happens in my future.

[00:03:31] Right. But anyway, it's such a joy to be with you. And what a joy to be with you talking about from now on. You know, just how the life, the death, the life, the resurrection, the power of the Holy Spirit. What Jesus did for us, how it matters, how it changes things, how it like it marks there's a line in the sand that's been drawn

[00:03:49] and from now on, as we crossover things have changed, things are different. And isn't it true in my life. What a difference it made when I recieved  the love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to do what it was that I could not do before. And, and this is just true when you encounter Jesus, there is a moment. There is this moment where love and power that you lacked before you now have to do what it is that God's calling you to do.

[00:04:17] And this is how we want to live in the world. This is how we want to walk in the world. This is how we want to be moving from what used to be fear-based cowardice in our lives, where we were afraid. Not just the things outside of us, but also things inside of us, right? To courage and courageous lives, where we're willing, leaned to actually say the things that we need to say, but do the things that we need to do, but also live the way we need to live in our own lives.

[00:04:41] How courage can change us in the power and by the life and death and life of Jesus. I mean this, I mean, come on, I can talk about this all day, but I promise you, I won't just, you know, you might want to just turn to someone beside you and say she won't. It's okay. She's going to stop eventually one day maybe.

[00:04:57] Uh, okay. So we're, we're talking about this. This is the life of the disciples. There's nowhere where this from now on this crossover from cowardice to courageous living. That's what we're talking about today. There's nowhere that's more evident than in the life of the disciples. Okay. Cowardice that from their own behavior to their own confessions, right?

[00:05:16] Like we messed up, uh, the death of Christ when all those things happen. The disciples Peter specifically is denying Jesus publicly and then like vacating town when things got too hard. Even when he gets back to Jerusalem, we, uh, we pick up, Jesus has resurrected. He's revealed himself. To Mary Mary comes and tells the disciples.

[00:05:39] The disciples are still locked in her room for fear of the Jews. They're still afraid. They're still cowards in so many ways. And in right ways, like they're just doing like the math, this isn't a good scene. This isn't going to work out for us. They're against us. They just killed our founder. And now they're going to kill us.

[00:05:55] Fascinating. Jesus comes among them and says to them, peace, be with you. And then this kind of gives them this, this charge, you know, like I want you now to take this message, this, this message of radical love of forgiveness to the world of healing power for the broken hearted, for inclusion, for those who feel excluded, you know, I want you to take this message, the power of God, to the whole world.

[00:06:19] And the disciples are like a great. This'll be fun. No, they're like what? No. How? We can't. Like look around, like I have Peter remember me. I'm like the guy that didn't have the courage to confront, like a little girl accused me of being a follower of you. And I was like, no, like this is Peter. I'm not with Jesus. Like a little girl, right?

[00:06:42] Like, so I mean, I, this is not the guy, like if you're looking for, I need a top 10 team to like disseminate the gospel to the world, you know, Peter's not on the list. I mean, Mary would be on the list. So he's got that, but that's a whole other preach and I'll do that later, but like, Peter's not on the list.

[00:06:58] None of the guys disables are on the list, except John, he's the only one that didn't leave, but they're not, they're not making the list. So they're just like, how's this going to work? And then you heard about how this is going to work. Jesus said, I'm going to give you power. I'm going to give you power.

[00:07:09] The power of the Holy spirit is going to come on you and make me and make you a witness. And of course the word witness is also martyr. You're going to be willing to lay down your life. You're going to be willing to surrender your own reputations. You're going to be willing to do things that used to cause fear and used to make you coward from that possibility.

[00:07:28] You're going to be given the courage internally and externally to do whatever I ask you to do, whether it makes sense or not. You're going to explore this in the book of Acts because of the power of the Holy Spirit is going to give you the courage to do this thing, to be the people that it is I need you to be. To be witnesses, to be martyrs for the name of Jesus in the world. To demonstrate the beautiful works of God in the land of the living.

[00:07:52] I'm going to do this thing in you. This is such good news people. Like just everyone can just like release your breath. Like, this is something that God wants to do. This from now on. This line in the sand, this like cowardice that many of us deal with. And this, I just want to just a word, this cowardice thing, we all struggle with this.

[00:08:10] It's not like there are cowards and there are courageous people. That's not a thing. All of us are this mixture of cowardice and courageous. Right? I have a, a vet friend who came back from the war with all these medals and he's just like acts of valor and all these incredible. He's just incredibly outward

[00:08:26] courage is like off the charts, but he's got like childhood trauma issues and addiction and mental health problems and PTSD. And you know what? He just cannot will himself to get help because he's terrified of the inside of him. Courageous on the outside, terrified on the inside. And how many of us deal with that all the time.

[00:08:48] How many of us deal with that, that kind of, we can pretend we can like do this Herculean ideas of courage, but actually when it comes down to it, our thought life, our conversations about our relationships, all internal courage. Do we have the actual courage to accept the things inside of us that we cannot change?

[00:09:05] Do we have that kind of courage to actually ask the questions that need to be asked inside of our own life. So this, this courageous life that God invites us to is not just outward acts of courage is also inward acts of courage. It's also too quick to turn us into courageous people from the inside out, but how does it work?

[00:09:22] How does it work? And we're going to look at a passage of scripture. In Acts four and five. It's a lengthy passage of scripture. I'd really recommend you just read those passages through on your own time and just have a look and allow the Spirit to teach you and to talk to you through the scriptures themselves.

[00:09:37] It is so full. Honestly, I cannot even fit it in to just one message. So I'm just going to give you a glimpse of some of the things I've learned about moving from cowardice to courageous living just through Acts four and five today, but there's so much more to learn. I want to show you a couple pictures just off the top here.

[00:09:56] The first is a picture of a woman in a burka. Okay. This is a Muslim woman. Now you'll know the fastest growing church on the planet right now is in Iran. In Iran. It is completely illegal to be a Christian. You are not allowed to gather. You're not allowed to evangelize as a matter of fact. If you evangelize, you'll be probably tortured, imprisoned, and killed.

[00:10:17] And this is the fastest growing church in the world is happening in those conditions. And this woman, the reason why I'm showing you a picture of this woman is the people who are spreading the news of Jesus, the fastest in Iran, the leading evangelists. So in all of the research that the underground church guys are doing the voice of the martyrs saying like, how is this movement of Jesus spreading so quickly in this country where it's illegal to be a Christian?

[00:10:41] They say this it's the woman, it's the women. They are fearless in their witness of Jesus, women who are, if you're paying attention into an Iran context under the regime that they're living right now, women are at the very bottom of the barrel in terms of power structure. Right there at the very bottom, they have no power.

[00:10:58] They have no ownership. They have no voice. They're not even supposed to be recognized. They can't be seen. But they're using that very thing though, that very thing they're using to advance the gospel. They're using their witness of Jesus. So profound and there's story. After story, after story of these women who are courageous enough to even confront military, to confront policemen with the news, that they can be forgiven and that they can be loved and that they can be part of the kingdom of God.

[00:11:24] Can you imagine women evangelists? I want to show you another picture. This is Pope John Paul II. You might know him as he was a Pope for a long time. He was the first non Italian Pope for like hundreds and hundreds of years. He trained to be a priest in Poland. Now he's Polish and he trained to be a priest in Poland when Poland was under occupation by the Soviet.

[00:11:44] So they're completely communist, atheist regime. And they were trying to shut down the church. As much as they could. They were imprisoning people. They were shutting it down. Poland is a, a Catholic country, like a strong Catholic country. And so this guy trained to be a priest in Poland. And when he was the Bishop in Poland, he actually built more churches under Soviet occupation than any other Bishop before, or since.

[00:12:10] Under Polish, like under Soviet occupation. So in a regime that was trying to suppress the church, this guy built more churches than in all bishops before or after. And it's like, how did he do that? How does he do so this is what he did. He asked himself some really fascinating questions like this one particularly. What is the church?

[00:12:29] He asked himself, what is the church? So when he's asking this, uh, what, what would happen is a local priest and a part that wanted to build a church in Poland, they would come and they would. You know, do the paperwork and the, he would submit the paperwork to the government. The government would respond saying absolutely not.

[00:12:43] There's no building churches in a Soviet occupied, occupied. It's not happening. That's not on our agenda. And he goes, okay, that's fine. And they would meet with these people and you'd say, okay, the answer is no, we asked, but actually let's have a conversation about what the church really is. And then what they would do is they would announce that they were going to gather in the spot they wanted to build the church.

[00:13:03] And they would just say, the people of God are going to gather whether it was snowing. I mean, it's Poland. You can imagine this in Arizona, but it's like wintery conditions, like whatever was going on, they would just announce that they were gathering to pray on the spot they wanted to build the church.

[00:13:17] Tens of thousands of Polish Christians would come. And gather in that place to pray for Poland, pray for the gospel, pray for Jesus, pray for the church, pray for the advance peers. They would just show up to be present and be tens of thousands of them. And then the Soviets would just be like, what are we going to do?

[00:13:35] There's tens of thousands of Poland, Polish people meeting in the spot where they wanted to build the church to pray, what are we going to do? We can't imprison them. All our prisons are full, right? Like what are we going to, we can't just kill them openly. There's tens of thousands. It'll be a, and so what they would do instantly is they'd say, Oh, just let them build a church.

[00:13:52] Just let them build a church and be like, okay, fine. We changed our mind. We had a committee meeting and we decided like, just go ahead and build the church. And so they would build a church and they would do this over and over and over again until finally the Soviet regime over the occupation over Poland completely collapsed. When the regime,

[00:14:09] uh, collapsed Gorbachev, who was like, one of the architects of this transfer of power was asked by a reporter. This is fascinating. He was asked by a reporter. What happened to the Soviet union? Like what happened to this, this thing? What dissolved the Soviet Union of its power. And Gorbachev looked at this reporter with a smile and said, Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul II.

[00:14:33] And I mean, the more you look into is fascinating. He sent secret letters. He would send to the heads of all the Soviet, uh, uh, leaders of about Jesus, about the gospel, about the power of God that wanted to liberate them to, I mean, he just fearless in the face of this occupied land. Fearless. And I was researching.

[00:14:53] I was like, what made that guy so fearless? I mean, I know like he he's the Pope and stuff, so you just think he must be super, you know, like he must be special or actually, or the antichrist one or the other, but he's not, you know, he's not normal, right? Like what, so we know like he's the Pope he's like special, you know, he's not normal. But there was this defining moment in his life.

[00:15:10] This is really fascinating because I think the disciples have something similar. I think all disciples have a moment in our lives that defines us where we cross over from now on. We cross it. There's something that happens in our life, where we go from fear and cowardice and like pushing back and making excuses and giving the top 10 reasons why that's

[00:15:28] not the smartest thing to do. And we cross over into courageous living. Where we're surrendered. There's this, this moment, this crossover, the crossover of going from cowardice to courageous life in the life of the Spirit is a moment of surrender. It's when we surrender to a power greater than ourselves.

[00:15:45] If you're in recovery at all, if you know this and you've you're, you finally have the courage to face down the demon of addiction. Against you in your life. Everyone, any seasoned addict will tell you the only way  to get started in a recovery journey is the, the way of surrender. The power that you need in even to access the power that you need to live a courageous life on the inside

[00:16:06] and the outside is accessed through surrender. You know this is a power posture in the kingdom of God. So in, in Carol's life, that's Pope John Paul two's original name, Carol. See why he changed it. Makes sense. But, um, In his life. He's like just 19 years old. The Soviets have come in, they've occupied Poland. They're rounding up all the young men to take them to work camps, basically to get them out of the way.

[00:16:29] So they won't resist. And he's like, right in the age of the young man, he's going to be an actor. He's going to be a playwright actually, or a priest. He couldn't decide. Wow. And they're a little more connected than you might think. But anyway, he, and so he's at home and all these guys are coming through the neighborhood.

[00:16:44] These soldiers they're knocking on doors. Passing through there looking around all these young men and his mom says to him, quick, Carol, you got to go hide. You gotta go hide. They're coming. They're coming. And the Spirit of God is a praying. The spirit of God said to him, don't hide. Don't hide, never hide.

[00:16:59] Don't choose fear. So he said, I just, I want you to stay here. Just stay here. Trust me. Trust me. He's 19 years old. These guys are storming through houses, rounding up all of his friends, taking them to work camps, and God says, don't hide. Stay here. So he, uh, he literally lies down on the floor, like totally prostrate, just like completely down on the floor.

[00:17:19] And he just starts to pray. You know, just, he's just praying, like his best prayer. Theres nothing good for your prayer life, but these kinds of moments, right? Just like, Whoa. And he's praying these guys storm into his house and they go straight to the attic which is where his mom wanted him to hide. They go straight there.

[00:17:34] He's not there. They look in all the bedrooms. He's not there. They look through the house, they make a mess that he's not there. They come into the kitchen, which is where he is with his mom, prostrate on the floor. They look around and they say, okay, there's nobody here. And they leave. Yeah. And the Spirit of God said to him in that moment, I've got you.

[00:17:52] I've got you. I have a plan for your life. I know what I'm doing. You just have to trust me. You got to trust me. So everything inside of him wanting to go hide in the attic, everything inside of him. I mean, just even knowledge itself, like just wisdom itself. It's just like, don't, you know, trust me. That was the day he said, I decided to be a priest.

[00:18:11] And on that day also was the day I lost my fear. I lost my fear because I gave into a power greater than the fear, the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, the power that God wants to give believers to not be dominated by a spirit of fear, to not be cowards in the face of even persecution.

[00:18:28] And this is what we see in the life of the apostle. So in Acts chapter four, it literally is. So I have this fun little game I play sometimes, which is called what's the worst that could happen. Okay. I don't know if you play this game, I play this game all the time. Somebody invites me to do something. I'm like, well what's the worst that could happen.

[00:18:43] You know? And I just am like, let's do this. So literally Acts chapter four is the worst the thing that could happen. It's like, if the disciples were like, we're going to follow Jesus, we're going to be witnesses. We're going to lay down our lives. We're going to tell the message of Jesus to the whole world.

[00:18:56] And they just think, yeah, sure. Let's do it. What's the worst that could happen. Acts four is literally the worst that could happen. They come again, they come like right away. They come to what the worst thing that could happen right away. Acts chapter four. So let's have a look at what happened. So this is, uh, Peter's and John's first miracle after Jesus has left the earth. As like Elvis leaves, the building Jesus leaves the earth, the Spirit of God comes right.

[00:19:20] And this is the first miracle that the disciples do on their own in Acts chapter three, Acts chapter four, the response to that miracle. So when Peter and John are speaking to the people, they're confronted by the priests, the captain of the temple guard, some of the Sadducees. Okay, this is the worst that could happen because I don't know if you notice, even in that first sentence, but there's a lot of things going on here.

[00:19:39] Like it's the religious leaders, it's the military leaders. It's the political leader. It's not just like one guy's like, you know what, you're ticking me off. It's like, there's a whole company of people. There's like a complete power structure that's gathering, saying we're offended. Like. We're all offended.

[00:19:55] I mean, this is, this is the worst that could happen. And these leaders are very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus, there's a resurrection of the dead. So it's a specific theology that they don't like. This incarnated power of God for here and now. You know, lots of religious people are great with power and the possibility of heaven later.

[00:20:15] It's the kingdom coming now that's problematic for a lot of people, right? Because the kingdom coming now is like a power confrontation. It's always a power confrontation. And this is important to say, because I think sometimes we think if we're winsome enough, if we do it the right way, if we're kind, while we do it, if we're like smart about it, there won't be any problems. When it comes to the proclamation of Jesus or when it comes to the demonstration of the way of Jesus in today's world.

[00:20:42] We're I think like we can do that and it'll all be okay. But what happens is that when Jesus gives the disciples power, the Holy Spirit power. It's a specific type of power. When you think about power, you and I think about power. We think about dominance. We think about power. We think about like a gun bigger than your gun.

[00:21:02] You know, we think about violence. We think about control. We think about dominance and sovereignty. But when Jesus gives power, he gives a certain kind of power. It's the power of the Spirit. And the power of the Spirit is a power to heal. It's a power to serve. It's a power to include. It's, it's a power to uplift.

[00:21:24] It's a power that actually gives you the capacity to resist, but also to, stand in solidarity with the excluded. It's a power that's different. It's subversive. It's not a dominant power. It's a subversive power. If you want to think more about that, you could read Philippians two where it says, because God was not worried about losing equality with God.

[00:21:46] He wasn't concerned about a power grab for power. He just like left heaven and came to earth and dwell among humanity. He wanted to give a kind of a power that wasn't about dominance. It was about love. It's a power of love that he comes to give us. And what happens is when you exercise that power, the spirit power, the power of love.

[00:22:05] It's a confrontation with the powers of control, the powers of violence, the power of fear, the power of dominance. And you see this happening all through Acts and you see this happening all through the church and you see this happening even in our own world and in our own lives all the time. And sometimes I think what happens is we have this tendency to just think it must be us.

[00:22:28] It must be us. But I want to say, and there's a couple of questions I want to lead you through of this text that might help us. The first question is this, what did they do? What did they do that caused all the fuss? Like, what are the disciples done? That's like so offensive to all of these power structures and all the power structures come out.

[00:22:45] The military, the political, the social, the religious, why are they so offended by what, what have they done? And I'll just sum it up for you real quick. They healed a guy. They healed a guy. The nerve. They healed a guy. I mean, they healed the guy outside of the temple. They healed a guy that didn't deserve to be healed because according to their theology, he deserved to be, uh, he must have done something wrong.

[00:23:10] He was a sinner and he was excluded. They touched a guy who was unclean. It says there literally are doing things in the way of Jesus. They've learned from Jesus. They saw a guy all the way through the social disguises that society had put on him. They saw instead a image of God. Inside of this man, they saw and healed a man outside of the temple.

[00:23:32] That's what they did. And their use of that power. They took that power, that courageous power to do, and to act like Jesus in the world. And just by doing that, there was a confrontation with the other power structures in the world. This will always happen. By the way, as a matter of fact, Jesus warned the disciples about this.

[00:23:51] He said, in this world, and this is, this is fascinating because I think sometimes we think like as long as we have the power of Jesus and we're doing things that Jesus' way, then everything will be fine. Sometimes we've even preached this. Like everything will be fine. People will love us will be great.

[00:24:04] Who hates Christians? You know, like half the world. Christians remain the most persecuted group in the, in the world. They're the highest amount of persecuted people in the world. There are. Christians who are in prison and are being tortured and dying right now for their faith in the world. Powers hate this kind of power. The powers of our world, the powers of our systems, the powers sometimes of our governance, the powers of our worldview, the powers of consumerism, the power of capitalism, the power of retribution violence, the power of like, they hate the power of God.

[00:24:35] They absolutely hate that Peter Paul puts it like this. The principalities and powers were fighting, not flesh and blood. This isn't about people. This is about a principality and a power. This is about a confrontation of what kind of power is it that can heal this world. And Jesus says to the disciples, even before he sends them out, he says, not only am I going to give you power, but also you should know this in this world

[00:24:58] you're gonna have some trouble. You're gonna have some trouble, but don't worry. Don't be afraid. Don't cower. Don't be a coward because I have listened to this, overcome this world. In other words, the power that I have, the power of love, the power of inclusion, the power of forgiveness, the power of healing is so much more powerful than any other power that you don't have to be worried.

[00:25:26] I got this. Like Carol. Pope John Paul II the lesson he learned. If I would give myself over, if I would surrender myself to a power greater than myself, what every addict learns and the first step in recovery, what every Christian should learn when they want to, from now on with Jesus, is this powerful act of surrender.

[00:25:54] To the way and the will of Jesus will usher in a power in your life to allow you to live courageously in this world. Courageously. Both inside and out. Here's another little tip. So there's always going to be a power thing. This isn't always about you. What they did was they used the power to heal someone who didn't deserve it to include someone who was an excluded person and to liberate someone from the bondage of their physical disease.

[00:26:24] That's what they did. That's what caused all this fuss. A little tip here. They didn't talk about it. They did it. Can I just say this again? They didn't talk about it. They didn't talk about courageous living. They didn't talk about like, I'm going to stand up for Jesus and the better I've got to, Oh, we've got to make this country into a Christian nation.

[00:26:47] They didn't do that. They just healed the guy. Are you getting this? They demonstrated the power. By the way, they live their lives. They demonstrated. If you will demonstrate the power of God, the power to heal, the power to forgive, the power to include, the power to love people, the power, to forgive people, instead of nursing resentments, the power to include people that shouldn't be included that other people think don't deserve it.

[00:27:12] If you would demonstrate that kind of power, I guarantee you there'll be a confrontation. People will start asking you questions. And that's what happens in Acts four. There's so many questions. Read it over. When you go home, there's all these questions in whose name and by what power have you done this?

[00:27:26] That's the, this question? What a great question. I want for my life as a surrendered believer to Jesus, to the way of Jesus. I want by my demonstrated life, by the way I live my life. I want people to go, what are you doing? How are you doing that? Why are you living that way? Does the way that you live your life, provoke, those kinds of questions.

[00:27:51] I hope they do because as you use the power of God in your life to do courageous things, those questions will come. And those questions will be a great way to proclaim who Jesus is. It keeps us in mind. The demonstration comes before the proclamation. So often in our Christian witness in history, we've got this confused.

[00:28:16] We think the proclamation comes before the demonstration. But folks, the Jesus witnessed the disciples witness. The early church's witness is that the demonstration of the power in our lives comes first. And then the questions come next. And then the answers are the proclamation. I'll tell you by what power and whose name I did this.

[00:28:40] Yes, I did it by Jesus. I did it through Jesus. How did you have the courage to confront your addiction to make amends for what you did wrong? I did it by a power, my higher power. Whose name is Jesus. The highest authority. I did it by Jesus's authority. How did you include someone that shouldn't be included in your life?

[00:29:02] I did it through the power of Jesus. How did you actually lay your life, down and serve those people that did not deserve it? I did it through the power of Jesus. You see the demonstration, courageous people act, they do things. They don't just talk about it. They don't just wish it. They don't just feel a lot of theologize about the possibilities they act courageously their lives or courageous lives inside and out.

[00:29:28] Who are they? That's the question. Number two. I want to, I want to get to who are they? And I want you to just repeat in your mind after me right now. Ordinary. Ordinary. That's who they are. Just in case you thought you're not extraordinary enough to be a vehicle of God's power in the world. It's like, it couldn't be clearer.

[00:29:50] It's like, literally God's like write this down. When they saw, so these are the leaders who are taking so much offense and they're like, who are these people? And what are they doing? And they're like causing this Jesus movement to go crazy. Like what? And they, and they call together and they get together.

[00:30:03] And then they're like, Oh, they're just ordinary people. They're just ordinary people. Who've been with Jesus. I said literally when they saw they were ordinary men who had no special training or no special skills, I don't know if you want that written about you, but God made sure it was written about the disciples.

[00:30:22] Just in case you wondered. They're like not Jedis they're not really even padawans. They're just normal people who spend time with Jesus. So if you're wondering, how can I move from a cowardice to a courageous? How does the life and death of Jesus and the resurrection power? The power of the Holy Spirit worked through my life.

[00:30:39] Well, guess what? You just need to be your ordinary self surrendered to the power of Jesus. Spend time with Jesus. And that will be manifested by the things that you do in your life. You will display the power of God through the way that you serve through the way that you love, do the way that you forgive through the way that you heal through the way that you include.

[00:31:00] And that will have so much power. I mean, we saw that witness in the testimony earlier in the service, you want to see the power of display. Ugh, try to love people, try to heal people together, try to invite people into community. You see this as the power of God. Who are they? They're ordinary people who spend time with Jesus.

[00:31:17] I said, I want to show you this picture of Ingrid Limberg from Sweden. She was retired Salvation Army officer. I spent about three months working with her in Russia, right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And I mean, she was fearless. She's the most fearless person I've been most courageous person I've ever met.

[00:31:32] I remember one day we were like going into this place, we had booked, we had paid for, and the guard wouldn't let us in and said, you know, there was a problem and it was code for like, give me a bribe and I'll do it. And she's like, I'm not giving you a bribe. She said, we don't need the building. We'll just do it here.

[00:31:45] And she just stood up on a table. This little look at her little Swedish, retired. Small ordinary grandma, you know, like she should be just given your cookies. But instead she's standing up on a table in this like parking lot of this place where this guard won't let us in because we won't pay a bribe because she will not pay a bribe because she's not afraid.

[00:32:05] Cause she's not. And she just stands up on the table. She's like, well, let us sing. And she starts leading hymns and hundreds of these Russian people were singing there and then she starts preaching and then the guards like, ah, the room's available now. She's not afraid. And I said to her, when I was leaving after three months, I was going in to be trained as a minister myself.

[00:32:24] And I said to her, like, come on Ingrid, like, gimme your mojo. What's the secret sauce? Like I need like, like put your hand on me, give me what you got. Like, show me how to do this. Like, I want to live like you, like, I want to be this like crazy retired Swedish grandma with extraordinary power. Like what, what is it?

[00:32:43] And she literally looked at me. She was like, are you new? Like, she just looked at me and she went like this, Danielle there's no secret. Just stay close to Jesus. Just stay close to Jesus. That's the secret sauce. You see this when the, when the religious leaders have the council and they're having this conversation and they saw, this is what they saw.

[00:33:06] They saw these were ordinary men who had spent time with Jesus. Come on. You want extraordinary power? You want from now on to move from cowardice inside and out to a life of extraordinary courage. You want to look like Jesus, act like Jesus, walk in the way of Jesus. Wield power, the way Jesus wielded power by giving it away.

[00:33:33] Just spend time with Jesus. Allow the Spirit of Christ, Spirit of Jesus to be present with you, to show you how to tell you what to do so you can surrender your life. And live a life of extraordinary courage in the power of the Spirit. Any of you need this power, any of you, you want this courage, whether there's something you're facing on the inside or something, fear that you're facing on the outside, you can have it.

[00:34:00] It's absolutely free. This is the good news of the gospel. Even if you feel excluded, if even if you feel like it's too late and it's too hard, even if this has been the way that you've lived for 40 years. That's the guy that they healed 40 years of infirmity. The power of Jesus to set him free. Even if you've been excluded, even if you spent most of your life outside of the Christian Church, outside of the temple looking in. Jesus has power is available for you.

[00:34:27] Yeah. So let's pray. I'm going to invite you just to receive this power. If you want, if you want. Um, maybe you're even watching this or you're, you're here present and you're just like, yeah, I look even courageous on the outside and maybe I do courageous things, but actually I got some stuff on the inside that I need power.

[00:34:48] I need courage to confront fears and lies. Insecurities, behaviors, guilt, shame.

[00:35:02] God, would you come. Spirit of Christ Holy Spirit, this power that you've given us that will overcome the world. Would you overcome the world in us? Would you fill us with grace and truth to set us free? Would you give us the courage that we need to trust you? Would you remind us that it's not about us?

[00:35:26] It's about you, that we can trust you and know you and love you and share you without fear. Yeah, do this in us. We pray by your grace in Jesus' name. Amen.