Mark Batterson: God 'activating gifts of the Holy Spirit' in new ways amid COVID-19, racial tension

Pastor Mark Batterson speaks at the 2020 Promise Keepers Conference.
Pastor Mark Batterson speaks at the 2020 Promise Keepers Conference. | Facebook/ScreenGrab

According to Pastor Mark Batterson, God is activating the gifts of the Holy Spirit and working in an unprecedented way amid the challenges facing society today, from the coronavirus pandemic to racial tension. 

“The Spirit of God doesn't just want to fill you, but wants to stretch you and create new capacity within you,” Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., said in a message delivered at the Promise Keepers 2020 Men’s Conference last weekend. 

“Here's the catch. The Spirit of God can't fill you if you're full of yourself. You've got to humble yourself, you got to acknowledge your need, you have to extend the invitation, and it's as simple as three words: Come, Holy Spirit.”

Batterson said he’s never felt more dependent upon the Holy Spirit than he does amid the challenges of today. He cited the coronavirus pandemic, racial tensions, and political polarization. 

“One-third of Americans say they're either clinically depressed or have an anxiety disorder, 71% of Americans are angry, 66% of Americans are fearful,” he said. “I want you to hear me. Don't lose faith in the end of the story. His kingdom is going to come. His will is going to be done. God's got this. God's got you.”

“You are here for such a time as this; you are here for such a place as this. But come on, we need the Holy Spirit's help more than ever. I believe that God is activating the gifts of the Spirit and working in a way that we haven't seen anything yet.”

When the Holy Spirit fills us, it “catalyzes a lot of chain reactions,” he said. “The Holy Spirit is still healing and revealing and sealing; the Holy Spirit is still convicting and comforting and quickening; the Holy Spirit is still filling and leading and gifting and fruiting and paracleting.” 

"The Holy Spirit is our comforter, is our counselor. The Holy Spirit is interceding for you with groanings it can't even be put into words. That is where our holy confidence comes from, and I want you to know the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you."

"Without the Holy Spirit, I'm below average. I am ordinary in every way. But I want to flip that coin. The Holy Spirit is the difference between the best you can do and the best God can do. With the help of the Holy Spirit, [there's] nothing that we cannot do.”

If Christians stay “humble and stay hungry,” there is “nothing that God cannot do in and through you,” the pastor stressed.

In Acts 2:17, God promises to “pour out” His Spirit on all people, he continued, explaining that in that context, pour means to “spill over.”

“[We will be] so full of God's Spirit that when people bump into us, the Spirit of God comes out of us,” he said. 

“God's vision for your life is bigger than your vision,” he declared. “We need to be aware of the enemy’s schemes. Yes, we need to guard our hearts, for it is the wellspring of life. Yes, we need accountability structures in our lives, but the best defense is sometimes a good offense. We need a vision that is bigger and better than the temptations that we face as men of God. We need a vision that is bigger and better than our selfish ambition.”

Batterson quoted Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, who once stated that “boredom is the root of all evil.” The only way to overcome boredom is by getting a “God-sized vision that keeps you on your toes and keeps you on your knees,” and the only way to get such a vision is through the study of God's Word and continual prayer.

“The answer to every prayer is more of the Holy Spirit,” Batterson said. “We need more of the Spirit, and it's the Spirit that then produces that fruit in our lives.

“I don't care who you are. I don't care what you do. The Holy Spirit wants to help you do it. The Holy Spirit wants to anoint you. It’s revelation beyond human knowledge, it's provision beyond human resource, it's gifting beyond ability, its power beyond human strength. Three words. Come, Holy Spirit.”

The Promise Keepers 2020 Men's Conference - Virtual Event was held July 31-Aug. 1. Speakers included Pastors Tony Evens, Luis and Andrew Palau, John Gray, and others, with worship led by Phil Wickham, Danny Gokey, and Michael W. Smith. Topics included marriage and restoration, making disciples, seeking justice, building a legacy, and fatherhood.

Promise Keepers had originally planned to convene 80,000 people at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the official relaunch of the national men’s gathering, which once saw hundreds of thousands from various denominational backgrounds gathered at its 1997 “Stand in the Gap” rally in Washington, D.C.

However, due to restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization opted to instead hold a free two-day virtual event, prerecorded mostly in Nashville, Tennessee.

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