This post is the next in a series that explores each part of the IMPACT acrostic. Each post is designed to expand the meaning and usefulness of the actions indicated in the acrostic. It is important to remember that the IMPACT Blog gets its name from a keyword in our FBC mission statement, so as we explore the larger meaning behind our name, we are also exploring foundational goals and values of FBC Hartselle.
Influence the culture
Make disciples who make disciples
Permeate the Community
Act according to the leading of the Holy Spirit
Create awareness in the community
Transform individuals, families, and our neighborhoods
When Connie and I moved to Cuenca, Ecuador, my Spanish vocabulary consisted of two words: “gracias” and “taco.”
Connie took Spanish classes in high school and college, but not me. Luckily, God placed us with excellent language teachers when we arrived. We studied constantly and practiced every time we walked outside our apartment. After several months of interacting with locals while shopping at the market, standing in line to pay utility bills, attending churches, and meeting neighbors, I could communicate reasonably well.
After about 18 months I preached a sermon in Spanish to a local congregation. Connie says the expressions on their faces indicated they understood my words and concepts. I considered this to be miraculous!
As time went by, I noticed a trend. When speaking with people in everyday settings just getting along and doing essential activities like getting oil changes on the truck or a flat tire fixed, communication remained a stressful task. But anytime the subject was related to ministry, like leading a Bible study, discipling local believers, or sharing Christ with lost people, the Spanish flowed smoothly, communication happened, and I was energized like the Energizer Bunny!
Some time later, my Mom told me she’d heard David Jeremiah say he believed the Holy Spirit often enabled missionaries to speak foreign languages beyond their acquired ability. I am convinced that is what I experienced during those years in Ecuador.
Morgan County may not be a foreign land to you like Ecuador was to me, but for those around us, our message of hope isn’t automatically communicated--only the power of the Holy Spirit can overcome such a barrier.
As believers, we all have the Holy Spirit living within us.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he reminds them (and us) that we receive the Holy Spirit when we first believe and become born-again followers of Christ: “In Him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed.” Ephesians 1: 13
Acts 10:44 tells us that the Holy Spirit gives us the power to be witnesses in ways and in places we could never imagine just as it did with Peter in Acts 10:44: “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.”
God's spirit constantly moves and seeks to express Himself through a willing Church body. Notice the prevalent attitudes of people in the original church congregation and the effects of these attitudes: "Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved" Acts 2:46-47. Our prayer for you, for First Baptist Hartselle, and for our community is for the Holy Spirit to thrive within us so that others can come to know God.
As believers, the Holy Spirit equips us for the task.
Have you ever missed an opportunity to speak to someone about your faith because of fear? Of course, most of us have had that experience. Maybe the most effective way to overcome those feelings of inadequacy is by remembering the following narrative where Jesus sends His disciples out to continue the work He started. Immediately, He equips them with the Holy Spirit:
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
John 20: 21-22
The more often we rely on the presence of the Spirit within, the more evident His power will become to us and to those we interact with.
Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, “the Kingdom of God has come near you.”
Luke 10: 9
We can pray with people for health and other needs. And, because we have received Him, unbelievers unknowingly encounter the Holy Spirit anytime they are in the presence of a believer.
We may not see any effects immediately, but God can certainly use even the most casual encounters to make people aware of their need for Him.
God intends to use us for the welfare of our community.
We must never forget that His presence is always with us. He is there at work, at school, at play, and in every situation in between. When we allow the fruit of the Spirit to shine through, lives will be transformed, and the welfare of our community changed for good.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5: 22-23
How have you been led by the Spirit in your activities outside the church?
Pray for the Body at FBC Hartselle to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we contribute to the good of our community. Ask Him to open our spiritual eyes to see practical ways we can benefit Hartselle through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within us.