Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The first-ever Elijah Challenge Retreat will be held at Grace Chapel, 1055 Bingle Road, Houston 77055 from August 8 to 10, 2014 (Friday evening through Sunday afternoon with Sunday morning free).
For the past 14 years The Elijah Challenge has been training believers in the use of the power and authority over diseases and demons given to disciples for the purpose of proclaiming the kingdom of God to the lost in the context of the Great Commission. But up until now we have never taught about the source of the power to witness taught by Jesus in Acts 1:8—which is in effect more foundational than the power itself.
The Retreat theme: the SOURCE of the power
Acts 8 recounts a vivid incident in which a sorcerer named Simon follows disciples of Jesus Christ because of the power he witnesses in their ministries.
Act 8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. …7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city. 9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, …12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Because of the powerful miraculous healings he saw at the evangelist Philip’s evangelistic meetings, Simon the sorcerer followed him everywhere. As a result of the miracles, many people believed in the Lord Jesus, including Simon himself. Interestingly, we note that Simon was not tempted to offer Philip money in exchange for this very wonderful ability, as impressive as it was and as potentially profitable as it could be.
We note that it was not until he later saw the Holy Spirit being given to the new believers at the laying on Peter and John’s hands that he decided to make an investment by attempting to buy this very ability from the apostles. As a commercially savvy and successful sorcerer Simon knew that the source of the power and authority over disease and demons would be a far more valuable commodity than the power and authority itself.
The SOURCE of the power more important than the power itself
Of course Peter, seeing the motive of greed in Simon’s heart, rebuked the sorcerer severely. But we in The Elijah Challenge who want to produce maximum good fruit for the kingdom of God acknowledge the paramount importance of the Holy Spirit. If we had personally not been filled with the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:8, we would never have considered or even thought of giving up “The American Dream” in 1978 to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth to proclaim His name in unreached remote regions in Indonesian Borneo. For nine years under primitive physical conditions we labored fruitfully and joyfully.
Our personal testimony after receiving the Holy Spirit
When we left for Indonesia, we went without a mission agency to train and send us, without financial support from any church, without knowing at all what we were going to do after we arrived in Indonesia, and without even having finished reading the entire Bible. But we would absolutely never have had the radical faith to obey the Lord’s command to “go” in such a way if we had not first received power when the Holy Spirit came upon us in 1977. At that time Jesus and his overwhelming love for us became so irresistibly intoxicating through the Holy Spirit that we simply had to tell the whole world about Him—without waiting for man’s approval and enablement.
You can read or download our autobiographical missionary adventure of faith at Dancing on the Edge of the Earth.
At the Holly Cove Retreat this August 8-10 we will teach about the Holy Spirit from this perspective, and to pray for committed and thirsty believers to receive the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:8 if they have not yet already.
What if you have already received the Spirit?
If you have already received the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:8, then you may want to join us in order to learn how to teach and minister to others regarding receiving the Spirit. For that purpose all the Powerpoint presentations used for the teaching at the Retreat will be available to you for free.
This Retreat is open to all thirsty believers, especially from evangelical churches. The teaching will not be from the traditional charismatic perspective focusing on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues—which according to 1 Corinthians 12 are not primarily for reaching the lost but rather for building up the body of Christ. Instead we will focus on the empowering of believers by the Spirit to be witnesses of Jesus Christ to the lost in order to fulfill the Great Commission before the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”
Cost: Free registration; freewill offerings accepted
Airport pickup: can be arranged for out-of-town participants
Schedule of Retreat Sessions
Friday evening, August 8: 6:30 pm to 10 pm
Saturday morning: we begin at 8:30 am
Saturday lunch at Grace Chapel
Saturday afternoon: 1 to 5 pm
Saturday evening: 7:30 to 10 pm
Sunday afternoon: 3 – 6:30 pm