Holy Spirit

Magnolia

How many times have you said it?  Or heard somebody else mouth something like this…?

I just want to do God’s will.

I wish I knew what God wanted me to do.

How can I find the will of God for my life?

Tell me how this is supposed to fit into a grand plan!

I want to do God’s will, but I’m wired to lead.  Is that wrong?

I know God has a plan in all this, but for the life of me I can’t see it.

I’m willing to follow Jesus, but how can I know how it all will turn out?

I did what I thought was God’s will and instead of feeling joyful it felt terrible… instead of everything working out, it all looked like a failure.

How do I know that if I surrender my life to God’s will He won’t make me be a missionary somewhere in a place with lots of mosquitos or cannibals or something?

Ever since Jesus Christ burst onto the scene and called those fishermen to follow Him, those who have chosen to say yes have discovered the mystery and marvel of finding and fulfilling the will of the God of the Universe.  And make no mistake about it… God wants you to know His will.  But He also wants you to develop the spiritual muscles necessary to discern it.  Check this out: [click to continue…]

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Standardized TestEver take a spiritual gifts test? I certainly have, and many of the courses I teach for different universities use them.  And while I’m quite sure that surveys designed to apply psychological testing procedures to operations of the Holy Spirit can help us sort some things out, I still get a little uneasy about them.

Why?

Most are written so that even an unbeliever could take them and point to a “spiritual gift.”

Every one starts with a philosophical or theological assumption you may or may not agree with.

Every one tries to systematize something that, in scripture, seems hardly systematic.

Sooner or later somebody says something like, “I took this a few years ago and my gift of faith was a lot stronger then.”  What? Seriously?

So I thought maybe it was time for something radically different. Why don’t we go back to the source and see if there is actually a spiritual gifts “test” in the Bible?

Radical, I know, but stay with me. [click to continue…]

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IMG_7524I love photography for two reasons. First, I love capturing light and images and special moments that I can share and re-live. The one to the left is a recent sample.

Second, taking pictures puts me on the right side of the camera.  As long as I can stay away from that nosy lens, I can imagine that I actually look the way I do when I look at myself in the mirror.  No awkward angles. No unflattering poses. No ruthless inventory of how I really look.

The same kind of thing happens in the spiritual realm. There are plenty of ways to pose so that we get a flattering, but dishonest look at ourselves.  That’s unhealthy for two reasons. First, it can put us in denial of something that can really hurt us in the long run. Second, it can produce shame that blinds us to our great, great value to God and to the world.

How would you like a strategy for taking an honest inventory of your heart and soul?

Wait.

Maybe I should phrase that a different way…

Do you need a strategy for taking an honest inventory of your heart and soul? I don’t really care whether you want it or not.

Here are eight questions that can turn the lights on in your spiritual life.  They can be used alone or together. You can go through them in 15 minutes, or an hour, or an entire day. The questions are based on Paul’s energetic series of charges to the Thessalonians:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22).

Take a few minutes or however long you can. Get alone with a journal, legal pad, or an electronic tablet and write down some notes based on your first response to these questions: [click to continue…]

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Jesus got himself in some pretty interesting predicaments.  Seems strange to me – He could walk on water and command the winds and rain, but He never could satisfy a bunch of legalists about why He performed miracles (miracles!) on the Sabbath.

“This can’t be from God.  He didn’t keep our rules.”

Sigh… I just wish somehow… oh, never mind.

Anyway, on one occasion, Jesus healed a man who hadn’t walked in 38 years.  It took place at the Pool of Bethesda and yes, it was on the Sabbath.

And yes, Jesus had to account for his tawdry behavior.  Here’s what He said: [click to continue…]

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Be the fly on the wall for this conversation…

It’s not that life here is so bad right now.

Okay.

It’s that life is so busy.  Urgent all the time.

I can relate to that.

And not even that it’s urgent, but that I don’t feel as though I am responding well to the urgency I do have.

What do you mean?

Nothing ever gets completely done.  Or so it feels. My weekly schedule is pretty busy as it is.  Then factor in anything else that has been added to the schedule lately, and I’m having a hard time breathing.

I think I know what the problem is.

You do?

Yep.  Your Urgency Response Index is low.

My what?

Your Urgency Response Index.

Sounds serious.

It can be. [click to continue…]

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Constantly in motion, ever-aware, always alert both night and day, an unseen force is shaping your life in ways you can’t imagine.

Ever-learning.

Ever-revealing.

The algorithms behind this crawler make Google look, in comparison, like a nearsighted man searching for a haystack in a needle factory.

He sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake.  But I’m not referring to the jolly old elf.  I’m talking about the Ultimate Search Engine.  But it’s not an “it” – it’s a Person. [click to continue…]

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Image of the Anointed

by Andy Wood on March 2, 2011

in 100 Words, Life Currency, Love, Photos

…the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me (Song of Solomon 2:12)


Be like the dove, He said… [click to continue…]

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An audio drama with four characters:

A Narrator,

The Imagined Voice of the Holy Spirit,

King David,

and Bob Dylan

(Note:  If you’re reading this via email or RSS feed, this post is best read from the site by clicking on the title above.   And now… on with the drama…) [click to continue…]

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It all started with that 55-mph speed limit.   In the mid-1970s, Americans traded in their muscle cars for Toyotas and slowed down.

But a certain segment of the population balked.  These people were paid to transport goods to their destinations in a timely manner, and felt that the new speed limits were doing considerable harm to their livelihood.  So they started working together to cover each other’s back.

This created a fad that spawned a counterculture, complete with its own lingo, music, and personal identities.  Everybody, it seemed, rushed out to get a CB radio.

Once the stuff of rescue workers, hobbyists, and the like, citizens-band radios became standard equipment in many vehicles.  Gone were the official call-letters used by the “legal eagles” who actually paid for a license to use the things (KFN 0508, if you even remotely care what ours was).  Everybody used a “handle.”

A handle was a nickname you gave yourself so that people could “grab hold” of you by saying something along the lines of, “Break, one-nine.  How ‘bout that Blue Goose?  You got your ears on”?  And you, assuming that was your handle, would reply something like, “Ten-four, good buddy.”

No, children, I’m not making this up.

CBs, for the most part, have gone the way of the 55-mph speed limit, though our trucker friends still use them.  But you still have a handle – a unique identity by which you can be “grabbed.”  [click to continue…]

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What are you going to do with the resurrection of Jesus?

Let’s assume for a minute that you actually believe it.  That three days after He was crucified, He actually rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.

Now what?

I guess you and I have to decide where to file that.  We can be part of the 380.  Or we can be part of the 120. [click to continue…]

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