Discerning Church Learning to discern the movement of God's Spirit

Forgotten God

Last week, I read Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan. Recommended by a friend, the book challenged me in my understanding of the Holy Spirit. I thought I would share a few of his insights while recommending this work to you.

Chan begins by lamenting our disconnect from the power of the Spirit. He considers the cause to be our comfort. Chan admits:

I also know that God works uniquely in various places and times, and I do think this explains part of the difference between here and there. However, I also believe that the Spirit is more obviously active in places where people are desperate for Him, humbled before Him, and not distracted by their pursuit of wealth or comforts (like we are). The light of the American church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world.

He challenges the church to consider its reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps much of what exists in the modern church is human endeavor. Chan states:

The church becomes irrelevant when it becomes purely a human creation. We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God.

May we, as a church, pursue God’s Spirit in all we do. May our work be more concentrated on following the Spirit and less concerned with building a grand institution. Chan yearns for Spirit level work in his life.

I can probably “pull off’ a fairly adequate church on my own . . . But who wants or needs that? I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through. That if He doesn’t come through, I am screwed. (I probably shouldn’t write that word here, but it’s how I truly feel about this.)

May what happens at First Baptist not be in our own power. May what God does through us be unexplainable! May the Spirit of God empower us like never before.