FIRST-PERSON:  How long can you run?

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (BP) -- Back when our son was 5 or 6, he desperately wanted to take a drive to the local park where he could fly his new Christmas kite.

There was just one problem -- there was no breeze or wind to sustain the kite.

I tried to explain to my hopeful little boy how impossible it would be to fly his kite without any wind. But he did his best to tell me he could run fast enough and long enough to get the kite into the air and keep it there.

Even though I knew what the result would be, I agreed to drive us over to Kit Carson Park. He was true to his word. He ran fast. And he ran and ran. Sure enough, his kite began to soar into the beautiful December sky there in Escondido, Calif.

But as I suspected, he began to slow down and his kite began to descend back to earth. I could see the disappointment on his face as his determination turned into despair realizing that his dad was right -- you cannot fly a kite without the wind.

This year I've felt like my little boy. I faithfully kept running as fast as I could. But at the end of the day I had to slow down. My determination slowly turned into despair. In recent days, though, the fog lifted and I remembered the painful lesson my son learned at the park.

You cannot see the victories of God without the movement of the wind of God or the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 commands us to "be filled" with the Holy Spirit. We are to allow the Holy Spirit to infill us and empower us to do this work. Only the things that God does will last. The book of Acts demonstrates the mighty power of the Holy Spirit that surrounded Christ's apostles as they shared the Gospel with a lost world. Without the power of the Holy Spirit the world would not have been won to Christ.

Would you join in praying for me and all our other missionaries that they would see the power of God in their area of responsibility? Whether serving in the heartland of California or overseas in Nepal, we can only be victorious when the wind of God's Spirit blows across our land and our work.

Randy L. Bennett is director of missions for the Kern County Southern Baptist Association in Bakersfield, Calif., and a former president of the California Southern Baptist Convention.
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