Driving through the barren desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, you can see a 300-foot tower. The top of this tower holds a black receiver 45 feet high and 23 feet across which is surrounded by seventy heat conducting tubes. During the daylight hours, a brilliant ball of fire glows from the top of the tower creating the world’s largest solar-powered electrical generating station, Solar One.
How can a black receiver turn into a glowing ball with a temperature exceeding 1,175 degrees Fahrenheit? The secret is on the ground. The desert floor surrounding the tower holds 1,818 computer-controlled frames. Each frame holds twelve giant mirrors that track the sun from the time it rises until it sets.
The sunlight strikes these mirrors called heliostats. The mirrors reflect the sunlight onto the black receiver at the top of the tower. The heat generated at the receiver is transformed into electrical energy through a system of thermal storage and a turbine generator.
The power generated is really nothing new; it is from the sun. The process is possible only because a network of mirrors reflects sunlight onto a helpless receiver where the power is generated.
The Greatest Power Source
We have an even greater Source of power with which to generate change in our world—the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Our challenge is to reflect God’s love and power to a world that is dark with sin and despair.
We live in a world of rapid and radical change. Men’s hearts are filled with fear and dread, frustration and hopelessness. Mankind has proven capable of inventing tremendous technical feats but incapable of managing his own heart or of coping with the pressing problems of our time: the population explosion, pollution, crime and violence, sexual rebellion, alcoholism and other addictions, abortion, pornography, and widespread political, social and moral decay.
What an hour for Christians to reflect the love of Christ! We can become involved in the greatest spiritual harvest since New Testament times. This dark hour in the history of mankind is also an hour of destiny, a time of unprecedented opportunity for Christians to shine as lights in the darkness. This is the hour for which we were born—to set in motion a mighty, sweeping spiritual revolution that will turn the tide of sin and despair and reveal to mankind that the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ offers the power to change the way we live.
The Greatest Challenge
If I had the privilege of writing a news story about the greatest events of the centuries, one of the most important would be a meeting on a mountain near Galilee where a small group of men were commanded to carry God’s love and forgiveness to a dark and dying world.
On this mountain these men received the greatest challenge ever given to mankind, by the greatest Person who ever lived, concerning the greatest power ever revealed and the greatest promise ever recorded. I refer, of course, to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he gave to his disciples and through them to us. Jesus said:
I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world. (Matthew 28:18-20 TLB)
Later, on the Mount of Olives, our Lord gave his final word to his disciples and to us before he ascended to the Father. He said:
When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection. (Acts 1:8 TLB)
Like the mirrors that reflect the sun’s power to generate electricity, God has given us the power of his Holy Spirit to enable us to introduce others to his Son and help them mature in their faith. Had our Lord’s command and promise not been given, we could not share the love, forgiveness, joy, and purpose of God’s matchless grace available to all who believe in Christ.
The Focus of Jesus’ Ministry
The Great Commission was the focus of Jesus’ ministry on this earth. The fifth chapter of Luke records an incident in the life of a seasoned fisherman—Simon Peter. He and his fellow workers had spent the entire night casting and gathering their nets but had not caught a single fish.
Jesus observed these men as they were washing their nets and asked Peter to push out a little into the water so he could sit in the boat and speak to the crowds that were pressing around him.
When he had finished speaking, Jesus made a promise to this fisherman—a promise that I believe Peter, weary from his futile night of fishing, initially thought foolish. Jesus told Peter to go out a little further and let down his nets. If he did so, he would catch fish. Luke records Peter’s response and what happened as a result:
“Sir,” Simon [Peter] replied, “we worked hard all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, we’ll try again.” And this time their nets were so full that they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. (Luke 5:5-7 TLB)
Jesus told the fishermen who were so awestruck with this demonstration of his power, “From now on you’ll be fishing for the souls of men!”
They were so overwhelmed with the presence and power of Jesus that they left their occupation to follow him.
How are you reflecting the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of others? How is God’s power at work in your life?
The most exciting and spiritually rewarding experience in life is the adventure of fishing for people. Through the studies in this Handbook, I want to help you be a successful fisherman for our Lord wherever you are and wherever you go. As you follow the principles outlined in the studies, your net too can be filled—even if you have never introduced anyone to Christ—even if you may be skeptical like Peter. If you are obedient like Peter, the Lord Jesus will honor you, and you will see miracles happen through the power of the Holy Spirit in your life!