I want to talk about where we at as a church, to give a wider context for what God is doing among us. We have been going on a journey deeper into the Holy Spirit of late and I think taking in some of the landscape will be useful.
The Holy spirit was sent to disciple us, to fulfil the role Jesus had but in a global context.
To define what discipleship is: it is a mutually consenting intentional relationship of honesty and transparency with someone, in this case the someone is the creator of the universe who just happens to have made us completely new in every conceivable way.
We are even part of a new family, we have new Dad.
We are spending our time and energy trying to work all this life out in relationship to God
We might have thought we were just following an outmoded believe system and attending a mild Sunday club….but all of a sudden this innocuous friendship turns into the most life changing experience ever devised.
So we are together in this crazy life of re-learning everything
- who we are
- what we can do
- where we are going
- how to value others and ourselves
All of us at some point has experienced God engaging with us, He asked us to follow him, we became disciples of him, learning by experience, We stepped into this relationship, that is why daily connection with God is a large part of the change. The disciples we read about in the bible had the chance to see Him daily, it is our task to seek him daily.
Have you noticed that when someone starts dating someone that there is normally a change to them, we see them less, they are swept up in the newness of it all, we can all see they are happier, more confident, relaxed, they have someone who is speaking good things into their lives, worth and value and love.
We need that time with God, We need to be intentional about time with him, its so much harder than a friendship you fall into because of interests or attraction. His disciples followed him around. They ate with him, but they had him there, so we need to be intentional about time with Him too.
As Jesus left to return to heaven he gave us our life’s work, the great commission. To go into all the world making disciples. He told us to wait for the Helper to fulfil this new role
- He is not only about making a believing people
- but a doing people
- and most importantly a being people
The journey of calling, learning, identity is a deeply complex and intriguing one.
At first a lot of what I learnt about myself came through what I did with God, I started out I think as the same person like I did before I met God, it was just ordinary me with an extra God bit (like carrying a rucksack)
Then learnt I had talents and gifts and a role, through this I found out I had desires and a passion for mission and adventure, a confidence, things became a part of me, I had changed from being disconnected to the new me, to finding a home in it all (so a change from wearing a rucksack to wearing clothes)
Though like with all things that we are great at they tend to define us, the freedom of being a wild missionary soon became a cage, or thing I had to do in order to keep the flow of my identity working.
It could not speak highly enough of me, and cannot of you.
Our greatest strengths can be our greatest weaknesses
- Gods plan is to lead us and use situations in our lives to bring issues to the surface that we have neatly hidden away to speak life into us, that nothing would rule us,
- not money
- not people
- not success
- not fear
- not work
- not ministry
- not creativity
- not serving
nothing except who he says we are
Jesus was filled with the power of the Hoy Spirit and went around undoing the works of the enemy and doing good.
Act 10 38
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
We are made in His image, now being redefined as little Christ’s.
The Spirit is dynamically equipping us for not only service but for freedom.
Not just the doing but also for being.
It takes a lot of power to detach us from all the many unhelpful or sinful loops we get ourselves into, before we met Christ we got everything we wanted from anywhere.
That is why we are being called deeper into the Holy Spirit, its deeper into a relationship with God, and therefore deeper into who he made us, now sometimes that conflicts with how we are now, so the new us is fighting to break out, being resisted by the old us.
Now we are learning it all from scratch.
Who got a gift the other day when we waited on the Holy Spirit? Let us know what you got?
This gift adds to you value as a person absolutely nothing.
More useful maybe, but not worth any more.
So we should not get our value from our usefulness.
There is a lie around that says the opposite that the gifted are worth more, that they have some sort of secret deeper level with God that means they are holier or more redeemed or more loved by God.
That if only I could be like them, I would be liked by God more, I would be looked up to by the people around me, I wouldn’t have to feel like a waste of space any more, I could be Mr Dynamic !! super disciple, I could be the answer….wait?
This is all Pride
We are not called into power, just into being.
I think at this point I should say…..don’t be taken in by gifting or gifted people.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Gifting is a manifestation of the one spirit for the common good. State of being manifest
Gifting is free, be impressed by character
Gifted does not mean “sorted”, it does not mean “better than”
Character is produced by people going through suffering and choosing to persevere, out of this comes character and hope
Romans 5 verses 3 and 4
but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
When gifting happens, when God manifests his spirit through someone we all go Wow!! (and this is good) then we attribute a load of other stuff onto the person who was just the vessel for a moment. We elevate them into being extra valued, extra loved by God, when we should just be in awe of an amazing God who uses ordinary people.
So don’t now despise people who have received and exercise a gift, but give thanks for what they have done, tell them well done for getting hold of some of God for us, thank you for serving the common good.
- The spirit leads us in the truth, (who we are, who God is)
- He comforts us (so we can know the love of God, so we can let go of the things he asks us to)
- Guides us, (he leads us forward in relationship to himself and others)
Greek version of thinking……separate..spirit and body are different
Jesus version..one body
Ephesians 4 : 2 to 4, 11 to 13 and 25.
1 Cor 12: 21 to 26
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are un-presentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
It is into this circle of connectedness that all our talents, gifts, weakness and sin join forces to produce our common character, our common health, our common relationship to God.
I was praying about what blockages there are to the Holy Spirit working in GU, in our joined up life together, I think we access the Holy Spirit in our time together, we see God move and have done every week, which is great.
But what I was praying about is how do we go deeper, what is stopping us, I think like it is true in my life there are many things, though today I felt the Holy Spirit was addressing Cynicism,
An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others:
A Greek philosophy of the 4th century B.C. advocating the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control and individual freedom, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath the dignity of man
Lets unpack – that a little.
So..what is really good, is being in control, making boundaries and being arrogant and proud towards God or anyone else?
I am not saying that self control is a bad thing, it is great when its a fruit of the Holy Spirit, this philosophy is a intentional statement of “I am in control here, you shall not pass!”
You don’t have to feel like this is all about you, that this is something that resonates with you deeply, I know it does within me a lot, so I think we need to recognise that if it is some of us, that it is in all of us, by our connectedness. So we shall pray.
We rebuke the spirit of cynicism, forgive us Lord for accepting this thinking, for keep you at bay, for being proud or arrogant towards you or others.
Faith is the opposite of cynicism, we are called to trust, to love the one who calls us, to not say we do not need you, to surrender to our loving God who has the very best in store for us.
We believe , help our un-belief, come and fill us Holy Spirit with Faith in your work in our lives. Amen.
So it freedom that the Holy Spirit brings, freedom from having everything around us tell us who we are, freedom just to be children of God.
So we have this awareness that the Holy Spirit makes incarnate in us the body of Christ, not only as individuals but corporately, that we are empowered to believe like he did, to do like he did and to simple be like he.
So in this powerful place of being free from all the power of the messages of the world we can help shape others in the same way, Jesus made disciples, we will make disciples, so we need to make them as we have been made.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”