Sunday, May 23, 2010

Burn Baby Burn

I've been insanely busy with the end of the school year, but I really wanted to share some Scripture and a few notes about the church holiday of Pentecost and the gift Jesus sent us on that day, His Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:1-13ff).
Joel 2:28-29 (New International Version)
29 ...I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
Before Pentecost, in the Old Testament, you pretty much only see God's Spirit resting upon one or two people at a time, a prophet like Moses,  Elijah, a priest like Aaron or Samuel, or a king like David. One guy served as God's representative, His mouthpiece on Earth. 

But now, we all are called, gathered, and sustained by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ and we all are commissioned to serve as His prophets, priests, and kings (or pirates). He can speak though you. You can intercede for others with Him. And we can all lead by example and administer God's work.
John 16:12-15 (NRSV)
12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 "He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 "All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." 
Here's an awesome thing- the Spirit is there when you need Him. Mind you, He's gentle and you can grieve Him. Why would He want to live in you is you're full of anger and selfishness, lust and greed? And you have to give Him something to work with- sure, God's omnipotent and He can certainly work like magic if/when He wants, but the more time you spend reading the Bible, praying, worshiping, or in Christian fellowship, the more God's Word gets written on your heart so that the Spirit can help you tap into it whenever you're in a situation when you need Him. Big Lutheran perspective- the Holy Spirit never draws attention to Himself or to you, He always directs us to Jesus, His sacrifice and victory and His teachings and examples.
I love to remind people that if there were a proof that you're living a Spirit-filled, or Spirit-led life is not whether or not you can speak in tongues or perform miracles. The evidence is that your character is becoming more Christ-like. Jesus told us Himself that you'll know a tree by it's fruit:
Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version) 
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Now, if you have God Himself living inside you, you have to know that God can use you. It's not about what you can or cannot do, it's about what He will do through you. What does He want to do through you? What did Jesus do in the New Testament? Tell about God's love, announce God's forgiveness, share mercy, accept and love those who others deemed undesirable, heal, feed, serve, sacrifice for others, love.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (New International Version)
6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

And with that He (Jesus) breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." ~ John 20:22

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