All posts tagged: Holy Spirit

Not a River You Can Just Wade In

Wisdom is less like a deep ocean and more like the force of a river. The power of the river is in its ability to adapt to its environment, change its course when necessary, and yet find its way towards its destiny. – Erwin McManus I read these words recently in a book titled The Way of the Warrior. I was immediately taken back a couple of summers ago when we took a trip out to Colorado. The quote evoked a very specific memory I had of a river we stayed near for a night. There are few places in that area of the country that don’t romance the soul. I remember taking the kids down to the rocky bank and deciding to take a swim. The river had some rapids visible upriver and downriver, but the spot we were at appeared deep enough and slow enough to wade in, chill out, and relax a little. After committing to just past knee deep I was suddenly taken aback and surprised by the sheer force of …

Are You Arming Yourself with Worthless Spitballs?

I remember being a college student and sitting in front of the TV listening to the Georgia Governor Zell Miller speak at the Republican National Convention in 2004. He was talking about how Senator Kerry, then presidential candidate, was opposed to expansion of military forces. Governor Miller said, “This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces, US forces armed with what? Spitballs?” The crowd erupted in a standing ovation. Agree or disagree, I have never been able to forget, “Armed with what? Spitballs?” I think this often what we arm ourselves with when it comes to sin: spitballs. Sin is deadly, and it is not Satan who sends us to Hell, it is our sin. Sin has ended the lives of millions of people, and has led people to end their life as well. Sin has caused countless health issues, depression, loneliness, fear, anxiety, and secluded life styles. Sin has led to division in families, and churches, business. It has started wars and psychotic mass casualties. …

Living Under the New Covenant of Christmas

I love Christmas! Food, family, and food! I may have those out of order, but I love this season. Growing up, we would attend our church’s Christmas Eve service. I remember the church being packed with families, singing Christmas hymns and lighting candles. My family would read the story of Christ’ birth from Matthew and Luke. My brother, sister and I would have a slumber party on Christmas Eve, staying up all night laughing and making every attempt to “catch Santa.” And even though Santa was cool, I knew it was about Jesus. But I didn’t fully understand just how important His birth really is. God gave Moses the 10 Commandments to make the Israelites aware of their sin. The Law did nothing to bring about atonement for sin, so God required daily sacrifices.  But Moses and the prophets knew that God would establish a new covenant, and it would not be written on tablets, but on the very hearts and minds of God’s people! “But this is the new covenant I will make with the …

This Week For Sunday

In John 14:14-16, Jesus says, “Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.” We like verse 14 where Jesus says He’ll answer our prayers.  In the previous verse He says He’ll do this to bring glory to the Father. We also like verse 16 where Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is available to us.  And not like the days of old when people were granted the Spirit for a time to do amazing works.  Today the Spirit lives inside of us and is always available. But sandwiched right there between those verses is verse 15, and that one we don’t like so much.  It would be easy to say these three verses stand alone; to rationalize that one doesn’t rely on the other.  But we would only be fooling ourselves. “If you love me, obey my …

We Believe in One God

While the Trinity is not mentioned as such in the New Testament, Paul certainly embraces it in 2 Corinthians 13:14 when he writes, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” I’m sure Paul understood the intricacies of this doctrine; I don’t. But I do have some personal experience with the reality of this “God in Three Persons.” Let me explain by using a phrase that Paul used to color the Corinthian church: you are “acting like mere humans” (1 Corinthians 3:3 NIV); “ordinary men” (RSV); “people of the world” (NLT). Paul expected Christ-followers to behave differently from those who claim no allegiance to Jesus. I tried that for decades—to behave differently. It’s a good trick if you can do it. I couldn’t. And the result was a mixed bag of success, failure, highs, lows, pride over victories, shame over defeats, fits of passion for Jesus, fits of fatigue. Most of us don’t plan out our ordinariness. Most of us want to …