Series: The New Humanity
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Tim Gillespie
Live Wonder: Verity Were
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Moe Stiles
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Acts 2:14-21 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Do you know why humans don’t dream too often? We are often wrong. Here are just a few examples:
With over fifty foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market for itself. (Business Week, 2 August, 1968)
A severe depression like that of 1920-1921 is outside the range of probability. (The Harvard Economic Society, 16 November, 1929)
I think there is a world market for about five computers. (Thomas J. Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943)
We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out. (Decca Recording Company Executive, on turning down the Beatles, 1962)
You see, people in general are often wrong in our predictions, and Christians have had this same affliction. In 1844, there were a group of people on a hill, waiting for Jesus . . . (you know how the story goes). From this “Great Disappointment” came a group of people who were fervently looking for Christ’s return. After they were disappointed, they put themselves fully into dreaming and working to make the world a different kind of place. They were a group of people who always had one eye on the heavens, waiting for that soon coming, but they also put hospitals and hospital systems together, built schools and universities, helped the poor, did missionary work with zeal, and tried to keep themselves healthy so they would be ready when Jesus came.
Looking at the world this way made this group into a movement that was less concerned with protecting what it had built, and made it deeply concerned with how it could shape the culture and world for Jesus.
I guess the question that we have to ask ourselves is whether we still dream. Do we dream of something amazing, of heaven here on earth? Also, do we still seek to help the world change? Dreaming of and planning a world that is more kind, gentle, compassionate, justice-filled, with more healing, both for humanity and the ecosystem is not in any way being disloyal to the vision of Jesus coming again. Rather, it honors the work that God did in the creation of the world and in creating us in His own image.
Recalibrate: What statements have you made that turned out to be erroneous? How did it make you feel to know that you were wrong? Did you stop making statements about what you dreamed or thought might be true?
Respond: If you did stop dreaming, start again. Start writing a journal regarding what your hopes might be for you, your family, your church and your community.Do this on your phone, in the notes section, so that your hopes are always close to you.
Research: Read George Knight’s: The Search for Identity.
Remember: “Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions” (Acts 2:17, ICB).
Dr. Timothy Gillespie is lead pastor of Crosswalk Church in Redlands, CA. He also teaches at several universities and consults on mission integration for Adventist Health.
Using several different mediums, such as pipe cleaners, beads, paint, etc. Allow your little one to make a bracelet or artwork of some kind. Talk about how, although they were using different materials, all the materials worked together to make their artwork beautiful. That is just like the family of God; we may all look different or come from different backgrounds but we can work together to bring others to a knowledge of Christ, creating a new humanity.
Make a list of all the things that you would like to do or be. Draw a picture of yourself doing all those things. Know that Jesus wants to create something new and beautiful with you. He’s just waiting for you to ask Him to come and play. Imagine that.
So I have a confession to make! I love spectacular—and big—events where I can witness individuals’ work and creativity on display and I get the opportunity to “wow” at them. When I was living in Australia, my family and I, along with some friends, would attend Hillsong Christmas Extravaganza. I am a self- confessed happy snapper. I always have my phone on hand to capture moments—especially beautiful moments. And when I say I snapped a lot at the Christmas extravaganza, I mean that I took so many photos I had to delete a few to fit in all the ones I took in one night! The creativity of the team behind the Christmas program was out-of-this-world amazing. I wowed a lot throughout the night. I also wow at beautifully decorated plates of food, sunsets, majestic mountains, snow . . . Here’s the thing: according to this passage, God’s work creates wonder and a whole lot of wowing. And you know what?—I believe it! When God is at work, putting dreams and visions in people’s hearts and having them prophesy—and their words turn out to be true —well, of course we are going to wow at the wonder of God! God created the earth and all that is in it, including you and I. That alone is enough to wow at. Don’t you think? And here’s the other cool thing—when you and I accept the fact that the same God that created the whole universe engages us and uses us to bring good and hope into our world, our belief causes Him to bring about wonder. What wows you? What has God done in your life that makes you say, “Wow—God is awesome!”?
When you think of someone being “too young” what comes to mind? Some people define being too young as being too small in stature; others may define it as being too immature. Other times, being young is an advantage. In the commercial world, some people do whatever they can to look or seem younger. Surely this could depend on your perspective. “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” A long time ago, Joel said that in the last days everyone will receive the Holy Spirit. Receiving the Spirit was not limited to pastors or Bible scholars. The Bible states that no matter whether you are male or female, young or old, all will prophesy. Seems so crazy, right? While the passage doesn’t specify at which age this could happen, I would like to believe that someone your age received the Spirit that day. If you’re willing to have the Spirit dwell within you, age will not be a limit.
Verity Were is a registered nurse at the largest pediatric intensive care unit in Sydney, Australia. She attends Kellyville Adventist church with her husband and two toddlers.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Moe Stiles is lead pastor at Oasis Church in Vancouver, WA. She is married to Adrian and is mother to Caleb and Johnny.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist at a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the faith engagement pastor at Boulder Church.