Rhythms, Life and Why You Have No Idea Whats Going On Pt 1

God is Glorious

It’s Sunday morning, the coffee is flowing through my veins and our Worship team is blowing up some new bluegrass song that has everyone dancing around like it’s a straight ho down.  God is glorious.

That could be the end of this post. 

God is glorious, He is faithful and He is alive.  We can see it in everything, it’s written on our hearts, sung in our music and lived through our lives.  You may have jacked things up, rolling deep in some sin issue, but the fact remains God is glorious.  He makes all things good and even through our sin He isn’t stopped.  It’s the Good News, Jesus’ blood is sufficient. Our sins have been paid for at a high cost.  We sing about it on Sunday’s and we talk about it in small groups.  We press it out daily in our lives (hopefully) and we…. There is something missing.

Rhythms

Let me draw out a picture of how our Youth is run at the Bridge.  We meet weekly for a missional group.  It’s just that, a mission.  Currently, we are working through the Multiply curriculum, because we believe that middle school and high school teens are more than capable of understanding The Great Commission.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20)

So if we know that our teens can cognitively understand The Great Commission and they know the Good News, why are teens falling away from the Church?  Why is it so difficult to keep them engaged, wanting and yearning for the Creator of all?   It’s simple really, the church (notice the small c) becomes irrelevant and frankly boring to teens.  It’s the truth, eventually the programs, events and games fall short.  This shouldn’t surprise us,  all of these things are temporal.  So the question is how do we keep students involved with ministry?

You make the student ministry theirs.  You make their relationship with Jesus theirs.  It seems to me that Jesus doesn’t become a rhythm in the youths daily lives.  The Gospel doesn’t permeate their hearts and their minds and their souls.  This is true with students and it’s probably more true than we would like to admit in our congregations.  Fostering a desire or a passion is one thing.  Faking it for a social medium or to please something is another.

Five Ways to Promote Adding New Rhythms

  1. Focus on mission.  Mission drives community and action to teaching.  Your community should know who you are.
  2. Stop Talking.  Teach and develop leaders in your ministry.  It’s great that you can do what you do, but your going to die.  Don’t let the church die because you got smoked by a bus on your way to Starbucks.  We all have amazing God given gifts, foster them and develop future leaders.  This drives right back to Focus on Mission. Encourage and push the envelop on pressing the Gospel out in your community.
  3. Get life on life.  Yeah, yeah I now this is Christianeze for meeting up with someone every week.  Blah blah blah.  Get life on life, that means that you fall deeply in love with the people you shepherd.  If you can’t spread that much love, Train leaders.  You can’t handle everyone and fall in love with them or their families.  (Note: Jesus love, this love needs to have boundaries.)
  4. Get Dynamic and Organic.  If you show up too every meeting with a certain amount of questions and a stricted time schedule you automatically set up barriers and agendas.  You limit communication and make it really difficult to be real.
  5. Teach with the intention of mission.  If you’re teaching the Gospel it should be driving you to mission.  You’re community, your life.  If you’re teaching without the intention of mission you aren’t rolling out point 1 – 3.  You aren’t pressing towards The Great Commission and you aren’t following what Jesus commanded us to do.  

 

It’s getting long, there is a lot of information here… get at it.  Press the mission, press Jesus and build people up through love.

Total Depravity and Fellowship

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize just how relient we are on Christ.  It’s so apparent when something doesn’t go right, or life gets stressed beyond where we are comfortable.   This is where we find ourselves in complete depravity, needing everything from the Creator. If we look deeply in the words that Paul wrote to the Corinthians we see that he found great joy in feeling completely in need.

This week in the Basic Series, we talked about fellowship which ultimately comes down to the interpersonal relationship that we have with Jesus.  It seems counterintuitive to think that an ‘internal’ relationship is directly responsible for our external ‘fellowship’, but through the scriptures I think that we can see how it directly plays out.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for  my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Fellowship is about relationship, and relationships are built around trust.  Trust is built off of mutual vulnerability, allowing others to see and feel our depravity.  It’s incredibly scary and it causes us to pull back.  But God.  His power is made perfect in our weakness, as we see above.  He wants us to recognize that it’s not in the fellowship that we as a group are made strong, it’s in Him.  See the relationship with Jesus works different than the relationship or fellowship that you have with your friends or even with the Church.  God himself came down in human form, vulnerable to sin and capable of death.  His resurrection defeated death and sin, so we can rest him him.  There doesn’t have to be mutual vulnerability because like the song, His love never fails.  Fellowship will fail, friendship will fail, but God…. our love fails,

“For  God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not  perish but have eternal life.    For  God did not send his Son into the world  to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because  God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that  God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love,  not that we have loved God  but that he loved us and sent his Son to be  the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and  his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:8-13)

Paul can, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that  the power of Christ may rest upon me.” because he knew that God’s grace and sovereignty never fails.  His love never fails.  If we continue to breakdown how these passages lace back into our vertical relationship with Christ we see that God is love, and

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For  we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but  when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For  now we see in a mirror dimly, but  then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as  I have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)

The greatest gift from God is love.  The power of Christ is love.  Without the power of the Holy Spirit we cannot love even one person.  We can’t love ourselves, we can’t love our kids, we can’t love our friends, we cannot love.  You can’t have fellowship, and you definitely can’t have true communion without the power of the Holy Spirit.

The passage in James continues to reenforce this point.

Count it all joy, my brothers,  when you meet trials  of various kinds, for you know that  the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be  perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Count it all joy, my brothers (community), when you meet trials of various kinds (depravity), for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (love).  And let steadfastness (love) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  Depravity looks ugly and it is.  We are all capable of murder, but it’s God’s grace and continuing sanctification working through us that provides us with a glimpse of what it’s like to love.  Through that insight we can start and work towards loving each other in community.  True fellowship.  It’s through his gospel that we find love, the words of his scripture and a interpretation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

So my challenge today is that we focus on our interpersonal relationship with Jesus.  We work towards a greater communion with Him so that we can have a greater communion with His bride.

Holy Spirit Thoughts and Reflections Pt. 1

After teaching out Francis Chan’s BASIC series on the Holy Spirit last night I’ve been in some deep prayer and thought about who the Holy Spirit is and how God uses the Spirit in us.  Lately, I’ve been exploring Shai Linne‘s Lyrical Theology Pt. 1 and he has some deep insight into the theological aspects of the Holy Spirit.

Take a listen here:

Lyrics:

Chorus

You gave us breath, you gave us life
Opened our eyes to see the Christ
Holy Spirit we worship You
Spirit of God we worship You

Now you live inside of us
You help us serve the God we trust
Holy Spirit we worship You
Without You we can do nothing at all

Verse 1

(tim)
Spirit of God, in ourselves we’re lifeless
So we ask You now for Your powerful help to write this
God the Spirit, we worship Thee
You’ve been one with the God the Father and God the Son for All Eternity!
One in Your Substance, One in Your Honor
Spirit–You are the love between the Son and the Father!
Spirit –You’re the Creator whom we are praisin’
Plus You’re God’s personal agent of re-creation!

(shai)
We see You at creation hovering over the face of the waters
You were faithful to order the waves and their borders
We spread death- the type to contaminate earth’s inhabitants
But You’re the breath of life that animates the inanimate
You filled Your servants with skill, knowledge and intelligence
To build the tabernacle where God and man could fellowship
Where the undeserving elect could serve You with reverence
Behind the curtain- Your essence, a picture of worship in heaven

(tim)
You revealed in Your Word- it says in, Ezekiel 37
Breath of God–You’re the Worker of Resurrection!
To raise from the grave the depraved and enslaved
A new race You’ll create through Christ, the perfect Servant-Shepherd

(shai)
Speaking of Christ, we can see Him in shadows and types
The prophets, kings and judges You empowered to battle and fight
You even had them write it down- the ultimate story
The sufferings of the Christ and the subsequent glories

Chorus

Verse 2

(tim)
Holy Spirit, for Your deeds we are stunned, in awe
Like how in the virgin’s womb You conceived the Son of God
Then when He was baptized within the Sea
On Messiah You descended to empower His entire ministry
Empowered His miracles He displayed that amazed men
Empowered Him to overcome temptations of Satan
To be the Firstborn from the dead of God’s New Creation of saints
From the grave You have raised Him- so You’ll raise them
Jesus promised You’d send His thoughts
You’re the anointing oil flowing from the King’s head at Pentecost
Down to His body, His kingdom You spread across
Making effectual the message of the precious cross!

(shai)
The book of Acts is not about the acts of the Apostles
But the acts of the Holy Spirit impacting with the gospel
Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria to Africa
Empowered your servants like Stephen when they were massacred
Ananias and Sapphira lied to You
So you put them both to death to show the church what a Holy God can do
You set apart Paul and Barnabas for the work of missions
You worked in the church’s division over circumcision
You take Christ’s objective cross work and vindication
And then apply it to the elect through regeneration
You saved us from the lake of fire, make us like our great Messiah
Graciously You take us higher- praise to You, our Sanctifier

(Chorus)

Verse 3

(tim)
You’re the Author of Scripture and its illuminator
Our God-given picture to see the Ruling Savior
Your thoughts are in-scripted on our hearts with conviction
And You’re the Father’s provision who renews our Nature

(shai)
With our nature renewed, now by grace we pursue
Conformity to the Savior through the faith that’s from You
The fruit You produce is proof that Your people are real
Directing our thoughts to Jesus when our evil’s revealed

(tim)
You reveal our evil and the mercy of the cross
And You seal Your people and ensure that none are lost
Spirit of Adoption, You disperse His love abroad
Within our hearts and spirits so we’re sure we’re sons of God!

(shai)
And with that blessed assurance, we’re set for the warring
We’re kept by Your warnings and we’re prepped for endurance
You provide gifts- even miracles assuredly
But fruit is a better gauge of spiritual maturity

(tim)
You unite us to Jesus so we can die to lust
Spirit of Christ- You’re the presence of Christ in us!
(You) already began His resurrection life inside of us,
so when He returns, by Your might we’ll rise from dust

(shai)
In Revelation, we see Your presence before the throne
Forever You will help us to reverence the Lord alone
You’re the source of all life and yet Your story’s precise
Amazingly, You do it all for the glory of Christ!

Chorus

 

Without going through and unpacking this bit of lyrical genius I think looking right back into scripture will provide some deeper insight into what the Bible presents as the Holy Spirit.

Warning: The rest of this writing is scripture based.  If you are looking for some level of what I think or what a certain denomination presents, you aren’t going to find it here.  We believe that the scripture is infallible and sufficient for our understanding.  What you are about to read may press your current beliefs or how you were raised.  Let the Holy Spirit guide your heart through the scriptures that are being presented and it is my prayer that my writing is driven by the Holy Spirit and that in turn you will find wisdom and understanding in my words.

Selective OT Old Testament Scriptures on the Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit as an agent in Creation:

Genesis 1:2 The earth was bwithout form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

As we see in Genesis 1:2 God presents the Holy Spirit right after he creates the Heavens and Earth.  We can derive several things from this passage.  First, God didn’t create the Holy Spirit.  He created the heavens and the earth and the Holy Spirit was with God and is God.  The idea of the Trinity is one of the few things in the Christian faith that we have to take on faith, because it can’t be explained by our limited knowledge.  I will eventually write on the Trinity but at this time we know that the Holy Spirit existed with God.  Second, the Spirit is an entity that comes down to the Earth.  It’s important to acknowledge this simply because the we see throughout the Bible the the Spirit falls on people and indwells in them.

 

Psalm 33:6 By pthe word of the Lord the heavens were made,  and by qthe breath of his mouth all rtheir host.

Ezekiel 37:1–10 The Valley of Dry Bones 37 dThe hand of the Lord was upon me, and ehe brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley;1 it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, f“Son of man, gcan these bones live?” And hI answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, i“Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, jO dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause kbreath2 to enter you, and you shall live. lAnd I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and lcover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, mand you shall know that I am the Lord.”  So I prophesied nas I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, oa rattling,3 and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and …

1 Samuel 10:9–13 When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to vGibeah,4 behold, a group of prophets met him, oand the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? wIs Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man of the place answered, x“And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, w“Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.

 

The Holy Spirit source of inspiration and power:

Ezekiel 11:14–21 Israel’s New Heart and Spirit 14 And the word of the Lord came to me: 15 q“Son of man, your brothers, even your brothers, your kinsmen,2 the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, r‘Go far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.’ 16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet sI have been a sanctuary to them for a while3 in the countries where they have gone.’ 17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: tI will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, tand I will give you the land of Israel.’ 18 And when they come there, uthey will remove from it all its vdetestable things and all its abominations. 19 wAnd I will give them one heart, and xa new spirit I will put within them. yI will remove the heart of stone from their flesh zand give …

Ezekiel 36:22–32 I Will Put My Spirit Within You 22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: yIt is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, wwhich you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 zAnd I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. aAnd the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 bI will take you cfrom the nations and gather you from all the countries and dbring you into your own land. 25 eI will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from fall your uncleannesses, and gfrom all your idols hI will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you ia new heart, and ia new spirit I will put within you. iAnd I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 jAnd I will put my Spirit …

Obviously, we are going to go very deep with this study.  My prayer is that you will continue to read and reflect on the passages above and contemplate not only the theological underpinnings of this study, but it’s practical application in your life.

 

Join me in some converstation about what we read here.  You can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter and we can continue to press into the gospel.

Also check out this Podcast called ‘The Helper’ which happen to spring up this morning.  God is good. Justin Buzzard does a wonderful job preaching out some practical aspects of the Holy Spirit.