Tag Team

I used to love watching wrestling. I loved it even knowing it was scripted I just loved it. It was so much fun watching, Hulk Hogan, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, and Macho Man. Those were some of the greats, but there was a bunch of great tag teams too. The Bushwackers, The Steiners, The Nasty Boyz, Legion of Doom, The Heart Foundation, and so many more. Tag team matches were so much fun to watch because you had one guy going at it then he tags his partner and then they are both in there doing their job and it was flips, and drops. Oh it was great!

That is what I think about when I read some of the passages towards the end of John when Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit. You and the Holy Spirit are supposed to tag team life and even though He is the predominant member of the team you are still a part of the team. He won’t do it all but He will equip you to do your part. There is no part of life that He won’t help with either.

In John 15:26-27 Jesus talks about how the Holy Spirit will bear witness or testify of Jesus and how the disciples were supposed to testify as well. Now before you go and say Jesus was talking to the Disciples remember there are enough other verses to support the idea that all Christians are supposed to bear witness of Christ. The point is that both the Holy Spirit and you are supposed to testify of Christ. Now this can be done a lot of different ways but the important thing is that both of you do it. It’s crazy that a function of the Spirit is to help you do your job. As you go about letting your light shine before men or giving an account of what God has done in your life you are being helped by the Holy Spirit. When you’re nervous or scared because you don’t know what to say He gives words. When you feel like you are not getting anywhere with the person you are talking to He is actually doing His part and convicting them and showing them Christ. As a preacher there has been many times I gave a message and someone said how did you know about X, and I’m like I didn’t say anything about that. It was the Holy Spirit working on that person. It has happen to me as I hear others as well.

Like I said there are quite a few things that He does, but for now I also want to point out that the Holy Spirit helps you resist fulfilling the lust or desires of your flesh. Galatians 5:16 says “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” and the word for Spirit there is the same as in John. It is the word “pneuma” which also means breath. So the actual breath of God which is His Spirit is with and in you helping you overcome yourself. Not just overcome the things in life but overcome you. Maybe you don’t need to be overcome but I know I do. I am all too aware that I am my own worst enemy. As you walk in the Spirit you cannot at the same time give into your own desires. It would be like walking down Main Street and Broadway at the same time. You cannot do it because these are two different places.

I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit. So thankful that He is always present to help me because man do I need the help. Knowing that He is in my corner and wants to be tagged in, knowing that He does not get tired or worn down, and that He can win every match I let Him fight in. That is a good feeling.

Just a thought,

Mike

A more excellent ministry

Sometimes I read the Old Testament and think “wow look how cool it was” or “people were hearing from God left and right.” But that’s just not true and in fact hearing from God was not common like we think. What’s more is that for a period when they did hear from God it was about judgement (see the prophets). We just have this idea of that is what was happening because we read the Bible like it took place in a short time period when actually the story of Abraham to Jesus is thousands of years. Moreover we think of Abraham and God sitting down and chatting all the time but really it was only a handful of times that God spoke directly to Abraham. A lot of times when we read the Bible we read what we want it to say or what we would like it to say or even what we think it says but not always what it says.

The reason I bring that up is I am re-reading Hebrews after a pretty quick read through the OT and came across Hebrews ch 8 which is fantastic. Specifically verses  6 & 7 (the rest of the chapter is pretty much a quote from Jeremiah 31) and it talks about how much better we have it.

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.

We know that we have forgiveness of sins through Christ but we also have other things that come in that covenant. We have direct access to the throne of grace (Heb 4:6) which we can go to whenever we want. We do not have to wait for a specific time or season but when you need help you can go there all on your own because you have the Mediator. But still there is more.

You now have gifts from God like wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, other languages (tongues), and interpretation. All these things are given to us by God and yes it says “to some” but I see that as meaning more to the point of not everyone has all. The point is God gave gifts. Ephesians 4:8 says Christ gave gifts to men. But there is more.

On of the best things we have under the new covenant is knowledge of God. Specifically laid out in the new covenant is that we will be taught by God. You become a Christian and you get indwelt with that Holy Spirit (that means He takes up residence in you) and in that you get one on one teaching about God by God. Now that is awesome! God says I want to teach you about me. That is like having Bill Gates says he wants to show you how MS Office works. You cannot get a better instructor than the one who made it all.

Now as a side note to that there are a few things to keep in mind. If you want the instruction you need to read the Bible. You cannot get directions and avoid the manual. You need to pray and listen. If you want to talk to God then you actually need to talk to Him, and if you want to hear from God you need to actually listen. I know it sounds redundant but I have spoken with people who want to talk to God and hear from Him but do not want to pray or listen. Another thing you need is to spend time with other Christians. I know I said God will teach you but you need to spend time with other believers to be encouraged, and to help equip you for the work of ministry. Christianity is not a sit down and do nothing religion. You become a Christian and you get a new job title. You are now ambassador to the King of Kings. And in that some people have the ability and gifting to help encourage and equip you to do that job.

So just remember you have the better covenant, and you are now in the good o’le days. You can sit down and chat with God anytime you want so maybe you should take Him up on that offer.

Just a thought,

Mike

ooh Mr Kotter, Mr Kotter

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Tim 3:16

Most believers know this verse and we know that it means the Bible is the Word of God and we can and should trust Scripture, but let me drop this thought on you. If Scripture is from God then it is Holy, and if it is Holy then we must treat it as Holy, that means to set it apart. We do not drop parts of Scripture here and there pasting bits and pieces like decoupage. No we must care for it and use it in it’s proper and rightful places. Some non-believers run around throwing out Scripture bombs because they do not understand it but we have an understanding and are called to treat it properly.

I have been given the privilege to share the word with some middle school boys today and I give it as much thought and prayer as I did when I spoke in the prisons, to congregations, or in weekly Bible studies because the avenue is not of importance, but the Word is of utmost importance. It does not matter if you speak to hundreds, thousands, or 1 the Word of God is mighty and the fact that you get the privilege to read it and share it is a gift from God. Do not take it lightly.

Just a thought,
Mike

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:1

Kinda like Gatorade but different

What does it mean to quench the Holy Spirit?  Is He something that can be put out?  I mean Gatorade quenches thirst and then thirst is gone.  Can you get rid of the third person of the Trinity?  Loaded question, and if I was smart I would have started this entry off a little different so I did not have to answer it.  Oh well here we go.

First is no you cannot “get rid” of the Holy Spirit.  He is always there giving gifts, showing correction, leading to the Savior, and restraining evil.  You cannot make Him go away by ignoring Him, and choosing not to listen.  It just won’t happen.  He will be there gently, and lovingly  nudging you.  So there is that you cannot make Him leave or disappear.  There is a day when He will be removed but that has to the end times and not you not wanting to listen.

So what is it you can do?  What is the quenching then?  Think of like a relationship.  You have at least one relationship in your life I assume.  With that relationship if you do not nurture it, foster it, take care of it, or work on it then it starts to fade.  After a while you don’t talk much anymore, and if you do it feels a little awkward because you are really not sure what to say.  You end up talking about things of no real importance or significance because the closeness is gone.  You no longer have that deep connection.  The connection where you are starting to think the same thing as the other person.  It’s just not there.

That is what it means to quench or do with stifle the Holy Spirit.  You don’t listen anymore, you don’t talk, and on those rare occasions when you do it is awkward and you only talk about the weather.  Time with the Holy Spirit can be so much more.  The Holy Spirit is the one teaching and guiding you to Jesus who then leads you to the Father.  It all starts with Him.  Spend time with Him, let Him reveal things to you.  Let Him instruct and teach you about the Savior.  Then when He gives you are hard direction you can take it because you trust him and have developed that relationship.

Just a thought,

Mike