Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

My Angry Friend

(How do I say this without sounding crazy. I don’t think that’s possible. I’m okay with that.)

I have this friend named Angry Tracie. She first showed up when I was 16 and pregnant; until recently, I didn’t realize how much a part of my life she’d become.

Angry Tracie has been my trusted companion when I’m hurting, and I’ve especially enjoyed rehashing old hurts with her. She seemed to be the only person who listened to me and cared about my feelings. Her presence comforted me. Angry Tracie became my closest friend.

I got saved 13 years ago. But I’ve still trusted her more than anyone. Through lots of personal struggles, when I felt like God wasn’t listening, didn’t like me and wasn’t concerned about my broken heart, Angry Tracie was there to console me. (That’s a hard thing to confess for a Christ-follower.)

I didn’t recognize Angry Tracie’s influence, more than 20 years of it. But I do now. Knowing about her is changing the way I think and behave and live. Jesus is gently working us through it. Man. I love Him for that.

Do you have a “friend” who might be keeping you from really living, and really loving?

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Just Plain Greedy

What does it mean for the Holy Spirit to move in church?

In my last post I briefly mentioned the concept as far as spiritual maturity is concerned:

On the other hand, some believe the church is a place to be fed. The more spiritually mature you are, the greater your expectations of the church. Worship should be lengthy, the Holy Spirit should move tangibly, and the pastor should “go deep.” As long as I’m able to come and get all my needs met, I’m satisfied. But if the church doesn’t feed me “meat,” I’m out!

I’m not saying the Holy Spirit doesn’t have a place in the church. (That would be stupid.) But I do think some views on the subject are narrow.

  • Has the Holy Spirit only moved when “worship” goes on for an hour or two? (By “worship,” I mean the musical portion of the service.)
  • Has the Holy Spirit only moved when people feel goosebumps, or they cry or laugh, or the hair is raised on their necks?
  • Has the Holy Spirit only moved when people are speaking in tongues and/or prophesying over each other?
  • Has the Holy Spirit only moved when people pass out or fall to the floor?

If these things are true, then does it mean the Holy Spirit hasn’t moved if worship is only 20 minutes? If nobody “feels” him, has he moved? Chip Judd, a local pastor here in the Carolinas, said it’s great for people to pass out under the power of the Holy Spirit; but what happens when they get up?

I’m not saying the Holy Spirit doesn’t move through worship, or goosebumps, or tongues, or whatever. I’m saying those things don’t mark the spiritually mature church.

The Holy Spirit brings movement. He brings fresh perspective, and conviction, and empowerment. He brings change. He brings glory to the Father and the Son. He brings love (first), along with joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These things mark a spiritually mature church where the Holy Spirit is moving.

As opposed to babbling, goosebump-laden saints crowding the altar, snatching up all the mannah and leaving none for those who’ve yet to taste his goodness.

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The “Mustard Seed” Thing

I’ve been chewing on this one for a few days. Thought I’d share.

A couple weeks ago my family was fasting, primarily to help our unbelief. On the last day of the fast I was praying and asked God to increase my faith. Right away the scripture came to mind when the apostles asked Jesus the same thing–so I looked it up.

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Luke 17:5-6)

In answer to the apostles’ request for more faith, Jesus said, “If you had a mustard seed of faith …” In other words, their problem wasn’t small faith, but no faith at all.

I felt the Lord compelling me to open my hand, so I did. As I looked at my palm He said something like, “Your hand is empty now. But if you put a thing in your hand, then you would then possess that thing. And if you drop it, you no longer possess it. Either it’s in your hand or it isn’t.”

This being the case, even a very small amount of faith–if possessed–is able to achieve great things. Faith, whether it’s as tiny as a mustard seed or as great as a mountain, is useless if you don’t have it. It’s like trying to drive a compact car without the keys, and muttering, “If I just had a bigger car, I’d be outta here!”

I do think there’s a place for bigger faith. But at least for me, I needed to have some measure of faith first before I could ask God to increase it.

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