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First Presbyterian Church of Conrad, IA

Accessing the Ascension

Acts 1:1-11

          "(1-5) Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the one he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they  met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but 'must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.'
          (6) When they were together for the last time they asked, 'Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel right now? Is this the time?'
          (7-8) He told them, 'You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.'
          (9-11) These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared - in white robes! They said, 'You Galileans! - why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly - and mysteriously - as he left.'"

Prayer for Illumination

"Accessing the Ascension"

1. Asking the Right Question

a.) "When" is not it!
          - Trying to outguess God is never a good idea
          - We won't know
b.) "What" is the right question
          - What we do is wait
          - God has to act first
          - Learn to be open to receive God's provision
c.) The "missing ingredient"
          - God's presence, power, plan
          - It's not about what we can do for God; it's about what God wants to do in and through us
          - Learning to open ourselves to God in preparation for receiving "the missing ingredient" - the Holy Spirit!

2. The Great Exchange

a.) Jesus' ascension opens the door
          - Heavenly game of "tag"
          - Jesus' mission of building a highway to our God is complete
b.) Holy Spirit becomes "Emmanuel"
          - The Spirit now becomes Emmanuel - God with us
          - God's presence comes with a "power distribution network"
          - From one Man to the body of Christ
c.) Power transfer complete
          - Growing to know, accept, and have faith that God wants to and will act in and through us

3. Witness Preparation Program

a.) Learning to use our "enhanced senses"
          - Seeing the world as God sees it
          - Hearing the Holy Spirit's counsel
          - Sensing God-given opportunities, divine appointments to serve humanity in Jesus' name
b.) Enlarging our capacity
          - As faith/trust in God grows, we grow our capacity to be channels of the Holy Spirit
          - Presence, power of God are allowed to flow through us at an increasing rate
c.) Replacing fear with confidence
          - As our focus shifts from us to God in us, we gain confidence
          - As the ultimate, number one power in the universe flows through us, fear is defeated because the enemy is "on the run"
          - Where are you in this process? (Take the next step!)

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