I have a confession to make: I have grown up a bit “Spirit-phobic.”
My church background and seminary training both taught me that the Holy Spirit no longer works the same way he did in the Book of Acts (the cessationist view). That if people were taught about the full empowerment of the Holy Spirit then pretty soon they would be barking in our church services and chewing on the carpet–of which I want no part.
Sooo, I’ve done a pretty poor job over the years of teaching about the third person in the Trinity. BUT, this weekend we’re beginning a new teaching series called Filled. Yes, filled with the Holy Spirit.
I would love to hear from you . . . What questions do you have about the Holy Spirit?
We often wonder why isn't God doing something about unwanted children, poverty, child abuse, etc.? The truth is God has chosen to work in this world through His followers. He has more of the right to ask us why aren't we doing something about..?
During a teaching time at Rivertree, it hit me. Jesus is wherever I'm at because, as a believer, His Holy Spirit lives within me. It seems like that is why we are called to be the "hands and feet".
I remind myself daily of this truth so that I view each moment as a missional moment.
I've always been confused about the gift of tongues, and there seems to be such a wide range of beliefs out there on what it is and what it's for (and whether or not it's still in operation today). I would appreciate it if you could try to help us understand it a little better.
I may be a bit like yo when it comes to the Holy Spirit. I may not even recognize the Holy Spirit at work in my life. ie. When my granddaughter was killed in a auto accident, I would hear the same song in my car whether it was a radio station or my cd. I play my cd's with the random feature so that the song order is never the same. Was this the Holy Spirit soothing me? Or at the memorial service at Rivertree, my grandson(one year old) kept wanting to go over to the cross on the right hand side of the stage. When I carried him there he giggled and laughed at the cross just as he did when my granddaughter and he played in my living room. Was that the Holy spirit at work again?
I would like to know if there is any way to be 100% sure if it is the spirit talking to us, not some random thought or impulse. Most of the time I feel the spirit talking to me it is to do something very uncomfortable. I fear that if I follow that impulse and its not the spirit, I'm just going to look plain silly. I realize there probably isn't an objective answer to this question.
Also, when the spirit speaks into our life is it a transient or more lasting opportunity to follow God. For example,if the spirit prompts me to talk to someone while walking out of the gym and I fail to do it, I walk away feeling guilty and as if I have missed the opportunity. Does the spirit present hit or miss oportunities or does the spirit speak to us gradually over days and weeks?
It used to be that i wasn't sure about the Holy Spirit's influence on me. But I can say that a few times I have felt the inner prompting to do something only to find out how it was life changing for a person or organization. I know that it is not me coming up with this stuff because I am generally an oblivious piece of work!!! I do know that since I have felt that the Holy Spirit has used me in some of these times, I continually pray to God for the Holy Spirit to use me again.
I came to RiverTree as an older adult and had not been baptized by immersion. When I was baptized, I felt something within me at the moment I was brought out of the water. I have felt that it was the Holy Spirit entering my body.
Since then, with the help of prayer, I have made decisions to do things, such as a mission trip, taking on additional responsibilities within a service organization and even speaking to someone that I came into contact and could have avoided. In each case, and many more, I have felt that I was moved to action by the Holy Spirit.
I'm not sure I'm right or did it just turn out good because I felt at the time it would be a Jesus thing to do.
Whenever it's a "Jesus-thing" to do, we're following the Holy Spirit.
YEAH! The more I read, study, and live out my Christian life, the more I have come to believe that the lack of teaching and understanding of the Holy Spirit's awesome function in a Christian's life, is the reason so many Christians are stagnet. I may get some negative feedback from this…but I think Christians rely too much on specific words in the Bible and not enough on the Holy Spirit.
I have found that in wisdom… I remember what the Lord said, "I only say what the Father tells me to say and do what the Father tells me to do." If in doubt, I don't do or say anything. That helps me be sure I don't mess up His Plan.
Thank you for answering my question (re: the gift of tongues) during your teaching time.
I'm excited to see how the Holy Spirit is going to work in RiverTree and beyond!
We are so excited to be a RiverTree because the leadership is willing to question its traditions and practices in light of scripture and what God is doing. Past examples include: Women in leadership, sexuality and consumerism. Here you go again, Holy Spirit. I have spent many years in charismatic churches and seen my share holy spirit gift misuse. However as my wife likes to say "the answer to mis-use is not dis-use but right-use." I recently we thinking about this regarding preaching. We often see preachers misuse the word of God. But I have never heard anyone say that because someone had a bad teaching that they were not going to preach any more. In fact sometimes you preach more in an effort to correct the error. So I think it should be with the other gifts of the Spirit. We need to supernatural power of God to overcome evil in the world. That’s what makes Christianity unique. We have a helper who is more powerful than us to win the lost and heal the wounded.
Good Job Rivertree!
Come Holy Spirit!
I can relate to Dan's comments. How do I discern if God is speaking to me? How can I know it's not Satan or my selfish ways. I have a strong tendancy to try and figure out things on my own. I ask God for help, but how do I know where He is leading.
I have to say that your teaching time this past Sunday was amazing. I have heard MANY variations of who the Holy Spirit is and His role in our life over the years. I attended an AG college in FL and was actually at a service where a missionary was literally coaching others in "speaking in tongues" His precise words were "There are syllables that the Spirit is leading you to say, just say them faster…" the whole chapel was roaring and all I could think was "this is SO wrong!!" My belief is that if you are to speak in tongues, it means that you are given the gift of a language that enables you to minister to others. yes, I believe in a prayer language, but not in the way that I have seen and heard from others.
I am wondering if you can maybe teach more on this topic…there is a lot of confusion to me on this topic and I need clarity! Thanks!!
In the past I was taught that when someone is speaking in tongues, there must be someone present with the gift of interpretation. Has anyone else been taught this?
I am so excited about this series! I've been a Christian my whole life but have always felt as if something was missing in my spiritual life. No matter how much I prayed and read the Bible, I just couldn't understand why I was feeling like there should be more? In the last few months I've become filled with the Holy Spirit and finally understand. Being filled has changed my life! I feel so blessed to have this deeper closeness with God. It's like an awesome "secret" that you just want to shout to the world! In time I pray everyone will be blessed with this knowledge of our power in God and the amazing things that He can accomplish through us all. Way to go Rivertree!!!
hey Cathy, keep reading.
My wife and I are relatively new to Rivertree. We had been in a church with a charismatic flavor for most of the past 33 years and it was great. A move to Jackson prompted us to also seek a new home church in our new community. After hearing a couple of months of sermons with either an overt or underlying message of the need to reach out to people in need we were content to choose Rivertree as our new home. It was one of those 'It seemed right to us and the Holy Spirit' decisions. Although we were happy with our choice, we figured that the official position on areas pertaining to the ways the Holy Spirit functions as concerning all of the gifts and tongues, or languages, was going to be a 'Don't ask Don't tell' policy. After hearing the sermons on "filled" we are encouraged that the leadership staff is open and willing to address the questions involved that will certainly arise after opening up this realm of Christianity from the pulpit. While the teachers did a very good job of laying some foundation and stirring up interest, I am probably like many others in the congregation who would like more information on how the gifts function. I have been praying in 'other tongues' for more than 30years as part of my normal prayer life and as my personality is more objective than subjective, or more thinking than feeling, I have searched out as much info concerning the topic of the ways of the Spirit as I could find over the years. While there are a number of good books to be recommended, a very good easy read is a book entitled 'The Holy Spirit Today' by Dick Iverson. Bible Temple Publishing isbn 0-914936-86-7. Although there are some elements of the bath water you will want to throw out, overall this baby is an excellent book. In a response to the question from Cathy about the need for an interpreter when tongues is in use. It is helpful to understand that the ability to pray in a different or unknown or unlearned language or 'tongue' was the norm by the writers of the New Testament it is an ability open and available to all believers today (Acts 2: especially vs 1-4,15-18,33,39.) The issue of an interpretation arises when a person is prompted by the Holy Spirit to use that prayer language(normally in a group setting) as part of a gift He wants to present to the church. 1st Corinth. 14 indicates an interpretation will then be required. An easy way to view this is to understand that every believer has the potential ability,
(every believer baptized in the Holy Spirit has the practicable ability) to speak at least two different languages; some they have naturally learned, and one they have not naturally learned, it is a spiritual language with multiple benefits which are laid out in the scriptures. In the same way that the Holy Spirit uses a person's natural language to deliver a gift to someone; such as a prophesy, a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, an impacting sermon etc. Also, the Holy Spirit can and does prompt someone to use their heavenly or spiritual language to deliver a gift to, most often, a group setting in which an interpretation will follow. So in one case the natural language is used to deliver a gift, and in the other case the spiritual language is used to deliver a gift. And in the same way that it does not make sense to say that we can or should only use our natural language to deliver a spoken spiritual gift, it also does not make sense to think that our spiritual language should only be used to deliver a gift (especially when the scriptures tell us to constantly pray in the spirit, and tells us what the results will be). There is so much more that can be said about this, however , this is the first time I have ever blogged and I am concerned about the appropriate length of what is typed.