14 June 2010
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
I've been away for a week at the Calvary Chapel Sr. Pastor's Conference (CC-SPC). It is always an encouraging time of feeding on the word and encouragement. I have been looking through my notes, and my head is still reeling! It's so nice as a pastor to just go and get pastored to by other pastors. Encouraging and humbling just the same.
The theme of this conference was "Continuing in Grace". The idea is that we (Calvary Chapel) as a church movement need to continue on in what has made the CC movement so effective; the leading of the Holy Spirit. I joyfully sat through roughly 9.25 hours of worship, prayer, teaching and encouragement each day. Yes, the Spirit was willing, but 9 hours of sitting each day did in fact cause the flesh to grow weak, and sore (in the area of the back-side…).
For the next few Devotionals, I'll be sharing some of the things that the Lord spoke to me while at the conference. To go to these conferences and be refreshed is so wonderful! But to not share that refilling of the Holy Spirit, and the inspiration and encouragement that comes from them with others is downright sinful!
I wanted today to just share the one theme that came to me, and was shared by Sean Hollen (my travel and bunk buddy on these trips, as well as Sr. Pastor at Harbor Calvary Chapel in Aberdeen, WA). There was one word that was shared on day one that stood out to us both. AS it was said, and then explained in context, this one word became the sounding board for the rest of the week for us. We both heard it, and immediately began writing on our note pads. It related to the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives and churches. And it has to do more with our faith relationship (thank you Jesus!) than with our understanding of it or 'knowledge'.
That one word: EXPECTANCY.
My life was changed when the Holy Spirit revealed to me while studying through the Gospel of John chapter 16. There in verse 7, Jesus tells us that it is far better that He go away so that the Holy Spirit can be not just with us, but IN US! He goes on to explain in detail later on in this same chapter. In the same manner that John 16 explains the importance of the Holy Spirit to us as individuals, Acts chapter does the same in explaining the importance of the Holy Spirit in the church.
There in Acts 1, Jesus is answering a question about the restoration of the Kingdom on earth. In dealing with the disciples He tells them that this will be accomplished by the Holy Spirit empowering the individuals. The church is thus created as Jesus ascends into heaven awaiting the empowerment of the Spirit to do so.
Since that day at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has been working in the lives of His church. As we read through the actions of the first century church, the church that we all try to model after so much, all the believers, and not just the disciples, saw the Holy Spirit work in the lives of individuals and in the church.
Protection, healing, revelation, restoration, wisdom, knowledge, tongues and interpretations of tongues and more, were regular occurrences. What is better yet, when the Holy Spirit worked, they were not surprised. They EXPECTED Him to work in their lives, and in the life of the church.
For believers, we can agree that we are saved by Grace through Faith, so that none might boast (and because there is no other way to get saved). But we need to also all agree that the expectation of the work of the Holy Spirit is also by faith.
I do not write this as a 'name it and claim it' kind of guy who preaches that if you just have enough faith that you can get God to do your bidding. As a matter of fact, I find the 'Word/Faith' doctrine one of the most vile heresies that the church faces today as it feeds on people's flesh and hope, leaving them empty and with a broken heart and broken faith when things do not happen according to their manner and time table. What I am saying is that the Holy Spirit is already working in our lives and in our churches, but because our faith is weak, we do not recognize it!
Our expectancy for the Holy Spirit to do miracles in our lives and in the lives of our churches has fallen away. We have been lied to by denominations that say these things do not happen in this dispensation; that the Gifts of the Spirit (read: work of the Holy Spirit in and through believers) died with the Apostles. Satan has jumped all over this, and loves the fact that we do not see the Holy Spirit work by faith. Even more so, he's doing dances because we no longer expect Him to.
Let us by faith, gain back our expectancy in the Holy Spirit. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit continues His work, but that our faith in Him and relationship with Him so that when He does work in and through us, that we recognize it and praise Him!
God, forgive us for not expecting you to work in our lives and in our churches. Forgive us for complacency in our relationship with you, and weakness of faith in you. Restore us unto the joy of our salvation, and set our minds on you.