Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Forgotten God

Finished Francis Chan's book Forgotten God this morning.  It is a very thought-provoking journey about the Holy Spirit and how we, in the church, have subdued the Spirit to being a bringer of "Peace" to our lives and a "convictor" of sin.  While those are true, Chan asks the question, "do we really WANT to Holy Spirit in our life?"  If we do, and we accept His power, then why don't we live any differently?  It is a good self-examination for me as I ask, "do I work out my trials and paths of life any differently than the world does?  When faced with a mountain to climb, does my life look any different than a non-believer, a muslim, a buddist, an athiest?"

The one sentence in his book that I want to have engraved on something where I can see it all the time:

I don't want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit!

This true of me personally, my ministry and of our church.  If the work of a Christian (or a Christian organization) can simply be explained by hard work, smart people, creative teachers and worship leaders.....then we have to ask ourselves if the Spirit's power is at work in us.  Do we look like any other successful organization out there with a good marketing gimic?  I truly believe that if the Holy Spirit is involved in a work (personally or corporately), then something looks different than our own thoughts and actions, something looks foolish but has much power behind it, something is unexplainable to those that don't have The Faith, the Way.  Perhaps this 'lack of something different' is a litmus test of us being in our own power?  Not sure....

Chan also makes the bold statement...." a growing, energetic gathering is not necessarily evidence of the Holy Spirit's work."   Our leadership team struggled with this thought last night as we attempted to define what "Momentum" looks like for a church fellowship.  Is it attendance, is it giving, is it more volunteers in serving?  I think we came to somewhat of an agreement that it is "Fruit".  Scripture teaches that this fruit comes from the work of the Spirit in us....so I guess we are arriving at the same points that Chan is teaching.  The question is, how do we open ourselves up to the Spirit?  How do we make sure we are not quenching His work in us?  Do we pray enough for His involvement?(John 15:7, Phil. 4:6-7)  Do we really want to create the space for the Holy Spirit to work?  Are we scared of what He might do or ask of us?

I am praying for me, and for our fellowship, that the leadership and attenders can open ourselves up to the Spirit's leading and not be so focused on the "smart/right" answers that we miss the "foolish" answer that God may be presenting...

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