March 2018

Waiting on the Spirit

When Jesus ascended he told his disciples to “wait for the power from on high.” The Spirit came in a dramatic way 50 days later at Pentecost. Does the Spirit come today? Many traditional and evangelical churches don’t act like it, beyond perhaps an annual Pentecost church birthday party. That was then. How does he …

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Discipled by the Spirit

The church I serve has the purpose statement “To Make and Grow Disciples.” We leaders work hard at bringing about that result. We all agree we have a long way to go. When that statement was finalized, I quibbled with the wording. Making and growing disciples is the work of the Holy Spirit, who calls, …

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Recognizing When It Is the Holy Spirit

The first of the four Great Awakenings in American history happened in the 1730s and 40s. Arguably America’s greatest theologian, Jonathan Edwards, was involved but grew skeptical as the Awakening worked its way out. That movement brought great controversy. One side emphasized religious emotions as the essence; feeling the love of God was most important. …

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Motivated by the Spirit

At their first church convention, the earliest disciples made a policy decision. They announced it in a letter to the rest of the church with this phrase: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us . . . “ Have you ever seen or heard of a church today that announces a decision …

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Mutual Conversation and Consolation

According to the Apostle Paul, a Christian congregation is a fellowship of the Holy Spirit, also called the body of Christ. In his letters to the early churches, he had many words of encouragement for those first believed. Offering his observations was participating in the Spirit’s work of building up relationships in a specific fellowship. …

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The Controversial Role of Spiritual Experiences in Church Life

The congregations of the once-dominant Protestant established mainline church bodies (Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Reformed) are losing effectiveness in American culture today. The result is the forty-year decline in our memberships and influence. Mainline churches are becoming old-line, old fashioned churches. The driving question today is how we can regain the health and spiritual energy …

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