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Have you checked your electricity bill lately? I know the prices always go up they never come down! Which makes this research all the more shocking? According to the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory research, an average of 7.5 to 10% of your annual electricity bill is doing nothing for you as it is the cost of what is consumed by appliances left in standby mode! The TV, DVD, computer and other such devices that are left in standby mode are powering components in the product that are sometimes referred to as ‘vampires’ because they often have two little teeth that plug into the internal power supply and suck the power as the appliance is in standby mode. It’s a sobering thought that all the power used in the US to keep products in standby for just one day could power a medium sized town! All that power is going to waste!

Perhaps equally sobering is the thought that we as individuals, and together, as a Church, might be guilty of wasting a different sort of power – the power of God. At the end of Matthew’s gospel we read that, Jesus drew near and said to them, ‘All power in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go, then, and make disciples of all the people, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.’ (Matthew 28:18-19). That which was given to Jesus is passed to us when he reminds us that, ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.’ What he envisaged there was the power of the Spirit so flowing through us that we shall make a difference to the world we live in, changing lives through our work and witness. Some, of course, just do that, but, all too often, it feels as if it's devoted simply to keeping our own affairs ticking over. We look to our own journey of discipleship, our own relationship with Christ, and no further. As churches, we often look inwards rather than outwards, concerned with saving a plethora of committees, maintaining the fabric and supporting church events. Instead of surging out, God's power becomes trapped in an internal loop. It is as though we are put on standby, rarely if ever used for the purpose we were designed for. If the power is stored in all those appliances on standby could meet the needs of a medium size town so the power at our disposal could meet the needs of the world, if only we had the will and courage to release it. Maybe we should ask ourselves does our faith look inward or outward. Are we open to God's power working through us as well as in us? How can we make the very best of the power supplied to us by God?  

Perhaps this can be our prayer this week?  

Living God, we praise you for your sovereign power through which you have transformed the lives of so many people including me. Forgive me when I have failed to let that power flow through me to others, for being a holding station and not a conduit of your renewing grace. Move within me, open my life to all you are able to do, so that in your name I may live and work for you.

Shalom to you my friend.