Faith Meets World

Reflections on faith in a messed-up but beautiful world

Category: Holy Spirit

Everything that breathes

Everything that breathes, breathes by air and cannot live without air; similarly all reasonable free creatures live by the Holy Spirit, as though by air, and cannot live without Him. “Every soul is quickened by the Holy Spirit.” Recognise that the Holy Spirit stands in the same relation to your soul as air stands in relation to your body.

St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

Vast fullness

The mark of a life governed by the Holy Spirit is that such a life is continually and ever more and more occupied with Christ, that Christ is becoming greater and greater, more wonderful as time goes on. The effect of the Holy Spirit’s work in us is to bring us to the shore of a mighty ocean which reaches far, far beyond our range, and concerning which we feel: oh, the depths, the fullnesses, of the riches of Christ! If we live as long as ever man lived, we shall still be only on the fringe of this vast fullness that Christ is.

— T. Austin Sparks, from A Witness and a Testimony magazine, Sep-Oct 1968, Vol 46-5

Power, but not as we know it

SpiritThis coming Sunday is an important day on the Christian calendar: it’s the day when we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

You can read about it in Acts 2, but let me give you the gist. In the greatest reversal of all time, Jesus, after being put to an ignominious death by lynch mob, is raised to life on the third day. He spends forty days appearing to his disciples and various others, before finally ascending to the right hand of the Father. But before his ascension, he instructs his disciples to wait in Jerusalem, where he promises to send the Holy Spirit to them.

Ten days later, the disciples are all gathered in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit is poured out on them as promised. It’s an amazing and thoroughly supernatural phenomenon, attested by tongues of fire and the disciples’ sudden ability to speak in other languages. Peter is emboldened to address the many curious onlookers who have converged to witness this strange event, and around three thousand people are added to the church that day. (I’d say that’s some pretty impressive church growth!)

Now that I’ve set the scene of what the Day of Pentecost is all about, I can get to the main thrust of what I want to say.

Earlier today, one UK Christian leader (it really doesn’t matter who) tweeted the following:

Pentecost remains the power for the church. We need strategy, leadership training, excellence and creativity, but more than anything his power.

Before I go on, let me make it completely clear that my purpose in this post is not to criticise or decry this leader or his tweet. Having said that, however, his words did give me food for thought.

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