Largely, after that initial experience of coming to a saving faith in Jesus how you understand or engage with the Holy Spirit is largely down to the cultural expression of the church you were involved in. Whether it was a charismatic or conservative, free worship or structured, each have formed a way in which you feel helps you to express yourself in worshipping God or engaging with the Holy Spirit.
So, if we ask ourselves the question, If the way in which I worship or engage with the Holy Spirit is cultural or largely what I have grown up in, is there room for different expressions? If so, then is there room for you to experience or engage with the Holy Spirit outside of what you have potentially experienced?
I would say there is. No matter your experience, or denominational history.
John Wesley’s founder of Methodist movement talks about an encounter in his journal with the Holy Spirit. Attending a meeting he was not overly fussed about (haven’t we all been there), the reading was the letter to the Romans. The speaker spoke about the change God works in heart through faith in Christ in the believer. At a quarter to nine that evening John felt his heart ‘strangely warmed’ and that he did believe in what Jesus had done for him, his sins were forgiven and that he had been saved.
The Holy Spirit, the one who strangely warms our hearts is in the business of bring those into a saving knowledge of Jesus and glorifying Him. Right from the start of the creation the third person of the Trinity is portrayed as like a mother hen brooding over the new planet as it was formed.
In Hebrew, the name for the Holy Spirit is ‘Ruakh’ meaning breath, or wind. This breath of God, the warm breath of God that warms our hearts is also the one who broods over our lives. The one who gives us what we need to live the life of Jesus in our everyday context. The same Holy Spirit who looks to re-create in our hearts the image of Jesus with the power of the almighty creator.
It is a special thing to have the breath of God inhabit our physical bodies. We probably do not give this too much thought, but the creative power and resurrection power of the creator God lives inside each of us giving us the power to undertake and achieve all that God has set for us to do. He guides us, sustains us, encourages us, invigorates us, counsels us, comforts us all in the seasons of life and when we need it. How wise of God to not leave Jesus on earth and send His Spirit so that we may all be indwelt and not miss out on time with the heavenly Father.
Join us as we embark on a journey through looking at the Holy Spirit in our lives and where God is calling us too individually.
When it is our birthday, it’s a time to celebrate that time in which we came into the world. We sometime receive presents and gifts, and if you have children, it is a time to remind them how special their birthday is.
Pentecost is the birthday of the church. It is when we received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and He is special.
Pentecost comes from the Greek word πεντεχοστος meaning 50. Fifty days after the Passover, or in this case, fifty days after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
God pours out His Holy Spirit in a profound way on a room of believers waiting in prayer on the Lord in expectation of what Jesus said God would send.
Jesus had commanded his believers to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the world. In giving this order to His followers, Jesus repeated the warning, ‘stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 22:49.
Jesus is in essence saying ‘Don’t leave unprepared. Do not forget that the mission I have given you, you cannot complete in your own steam. God knows it, so wait for His power to come upon you’.
So, in the upper room that day the Holy Spirit came like the sound of a rushing wind. The disciples found themselves talking in languages they had never spoken. The Holy Spirit enabled them to communicate with the multicultural, multilingual, multitude in Jerusalem the message that Jesus had risen from the dead and enabled all mankind to come back into a relationship with the Father.
Good news however is not always received as good. Two of Jesus’ followers Peter and John found this out when they went to the Temple to tell of the good news of Jesus and helped a crippled man of forty years when they healed him in Jesus’ name. That did not go down well with the leading Pharisees who had only just a month ago had Jesus executed, and rumours of his rise from the dead echoed in Jerusalem’s stone walled streets.
Here two of his followers boldly, even brazenly confront those religious leaders who plotted Jesus’ death. Boldness not of their own, but empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
Captured in the letter of Acts of the Apostles is a line that says where Peter and John’s faith really lay.
29 And now Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond servants may speak Your word with all confidence’. Acts 4:29
Once again, the Holy Spirit filles the room and then them and they speak boldly.
Peter and the other disciples do not ask God for the situation to change. They do not ask for the Pharisees favour; they step up and ask for boldness to do that which they are most at risk of being ill-treated for.
What passion, what zeal, but what love for Jesus, that these men received from God the boldness to continue.
The Holy Spirit power is to enable us as believers to do what Jesus has called us to do. That same power is available to us today, but how often we shy away from starting a conversation, from saying truth into difficult circumstances.
If you have struggled with this, you are in good company. We all have. We do not have to stay there though. As believers in Jesus the Holy Spirit enables us to complete the plan for our lives and transform us into the likeness of Jesus.
Here is a simple prayer that you can pray today, or every morning to help focus you on where your help comes from.
God, I confess that I sometimes hold back from sharing Jesus with others. I am sorry. I make the prayer of the early believers my own.
Enable me to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’