"Walk in the way of love and eagerly desire the gifts of the spirit." (1 Corinthians 14:1)
In a few weeks, church, we will gather to pray “Come Holy Spirit” yet again, to be encouraged by worship and teaching, and to spend extended time in ministry. I am so looking forward to our time together, and I hope you are as well. I hope that you will make time to join the conference and attend a workshop because we must as followers of Jesus be continually filled and refilled by the goodness of his presence, for Christ’s sake.
As I am praying into this sermon series and our upcoming conference, I sense the Lord speaking that many of us will experience a spiritual renovation that is about pulling down facades and removing our thinness, shallowness, and all the places we’ve ‘patched over’ our weaknesses – a renovation that is also about exposing the deeper work that the Lord has done and is doing in us – that reminds us of his strength, and that calls us back to Him as our firm foundation.
Dallas Willard wrote in his wonderful book Renovation of the Heart, that followers of Jesus are sent “to establish beachheads of His person, word, and power in the midst of a failing and futile humanity.”
“To establish beachheads of his person, word, and power!"
By beachhead, we mean a launching place for the work and ministry of Jesus to begin. This is why we eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit. Because we have been sent by Christ into this world! To be his body – to be his hands and feet – until he returns!
And our façades, our thin or overly simplistic or selfish or just plain sleepy ways of being can’t muster up the strength for that. We, without the presence of the Spirit in us, are like threadbare carpeting, or thin wallboard. We don’t withstand the storms of life.
God calls us to so much more. Jesus comes to us and says, take heart. He says, how about we do this my way - with unforced rhythms of grace? He says, to gain your true life you’ve got to give it all up – your old ways, your old desires. He says, less of you and more of ME.
Jesus comes to us by the Spirit and helps us renovate down to the ‘solid bones’ of the people he made us to be. Yes, he asks us to take off some old ways – our selfishness, sin, and cynicism. Yes, he asks us to be last instead of first. Yes, he tells us to turn the other cheek.
And then he offers us the exchange, the renovation! Paul writes it to the church in Ephesus this way:
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” (Ephesians 1:11-12)
Please join me in doing a few things in preparation for our Holy Spirit conference:
Please pray and invite the Spirit to bring a spiritual renovation to you personally, that you would grow in knowing who you are and what you are living for.
Please join us and come with a sense of patient waiting and expectation for the Lord to move and for him to speak to us about his overall purposes in this season of our church.
Please pray for the church corporately, for a deep refreshing, re-envisioning, and re-empowering of God’s church.
Pray that God would continue to work in everything we do, and through everyone in our midst!