“Can I get a witness?” usually sung theatrically at 0300 isn’t uncommon in healthcare. Nurses commonly give narcotics and other controlled substances to patients for pain and agitation. This process usually involves a second nurse coming to double check the patient’s dose of the medication and the amount that is to be wasted (our NICU patients receive TINY doses!). They sign in multiple places in the medical record, and attest to the accuracy of the amount of the controlled substance given and wasted. Witnesses use their sense of sight to verify accuracy.
The book of Acts is all about the senses. What they saw. What they heard. What they felt. And then the faithful attestation of what they experienced. But instead of controlled substance doses and wastes, the Apostles were bearing witness to the accuracy of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, and the subsequent powerful work of the Holy Spirit to exponentially grow His Church. Before Jesus ascended, these were His last words to His followers:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Jesus promised the Spirit as the power to faithfully witness to all they saw and experienced. It is hugely comforting to me to know that my faith is built on men and women who experienced the power of God with their own eyes and ears. Not only was the Spirit the power by which God would work in the early church, but He had another role too:
“And we (the Apostles) are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32
How amazing is that? The Apostles were witnesses with the Holy Spirit to the work of Jesus and early Church. Acts is full of stories of the early church growing by leaps and bounds. The mission of the Church hasn’t changed. In over 2,000 years, we are still about the same work that Jesus set for us on the hill from which He ascended. As a believer in Kansas City in 2021, it is clear that Jesus has made good on His promise. I am the “ends of the earth” and the Gospel reached me because of the faithful witness of the church through the centuries.
I think bearing witness to the power of God is simpler than we make it though. Yes, it is the story of how God brought you to faith; how He brought you from darkness into light. The Apostles spoke again and again of Jesus life, death and resurrection. The early church also marveled at miracles and acts of power the Spirit enabled His Apostles to accomplish—healings, boldness in speaking and prison breaks! These stories circulated around surrounding towns and cities, and made faith spread like wildfire.
I can attest to God’s miraculous work to help me see Him initially. But I’ve also seen His faithful hand working every day since. I can attest to Jesus’ work to make me whole AND the Spirit’s tremendous work each day to make me look more like Him.
This tremendous work includes His leading of Peter away from our church plant last year. This huge shift for our church family and loss of income in the midst of a global pandemic made absolutely no earthly sense. Yet that step of faith led to a season of “together-ness” that enabled Peter and I to start poems of grace. We wrote music, painted pictures and piece by piece, God revealed a project we had no idea He had in mind. We walked blindly into 2021 with nothing but trust in our Guide to keep out steps straight, and stepping away from a church plant we deeply loved allowed the space and margin for Peter and I to both create.
Below is a photo of that faithfulness. Several years ago, our church plant replaced the windows of the church building to be more energy efficient. We got to take home an old window frame. And God wrote the story only He could write. There are twelve panes in that window frame. Twelve panes for twelve pieces of artwork that accompany twelve songs that will be sung to tell the Story of God from our point of view. Incredible.
After that step of faith, we felt God prodding us to yet another step—me coming off weekend option. Weekend option is a pay program at my hospital that allowed me to work part time, but get paid full time pay. It was a remarkable provision for a family with young kids and in ministry, but it was clear that it was time for a change. This shift again made no earthly sense. We already lost income with Peter’s job change, and this would be yet another shift. In faith, we obeyed and I changed my work hours. In June, we were notified that my hospital was offering a market increase, and in July I was offered a promotion. Both of these factors combined helped to bridge the gap in the loss of pay I encountered by leaving weekend option.
God doesn’t always provide in such obvious ways. I know that’s not everyone’s story. What I do know is that God has been remarkably and obviously faithful to our family this year. There is NO denying the hand of God to protect and provide during vulnerable seasons of our life. What He’s given has been a tremendous gift, and I want to be a faithful witness to His power and faithfulness.
Reflection: Maybe you have a story of His faithfulness to share too! Walk in step with Jesus’ call for His followers to bear witness to His goodness to the ends of the earth! Take some time today to bear witness to that faithfulness. We would love to hear how God has been faithful to you; share your story below or to firstname.lastname@example.org