Spiritually Empowered- Embracing the gifts and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
If I was the Holy Spirit, I might feel a little offended. While Jesus gets a lot of credit (and deservedly so) for his coming to Earth, showing us how to live, and enabling us to live eternally through his death and God the Father gets a lot of credit for that small little thing of creating the heavens and the earth, the Holy Spirit can get lost in the mix. Thankfully I am not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit’s worth is not in what we give, but in the Triune relationship, and in that relationship the Holy Spirit is of equal worth to the Father and the Son.
The Holy Spirit is the presence of God on the Earth for us. Just as Jesus was a gift from the Triune God for Earth, so is the Holy Spirit the gift of the Triune God for Earth. Yet while Jesus was limited to one particular location for a certain period of time, the Holy Spirit has been given freely and abundantly to all people at all times since the initial outpouring at Pentecost. Thus, if our ministry is not spiritually empowered, it is not Christian.
This church will be sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in all areas of life and ministry. This does not necessarily mean a speaking-in-tongues, slain by the Spirit sort of church, though if the Spirit moves in those vivid and expressive ways then we will be sensitive to them. It has to do with more a posture of life and orientation of ourselves. This church is a church that would lead, only after we have been lead by the Holy Spirit. We will be intentional about providing about space and time for the Holy Spirit to guide us in our decisions and directions.
We are thus, under the authority Holy Spirit. We recognize that there are times when we might make a decision that may not be the “wisest” decision on paper, but through the confirmation of the Holy Spirit we follow that leading. We recognize that the Holy Spirit is not just something that comes onto us, but that the Holy Spirit indwells us. Some have said that there is a hole in our soul that only God can fill, and while that has become cliché, it is true. We are whole when the Holy Spirit indwells inside of us.
The Holy Spirit is an instrument of grace throughout our journey of discipleship, and it is the leading of the Holy Spirit that brings us closer to God. So that, any true growth in discipleship is done from the inside-out. It is the Holy Spirit who even before we have a relationship with Christ, lets us know that something is not right with the world and draws us to relationship with God. When we accept Christ as Lord, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. There is a movement within us, so that the more we surrender ourselves to God, the more the Holy Spirit fills us and leads us. It is the Holy Spirit that guides us in both little decisions, what passage should I read in my devotion and the large decisions, should I move my family and take this new job.
The Holy Spirit also empowers us with Spiritual Gifts that are given to all people for the purpose of the Body of Christ. The Spiritual Gifts are not a “skill set,” but a gift given, and part of our discipleship is to learn how God gifted us, and we are then to serve out of that gift. While there are ways we can strengthen our gifts, i.e. I can strengthen my gift of preaching by my studying of preaching, but I still must affirm it as a gift from God above all else, and thank God that He loves us enough to give us gifts, and especially thank Him because He gives us complimentary gifts to be used for His purposes in the world. These are not gifts for us to use for ourselves as if it is a Christmas gift from our parents, but they are God’s gifts to the world and we have the opportunity to participate in the divine through these gifts.
The Holy Spirit is not that warm, fuzzy feeling, but it is that strangely warmed feeling that gives us confidence to act as children of God. One of the traits of the Holy Spirit is the communion that the Spirit brings. The Holy Spirit is not given to the pastor only, who discerns what is to be done alone, but the Holy Spirit most frequently works within many people bringing them together. This church will be united by the unity-driven Holy Spirit.