|HOMILY FOR ASCENTION SUNDAY
You know, I have been really excited reading in the pages of the Acts of the Apostles throughout these weeks of the Easter season. As I read about what the early Christians lived through as they followed the lead of the Holy Spirit and took the gospel to the nations, I have been saying “Man, those guys sure had fun! I mean what a grand adventure!” Listen, if is true, as John Eldredge claims in his book, Wild At Heart that every man needs an adventure to live, in order to be fulfilled, you couldn’t get a greater adventure than this. To be at the cutting edge of the new thing God was doing in the world through Jesus Christ, to see thousands of pagans come to saving faith in Jesus, to witness healings and miracles happening before your very eyes, wow, what excitement, what fun, what drama!
And of course, it wasn’t all roses, roses all the way, there was persecution, and suffering and attempts to annihilate the early Church, but God just kept coming through time and again for them and overturning all the plans of the enemy and causing the church to go on going and growing just turning everything to good, like He promised.
Well, I have to say, brothers and sisters, that I have, rising up in my heart, more and more in these days, a similar sense of excitement and adventure. I have spoken before about my one and only experience of white water rafting a few years ago, and how living life in the Holy Spirit felt a bit like that, wildly exhilarating and terrifying all at once, but never in the slightest bit boring, not for one moment boring.
To be present at the Canadian Prophetic Conference this weekend has just brought all of that to a new peak in me. I am so in awe at what the prophets are declaring over Canada, and so thankful that I am alive, here, now, for such a time as this. I feel we are on the verge of what St Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10: “What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualize; all that God has prepared for those who love him; to us, though, God has given revelation of these things through the Spirit.”
We are on the threshold, brothers and sisters, of that new thing God is preparing to unfold in this new millennium, this new work of revival in the church and in the world that our statement of mission, vision and values prophetically points towards. I have such a sense of standing at a strategic moment in history, and everything points to this: the first Canadian prophetic conference right here on our doorstep in City Church, in Vanier; the letter from the outgoing archbishop of Ottawa, affirming our identity as a private association of Christ’s faithful, and our mission to lift Jesus higher in Ottawa and the nation, and to see Ottawa transformed by the love of God and the revival power of the Holy Spirit, and the fact that the new archbishop was unveiled only this past week, and I truly believe he is God’s man for Ottawa and Canada at this hour, the global day of prayer next Sunday, and the fact that through two of our members, we have a key role in this, the call to a 40 day fast and pray beginning on May 28th and leading up to 7th July, 2007 (07-07-07), to make reparation for the past 40 years when a whole generation turned wholesale away from God and His moral laws, the international eucharistic congress in Quebec City in 2008 and our involvement in that, especially through our links with our friend, one of those prophetic leaders who was speaking at the conference this weekend, well, I could go on and on, suffice to say we stand at the crossroads of several important God-inspired initiatives to transform and heal our land, for such a time as this are you and I born and led, knowingly or unknowingly, by God’s Spirit to be here and now to witness these things and to be used of God to bring about their unfolding!
So how are we to live, you and I, what must we do, to be able to continue to walk by the Spirit in these times, so we don’t miss it? Allan and I have been speaking to these matters in the last couple of months, and we intend to continue doing so, but each of us has to make a decision in our heart to respond to what God is calling us into, that there might be at Lift Jesus Higher a people prepared and ready to move out under the millennial anointing of prophetic and creative power. Like surfing, we don’t create the wave, we just see it coming, and get ourselves ready to ride it with all the skill we possess...well, it is just the same with learning to ride the new wave of the Holy Spirit I want to end for now with just a couple of key strategies for riding that wave and becoming that people of power...
First in order to move successfully into the millennial anointing of power in the time ahead, it is crucial that each of us learns to think and act outside the box, in other words, to expect the unexpected, for the way we have been and done church in the past will bear no resemblance to the way God will lead us to be and do church in the future. If you are one of those who like all details of your life to flow smoothly, decently and in order, all according to your personal expectations, and who do NOT at all like things happening outside your comfort zone, and beyond your control, then, I’m afraid, you are not going to have much fun in the time ahead, so my advice to you, is learn quickly! Let go of trying to control your life and surrender into the awareness that God has our times in His hands, and is directing the course of those lives into a whole new and wonderful destiny, way beyond anything we could have believed we were capable of achieving. Eph 3: 21, Jeremiah 29:11-13.
Second, you don’t have to plan the whole strategy for your lives, you don’t have to anticipate every eventuality and prepare for it impossible anyway, you just have to do what God is asking you to do here and now...leave Him to work out how it fits into the whole tapestry of his plan for your life and for the salvation of the world be like Mary, and do whatever He tells you to. I promise as you learn to respond to those inner promptings and urges you are going to be blown away by all the amazing “coincidences” that God will bring about through your simple obedience. I say to you, don’t leave Ottawa, don’t leave Canada, this is the place of destiny, (unless strongly led, of course to move away)...so many being led here, sense of strategic place, of government, and authority, gateway city what would have happened if apostles disobeyed Jesus last command to stay in Jerusalem and not move out until they had been clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit? They would have missed the anointing don’t let that happen to you!
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to take risks, to be led into places and situations where you feel totally inadequate and helpless if God led you there, it is for a reason and He will equip you and give you the words to speak. So don’t demand to know the whole blueprint before you decide to obey...Ps 37:5 “Commit your life to God, trust in Him, then He will act ...” and always it will be acting to bring you to a place in His life and in His purposes which you could never have believed possible before these are incredible times, brothers and sisters, another phase of God’s incredible, eternal plan is opening up before us, and you and I are incredibly blessed to be here, here and now, for such a time as this get ready, think outside the box, do whatever he tells you, expect the unexpected. You and I ain’t seen nothing yet!
Fr. Bob Poole