Monday, May 30, 2011

Let today be our "TODAY"

We must move beyond having the Holy Spirit to allowing the Holy Spirit to have us. This is much more than semantics. It is a reality.

When it comes to the Holy Spirit, the church seems to be full of a lot of reservation, hesitation, limitation, and even imitation. What is the big deal about reading the Bible and believing what it says about God, which is inclusive of the Holy Spirit. There was never a "the end." The Bible testifies of itself as a revelation of who God is and how He wants to work in our lives. In other words, we should embrace the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives as He presents himself (as revealed in the Word.)

What would happen if we approached the Holy Spirit with anticipation(looking forward to what He has), expectation(which is to be pregnant with anticipation), activation(put into motion) and participation(to take share in)? I suppose we would look, act and be a lot more like what we read about in the New Testament. In Romans 8:11, we are told that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us if we are a Christ follower. Is it possible for a people with a resurrection Spirit to live or function as though they are dead? God help us to move beyond "a Spirit in our box" life to the Spirit actually leading our lives.

In Luke 4:14-21, Jesus, being lead by the Spirit, reads a passage from Isaiah and proclaims that "today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing". In my understanding, as Christ followers, we are to be like Him in every way. In my words, He said that we should live with a visitation/habitation(of the Holy Spirit), proclamation(of good news), supplication(of freedom to those in bondage), restoration(for those who live in darkness), transformation(for those who are oppressed by their enemy) and jubilation(as we recognize the Lord's favor). May this be our "today"!

Is this really for us? Acts 2:38-39 says..."this promise if for you"...

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's time to get personal...

I read this last week: Galatians 5:16+. A great passage where the apostle Paul writes about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives including the famous fruit of the Spirit description. He writes in what appears to be a progression in the relationship with the Holy Spirit that is available to us.

First he says for us to "live by the Spirit". By doing this we do not feed the compulsions of our selfishness. This seems to be the first stage or layer of the relationship. This relationship really begins the age old battle of our flesh and the Spirit. This battle is winnable if we acquiesce to the Holy Spirit. He can empower us to win the daily battles we face.

The next part of the progression seems to be when he writes, "be led by the Spirit". It seems the relationship progresses to the Spirit taking a leadership role in our lives. It's at this point that he gives us the descriptive list of what our lives are when we are bearing the fruit of our natural or sinful lives. It's not a pretty picture and results in us not inheriting the kingdom of God. Then he gives us the description of the fruit of the Spirit (not the fruit of our natural lives) as the Spirit leads our lives. This means we make our lives good soil and cooperate with the Spirit as He grows fruit through us.

The last portion of this passage finishes with, "keep in step with the Spirit". Now it appears we have moved from habitation relationship, to leadership relationship, now to keep in step dimension. Wow! To think God will live with us, lead us and give us a new pace is amazing to think about. It's even more amazing to experience.

With the day of Pentecost approaching, I challenge you to join me and let's experience a fresh commitment to a personal Pentecost. And may we have the harvest God gives with such a vibrant relationship. Let's pick up His pace!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Be Acts!

A few days ago I had the privilege of teaching a school of ministry class on material relating to the book of Acts in the Bible. I asked the class to describe in one word descriptions the church as it was birthed and grew in the book of Acts. For the next several minutes they shared many descriptions, some of which were "bold, powerful, prayer, missions, conflict resolution, healing,unity, persecution, love, growth..." They shared so many I was certain they had studied very well.

I then asked them to describe in one word descriptions the church in 2011. After sitting quiet for a few moments, they began: "passionless, weak, divided; directionless; traditional..." Then someone said it's not that "bad" in my church. We agreed there are pockets of good things happening in the church in 2011.

Then I asked them how does the church of 2011 compare to the Acts church. They were uncertain and did not want to answer. They came to an conclusion: the two don't have a lot of similarities.

I told them I set them up. It is so easy to evaluate what was and what is. And then we compare and start to find reasons why it is what it is. We often want to place blame on past situations or leadership or on current situations or leadership.

Then I formed the last consideration. I said it really doesn't matter what the church in Acts was like, and it doesn't matter what the church of 2011 is like; what matters is what are you like? You could have heard a pin drop.

I ask us all to consider, what do I look like in light of the Acts church? Could i become Acts - s second book? We cannot produce change while playing a blame game. We cannot change others. We can change ourselves. We effectively influence for change when we produce change in us.

May it be said of our generation years from now or as we gather in heaven for a testimony meeting, they were full of passion, power, purpose, loving, etc. May it be the Holy Spirit who testifies about us: There was another generation, We call them the Acts Church - number 2.

God help us!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Post resurrection world...2

After the resurrection the disciples were still searching for answers. They had experienced the resurrected Christ and wondered what was next. Then He left again...the ascension. He was taken away in a cloud back to heaven. Now what? What's next? What do we do? Surely these are thoughts that were swirling in their hearts.

All they could do is do what Christ told them to do...not a bad idea. "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."..."But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:4-5,8)

We could learn from the disciples. When your heart and life are swirling with uncertainties, do what Christ has told you to do. Keep your focus and do what He says. Something big is coming. Something exciting is coming. Something promised is coming. Something He spoke about is coming. Something more is coming. Something powerful is coming.

So what should we do until it gets here? Wait. Believe. PRAY! That's what they did. And it worked. I know it's radical to do what they did in the Bible, but I believe it works for us too...just saying.

Have a great, big, exciting, promised, more, and powerful week.