Wednesday, 14 July 2010
The Spirit's Edge
The Spirits Edge is Debra and Alan Hirchs title for their excellent piece (chapter 3) of "untamed" on The Holy Spirit.
At the beginning of the chapter the couple share something of their early Christian church experiences which were divided between a Pentecostal church and a fundamentalist church (in their words not a lot of fun but a whole lot of mental!)
They point out some lessons they learned of things to avoid in church life and come up as usual with some thought provoking quotes, like "As important as theology is in guiding our understanding of God ,it must never be a substitute for our relationship to God Himself" and "Believers who have made God into a system of ideas,need to risk being overwhelmed by God again if they wish to be authentic disciples"
After this section the authours move onto describe some of the characteristics that should mark the presence of The Spirirt in our lives and our community.
Alan and Debra point out that The Spirit is the agent of creation He is creative!Therefore we should not be surprised that people motivated By The Holy Spirit get creative and entrepreneurial.
Where The Spirit is there will be lots of new things happening!
I must say I hadn't thought of creativity as a mark of The Spirits presence but I am convinced .It is certainly true that life in a church without The Holy Spirit moving can be fairly boring. I don't suppose it is The Spirit that inspires people to say " We have never done it this way before" I rejoice that our church is beginning to be more adventurous and creative- A sign that God is at work!
The Father is a sending God and the Son is the sent one and together they send The Spirit into the world. The Spirit is a missionary. We only needs to look at the book of Acts to know that The advance of The Kingdom is a sure sign of The Spirits presence but as Hirsch and Hirsch note where the Kingdom advances there is bound to be spiritual conflict for as Paul reminded us "we wrestle not against flesh and blood"
When you see a church with a passion to love Jesus and share Him with others and that work is opposed, then you know The Holy Spirit is at work!
The third mark of The Spirit's presence is communitas
Communitas is something Alan Hirsch talks about in his book The Forgotten Ways Handbook" He defines it as the kind of strong committed community that forms in the context of a dangerous ordeal or challenging task.Christians need to move beyond a nodding acquaintance to being comrades and adventurers together. Christianity is not meant to be safe but is meant to be a great community adventure .The most exciting and rewarding times in church are when we are serving Jesus together and there is a sense of The Spirit leading us into building The Kingdom
I long to see more of these things in my life and in the life of the church I serve.Creativity,risky mission and communitas ,3 marks of The Spirits presence. My favourite hymns are ones that describe some of the hardship ,the excitement and the eventual triumph of Jesus and (through Him )His followers. How we need to allow The Spirit to reignite our Passion for Jesus!
We will look at some other marks of The Spirit's presence in my next post