Today, I am in Columbus at Connect Church. (Pastor Paul Walls) I have been speaking and ministering at their “Holy Spirit Weekend.”
There is an obvious decline in the pursuit of the baptism in the Holy Spirit throughout the Christian world. Francis Chan published a book called, “Forgotten God,” referencing this fact. Throughout the centuries the Holy Spirit is the one who gets left behind first. The early churches witnessed the decline of the baptism of the Holy Spirit until by the 4th century there is little said or movement known. The gifts of the Spirit became little known on the larger scale and were practiced by the few. It was not until the reformation that there were numerous groups experiencing the Holy Spirit as in the days of Pentecost. Even then, they were considered “fringe” groups and not main stream.
What is it about the Holy Spirit that gets put on the “back burner?” Even those who have received the Baptism and have operated in the gifts can drift quickly and walk away from the practice and demonstration of the Spirit’s power. I have known many who have gone into non spirit filled churches and cease to share the freedom they once had. In talking with some over the years, they admit to more comfort and ease. This is a result of giving up a portion of what they had.
It is easier to have a church that is fixed. Rituals, patterns, liturgy, all are good in a way, but when they formalize, create rigidness, they kill the opportunity of the Spirit to lead, adjust, or speak. Formalism is safe. Thus the human is more comfortable with safe than with something living and dynamic.
Following the Holy Spirit, being open to the Holy Spirit is an adventure. Yes, we have a certain order, but we have an open invitation to allow the Holy Spirit to arrange things. The devil is afraid of a group that would be open to the Holy Spirit. He works extra hard to disrupt, discourage, and destroy any group that wants to move by the Spirit of God. That alone should indicate how important it is to be open to the Holy Spirit.
Every believer gets the comfort and consolation of the Spirit, but He was intended to have more than that in us. He was intended to be the dynamo that works in us to empower us for the works of Jesus.
We are facing a time when we must hold fast what we have and continue to pursue more of Him. I am going to continue to preach these things and seek to live by them to the best of my ability. It is not a time to shrink from the Holy Spirit, but a time to embrace Him and allow Him to flow through us. Who knows what opportunities lie before us if we are faithful.
– Pastor Bill