And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).
It will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of the Father speaking through you. (Matthew 10:20).
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit (John 3:34).
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us (Romans 5:5).
Therefore, I tell you that nobody speaking by the spirit of God says, “Jesus be accursed.” And no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3).
As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness (Acts 4: 31).
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive (John 7:37-38).
“The harvest is ready, but the workers are few… Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers for his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
How would you answer if someone were to ask you: “What was the greatest evangelization speech in the Bible?” I don’t think you could go wrong by saying it was Peter’s speech at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41). When Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost, he had no question about what he should say. Jesus, who had been condemned to death, was really the long-awaited Messiah. But knowing that wasn’t enough — the people needed to repent and be baptized so that they could receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Peter’s preaching was obviously effective, since three thousand people were converted that very day (Acts 2:41). But if he had tried to do the same thing a few days earlier, it might have been a very different story!
Peter hadn’t always been such a clear or effective disciple. Earlier, he even rebuked Jesus for talking about the same death and resurrection that he was now announcing so boldly (Matthew 16:21-23). After Jesus was arrested, Peter was so frightened that he denied knowing him (Luke 22:54-60). So where did this boldness come from? There is only one possible answer: the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). Peter was no longer relying on himself but on the power of God and his Spirit, and it showed.
The patterns of our lives are probably just like Peter’s, with many ups and downs. There are times when we seem to hear from the Lord clearly and act boldly. Yet there are times when we may act impulsively without thinking, times when we may act cowardly, and times when we may act timidly when we should be bold. The good news is that our heavenly Father is just as eager to give us the Holy Spirit as he was on that first Pentecost. With the Holy Spirit moving in us, we can do the same things that Peter did. We can be just as effective in our ability to love other people and in our attempts to share the gospel with them. Like Peter, we too can find the wisdom we need, even the right words to speak (Matthew 10:20), so that we can bear fruit for the kingdom of God in our evangelization efforts.
What a relief to know that God does not ration his Spirit (John 3:34)! No matter how tight we are economically, no matter how much stress we are under, the one thing we can count on is the abundance of the gift of the Holy Spirit! He is the love of God (Romans 5:5) and he is poured out on us without measure. God does not hold back his Spirit only for special people. He does not hoard the Spirit in case supplies get low. In fact, he’s always ready—even eager—to give us more.
Sometimes it’s good to think about how much the Spirit can do in our lives. He testifies in us to the things of heaven. It’s only through him that we’re able to recognize that Jesus is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3). He convicts us of sin and enables us to repent. He assures our hearts that righteousness has triumphed over evil and that Satan has been condemned (John 16:8-11). And he gives us the power to proclaim the gospel—the same power he gave the apostles at Pentecost (Acts 4:31).
Have you called on the Holy Spirit lately? Have you cried out for more of his power, for more of his gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)? Maybe you want to be bolder at evangelism, but you don’t know what to do or say. It’s not hopeless! You can always call on the living water of the Spirit (John 7:37-38)! You can ask the Jesus to fill you afresh with his Spirit! As you cry out to the Lord, he will empower you with his Spirit.
One thing you can be sure of is that Jesus wants to use you, and perhaps in a way you never expected. So don’t be afraid to say yes to the call to evangelization. God has a job for you to do, and he wants to give you the right tools! With his power, you will overcome any obstacles you may have (or think you have). He is always ready to help. The harvest is ready—may God make us all into workers and send us into his fields (Mathew 9:37-28)!
“Father, please pour out your Spirit upon me! Holy Spirit, come into my heart! I need your wisdom, guidance, and strength today. I ask you to be present in my thoughts, words, and deeds. Make me more like Jesus. Direct my steps to do only the Father’s will. Give me the courage to share about the Lord’s work in my life, so that others might come to know his love and saving power. Lord Jesus, strengthen the gifts of the Spirit I already have, and give me all the gifts I need to lead others to you. Thank you Lord”
Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.catholicmensresources.org/), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism, (http://www2.wau.org/partners/), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us.
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. Take a few minutes to read and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What are they saying to you?
2. After receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Peter was transformed into a very effective evangelizer. Do you believe this is the same work the Holy Spirit wants to do for you as well? Why or why not?
3. In what way do the ups and downs of your life mirror some of the ups and downs of Peter’s life? Can you give some examples?
4. The article asks these two questions: “Have you called on the Holy Spirit lately? Have you cried out for more of his power, for more of his gifts?” Why is this so important? When was the last time you cried out to the Lord for more power and more gifts so that you can be a more effective evangelizer?
5. If you are in a men’s group, take some time at the end of your meeting to pray for one another for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit and a fresh empowerment for effective evangelization of those in most need of the Lord’s forgiveness and salvation. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.