Thursday, June 30, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Romans 5:3 - PATIENCE

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
PATIENCE, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23 
let us exult in our troubles
and rejoice in our sufferings,
knowing that hardship produces
patient and unswerving endurance.
Romans 5:3
You know the old joke about praying for patience, don't you?
I heard it from pastor who said, "I was troubled in my life that I wasn't patient enough with people and plans, so I started praying for patience ... and something bad happened.
"Frustrated with how I handled it -- impatiently, of course -- I prayed for more patience. And a week later something else bad happened. So I prayed for more patience ... and another bad thing happened. After a year of being battered by a series of unfortunate events, I have to confess I'm a whole lot more patient with the little things!"
The old joke is: "Whoa! Don't pray for patience. God may just give you something to be patient about."
It's a joke.
God's primary mode of developing our character is not to inflict us with trials. Nevertheless, God is absolutely willing to use any trial that this broken world inflicts. God's desire is to use circumstances to develop our faith, our witness, and our character. In Romans 5:3, Paul encourages us to use circumstances to better ourselves too.
Paul also tells us -- in Galatians 5 -- that this kind of patience is superhuman (i.e. supernatural). It is, indeed, a fruit of the Spirit. When life batters us like a sailor is battered by a hurricane, patience is not natural. But if patience can produce endurance and endurance can produce character, Paul assures us that we'll eventually work our way to hope!
In Christ's Love,
a guy who's not praying for patience!
... but is praying for the Spirit
and any supernatural power to endure
I have never been very patient. And I am extremely impatient with myself!
However, if we rejoice in our hardships, we will gain patience and endurance. But sometimes I wonder if it is all really worth it. Rejoicing in hardship can seem almost as impossible as giving thanks in all circumstances.

Guess that is another supernatural power we need the Spirit to to work in us.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Psalm 85:8 - Peace

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, PEACE,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23 
I will listen to what God the Lord will say;
he promises peace to his people ...
-- but let them not return to folly.
Psalm 85:8
Recently I've been reading Eric Metaxas' award winning biography of Lutheran theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer -- Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. 
A champion of the Word of God, Bonhoeffer was one of the earliest and most vocal opponents to the anti-semitism and totalitarianism of the Nazi regime. He was eventually executed for his resistence.
In my reading today, I was struck by one of Bonhoeffer's explanations of peace:
There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture, and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security.
"Peace must be dared." Why? Because of two things: 1) the threats the world, and 2) our continual desire to adopt the comfortable ways of the world.
Therefore, we turn to today's verse which gives us a three step process to peace ...
  1. "Listen to what God say[s]." From God's gentle encouragement to his most challenging commandments, God points the way to peace and life ... but will we listen? ... or will we go our own way?
  2. Personal peace is a promise. It's a Fruit of the Spirit. Step two is: believe that peace is possible!
  3. There will be challenges along every journey. The question is ... will we continue to follow his path? ... or will we return to our former foolish ways? (Folly.)
Listen ... Believe ... and Follow (instead of Folly) ... that's the way of peace! 
Peace must be dared. Will you dare to follow? ... or retreat comfortably into folly? 
In Christ's Love,
a guy who'll dare
to find peace

Hmmm ... when playing Truth or Dare as a kid, I usually chose 'truth' because I was too afraid of the 'dare.'  Is this a dare I can chance?

I think so. I think you can too ... double dog dare ya!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Convo with Pastor - 1 Corinthians 13:13 - LOVE

The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23 
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
and the greatest of these is love.
Corinthians 13:13
I want to be careful. I don't want to confuse the Fruit of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit.
We're talking this week about Fruits. 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 talk however about Gifts. In the twelfth chapter of this letter, Paul outlines a long list of gifts which are given to us by God. In the thirteenth, Paul acknowledges people's competitiveness -- essentially, "I have this gift. What do you have?" -- and tells us that the greatest gift is love. (And truly we'd never be bragging devisively if we were operating on the basis of love.)
Just as some are given the ability to preach the faith or speak in tongues, love is a supernatural gift that some are given in extra abundance. Do you know anyone with this gift of overflowing love?!!!
But please be clear ... love is also a fruit.
The Spirit's fruits give us the ability to be peaceful in the midst of trials and self-controlled in the face of temptations. What then does the spiritual fruit of love give us? Mainly it gives us the ability love those who irritate us, to pray for our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to give sacrificially, and to become peacemakers. (Basically, the fruit of love gives us the ability to live up to the Jesus' self-sacrificing calls in the Sermon on the Mount.) 
And here's the thing about a fruit instead of a gift. With a gift, we can argue and say, "That's not my gift." But when the Spirit's in you, a fruit can be done by anyone ... and everyone. In other words, there's no excuse for a Christian not to love.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who loves fruit salad
(and wants to be part of God's fruit salad)
When we were married, we had 1 Corinthians 13 read with the verses alternating and the final statement read together.  At the reception, I had all these cards with love quotes written  on them.  We pledged our love to each other that day.

But as Christians, we need to do so much more than love someone just because we made a commitment to them. We need to love them because they are God's unique creation, we are commanded to love them.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

In the Nick of Time by Tim Downs

This was my first time reading Tim Downs.  I can usually inhale a book in a matter of days. However, this one took me longer than usual to read. The characters were interesting but the plot was slow and had trouble keeping my attention.  The friction between Nick and his fiance was one of my favorite parts of the book, but the personality of each of them frankly, irritated me.

There was a prank that was taken entirely too far. I almost put the book down at that point.  I like suspense. mystery. drama. romance. But this was the wrong combination for me.

I did like the ending. Everything was not tied up neatly. It left you wondering what will happen to the couple.

If someone is really looking for something to read, I might recommend this book. But I have others I would recommend first.

I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze to review.


Convo with Pastor - Acts 13:52 - FILLS WITH JOY

The fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23 
the disciples were filled with joy
and with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:52
Today we begin a focus on the fruits of the Spirit.
And today's message is simple, when Jesus' disciples proclaimed the good news, they "were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."
"Persecution" is in the sentence before this! Their lives were in danger. And yet, when they proclaimed the good news, they "were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."
Joy is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit -- Galatians 5:22-23. Normally, we associate joy with joyful circumstances, and that's how worldly expressions of joy work. If the circumstances are joyful, we have joy.
The spiritual fruits are very different. They are not circumstantial. Indeed, the spiritual fruits often defy our circumstances. The world says, if the circumstances are joyful, I can have joy. Faith says ...
  • If I have the Spirit, I can have joy ... even when events are sad
  • If I have the Spirit, I can have peace ... even when conflict is raging around me.
  • If I have the Spirit, I can have love ... even when I've been betrayed and forgiveness comes hard.
  • If I have the Spirit, I can have hope ... even when I stand beside a grave.
  • If I have the Spirit, I can be free ... even when the world tries to enslave me.
Are you experiencing joy right now? Maybe you don't need to change your circumstances, maybe you just need to draw closer to the Spirit.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who's learned to be joyful

I wrote a quick note to a friend today and it simply said (something along these lines), 
"Knowing is not ... Seeing is not ... Truly Believing ... God is ... is what can change a heart."  

That heart change is what can bring joy in all circumstances. And all the rest of the basket of fruit from the spirit.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Acts 4:8 - speaks THROUGH us

Yesterday we said talked about the Spirit talking TO us.
Today we talk about him talking THROUGH us.
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them ...
Acts 4:8
Do you know people's biggest barrier to witnessing? Fear.
Sometimes we're afraid of what people will think of us. This, then, is a question of faith. Are we looking up and playing for an audience of one? Or are we looking down and concerned about what the world thinks? That's common. Most all of us have some measure of self-consciousness and fear.
But there's a second fear that many of us have -- often in addition to the first. We really do love God ... and we really do want to witness to God ... but we're afraid we'll say something wrong. We don't want to mess up anybody's faith -- especially a new believer's -- so we keep our mouth's shut.
We need not worry!
If it's because you love God so much that you don't want to mess anything up -- especially a new believer's fragile faith -- then there's an easy solution: Just tell the other person why you love God.
If people want details, they can ask an expert or read a book. But you can give them one thing that's not in a book -- love. Just tell them why you love God! 
Remember that Holy Spirit is with you. He spoke through Peter; therefore, he can speak through you! Indeed, he WILL speak through you.
Do you remember when Jesus sent out the disciples for their first experiences of witnessing, he said, "When you are brought before [the] authorities, do not worry about ... what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."
I'll bet Peter did one thing before speaking that we sometimes forget to do ... He prayed. Read the Book of Acts! Peter and the disciples prayed a lot, and the Spirit descended upon them a lot.
If you have an occasion to witness to another person, pray. You may have days to prepare for this encounter ... Pray. But if the occasion arises suddenly, don't worry. You can still pray. In your mind quickly whisper, "Holy Spirit, this person needs you. Therefore, this can't be me. Therefore, Lord, just speak through me. I am yours."
In Christ's Love,
a guy who often whispers,
"Lord, speak through me."
I haven't often sensed the holy spirit speaking through me, but I have often been speaking with others who when they were done just stopped and were amazed at what was worked through them.  However, I have had the spirit work through my fingers. I work on my computer - a lot - and have sent emails that when reading later, I knew there was no way I wrote that! It is amazing and humbling at the same time.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Acts 15:8 - speaks TO us

God ... testified to them
by giving them the Holy Spirit
Acts 15:8
I've often asked people if they know the mathematical formula for salvation. (Did you know you can boil salvation down to mathematics?!).
I base this formula on Romans 3 -- "We are justified by God's grace ... effective through our faith ... apart from the works of the law." Do you see the formula?
J + G + F + W = S
  • (J)ustification + (G)race + (F)aith + (W)orks = (S)alvation, right?
  • Now, (W)orks = Zero, because Paul tells us that it's God's (G)race "apart from our (W)orks that save us.
  • Thus it's really, J + G + F = S
  • Now, who does (J), the justification? God! Therefore, (J)ustification is a given.
  • And who does (G)race? God! Therefore, (G)race is a given.
  • Therefore, I like to ask, what then is the only variable in this formula of salvation? (F)aith, right?
  • And who is (F)aith up to? Us, right? And that's true. We do need to say, "yes." 
  • But we must not forget that God is constantly working to weave (f)aith into our hearts.
To weave faith into our hearts, God woo's us and wow's us. He's ahead of us on our journey, beckoning us down paths of faith. He intervenes in our circumstances and whispers our name. And as today's lesson clearly says, God speaks to us -- "he testifies by giving [us] the Holy Spirit." 
Yes, we may have to eventually say, "Yes." But God is also speaking faith and hope and possibility into our hearts. And that's all before we ever know him.
Then once we believe, he speaks courage, blessing, challenge, peace, and so much more.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who always needs to remember
to keep tuning in 
I love math. I especially loved geometry with it's theorems and proofs.

The only variable in the equation is faith. True we have to say yes to faith - even just a speck of it makes the equation work. But as I am learning ... faith is not so much about accepting Christ and believing God.  It is also about realizing that we need him. Apart from him we are nothing. We can do nothing. We are essentially the walking dead.

Faith is the element that makes the equation complete. Our acceptance of the free gift God is giving us. Our knowledge that we need him. Because as I have also learned
M + G = > E  
(M)e + (G)od = greater than (e)verything

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Acts 4:31 - EMBOLDEN

When they had prayed ...
they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and spoke the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:31
Today represents a simple pattern: Prayed > Filled > Emboldened.
You may remember the context ...
  • Peter and John heal a lame begger ("We don't have money to give you, but we'll give you what we do have. In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk."-- Acts 3:1-10)
  • The healed man leaps and dances and praises God.
  • This raises questions throughout the city.
  • Peter and John testify to the city.
  • Peter and John are arrested and brought before the Council.
  • Peter and John testify again.
One of my favorite verses in the midst of this is: "they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men ..." (Acts 4:13).
Ordinary, yet bold.
Uneducated, yet speaking with power.
How? Why? The story continues to unfold ...
  • Peter and John testify before the Council
  • The authories are amazed. And it's in a worried kind of way. These uneducated men have more power than they do.
  • The authorities threaten them ... but they also release them.
  • The believers give thanks ... and they pray for the same boldness.
We asked a moment ago how and why these ordinary, uneducated men spoke with such power. The answer is found in 4:31 when the same boldness comes upon the rest of the believers: After they "24 raised their voices together to God" praising him for the safety of Peter and John, and "when they had prayed, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness."
The pattern was this: Praised > Filled > Emboldened.
If you want to be emboldened in your faith and witness and hope and courage, praise may just be a powerful starting point.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who doesn't want to wait to be healed
to go leaping and dancing and praising God

Makes sense to me. Praise God. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Boldly proclaim his word. 
I know I don't praise God often enough and in every situation. I know I am not filled with the Holy Spirit like I can be. And I definitely do not proclaim his word ... timidly or boldly. 

Maybe just taking the small step of praising him more, the rest will come. Instead of looking at the entire process in one overwhelming picture, focusing on the first and easiest step is enough. 

baby steps. baby steps. baby steps. 

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Psalm 65:9 - ABUNDANCE

You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
Psalm 65:9
Yesterday's theme of spiritual emptiness was symbolized by a dry and dusty desert.
Today the theme is abundance. The land is abundant with rich harvests because God has watered it abundantly.
Now, there are places in this world where this is definitely true. There are tropical rainforests where the vegetation is thick and rich. But there are also vast deserts where seemingly nothing abides. The irony of this passage is that it was written in portions of the Middle East which most of us would consider sparse at best.
Is the Psalmist naive?
Is he being relative? ("Compared to the Negev desertGalilee feels lush.")
Or is he observing a powerful spiritual point?
Jesus teaches us to pray for daily bread. In this daily view of sustanence, all we need is "enough." "Enough," therefore, is "abundance."
Having lived for many years in the desert, one grows to appreciate every sprinkle of water and every glimpse of green. Enough is abundance.
In desiring the presence of the Holy Spirit, we've rightly said that we desire an overflow. When we can begin to define "abundance" as "enough," there can be an overflow every day.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who's hoping to see
just enough of a
drop of rain on this hot day
(I wouldn't mind feeling just enough
of the wind of the Spirit
on this hot day too.) 
'Enough' is an interesting concept. Especially when you have been filled, but with something not of God. You're used to being filled, to the feeling of it. The comfort.

But if it isn't from God - what's the point of it filling me? you? anyone? Maybe, just maybe, by allowing ourselves to be empty - as uncomfortable it is - as scary and painful as it can be - then when we accept what God truly wants to give us - it is enough. And after being so empty - that enough is abundance and fills all of our empty space with life instead of death. truth instead of lies. Enough. Enough to live for God. Daily. on this earth. And that enough ... like manna ... turns into abundance.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Psalm 63:1 - EMPTY

God, you are my God.
I search for you.
I thirst for you like someone
in a dry, empty land
where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1
Last week the word was "filled" -- How can we be filled with the rush of the Holy Spirit?
Today the word is "empty."
We've asked to be filled, but since then, life has gotten in the way. At least that's true for me. I'm surely not empty, but a little water has evaporated from the watering can. Do you ever feel like that? Are there ever days that feel like a dry and dusty desert and your heart feels parched?
In a journey across a desert we hope that we might happen across a fruitful oasis. In the journey of faith and life, we have the ability to make an oasis suddenly appear. Generally it just takes time and attention. If we slow down the busyness and reprioritize God and faith, we are likely to suddenly find ourselves beneath streams of living water.
On the days when you're feeling evaporated and empty, reach out your hands, asking God for a splash of refreshing water.
In Christ's Love,
an oasis maker   
Sometimes the feeling of emptiness can become the 'norm' and you don't even know what living water feels like.  I have been so completely and utterly dry spiritually over the past year that even of few drops of refreshing water from God is such a blessing.

But I am discovering that that occasionally Pastor is right. (shhh ... don't tell him) That when I can quiet my swirling thoughts. When I focus on God. When I count my blessings. Then my restless, parched soul is quieted, refreshed. Maybe even a bit peaceful. Those moments, I guess, are a bit like an oasis in a desert land.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Acts 20:28 - CALLS US

T H E   R O L E   O F   T H E   S P I R I T

Calls Us
the Holy Spirit has made you overseers,
to shepherd the church of God
that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.
Acts 20:28
What is the role of the Holy Spirit? Among other things he calls us.
The Spirit calls some of us to be overseers, shepherds, and pastors. Those aren't higher gifts. Some see pastors as closer to God. Hah!
Pastor is just one role within the community of faith. There are also apostles, prophets, teachers, and evangelists. The Spirit bestows on us practical gifts of service, giving, leadership, mercy, and proclamation/exhortation. The Spirit also fills us with spiritual gifts including wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, interpretation, discernment, faith, healing, and tongues.
The question is: What is your role within the community of faith? (If you've never taken a spiritual gifts inventory, click here:
But let me end with this ... Do you know the words that begin today's partial verse. Half of it, talking to pastors, is "Keep watch ... over all the flock." But there's one more piece of the phrase: "Keep watch over yourselves." Whether we're pastors or choir members or Sunday School teachers or pew sitters, we are called to keep watch over our own selves. No matter who we are, if we bear the name of Christ (Christian), we are always representing Christ, so keep watch over yourselves ... because others are watching you too.
In Christ's Love,
a crook
(wait ... no ...
a guy called by the Spirit
to carry a crook ...
a shepherd's crook)

Here are my results and the definitions of the area:
Service - 20

 "The special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God’s work, and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired results."
      This gift is a practical gift. Those with the gift of service enjoy doing routine tasks around the church regardless of how they effect others. Those with this gift enjoy menial tasks and do them cheerfully. Service-oriented people would rather take orders than give them. Scripture: John 12:26; Acts 6:1-7; Romans 12:6-7; Galatians 6:2, 9-10; 2 Timothy 1:16-18; Titus 3:14.
      Service focuses on accomplishing little tasks that may otherwise go undone in order to move the greater goal of the ministry or church toward completion.

Administration - 17 

"The special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to understand clearly the immediate and long-range goals of a particular unit of the body of Christ and to devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals."
      This gift is a leadership gift and is often characterized by people who lead the body by steering others to remain on task. These people generally are concerned with the details of how to accomplish tasks, and tend to be masters at delegating specific tasks to other people according to their gifts and talents. Scriptures: Luke 14:28-30; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Titus 1:5.
Teaching - 17

"The special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to communicate information relevant to the health and ministry of the Body and its members in such a way that others will learn."
      This gift is a communication gift. People with the gift of teaching enjoy studying the Bible and related materials in order to communicate what they have learned to other Christians. Those with this gift find it easy to organize vast amounts of information in such a way as to make it easy to communicate, understand, and remember. Scriptures: Matthew 7:28-29; 28:19-20; Acts 15:32; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28; Ephesians 4:11-14.
      Teaching focuses on bringing thorough or adequate understanding of the message or truth being communicated.

Knowledge - 16

"The special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to discover, accumulate, analyze, and clarify information and ideas which are pertinent to the well-being of the Body."
      This gift is a practical gift. Those with the gift of knowledge are at home in a book or studying. Those with this gift will often spend countless hours researching information. These people are interested in ideas and problem solving through gathering information and studying. Often, those with this gift have a low need for people. On rare occasions, people with this gift will gather vast amounts of information through studying and analyzing personal experience, but the primary method of learning with this gift is reading and studying books and other written materials. Scriptures: Luke 1:1-4; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 12:8; 2 Corinthians 11:6; Colossians 1:10; 2:2-3; 1 Timothy 2:15.

Helps - 15

The special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to invest the talents they have in the life and ministry of other members of the Body, thus enabling those others to increase the effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts.
      This gift is a practical gift. People with this gift often enjoy doing routine tasks in order to free others to do the ministry God has called them to do. People with this gift are often not looking for recognition for the work they do. Scriptures: Mark 15:40-41; Luke 8:2-3; Acts 9:36; Romans 16:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Timothy 1:16-18.
      Helps focuses on Christian works and freeing others to accomplish their God-given ministries. Mercy focuses on people in distress and reflects God’s love and compassion. 

Hospitality - 14

"The special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to provide an open house and a warm welcome to those in need of food and lodging."
      This gift is a practical gift. Those with this gift have an acute awareness of visitors and have a desire to make all people feel welcome. People with this gift enjoy visitors in their home, and are usually not bothered if someone stops by and their home is not spotless. Those with this gift are a key to helping new people become a part of the group.Scriptures: Acts 16:14-15; Romans 12:9-13; 16:23; Hebrews 13:1-2; 1 Peter 4:9.

Leadership - 12

"The special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to set goals in accordance with God’s purpose for the future and to communicate these goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God."
      This gift is a leadership gift. People with this gift are often focused on the greater goal of the group and are not overly concerned with the details. Leaders delegate tasks and details to others to accomplish the greater goal. Leaders are visionaries. Leaders have followers-a visionary without followers is not a leader. Scriptures: Luke 9:51; Acts 6:1-7; 15:7-11; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17.

... all the others were 0-9

Of these seven gifts ... 4 were Practical gifts, 2 were leader gifts and 1 was a communication gift.  There were no real surprises here.  What about you? 

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Acts 19:2 - Word, Hands, Baptism?

"Did you receive the Holy Spirit '

when you became believers?"
They replied, "No,
we have not even heard
that there is a Holy Spirit."
Acts 19:2
Do you know the formula for receiving the Holy Spirit?
  • Some will say that you need to say a particular prayer.
  • Some will say you must be baptized first.
  • Still others say it requires the laying on of hands.
  • Others say all you have to do is believe and "boom!" ... Holy Spirit.
  • Others say even just hearing the Word can stir the Spirit.
  • Still others say God can simply give the Spirit whenever he desires. 
Acts 19 seems to suggest that the key is baptism and/or the laying on of hands. Paul, you see, happened upon a group of believers in Ephesus. They believed, but didn't have the Spirit yet. So "5 they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus6 [and] when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."
So are the keys baptism and the laying on of hands?
Not in Acts 10:44-48. In this case, the Spirit comes through the Word "44 Peter was speaking [and] the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word ... 46 [They were] speaking in tongues and extolling God. 45 The circumcised [i.e. Jewish] believers ... were astounded [read "appalled"] that ... the Spirit had been poured out ... on the Gentiles. 46 Then Peter said, 47, '[Who] can withhold the water for baptizing th[o]se who have received the Holy Spirit [just] as we have?" 
So it's not baptism and the laying on of hand? Is it the Word? Is it their moment of belief? Is it God just pouring himself out?
Yes! It's all of them. The Spirit comes to us through faith ... through the Word ... through baptism ... and/or ... through the laying on of hands ... and most of all, the Spirit comes whenever and wherever he wants: "The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
In Christ's Love,
a guy who gets winded
(mostly when I run,
but often when I read the Word
and catch the Spirit)

Laying on of hands has always made me so uncomfortable. What is the power of it? the importance? I am not comfortable doing it and really don't want others touching me - especially in the midst of a crowd.  Am I missing a blessing in this? 

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