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Empowered to do Extraordinary Things

I hope that you are off to a wonderful week!

Sunday, I preached three services at the First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk. We had an amazing time!

The sermon was entitled: “Empowered to do Extraordinary Things.” Our focus passage was Acts 3:1-10 about Peter and John’s encounter with the lame man at the Gate called Beautiful.

The lame man was asking for money. Peter and John stopped and told him that they did not have any “hand-outs”; but they had a “hand-up” in the name of Jesus Christ. They extended their hands to the lame man and lifted him up to his own feet.

The man was finally able to do what he had never done but always wished that he could do! Could it be that we are busy giving hand-outs when people need and deeply yearn for hand-ups?

I shared the story of Mary Slessor, a young 28 year old lady from the slums of Dundee, Scotland, who in 1876 traveled to Calabar, Nigeria. One woman lifted a people from the dungeons of superstition. The Efik tribe believed that twins bring evil spirits to the village. So, the Efik people’s culture was to kill twins. Thousands of babies died under such ruthless ignorance.

But, God called Mary Slessor to go to Calabar to make a difference. More than a hundred years later, the entire society in Calabar is grateful for her legacy. One young woman, empowered by the Holy Spirit to do extraordinary things traveled on the Ethiopia from Liverpool on a ship full of cargo rum to do God’s work!

When Mary got to Calabar, she was overwhelmed with the situation of hideous spirituality, the cult and superstition that oppressed women, killed babies, and sold slaves to the Americas. Mary prayed. Until 1915, Mary Slessor ministered the gospel, cared for abandoned children.

Like Peter and John, Mary Slessor extended her hands and lifted up a people who were lame by the status quo of paganism. She did it by the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ.

As you go about your ordinary week, may the Holy Spirit empower you with keen perception that your purpose is to live in the power of the Holy Spirit to do extraordinary things in the name of Jesus!

Charles Stanley once said, “Earthly wisdom is doing what comes naturally. Godly wisdom is doing what the Holy Spirit compels us to do.”

In the name of Jesus, we have the victory!

Remember this: You are ordinary but you serve an extraordinary God!

Grace and peace,

Dr. Antipas

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Category: Living the Faith, Spring 2015

About the Author: Antipas L. Harris, D.Min. (Boston University), S.T.M. (Yale University Divinity School), M.Div. (Emory University), is the president-dean of Jakes Divinity School and associate pastor at The Potter’s House of Dallas, TX, and the founding dean of the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the Criminal Justice System Director for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and president of the Global Institute for Empowerment & Leadership Development, known as GIELD. He has additional experience as an educator, academic lecturer, itinerant preacher, pastor, youth director, motivational speaker, and Christian musician. He is the author of Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color (IVP, 2020), The Holy Spirit and Social Justice: Scripture and Theology (2019), Holy Spirit, Holy Living: A Practical Theology of Holiness for Twenty-first Century Churches (Wipf & Stock, 2013) and Unstoppable Success: 7 Ways to Flourish in Your Boundless Potential (High Bridge Books, 2014). | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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