Then he [Jesus] said, "When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must all come true." Then he opened their minds to understand these many Scriptures. And he said, "Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: 'There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.' You are witnesses of all these things.

"And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven."

Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. They worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God. (Luke 24:44-53)

As spring began it's first run at warming up West Texas, we joined many of our fellow Abilenians at one of the local nurseries. We purchased trees and flower baskets to try to dress up our non-descript back yard. We'll have to wait several years for the trees to make much of an impact, but little did we know what a difference one little hanging basket of flowers could make!

Several days after the flower basket was hung on a hook on our back porch, two things happened. First, it turned windy and cold — something it did repeatedly this spring — sending the flower basket spinning and rocking wildly in the wind. Second, a pair of small and beautiful birds built their nest in the flower basket. We didn't notice it at first, but we had to take the basket off the hook to water the flowers. One day, to our surprise, we noticed a little, white, bird egg with speckles resting in the bottom of carefully made nest. Several days later, there were four eggs. Then the mama bird made her presence known as she warmed those eggs as her flower basket home spun and rocked wildly in the strong spring winds.

Soon our little nest was full of ugly little baby birds without their feathers and with unopened eyes. Watering our flowers was a challenge — while I'm a firm believer in baptism, the baby birds didn't appear to be likely targets. We rarely saw the beautifully colored daddy bird for quite a few days. Mama bird would feed her brood and then be gone for awhile. Watering was even more interesting at this stage, but the mama bird tolerated us taking down the basket, watering the flowers around her babies, and then replacing the basket that held her nest.

Then one day, daddy bird re-appeared. There was stretching and wing-flapping and walking around in the flower basket. How they stayed up there we'll never know, because a late season norther blew through rocking and spinning the nest wildly. Somehow, the baby birds all stayed put. Then one morning they were all gone! They all flew away. While we were delighted with the success of our little bird nest adventure, we miss our beautiful little tenants!

This time of year, moms and dads all around the country are fluttering around in a dizzying spin of activity with their children. As schools and colleges come to an end for the year, many parents are watching their baby birds take flight — some are leaving high school, others are leaving college, some are getting married — as they head off into a brand new future.

Jesus had a time not too different than this. After his resurrection, he spent a final forty days with his closest followers. Then he left. As he did, he not only gave them their marching orders — we call that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) — but he also gave them some instructions to help them get ready to take flight.

Wait for God!

Let's point them back to the same three truths!
As Isaiah had spoken so many years ago, waiting on the Lord is the key to taking flight. (Isaiah 40:30-31) But this is not just wasted waiting; it is a focused time of praying and praising God with joy. This waiting trusts that time in the presence of God is THE crucial step we must all take if we are to begin the future God has for us.

Stick together!

Jesus' followers spent time with each other praising and praying. Even after their period of waiting, they stuck together. Later, when they were scattered outside of Jerusalem, they went out two-by-two. They knew the importance of sticking together.

Receive God's power!

One of the reasons they waited and stayed together was because they knew that God uses those circumstances to share his power. The personal presence of God through the Holy Spirit is the source of that power and they could not begin until they received this important blessing from God.

So as our "little birds" get ready to take flight into their new future, let's point them back to the same three truths that our Lord used with his precious ones before they had to fly without his personal presence.

Wait for God ... stick together ... and receive God's power.