Before I start I should warn you. I have no idea where this blog is going to end up. I’m fairly certain though this will be the beginning of a journey in thinking about the Holy Spirit. Give me a second, I need to turn on my iTunes.
I’ve been inspired to thought by many things lately. I think what really got this ball rolling was a recent discussion with my friend Jordan M. He recently bought an album called No Code. It was recorded while I was in Highschool by the greatest band of my generation (and in the world now) Pearl Jam. My favorite song of all time is on this album. Jordan asked me what this song was about and we discussed it for a while. I was thinking about the lyrics and was instantly reminded of my previous thoughts on the Holy Spirit. The lyrics go like this (I encourage you to listen to the song 04 In My Tree, it’s amazing):
I remember when, yeah
I swore I knew everything, oh yeah
Let’s say knowledge is a tree, yeah
It’s growing up just like me, yeah
The funny part is I related to these lyrics in a way I have never before. In a humbling way. Honestly I remember when I thought I knew everything. I still probably think I do some days. I’m sure we can all honestly look at ourselves and see at least areas in our lives where we think our opinion, our ideas, our knowledge is complete and right. It was way worse for me when I was younger. The truth is the older you get the more people you meet that are smarter, more earthly and more grounded than you. This helps humble you I think.
Last night I was at one of the many work/networking events I attend. It was an awards banquet for Junior Achievers. I was invited to sit with Minister Ken Cheveldayoff. At this table were some University Students in commerce. I don’t know what it is about Commerce kids but they definitely think they know everything. To be fair when I was in school constantly immersed in books and knowledge I could talk the talk. It was kind of cool actually. Now I barely remember anything I had learned. Anyway, one of the students had an air about him. He was young, in his second year and felt the world was his oyster. His body language was disinterested and he seemed to think he would own the world after graduation. Remember when you thought you knew everything?
So this got me thinking back to my introductory rant on the Holy Spirit. Remember the lyrics I posted above. “Let’s say knowledge is a tree. It’s growing up just like me”.
When I first arrived at my church in Saskatoon it was a “Pentecostal” church. I mean there were “words” from God every service. Usually 3-7 words would be spoken throughout the worship service. If there was a quiet spot or a lag in between songs you could be sure someone had a word from God. The interesting part I observed was these supposed words often contradicted each other. It sometimes seemed like if someone had a word that another “prophet” disagreed with this “prophet” would rebut the recent hypocrisy. There was a massive desire in this church family for the Holy Spirit but I believe it was in a very unhealthy place.
I was once at Tehillah Monday in Calgary. Joyce Heron spoke. She had a word about the Holy Spirit and I’ve never forgotten it. She drew this picture of the Holy Spirit being a fast moving river. I’m sure this is something we can all imagine. She went on to describe the babies jumping in to the river and not being able to handle the current and before they know it they are in an off shoot stream no longer where they started and not where they should be. Last summer I went to Calgary with a few buddies. We went to see the greatest band of our generation. It was a great weekend that ended with us cruising down the Elbow river. Not the part that is in the city, but the part that is wild and fun. Half way through our journey I almost drowned. I was on a cheap tube that popped when it hit a tree that had been dragged into the river and hung up on rocks. When I hit the tree I was instantly sucked under and wedged between the tree and the rocks. I fought my way free and ended up popping up down stream about 20′ from the boys. Rivers are powerful. I think it only takes a brief glimpse of Acts to see that the Holy Spirit is pretty powerful as well.
When I arrived at my church in 2002 I believe it was exactly what Joyce was describing. Baby’s in their faith jumping into something they weren’t prepared for or educated on and ended up being somewhere God never intended them to be. They were passionate but not guided. In an attempt to guide them we felt the need to organize this chaos. I felt very strongly about this. “I remember when I thought I knew everything.” Before I go any further I should say that I believe the church is more affective when it’s not crazy. Order is attractive, and less abrasive to people that are seeking. However what’s even more attractive is passion. I fear that in an attempt to police the bad we have run the good out-of-town. Regulation can be very damaging to growth but it is so necessary to protect us. So where’s the balance?
I don’t think I know everything anymore but I do know that I want the passion back in my church. I want the Holy Spirit. I really am fearful that in trying to get ride of the flesh we have declined the move of the Spirit. It is inevitable that when the Spirit moves in our lives things will happen. It is also inevitable that when people try things for the first time it isn’t going to be dead on. Imagine if you were never allowed to ride a bike because they didn’t want you to fall. It’s crazy right?However we have started to do this a little in the church. Instead of putting training wheels on the for the people who need them, we have just said no bike for you.
It’s a shame. I was at Earl’s with some very good friends of mine a few weeks ago. One’s an American. This fact has no relevance but I wanted to show you that I’m very accepting :). We were discussing people’s journey’s in their faith. Sometimes we discussed people’s lack of faith. We tried so hard to figure out what the problems were with these people and what caused them to lose faith. I think at one point we thought we knew what the problem was and how to fix it. “I remember when I thought I knew everything.” Then it hit me. You know what the problem is. It’s a lack of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, sent to remind of the things of Christ. To give us faith. John 16:13.
Then it hit me. Could my struggles be a result of the Holy Spirit missing in my life? I think this sad fact might be true. We need more of the Spirit. We need our passion back.
I end with this. I have been on an amazing journey recently. Even spending time thinking about the Holy Spirit has given me new desires. I believe this year will be an amazing year. It’s going to be a year of change for me. I suspect I will be cutting out things that I’ve enjoyed and doing things I never thought I would. This year is the year that I want God to be Lord again! I don’t want to continually struggle with the same things anymore. I don’t want to be apathetic. I want to live a life that is with the Spirit. A life that is seen in Galatians 5:16-25 (I really like the Message version). Let’s go church, let’s put the Pentecost back into our lives and churches.
Cheers friends. I hope this note finds you well. Love!