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Visiting or Inhabiting?

I grew up and still attend a Pentecostal church.  When outsiders hear the word, “Pentecostal,” they immediately think of weird people that do unusual things during service.  When I was a kid, I saw all kinds of weird behavior, I think some was genuine and others not so much.  I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, but I guess I don’t see it the way others do.  There are things I hear a few people say at our church that I get tired of hearing like, “The spirit isn’t here like it used to be.”  I don’t agree with them at all. 

I will admit that I’ve had strange things happen to me that I know was the Holy Spirit.  When I was in college, I was very down and depressed.  I had been running from God and had given into some bad habits.  But, one Wednesday night at chapel, I felt God’s love smack me right in the face.  I started laughing uncontrollably and couldn’t stop.  God gave me His love and His joy, I was overwhelmed.  It was definitely not me, because I was the cool kid, I didn’t want to look like a fool.  If I was in my flesh, I wouldn’t have literally kept laughing out loud.  After I gained my composure I felt led to go to my old boyfriend who hurt me and I told him that I forgave him.  That was monumental because I was hurt greatly by him, I hated him.  But, that night things changed and I saw him as a human who made mistakes.  That was God, not me.

In my adult life, I’ve felt the Holy Spirit during different services.  One service, my shoulder was healed.  It had been aching for a long time.  God touched it and that pain hasn’t returned.  I’ve spoken in tongues a few times, but it’s been mostly at home during my private prayer time.  I’ve attended long services where the spirit was thick and people kept falling out.  I know the Holy Spirit was there, but this is where my thoughts start to shift.  I don’t believe the Holy Spirit visits the same way every time the church doors are open.  In fact, I don’t think the Holy Spirit comes and goes.  Once you receive Him, He’s there.  He doesn’t go on vacation.  He doesn’t move to another church down the road.  He’s in you.  He’s in me.  Here’s the key to the Holy Spirit, He doesn’t travel like a ghost possessing Christian people. He comes inside you and you become the vehicle of transportation.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t want to be confined to a church, He wants to go out into the world and touch lives.  You cannot have the fruits of the spirit without first having the Holy Spirit. 

So, to make the statement, “The spirit isn’t here like it used to be,” what does that say about those that think that way?  This is how I think it is.  I think those who feel that way are looking for a quick gratification.  I don’t think they realize it either.  I think it’s like someone who wants sex and not a relationship. They want to feel good, but don’t want to carry out the good.  I know that’s a jaw dropping statement, but it’s just my thoughts.  Why do I say that?  Because when the Holy Spirit comes and resides in you, others should see Him.  Others see it by the fruit it produces.  If someone lives in my house, others know because I talk about who lives there.  Jesus said go and make disciples.  How do we have the motivation and determination to do it?  The Holy Spirit instructs, convinces, and aids us to do so. 

There are moments in my everyday life that I get sidetracked.  These moments are the Holy Spirit guiding me to do something that my flesh doesn’t want to do.  Those moments include things like, stop everything to give someone a ride to the store that doesn’t have a car, smiling at the cashier that is slow at checking out while I’m in a hurry to get out of the store, giving money to someone when I don’t think I have enough for myself, listening to someone hurting, writing a note to someone, or just saying hello to someone passing by.  But that’s so small, you might think.  But it’s not, its little things that open doors for bigger things.  When I carry out these moments, I feel satisfied.  When I ignore doing what the Holy Spirit wants me to do, I feel frustrated.  So, my final statement is this, are you looking to meet the Holy Spirit or carry the Holy Spirit? 

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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Transformers

Do you think the American church and church body have lost the true mission of what Christianity is all about?  I’ve felt that way for several years now.  It seems to me that the church at large is more about competing with other churches and denominations than it is about being a light to others and winning them to Christ.  We have forgotten that the church isn’t closed in between four walls.  The church is supposed to be a living body, constantly in motion…..going, so to speak. 

I have been one that just comes to church, sits on a pew, and listens to a sermon.  I’m trying to be more mindful of what following Christ is really supposed to look like.  It’s easy to come to church, talk about how awful the world is, and not doing anything.  I’m certainly not saying that we should go out into the street corners and speak on a megaphone, telling the world to turn away from their sin and follow Christ.  I think most of the world scoffs at that type of activity.  No, the church, you and I are an example of Christ.  What we do, how we behave, and what we say are a direct reflection of Christianity.  So, when you or I go into the workplace, school, the grocery store, the park, to exercise, or whatever you do throughout the week, who are you representing?  Do we really care about others or is everything we do self contained?  To reach people you have to be willing to see them from where they are and listen to their mess.  They may use colorful language, they may not have the same opinions as you, and they may wear their addictions like we wear our self righteousness.  Ouch, did I step on your toes?  Put some steel boots then.

I hear Christians say not to conform to the world.  I agree, but that doesn’t meaning hiding from it.  It doesn’t mean staying in the church expecting the lost to just show up on the doorsteps.  We are called to be transformers.  Salt to the earth, light to the lost.  “You are the salt of the earth. If salt loses its taste, how can it be made to taste like salt again? It is no good. It is thrown away and people walk on it. You are the light of the world. You cannot hide a city that is on a mountain. Men do not light a lamp and put it under a basket. They put it on a table so it gives light to all in the house. Let your light shine in front of men. Then they will see the good things you do and will honor your Father Who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 (NLV)

Notice, where it says they will see the good things you do.  Those good things do not consist of putting others down, telling them they are going to hell, that you have it all figured out and they are foolish, that your political party was God ordained and theirs is stamped with 666.  This is why the world sees Christians full of hatred.  Jesus said to love God and love others.  What is love?  “Love does not give up. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not put itself up as being important. Love has no pride.Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself. Love does not get angry. Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone. Love is not happy with sin. Love is happy with the truth. Love takes everything that comes without giving up. Love believes all things. Love hopes for all things. Love keeps on in all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLV)

God reached out to me in the depths of my sin, when I was a complete mess and saved me.  He saved me from self destruction, he saved me from hatred, he saved me from misery, he saved me from the hell that I was in and going to.  Remember where you came from, see others with Christ’s eyes and touch them with Christ’s heart.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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