Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Okay, at the beginning of yesterday's sermon, the pastor showed a PowerPoint slide of a yogurt foil label.

I took that visual in a different direction than I think the pastor intended.

Stirrers, skimmers, diggers...We have all of these types in the Christian body.


Those who stir, those who skim, and those who dig.  The beauty is that each of us shows all of these tendencies at some point or another.

When you hear "stir" - what do you think of?  Is it the negative "stir up bottom muck?"

Or do you think positive?

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, (Hebrews 10:24 ESV)

As believers, do we stir up one another to look more like Christ?  How does this work?  For me, getting into the fringes of something, then finding another person, taking that "something" and running with it...with that other person, pulling more and more people into this "something."

Or simply encouraging another into a deeper walk.



I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, (1 Peter 1:13)

what was Peter "stirring?"  The list begins... faith, virtue, knowledge.

I see (rightly or wrongly) a lot of anti-intellectualism in a lot of people.  "Knowledge" is third on Peter's list and knowledge is what leads to self-control,  steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, love.

They're in this order for a reason, and each acts a foundation for the next.

How do we stir our spiritual siblings to greater faith, virtue, knowledge?



Merriam-Websters has one definition:

to look over or read (something) quickly especially to find the main ideas

Yeah, okay.  That works.   Why would a Christian "skim?"

We may skim a chapter of Scripture, then settle on the "main idea" and go for a deeper study of that idea that the Holy Spirit is laying on our heart and mind.

We may skim the church bulletin and rest our eyes on something that intrigues us.

We may skim community groups until we find one that we really click with.

Somebody may ask a question and we skim material looking for information.

These can show good fruit.  I know a little bit about a lot of different things.  Enough so that if somebody asks me a question, I can point them to good resources.  A lot of these things I have not dug into deeply.

I pass over a lot of ministry opportunities that are not in my range of interest...

Waiting to find the right place is good.

but...you if you stay in that "skim" place, or if ALL of your places are skim place, that shows a shallowness that does not show good fruit.

You have to


I can skim Philippians, then land on "I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,"

What does the Bible say about persecution?  Start digging...

I can skim the church bulletin, then land on one opportunity that screams at me...start digging.

But we don't exist in a vacuum.  Help others dig!

So, in some things, I'm a skimmer, others places a digger.  In still other places, I can stir up others to do their own skimming and digging.

And...that's where I took that PowerPoint slide...


Reason #3 - I'm not going back

We are not as bad as could possibly be...but all possible parts of us are touched with bad.

When Adam fell, sin entered the world. As a result, we are all sinners. "Total depravity" doesn't mean that we are as wicked as we can possibly be. It does mean that every single part of our being has been tainted by sin. Our "will" (ability to make decisions) has been so tainted that not a single one of will willingly, of our own accord, turn and follow Christ. Because of our sin nature, no one seeks God...no not one. We have all gone astray. When left to our own devices, we will...we MUST...act according to our nature...and the nature that we are born with is a sinful one. Without the Holy Spirit's effectual call, we will continue the path of destruction, unable to choose any other path.


"A Christian is one who make it easier for other people to believe in God."

I believe that a Christian is a person who has believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation and eternal life.

Is "making it easier for other people to believe" part of the mission?  In a way, yes.  But in a big way, no.

It's my job to preach the gospel.  It's the job of the Holy Spirit to regenerate the heart and draw people to the Father.  So, in a way, the preaching of the gospel IS helping others to believe.

But I suspect what is meant by "make it easier for other people to believe" is really

"make the gospel so non-threatening to the lifestyle of sinners that it becomes meaningless to save, but people can go on believing that they're okay because nobody ever made it clear that they weren't."

There is a cost to believing, and we are to count the cost.  If we make the gospel "easy," when life isn't, faith is shallow.



Thoughts on "Forgotten God" (Francis Chan), Chapter 2 - "What Are You Afraid Of?"

There are a lot of thoughts that are rather meaningful right now.

What AM I afraid of?

  • rejection
  • loneliness
  • deeper things that I don't need to go into here.

What I know is that a life of following Christ requires me to relinquish my fears.  Pursue truth and...be prepared to be wrong.

Chan asks, What if God doesn't "come through?"  Do we ask for less, believe less, trust less - because we're "covering" for God, just in case He doesn't come through if we ask for something bigger?

Do I ask for a stone, because I don't trust Him to provide bread?

Do I ask, trusting, for what Christ promised that the Father would deliver - the gift of the Holy Spirit?  What would that gift look like, and am I willing to have it look like THAT? (whatever "that" might look like?)

And am I willing to take a closer look at the difference between what God has promised vs. what I want to be true?


Giving up control?  Trusting the Holy Spirit to mold me, stripping away selfishness, fear, distrust?

Do I want this?

How am I willing to respond (change) if my beliefs about the Holy Spirit change?  Do I desire truth over acceptance?

How do I (not so much "if I") allow the perceptions of others to affect my relationship with Christ?  How do I allow them to affect how I view the Holy Spirit?


Reading Francis Chan's "Forgotten God" - in the first chapter he writes that "another" denotes not a "different" counselor, but rather another of the same kind (p.34).

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

ἄλλος (allos) is simply "another;other) and is used 160 times.  I'm not sure that Chan is quite right...but when Jesus was born, His parents returned to their home country in an "allos" route.  Another (different) route.

From John 16:

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

I'm not sure that one can always take something said specifically to the apostles, and apply it universally, but the point that Chan makes remains:

Jesus had to leave so that the Spirit could come.

Chan says that having the Spirit with us - within us - is better than having Jesus Christ standing next to us.

The Spirit will remind us of what Jesus told His followers.

To them, the Spirit reminded them of the time they spent with Christ; as they penned the New Testament, they wrote as ones who had the Spirit within them, reminding them of what Jesus said and did.

To us...those Scriptures come to mind as we have need of them.

this day...

...as the storms of life loom on the horizon - maybe the storm will miss me this time, maybe it will sweep over me head on.  Or maybe the last few months have simply been the peaceful eye of the storm.

Either way, Jesus said,

"You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"


"Speaking in tongues" is not only a Christian  phenomenon.  Regardless of whether or not the "gift" is for today, one still cannot point at speaking in tongues as "proof" that they are baptized in the Holy Spirit.


History of the Church 1:295-297, November 1832: "About the 8th of November I received a visit from Elders Joseph Young, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball of Mendon, Monroe county, New York. They spent four or five days at Kirtland, during which we had many interesting moments. At one of our interviews, Brother Brigham Young and John P. Greene spoke in tongues, which was the first time I had heard this gift among the brethren; others also spoke, and I [Joseph Smith] received the gift myself."

While Mormons share our Scriptures (while translating and interpreting them differently) and are (in their own sense) followers of Christ (although not a Christ who is in full equality and deity with the Father), are not "saved", in the way we are.

The Oracle at Delphi needed interpreters to pass along her "wisdom".  There is speculation as to whether or not the wisdom was "tongues" or "riddles" that needed interpreting.  There does also seem to be some indication that the trance of the Oracle was due to some intoxicating substances that seeped out of the lower regions of the cave that she prophesied from.

This is not a wonderful example, but it does indicate that "ecstatic speech" was an indicator of the prophetic in religions other than Christianity - and before Christ walked on earth.


in 1956 Carlyle May wrote an article in "American Anthropologist", "A Survey of Glossolalia and Related Phenomena in Non-Christian Religion."  I cannot get to the entire article, but the first page is here.

"Ecstatic vocalization in the form of incoherent sounds and foreign words has long been on interest to students of religion.  (...)This paper will show that glossolalia and similar speech-phenomena occur in various forms during shamanistic rites of the New and especially of the Old World. (...)

Herodotus (Lombard 1910:90) speaks of an inspired priest in Greece who suddenly spoke in a barbarian language, and Virgil in the Aeneid (1953: vi. 44-49, 97-99) tells of a Cumaean sibyl who spoke strangely while possessed.  The Old Testament (Lombard 1910:89) alludes to a form of ecstatic behavior similar to glossolalia.   Guillaume (1938:144-45) states that in 853 B.C. four hundren prophets raved in ecstasy before the gate of Samaria, and in ancient Egypt (Erman 1894:352-55) necromancers uttered formulas, believed to be revelations from the gods, made up of foreign words and senseless noises.  The more mysterious and incomprehensible these formulas were, the greater their power was thought to be.


What about xenoglossia?

  • Swarnlatta Mishra:[1] A girl in India who lived entirely among Hindi-speaking people but was able to sing songs in Bengali, as identified by Professor P. Pal of Itachuna College in West Bengal, who studied the case after Professor Stevenson and transcribed some of the songs.
  • Uttara Huddar:[2] Uttara was a woman in India who normally spoke Marathi but, after participating in a meditation during a hospitalization, began speaking in Bengali, much to the bewilderment of her parents.
  • Two hypnotic regression cases: Professor Stevenson is quite skeptical of most hypnotic regression work but he did have two cases that included responsive xenoglossy; that is, hypnotic subjects who could converse with people speaking the foreign language, instead of merely being able to recite foreign words. One is that of Jensen[3], an American woman who, while under hypnosis conducted by her physician husband, described being a Swedish peasant farmer and was able to converse in Swedish. The other is Gretchen[4], an American woman who was hypnotized by her Methodist minister husband and began spontaneously speaking in German. She described the life of a teenaged girl in Germany, and Professor Stevenson, who is able to speak German, was able to converse with her. (from wiki...hopefully the links to the citations are there, the link to the page is here.


It seems clear that (whatever "tongues" is) and whether or not "tongues" is for today, that the phonomena is not limited to Christianity, or even to religion.

In "testing the spirits", we need to look at all the evidence and not blindly follow.  It may very well be real (in some cases and in some cases not), but we need to look realistically.

What I read in Genesis 1 and 2 is that God created male and female differently and He treats them differently and (where instruction is given to specifically men or specifically women) He many times gives them different instruction.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil is not mentioned in Genesis 1. In Genesis 2 we are told that Adam is given instruction independently of Eve - before she is even created. This infers that Eve was dependent on Adam for instruction. This was before the fall. The first recorded instance of a woman learning from her husband is from before the fall.

Also before the fall - God proclaimed: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Eve was created differently - out of man. Man and woman are created to be two parts of the whole.

In Ephesians, Paul (inspired by the Holy Spirit) writes,

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

This reference to before the fall comes at the end of one of the longest passages in Scripture instructing (specifically) husbands and wives.

In that last sentence that I quoted, the word for "respect" is φόβος - phobeō. From which we get the word "phobia" - to fear. Strong's also gives the definition: c) to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience

Does the context of the word indicate that wives are to live in "fear" of their husbands, or that they should treat them with deference?

Especially give that a related word, φόβος - phobos is used in the same chapter of Ephesians.

...submitting to one another out of reverence (φόβος ) for Christ....

The "mutual submission" clause. We need to decide whether this statement rules out what follows, or whether this statement is explained by what follows. I believe that the statement is the instruction, what follows is the application.

We see that a general instruction of "submit to one another" is here, but then there are the specific instructions to husbands and wives that are different. Husbands and wives are instructed differently.


...it refers to Christ and the church ...