EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from  Powering Up: The Fulfillment and Fruit of a God-Fueled Life by Jack Graham (Crossway). 

Chapter One
A Swift Kick in the Dish
Returning to the Life You Were Born to Live

There’s nothing like the first game of a brand-new NFL season. Last year’s Super Bowl is now a distant memory, and the only action you’ve known for months on end is of the verbal variety. There has been talk of trades and talk of retirements and talk of the draft and talk of preseason games, which everyone knows count for zilch in the grand scheme of all things football. But then, finally, the day dawns when all that talk ceases and the ball is snapped for real. Everyone has zero wins, zero losses, and for the only moment during the whole season when this is true, your team has as much of a fighting chance as anyone to take home the big prize. What a rush!

You can imagine, then, how disheartened I was when I stood in front of my TV a couple of Septembers ago, remote in hand, anxious to set my TiVo to record the NFL-season-opening battle between the Saints and the Colts and saw my screen blank out. I pushed a few buttons, and it sputtered and spat. I pushed a few more buttons. More sputters, more spit. We have a dish on the side of our house, so I thought, Oh, I know what to do here. I’ll just restart the unit that controls the entire satellite system. It drew on the full extent of my technological knowledge, that single act of turning a little black box off, then on again, but it worked. And as the picture hummed beautifully back to life, I saw two words appear on-screen: Powering Up.

I stared at that phrase for a few seconds, thinking, Wouldn’t it be great if it were this easy to power me back up when I am behaving a little beneath my potential? What if every Christ-follower, for that matter, could just push a simple button when his or her picture was fuzzy or the signal was weak? We all lack clarity and consistency from time to time. We all need help maintaining a predictable picture of what the watching world needs to see, an image that accurately and faithfully portrays the character of Christ. Maybe a swift kick in the dish, a reboot, and a fresh shot at powering up could do the trick, if only that could occur in the spiritual realm.

Ready for a Reboot

If you’re like most Christ-followers I know, you’ve walked through a season or two when you really could have used a restart button. Maybe you’re in such a season right now: your picture has been breaking up and sputtering and spitting, and you know that the life you’re living is not the life God wishes for you to live. You’re fading in and out of obedience to his commands, and therefore fading in and out of true freedom, causing the people around you to wonder whether or not you really do follow Christ. You’re weary of the superficial and in desperate need of a massive dose of something supernatural that will enable you to face life’s struggles head-on and flourish in God’s goodness for days and years to come, but you just don’t know where to turn for help. If that is true for you, then you are not alone. I have served in a local church setting for nearly forty years, and if there is one thing I’ve heard Christians of all ages, races, backgrounds, and traditions say they desire more than anything else, it is the certainty that the power of God really can make a difference in their lives.