A few Sundays ago at MPNCanton we celebrated Pentecost Sunday. For those who follow the Hebraic calendar yes we did move it back one week to get it off of Memorial Day weekend. I spoke on “Pentecost, the Power of God, and the Holy Spirit”. You can listen or subscribe to the podcast HERE.
In the message I tried to be as transparent as possible regarding my own journey with the Holy Spirit. I grew up in a minister’s home and Pentecostal churches. I was in charismatic worship services from birth. I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues as a young teenager and continue to do so (if you don’t know what this is I encourage you to listen to the message at the link above or contact me so we can talk). I hold the highest rank of ministerial credentials in a Pentecostal denomination. And yet, I have struggled at different times in my life managing a tension related to some of the things I experienced in and out of those worship services and how it continues to shape what I believe about the Holy Spirit.
While there were many faithful saints in my life who modeled Christ, the Holy Spirit, authentic worship, and Christian discipleship…I watched as some people, including some of my friends in the youth group or in college, would experience various manifestations described in several places in the New Testament as “Gifts of the Spirit” and then I would watch those same people act in ways that seemed so contrary to anyone God would use. If I’m being completely honest I was just as guilty of this at times. So how could these manifestations be real coming from people that I wasn’t even sure were Christians in that moment? As I put it in my message (and reaches far beyond just Holy Spirit manifestations)
“One reason I believe my generation (and others) became skeptical of the work of the Holy Spirit is because we couldn’t rationalize how the same mouth speaking so holy inside the church could talk so foul outside the church.”
Later in life I increased my childhood obsession for answers to the question “Why?” I wanted to know how things worked, why things were the way they were, and I wanted to understand everything I could possibly understand about…well, everything. I was on a quest for knowledge and my attempt to understand all things supernatural was often frustrating.
I was again confronted with a tension between my head and my heart. My faith and my feelings. My experiences and my doubt.
I don’t believe I’m alone. I believe there are many, like me, who have experienced the power of God, the work of the Holy Spirit, or desire so deeply to do so…but they aren’t sure how to reconcile that with their doubt about these supernatural things.
The problem is that we have allowed our skepticism to turn us cynical.
We have replaced our awe and hope for the supernatural with our comfort of the explainability of the natural.
I don’t believe everything I’ve ever seen that was credited to the Holy Spirit was really Him.
I also believe that there are things I’ve been convinced wasn’t the Holy Spirit, that actually was.
I’m just trying to find a healthy balance. Not in an attempt to “quench” a move of God, but in an attempt to better manifest all of God’s nature in my life and not just the “wow” ones.
I have a personal conviction that a person’s manifested “Gifts of the Spirit” and their displayed “Fruit of the Spirit” shouldn’t cause an observer to wonder which part they are lying about. Meaning that where someone claims the power of the Holy Spirit at work in and through their lives, and it is manifested through certain gifts of the Spirit, that same person should reflect the nature of God through the fruit of the Spirit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
This is not a call to perfection. It’s a call to authenticity.
Paul couched it this way: Right in between 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 where he lays out much of the doctrine we utilize related to gifts in our personal lives and corporate settings we find this:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
I told our campus that we are a Pentecostal church. I am a Pentecostal and proud of it. I speak in tongues. I desire the works I read about in the Bible to be the reality in our church.
I don’t think Millennials like me are afraid of the Holy Spirit. I think Millennials like me are scared to be lumped together with people that sound a lot like God, but don’t act like Him at all.
What are your thoughts on the Holy Spirit? I really do want to know.