Holy Spirit - moving from head to heart
The church I pastor in Seattle is filled with college graduates, PHD's, college and post-graduate students, and various experts of medical, literary, artistic, and technological ilk. I love these people, love this church, and think that it is truly in the stream of God's activity because the hearts of people are so open to stepping into our broken world to serve, and so willing to consider to love God with their minds as well as their feet.
Perhaps our weakness though, at least some of the time (and of course, I'm generalizing, probably talking more about my own weakness than my community) is our tendency to miss the heart piece. But the Apostle's Creed won't allow my to bypass the heart because the creed is articulated in a trinitarian way: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. This final week of teaching, we'll be consider the far ranging implications of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church
the communion of saints
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body
and life everlasting. Amen
All of these elements stem from our life "in the Spirit" and the reality is that the New Testament has a great deal to say about what it means to "walk in the Spirit" and "be filled with Spirit". Here are some questions to guide your thinking as consider the far ranging implications of the Holy Spirit when we gather this coming Sunday:
1. It seems that all churches struggle with finding the proper place for the Holy Spirit in their life together. The Spirit is sometimes granted supremacy, as if Jesus were an afterthought, and is other times treated like the little brother of the trinity who has two, much older siblings. Why do we struggle to find this right place?
2. What has your experience with the Holy Spirit been? Can you identify ways in which the Spirit has been clearly helpful in your life?
3. You'll learn on Sunday that I believe all Christian HAVE the Spirit, but not all Christians are FILLED with the Spirit. Have you ever sought to be filled with the Holy Spirit? What did that look like?
I'll close by pointing you to this web-site, which tells the story of DL Moody, a man for whom I have the deepest respect and who shares his testimony of being filled with Holy Spirit. Don't be put off by the retro looking website or the language - some of the best stuff is hidden in the plainest packages! Moody basically said that he'd served God for years without being filled with the Holy Spirit, but that when he was finally filled with the Holy Spirit, it made all the difference. Yes - that's the deal for me too. I've not always remained filled with the Holy Spirit, because, as I'll share next week, I'm a firm believer that if I'm holding on to some sins, or refusing to go into places God wants to take my heart, the Holy Spirit is sort of bound up, unable to express life through me. But when that Spirit is free... indeed it does make all the difference. Moody said that he wouldn't trade this being filled with the Spirit for all the money in the world. Neither would I.
If this isn't something you're confident you've known in your life, I'm hoping to have some material available this Sunday to help you pray through this matter. We'll be talking about other things too, as we ponder what it means to live, with all who have gone before us down through centuries, as a people committed not only to declaring, but to living, the Apostle's Creed.