Having church without the active leading of the Spirit is like sitting on the tarmac in a full 747 with no fuel. A plane full of people won’t go anywhere without fuel. Neither will a church without the supernatural working of the Spirit.
When the fruit of the Spirit isn’t present in abundance, somebody’s quenching the Spirit. (Love, joy, peace, patience . . .) There’s no such thing as “church as usual” when the Holy Spirit is free to work.
Preachers talk to you, but the Holy Spirit wants to freely flow from inside you. (See John 7:38.) The biblical purpose of preaching is not endless proclamation to the same passive people but radical and disruptive transformation. Pentecost was an abrupt and disruptive interruption of the norm, turning bankrupt believers into world changers. Do it again, Lord! The events of Pentecost show that the Holy Spirit doesn’t follow a program!
Isn’t it odd that although Pentecost was not liturgical, programmed or controlled; church services commemorating it are? Pentecost as a religious service is benign; but Pentecost as present reality is revolutionary! To celebrate Pentecost without God’s surging power is like swiping a phone that doesn’t have a battery.
What is the “cost” of a new Pentecost? It is stepping away from programs and human-control, into the spontaneity of the Spirit! Pentecost is Christ’s power working in and through all His people, not programs & preaching for the passive. (See Acts 2.)
The devoted religious leaders of the time rejected Jesus in the flesh. Today we must be careful not to reject Him in the Spirit! The Pharisees were Bible-believers; the Sadducees were Bible-repudiators. Both saw a living Jesus as a threat and wanted Him dead.
When church established a clergyopoly it confined “ordinary” Christians to the role of spectators. Too many Christians today feel like they are nothing but spiritual spectators; passively sitting through a church service, listening to Christian music and radio, watching Christian TV, attending a conference or concert.
Christianity is about direct revelation from God and living demonstrations of Christ more than about religion, regulations, and ritual! Christians are called “the body of Christ,” not “the organization of Christ.” There’s no place for vanity in Christianity. Celebrate Jesus, not a preacher or a program or a particular organization.
Being Bible-taught without the Spirit, can dry up in textualism. Being Spirit-taught without the Bible, can blow up in deception. Hearing Christ explained is nice, but it can’t compare to Christ continually experienced in everyday life.
Listen to hope; not to discouragement. Heartily hunt for hope; determinedly dodge discouragement! If you aren’t finding the inner peace you’re looking for, get close to Jesus.
I find hope in a relationship with the risen Jesus. It is the most absorbing, addicting, and amazing thing on earth! (Christ loves us so much that He gives us the freedom to not love Him back.)
Church attendance without heart and lifestyle transformation is religion without results. Perhaps the question, “What do you do when not in church?” is more important than the question, “Do you go to church?”
The Bible never says, “You in church, the hope of glory.” It says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Perhaps when Jesus said, “Occupy till I come,” He didn’t mean to occupy a church seat every Sunday.”
The gifts of the Spirit can’t work through the body of Christ if one man does all the talking. We need to stop ignoring this Bible verse: “Now to each one (not just to 1 pastor) the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
I can’t find anything in the Bible that gives pastors a monopoly on preaching. Can you? I think early Christian preaching was more facilitation than lecture. (See 1 Corinthians 14:26) Jesus opened up “a new and living way” so we can all “draw near to God” (not just hear a talk about Him).
If after Pentecost Sunday we have no more power from God & passion for God than we did before, we somehow missed the point! “Ekklesia” is to meet with and interact with the living Jesus, together with others, letting Him directly lead the gathering. Let’s go back to ekklesia!