“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”
Acts of the Apostles 4:12-13
Digging into Acts a little more! Gosh there is so much Gold in these scriptures!!! So to set the scene, Peter and John, two of Jesus’ main disciples were out working for the Lord. We saw in Acts 1:8 that Jesus gave us the power of the Holy Spirit living within us so that we would be able to continue His Ministry here on earth, being a witness for His name! Sharing Christ with others, living as examples of Christ, this is the purpose and mission that Jesus gave us all and here in these verses, Peter and John were out working in the power of Christ that flowed within them. Through the Holy Spirit, a lame man who wasn’t able to walk at all, was now walking, running and skipping with joy after a few moments spent with Peter and John. These men were fulfilling the purpose Christ has left for them by the power of the Holy Spirit at work within them.
Because of this great miracle, the religious officials didn’t like it very much so they put Peter and John in jail and arrested them. These verses are where Peter and John get the chance to talk to the Jewish council which were like the top of the top Religious leaders. These guys were Bible all-stars, they had spent their life studying God’s Word and felt as if they knew it all (except their pride getting in the way of believing in what Christ did.) Peter began speaking to them and you would think, if you’re in jail, already in a bunch of trouble and you’ve already seen through multiple people what these religious leaders are capable of doing to followers of Christ like death, you would think they’d be scared right? You would think that they would try their best to say whatever the council wanted to hear so they could get out of prison and escape their possible death.
But…..not so fast! Remember that Peter and John are filled with the Holy Spirit of God! They have the power that rose Christ from the grace flowing through them, and they’ve been given a mission from Christ to serve. They spoke truth to the council! Despite knowing it was almost certainly going to make the council mad and go against what they believe, they spoke the truth that their power comes from Christ, that salvation comes from Christ and CHRIST ALONE!!!
After seeing their boldness and the confidence in which these men spoke the truth, these extremely knowledgeable Jewish leaders couldn’t figure it out. They said, “they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures.” They were amazed because Peter and John were so NORMAL. They were average Joe’s, they were normal clothes, they didn’t look like guys who had spent years and years in study of the Bible like they did. How could they speak so boldly in witness for Christ?
It’s cool looking at this and looking at all the excuses we tend to make on why we can’t witness to others about Christ. “I don’t know enough, I’m not good enough, smart enough, I don’t look like someone who would do that.” That’s what’s so cool, you don’t have to be super smart, or be supremely knowledgeable of the Bible, you don’t have to have all the answers or look the part, you just have to be you and speak the TRUTH God has planted inside of you, speak the Gospel message that saved your life, and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring up the power to be bold in witness! To be confident in your words, to carry yourself as a person who knows that nothing in this world, no person or their beliefs or a word of rejection can separate them from Christ and the truth that He has saved you and has done everything that’s needed to be done to save others also!
What qualifies you as a person to witness for Christ? Being a follower of Christ. Okay that’s it! You’re ready! Don’t look at horizontal lies to make you feel inadequate to attack the mission God has given us! Believe the vertical truth and the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within you! Then speak that truth!!! As followers of Christ the truth is that we are just ordinary men and women, with an extra-ordinary power within us that allows us to boldly do out of this world works for Christ!
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.””
-Acts of the Apostles 1:8
As you can see, the scripture is the same as yesterday’s. Why? Because this piece of God’s Word can’t be stressed enough to us as believers!! Jesus shows us here the power that He has given us in the Holy Spirit and the purpose behind why He gave us this power. The purpose is simply being bold in witness, sharing Jesus and what He has done with the world around us! We have been given the POWER, we now see the PURPOSE behind the POWER. God has given us everything to witness for His awesome name! Taking the true and abundant LIFE He has given us and sharing Him with others, planting seeds of the Good News in them that may sprout into them experiencing this awesome LIFE with God too!
I mentioned yesterday the conviction that this message left me with. Outside of these messages, I’ll be honest, my witness doesn’t go very far. You can call me a comfortable Christian talking behind a screen but when it comes to putting the Gold that God gives us to action, I so often just stay in the talk and hide from the walk. I felt convicted too because if I’m typing out these messages to you and telling you how great God’s Gold is, shouldn’t I be using the challenges I give to you in my own life and tell others how great God’s Gold is at every opportunity? I should, and as we discovered yesterday, Jesus has given us the power through the gift of the Holy Spirit that enables us to walk in His purpose to continue His Ministry being a witness for the Kingdom of God. After yesterday’s message I felt almost sick to stomach at how I’ve daily looked past this awesome opportunity to breathe LIFE into others.
And also, just to give you another realization that made this purpose Christ has left us with even BIGGER!!! I’ve heard multiple stories lately of the evil going on in the world around us. A story of a young girl getting kidnapped and murdered right down the road in Columbia, SC. Mass shootings going on everywhere and people losing their lives in the most random, craziest of situations. Along with all the strife that people are holding against each other over race, religion, sexual orientation, and dang politics. I was talking to my fiancé Sarah tonight and I honestly felt sick, broken even. How could all this evil be going on in the world around us and us as followers of Christ, we hold the keys to LIFE in the most beautiful of ways, we hold the sword in our hands that has already defeated Satan and all of his evil schemes. We hold the Gold that God has so graciously given to us that breathes peace, joy, hope and eternal life of freedom and victory into each person He comes in contact with.
We have been given so so much but myself, like a lot of us, decide to take this awesome gift of Christ in our lives, and hold onto it. Hide behind our church walls watching the evil continue to kill and destroy the lives around us. It’s crazy to think of this Christian life, this power we’ve been given through the Holy Spirit living inside of us and the awesome purpose God has given us to witness!!! To share His love with the world through the Good News of the Gospel! This Christian life is so much bigger than your “church life.” This power we’ve been given isn’t meant to held inside the walls of the church or the walls of our cozy little houses. Jesus has given us everything we need to CHARGE THE GATES OF HELL!!! This purpose we’ve been given by Christ to live as Christ and share His Good News with others is a LIFE-changing, chain-breaking opportunity, but I know me personally, I so often sit on my hands. The realness of what this life we live as followers of Christ means is that we are on the “good Guy’s” team, and with Christ as our superhero sharing His power with us to use, we have the opportunity to fight, fight day in and day out against the evil one. Fight day in and day out for others who don’t know that theirs another team, fight against every piece of evil in this world. What a privilege we’ve been given!!! The question we have to ask and a question that I asked myself today is “what are we going to do about it?”
I have an experience from today that I don’t intend to tell you so you’ll say “aww look what Jordan did.” I can’t take any credit at all for this, it was an experience that I’m sharing to show you that this POWER, the Holy Spirit we have living within us, WOW!! I can definitely say that the God Gold isn’t just Gold in Words, God’s Gold is real life!!!
After feeling this conviction from the POWER and PURPOSE God has given to us and the fact that I don’t live in it majority of the time, along with realizing the BIGNESS of what’s at stake, people’s lives. I prayed this morning for God to teach me and show me how to access this power and witness for Him. I prayed for an opportunity to witness. It’s funny that when you ask God for stuff like this, you better get ready because He’s going to make it happen! I went all day, nothing. Driving home tonight I passed a guy that was walking down the road. A thought came up to do something for this guy (Holy Spirit.) I didn’t know what I could do then I remembered I had a Bible that someone had given me that had been sitting in the back seat of my car for quite awhile. I told myself at the time that I could give it to somebody but after months and months it’s easy to see where my intentions were.
I’ll be honest, everything in me wanted to just keep driving home and forget about it. The thoughts of doubt came up, “what if this guy rejected me, what if he felt offended by it, and besides with my car being so “clean” would I even be able to find the Bible?” Funny thing is, I reached back to my backseat, the first thing my hand hit was the Bible. So it was obvious at this point God was making it happen whether I liked it or not. Against my own desire to go home, I turned my car around and headed back towards the guy. I was terrified, why? Because being a witness for Christ is something I’ve hid from for so long, actually doing it was tough. I pulled up beside the guy and this was the extent of my convo with him.
Me: “hey man”
Him: hey what’s up”
Me: “saw you walking and wanted to give you this”
Him: “who does it belong to?”
Me: “it’s a Bible. I’ve had it in my car for awhile and I’ve been meaning to give it to somebody because this Word has completely changed my life, saw you walking and felt like you were the somebody.”
Him: “God bless you man. Thank you for this”
Me: “no problem dude. Hope it can help you as much as it’s helped me, lot of awesome stuff in there.”
Him: “thanks man. I really appreciate this.”
Me: “yes sir, my names Jordan by the way”
Him: “nice to meet you, my name is James.”
Me:”Nice to meet you man”
Him: “well have a good night and thanks again”
Me: “yes sir you too and really hope you enjoy reading that.”
That was it. As much as I’d love to say I shared the complete Gospel message with him and he got saved right there on the spot, it was a much simpler convo. I had no clue what I was doing giving a stranger on the side of the road a Bible and I could look back all day thinking I wish I would of said more but in that moment I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jordan, wasn’t in control. Jordan would have been on the way home if it was up to me. Thank God for intervening, thank God for so faithfully answering prayers, thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit that gives us the courage and power to overcome our fear and do things we NEVER in a million years thought we’d be doing or even could do. To think I was scared of getting rejected and failing so bad but looking back what if I did? What if he would have cussed me out and spit in my face? Now thinking of the possibility of him opening up God’s Word and finding the truth, having God breathe NEW LIFE into Him and that guy becoming to know Christ personally. That guy having a relationship with Jesus and having His life completely transformed by the love of Christ. The thought of what God can do with that seed is too big to let a little fear of rejection ever hold us back from trying to plant the seed in witness to others.
This Spirit God has given us is no joke! This Gold God has shown us in His Word is REAL, so REAL it’s crazy!!! After feeling what it felt like to live under the control and power of the Holy Spirit and the LIFE it brings to others, I’m kicking myself for wasting so much time living my life for me in my power. God has given us everything! People need us to witness boldly! What are we going to do about it?
Hey guys it’s FINALLY here!!!! RWANDA WEEK is officially under way!!! I’m jacked up to share tons of stories, experiences and lessons learned from my time in Rwanda but figured it would be best to start you off with a little background on myself and why these trips really changed my life and my heart in so many ways. I had shared this post awhile back telling you some of the background but wanted to dig a little deeper with you on it so when you read these you don’t think more of me but only the One who made it all happen!!!! Jesus!!!!
I’ll be honest, I never in a million years thought that I would be going across the world for anything, especially not for Jesus! It blows my mind to think back and see what happens and the extent people end up going when Jesus comes into their lives. I could tell you I had it all planned out and always wanted to be a missionary but I’d be lying to you. It’s just Jesus and transforming love! When Jesus is in it, people do some weird stuff, people do things they never thought possible, people do things that change their life forever and others lives along with them! I could write to you all day about Rwanda, tell you all the stories and experiences I had there but I’d be so wrong to leave out the only reason I was there, and that’s Jesus!!!!
I was in a crucial place in my life when my cousin Paige, and her husband RC asked me to go on this trip. I was coming off a few months of seeing Jesus for the first real time in my life and I was completely taken back and honestly confused on what to do about this fire He had set in my soul. I was coming out of a life where I thought hanging out at bars and parties on the weekends was as good as life gets. I thought I was living and my liquid buddy was helping me “live” even more but then I would always end up in a similar place, empty, broken, and lost. Then through a series of wild events Jesus opened my eyes to see Him in the fullness of who He is!!! Things began to change rapidly for me and it was weird. I no longer wanted to go anywhere near my old favorite weekend spots, I started reading my Bible more, like seriously, from where I was in life this was super weird but once again, it’s Jesus!!!!
I had grown up in church all my life, I thought I had a pretty good idea what a “Christian” looked like but Jesus was showing me life like I had never seen it before. Let’s just say I was clueless to what that looked like and what I was doing in this newfound relationship. Which, honestly I’m still pretty clueless but learning and experiencing Christ in new ways everyday, the process of growing in Christ makes this process of life, living for Christ a little easier to live.
So I’m 22, no clue what I’m doing, going through a crazy time where God was opening up my eyes to Him and the purpose He had for me. Beyond the call to ministry, He showed me my purpose in Him is the same of all of our purpose as Christ followers, serving Him by serving others. I had no clue what that looked like and just when I began becoming hungrier and hungrier to experience more of Him and to serve others, He opened up a door in my life. My cousin Paige and her husband Cory, had been going on mission trips to Rwanda in recent years and this year they were going back to serve the people and kids there again. I went to church with them one Sunday to see their little Baker Bea get dedicated. After church they asked me if I wanted to go to Rwanda with them. I literally just heard the message Pastor Joel brought that Sunday, hearing apart of his testimony that hit home with me, and cried the majority of the service. By the way, I used to never cry because that wasn’t “manly” but since Christ came into my life, I am definitely a lot more emotional. I mean how can you not cry when you sit there so undeserving, a past filled with so much bad and then Christ is there loving you, giving you true LIFE for the first time, the Son of God, so holy, perfect and awesome loving me out of all people?!?! I’m not trying to make a case for my crying but yeah, it’s a pretty awesome case anyways!
They asked me to go to Rwanda with them, and coming off the past few months and that service being hit so deeply by the love of Christ. I wanted to hug and kiss them for giving me this opportunity!! I was so hype!!! So my answer to them is obviously yes right? Not so fast! The couple of months following this awesome door being opened, I began to listen to the wrong voices. I heard Satan’s lies, and it made me question everything. “Am I really prepared to fly across the world to serve in the mission field in Rwanda? How do I even serve? What do I have that I can serve those people with? What can I do that can bring any kind of blessing or impact to the people there?” I was scared. Plain out terrified. I mean I have barely been out the state of South Carolina so going to Africa, AFRICA!!! That’s way out of my league right?
I began to worry and doubt and play with the thoughts of not going because I was scared. When people asked if I was going I was more wishy washy than a washing machine that washes shooting stars. I don’t think that’s really a thing but you get my point. I even began making the excuse that since the trip was in the middle of the school year, I would miss classes and I can’t be missing classes. In all my years of being in school, I have NEVER, came close to saying anything like that.
I had a good bit longer to decide but just listen to how crazy God works. I was sitting at my house, my phone rang. I looked to see who it was, saw the area code being from where my cousin was from so I immediately started freaking out. At the time I didn’t have her number because I had a new phone so I started thinking, “oh my gosh! She’s calling me to see if I’m going, I don’t know what to tell her because I still don’t know if I’m going!” I was losing my mind so on the way to work that day I remembered hearing people say, “pray about it.” Like I mentioned, at this point in my walk with the Lord I was clueless so I figured, “well, yeah, I’ll pray about it because if my cousin is calling then I need a decision ASAP!” I literally just said, “okay Lord I don’t know what you want me to do, do you want me to go to Rwanda on this trip or do you want me to stay back so I don’t miss school (yeah right)? I just need an answer Lord PLEASE!!!”
So then I proceed to hit shuffle on my Christian playlist that I had on my phone thinking maybe He’ll answer with a song. And guess what?!? This song is the song that came on! i heard the lyrics;
“God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied”
Yep! I was going to Africa!!! How much clearer could He make it than this! Multiplied!!! He wanted me to go multiply the awesome Halleluiahs He’d brought to my life across the world!!! It’s so crazy how wild but simple God is in His responses to us! I don’t know if I would recommend trying this route but if it feels right, then see how He wants you to share His light!
My fear was gone, I didn’t know how or why but witnessing God work in this way, I just heard, “multiply”, His mission was set for me and I still didn’t have a clue how to serve in the mission field or what I was getting myself into but it was happening because God said so! I hurried, grabbed my phone to call back my cousin so I could tell her the exciting news. I called the number that had called me earlier, to hear the voice of a robot pick up, it was a telemarketer that called me?!?! What?!?!
Just a weird and wild story of how God pushes us out of our comfort zone, through all the fear and lies, into a place of total dependence on Him. And what’s so cool about depending on Him and asking Him what we should do, He ALWAYS answers! In that moment I still didn’t even know if liked the answer but soon after that, when I went on the trip spent two weeks serving in Rwanda. I realized I don’t have to know what’s ahead, I just need to trust that whatever it is, God has set it up for my good and the good of His Kingdom! That’s all that matters! I didn’t know how to serve or what I had to offer and learned throughout that trip that once again, it’s not about what I got but what God can do and will do. I learned that God has made me, designed me, and specifically prepared me through experiences to serve wherever He calls me. In this case, it was being the crazy white boy who loved to dance. That’s something I’m good at and in those moments of serving over there God used that to multiply His Halleluiahs!!!
It stills blows my mind to this day how God works and God intervenes in our life and time of need, how He teaches us to let go and just go! He shows us through the moments of walking out of our comfort zone into the unknown that He is God, He has us, and He is soooo GOOD!!! Those two weeks changed my life completely in so many ways, the next year going on another trip there and getting the chance to ask Sarah to be my wife surrounded by the cheering voices of my Rwandan family, and to think if left up to me and my fear, I wouldn’t have gone! If left up to me I wouldn’t have experienced any of that!
I hear this song now and so many emotions rise up. Literally, driving down the road with my fiance, Sarah the other day this song comes on, all the memories of hanging out with those Rwand