November 9, 2015
Another week has come and gone and this was a big one! We had Maria Daughtry speaking to us on the Holy Spirit- and it was an intense time of learning, growing, and experiencing His power. Because YWAM is all denominational students came in with all different ideas on who the Holy Spirit is and how we are meant to interact with Him today, so Maria took us straight to the only true source- the Bible- to find out the Truth. And we did find out, as much as one week on such a complicated subject will allow.
(Obligatory reminder that I still don't have all of my outreach fees and that if you'd like to give you can do so at this link: https://www.easytithe.com/f/?k=LB7R0VFSE469J1PM Good now that that's out of the way...)
We went deep into who the Spirit is as part of the Godhead, not a lesser part of God than Jesus or the Father, and not some kind of wind or idea- He is a person with a personality. He can be grieved, (Ephesians 4:30 Isaiah 63:10 Acts 5:3) He speaks (Mark 3:11 Luke 2:25-26 Acts 1:16, 13:2. 20:22-23, 21:11, 28:25 Hebrews 3:7-8) He intercedes (Romans 8:26-28 2 Peter 1:20-21) He loves (Romans 5:2-5, 15:30) He has intellect (John 14:26, 1 Corinth 2:10-11) He makes decisions (Acts 13:2-4, 16:6) He comforts (Acts 9:31 John 14:26) He assures (Romans 8:15-16, Galatians 4:6). Not only does He have a personality, He has His own works: He strengthens (Romans 8:26), teaches (Luke 12:12 John 14:26), guides (Acts 20:28 Romans 8:14 Galatians 5:18), counsels (John 14:16-17, 26), convicts (John 16: 7-11), renews us (Titus 3:3-5), sanctifies us (Romans 15:15-16 2 Thess 2:13), indwells us (1 John 4:4 1 Tim 1:14), anoints us (Acts 10;38), seals us (Ephesians 1:13-14), empowers us (Romans 14:13), molds character and produces fruit (Galatians 5:22-25), and gives us gifts (1 Corinthians 12:8-11). This is of course by no means an exhaustive list but it does begin to give us a glimpse into who the Spirit is. It was really good for us to look biblically into the Spirit, because sometimes He can seem so mysterious, but ultimately He's the one we're mainly interacting with on a daily basis!
Next we dove deep into the fruits of the Spirit, which was an awesome teaching. I'm used to hearing about the fruits in a VBS or Sunday school setting, but it was so cool to go deep into what they really mean and look like in the lives of maturing Christians, as well as how they're cultivated. Although the teaching of each was deeply touching my heart, I was particularly captivated by peace,patience, and faithfulness.As Maria explained, statistically speaking each person will experience five tragedies in their lifetime. It's the fruits of the Spirit in your life that allow you to keep running after the Lord in the midst of those, and it's often those times that the Lord uses to create more and more of those fruits in your life. Because I'm not after a six month spiritual high, but a life of deeper and deeper intimacy with my King, the fruits of the Spirit will be vital to my life. I want to be more radically in love with Him and 80 than I ever was at 18, so all the fruits matter, but particularly peace, patience, and faithfulness.
Biblical peace means to be unaffected by outward circumstances because of a deep trust that God will care for you. It's a result of a resting relationship with God. This doesn't mean that everything is always okay, but God's peace makes your circumstances lose their power. Much like Paul when he said to live is Christ and to die is gain! It didn't matter what happened to him in this life he knew his heavenly Father was caring for him. It's this fruit that allows you to have the peace that surpasses all understanding that we're all so desperately longing for (Philippians 4:7).
Patience. I have always thought about patience aswaiting for something to happen, but the Greek word for it- hypomone- means to remain under. It implies endurance, perseverance, and steadfastness under difficult circumstance. It's the ability to remain under something horribly hard and cling to the hope you have in Jesus. It's not passive acceptance or complacency in a difficult circumstance, but a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness and defeat. It's knowing despite everything around you that God is for us and He call us victorious.
Faithfulness. This requires personal resolve not to wander from commitments and promises. Much like a marriage, faithfulness to God takes work. It means being reliable.We need faithfulness to not walk away from the Lord for the comfort of the now. We need faithfulness to continue to pursue Him when He feels a million miles away or when a thousand other things try to capture our attention.
After learning about all the fruitsthe staff came to each of us and asked us which fruits we felt the Lord highlighting to us and then they prayed that He would grow them in is. It's never our commitment to become kinder, more gentle, more patient, more loving, more faithful, more self controlled, more joyful, or to have more peace that gives those things to us. They are FRUITS of the Spirit. They're what happen as we follow the Lord and live by the Spirit. We admit to God our weaknesses and ask Him to grow us in them. But have you ever heard that line about not praying for patience? Well often when you ask the Lord to grow a fruitin your life He doesn't just magically place that fruit in you, He provides you an opportunity to grow it- an unlovable person to help you grow in loving, a dry prayer life to help deepen your faithfulness, an unhappy work environment to teach you where yourjoy belongs... and that's exactly what He did to us the next day! Let me know if you'd like to hear more about that... :)
The next lecture we had Maria talked about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Although many teachings today speak about the gifts of the Spirit being only for Christians of the past, plainly in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 Paul tells the Corinth church about the spiritual gifts and encourages them to rightly practice them and steward them well. This is simply a church in Corinth- they weren't apostles, they were regular church goers like you and me, yet they walked in the Spiritual gifts and we also are meant to. Just as in 1 Thessalonians we are ordered not to despise prophesy or quench the Spirit, so today do I encourage any believer who is skeptical about the Spiritual gifts to go deeper, research for yourself, ask me if you'd like to, and most certainly ask the Lord. Scripture plainly states that we are to "earnestly desire the spiritual gifts" (1 Corinthians 12:1). And what are these gifts? They are word of wisdom, word of knowledge, prophecy, faith, healing, miracles, discernment, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. We got to hear from Maria about what each of these gifts means, what they look like, and what their purpose is. We also got to hear about times they have been misused. But as she pointed out, just because people have misused them doesn't mean we shouldn't get to walk in what God intended for us. She asked if we would respond to God or to the abuse of the Spiritual gifts. It was an awesome time of learning more deeply about this side of the Lord so often ignored or looked over. So because these giftings are true, why do we not see them at work very often? I would say because of a misunderstanding of who the Holy Spirit is, and a lack of allowing Him full freedom in our lives through baptism of the Spirit. Baptism of the Spirit is often at a time separate from salvation and is not the same as water baptism. It is most often received with someone laying their hands on you and praying, but it can happen in many other ways as well. When you are saved you have received the Holy Spirit, so if you've never been baptized into the Spirit don't worry- you still have the Spirit! It was explained to us in this simple analogy: When you are saved it's like taking a drink of water, the water is within you. Being baptized into the Spirit is like jumping into an ocean, the water is now within you and all around you! Baptism of the Holy Spirit frees the Spirit up to work more in your life and to deepen you in your spiritual giftings. If this area confuses you I would encourage you to read the book of Acts, ask the Lord, and- if you'd like to- reach out to me directly. Because this is such a complicated subject I feel it would do a huge disservice to try to make a blog post about it, but I would love to answer questions on a personal level! So call me or email me and we can talk more. :)
That night we had a ministry night where the staff and Maria prayed baptism of the Spirit over those who wanted to receive it, or for those who already had received it she just prayed a "refilling" (basically that The Spirit would come and do whatever He wanted to in that moment and take us deeper still.) This was an awesome and powerful night for each of us, and I have many many stories about it, as well as about what He did in me personally- it was an incredible experience for me and quite the long story. I wont go into detail here, but again if you'd like to know feel free to reach out to me I'd love to tell you about it!
As you can probably tell this was a crazy week of being stretched and deepened with the Lord! Because this blog post is already the length of a short book I won't go into the other areas of this week, except to mention that our community outreach team has been kicked out of the apartment complex we were working in because the community was uncomfortable with us talking about Jesus. If you guys could be praying for that I would so appreciate it. Though we've only been there for a few months, YWAM teams have been going to that location for years now and those kids have become very dependent on that time each week to be loved on and played with. So even if we don't get back there before we go to Asia, please pray that hearts would soften and teams can keep going in the future! I also wanted to mention a brief testimony of how God worked this week! In an intercession time we were praying for people who didn't know the Lord at all or who weren't walking with Him to the depths that they could be, and I felt it on my heart to pray for my old roommate and friend Carolyn (hi Carolyn!). We prayed for her for about an hour and then when I checked my phone afterwards I had a text from her, she'd felt the Holy Spirit's presence all around her that entire hour, but she'd has no idea we were praying for her . I love how the Lord hears our prayers, and how much He loves Carolyn that he would have me praying for her and use that time of prayer to go and meet with her! God's so good and prayer is so powerful! I love you Carolyn!
That being said if you guys have any ways you'd like me to pray for you let me know! Additionally, if you could be praying for me as we continue to prepare for outreach that the Lord would give me His heart for Indonesia and the work we'll be doing there I would so appreciate it, as well as for health and safety! Thank you all for your love and support and for bearing with my forever long blog posts each week, you guys are amazing!