Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | May 2, 2015

May 2, 2015 “Tank Man”

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity,but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.” (Acts 6:8)

Good Morning Everyone! This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Perhaps some of you are old enough to remember the astounding example of bravery and boldness performed by an unknown man on the streets of Beijing, China some twenty-six years ago. A man who stood in front of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, the morning after the Chinese military had suppressed  the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 by force, became known as the Tank Man or Unknown Protester. As the lead tank maneuvered to pass by the man, he repeatedly shifted his position in order to obstruct the tank’s attempted path around him. Though the identity of the man who defied an army was never revealed, the picture of this amazing event has become iconic, representing boldness in the face of overwhelming force.

Though there was no means by which to photograph Stephen’s similar act of bravery that occurred in the first century, his act of holy boldness has forever been preserved for us in the pages of scripture. In the Book of Acts, we read of the “great wonders and signs” being performed by Stephen in the face of adversity as the Word of the Cross began to be proclaimed throughout the world…a Word which would withstand persecution even to this day, as is being witnessed with the recent public beheading of Christians by ISIS. Where does such courage and conviction arise in the hearts of those who still fearlessly proclaim the Gospel at the risk of their own lives? In 2 Timothy, the apostle Paul identifies the source of this audacious strength when he writes, For God has not given us a spirit of timidity,but of power and love and discipline.”  That holy boldness comes from nothing less than mighty Holy Spirit. Christian author/pastor Jack Hayford spoke of such boldness, saying,

“The Greek word for boldness, parhesia, means “outspoken, unreserved utterance, freedom of speech, frankness, candor, cheerful courage, the opposite of cowardice.” Here, it is divine enablement that comes to ordinary people exhibiting spiritual power and authority. Parhesia is not a human quality, but a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit.”

“Parhesia”, being filled with the Holy Spirit, transforms ordinary people into spiritual “Tank Men and Women”, so emboldened by God that nothing of this world…not tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword,” will dissuade them from the continued proclamation of the Gospel until the time when every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  There is no need for timidity, for it is Creator of all that is…the One Who spoke the world into being…that empowers us. Let’s pray!

Spirit of the Living God; empower and embolden me to fearlessly proclaim the Word of the Cross in word and in deed each day of my life. Make of me a “Tank Man”, strong in the Lord and ever-trusting in my heart. This I do pray in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen!

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