Leadership Blog

30 Jul When All of Hell Breaks Loose

In a day when what can be shaken is being shaken and it is so evident that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but ” … against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12), I have great news for you. God has not left you defenseless.

For those of you in the heat of the battle in your personal life or family or ministry or job and it seems as though all of hell has broken loose, let me remind you about your weapons.

  • We have been given the Name that is above every name. At the mention of the name of Jesus, “… every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
  • We have been given His Word. The Psalmist David tells us that God has “… magnified thy word above all thy name.” (Psalm 138:2) This Word is “… quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword …”. (Hebrews 4:12)
  • We have been given the blood of Jesus. His blood continually “… cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7) and allows us to boldly “… enter into the holiest …” (Hebrews 10:19). In the heat of battle,”They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb …” (Revelation 12:11)
  • We have been given angels. “For He will command His angels in regard to you, to protect and defend and guard you in all your ways [of obedience and service].” (Psalm 91:11, Amplified Bible)
  • We have been given God’s blessed Holy Spirit. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever”. (John 14:16). “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you …” (Acts 1:8)

All of hell might be raging right now. Hope may seem all but gone. But, you can’t be shaken. Victory is guaranteed as you unwaveringly “… stand strong in the Lord …” (Ephesians 6:10) and use these weapons that are “… mighty through God. …” (2 Corinthians 10:14). “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57) Hallelujah!!!

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23 Jul A Holy Spirit Reminder

I find that sometimes, or more accurately, often, I need to be reminded about things that I already know. The information isn’t something that I need to learn all over again. It is just that I haven’t thought about it in a while and I need a reminder to bring the information to the forefront of my mind.

In all likelihood, what I am about to share with you isn’t anything new. Many of this blog’s readership have known these truths forever. But, I believe that bringing these thoughts to the forefront of your mind and spirit will allow the Holy Spirit to do a fresh work in you.

Here we go. While the Holy Spirit …

  • has existed since before time was time, He is as current and relevant today as ever.
  • fully knows the mind of the Father, He is capable of taking what He receives from the infinite mind of God and optimizing it for our finite mind to comprehend.
  • knows what is to come, He can give you here-and-now insights into your future.
  • is 100% aware of your status and situation, He isn’t afraid to take on your mess and bring into realization the victory already won in Christ.
  • loves to interact and dialogue with men and women, He specializes in communicating with even the youngest child.
  • is sent by the Father to the entire body of Christ, the Sent One is assigned to and specializes in y-o-u.
  • was at full strength capacity in the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, two thousand years hasn’t reduced His strength or abilities.
  • knows every detail about you and what makes you uniquely you, He is capable of moving you beyond those restrictions and making you into a different person.

I will stop with just listing eight reminders. There are so many more that I could share. If allowed, the Holy Spirit will continue this list with truth number nine and then truth number ten and then … I challenge you to read these truths and read them over again and again. Allow them to grow within your mind and spirit. It is through you meditating (bringing to the forefront) that the Holy Spirit will become more real to you and then through you.

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16 Jul Totally Dependent Upon the Holy Spirit

In reading A.W. Tozer’s The Counselor yesterday, I found this powerful statement …

“There are churches so completely out of the hands of God
that if the Holy Spirit withdrew from them,
they wouldn’t find it out for many months.”
~ A.W. Tozer

It is an honest assessment, isn’t it. Sadly, it is true, painfully true. It is easy for churches to become such a well-oiled machine that they have absolutely no need for the Helper to do His job.  Total reliance upon formulas and current trends can cause pastors to ignore His presence and directives.

But wait. I can take Tozer’s statement one step further by changing it to read “There are ministries so completely …” Have we become so good at the teaching/preaching in Sunday school classrooms or children’s church gatherings or student ministry services that the Holy Spirit is pushed to the side? Is His presence really a necessity or have we become satisfied with what the flesh can produce?

And now, the biggie. “There are Christians so completely …”. It is so, so easy to get involved with day-to-day life that, at best, the One who has been sent by the Father to abide with you forever (John 14:16), the One who is assigned to communicate to you the Father’s thoughts (John 16:13), the One who is strategically directed to be your teacher (John 14:26), the One who is (should I keep going?) becomes an after-thought. We can become so good at getting through life that we wouldn’t notice His absence.

How dependent are you Pastor upon the Holy Spirit? Sunday school teacher, children’s pastor, mid-week Bible club leader, student ministry pastor, can you go through a service without His presence and power? And finally, you, the one sitting in your chair and looking at the computer or smart device screen reading these words, are you helplessly dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enable you to make it through your day?

Present or absent? Speaking or muted? Active or restrained? My prayer for you is that you glean from the wisdom of my pastor, B.B. Hankins when he said, “I wouldn’t want to cross the street without the Holy Spirit”.  Let’s become totally dependent upon Him.

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09 Jul You Said “It”? Are You Kidding Me?

Can I please use you to vent to for two to three minutes? It happened to me some eight hours ago and I am still shaking my head in disbelief. Here’s what happened … someone messaged me and, in mentioning the Holy Spirit, they typed the word “it”. I couldn’t believe what I had just read. They referred to the Holy Spirit as an “it”. Were they kidding me? If I could have reached my hands through my computer screen and used the internet to get to this person, I would have put a few holy slaps all over their face. (I’m just kidding about the slaps … or kinda’ kidding.)

So what’s the problem? Surely the “it” isn’t that big of a deal, right?

Big deal? YES! A Texas-size YES!!! Here is what I know to be true. Rather than knowing the “Personhood” (is that really a word?) of the Holy Spirit, the “it” reduces the Holy Spirit into being some force or mystical heavenly question mark that no one can understand. The “it” causes the third PERSON of the Godhead to be mistakenly identified as a dove, fire, wind, or vapor rather than God the Holy Spirit.

“Personhood”? Where do we see this in the Word? Jesus totally obliterated what I call the “it” factor and removed any cause for misunderstanding when He introduced the Holy Spirit to His disciples in John 14-16 identifying the Holy Spirit nineteen times with personal pronouns like He, Him, and Himself. There wasn’t a single “it” mentioned. These pronouns show that, as a Person, the Holy Spirit is One that you can know and enjoy a relationship. Knowing His “Personhood” allows:

  • You to dialogue with the Holy Spirit. You can speak to Him and hear Him speak back to you.
  • Him to be the Helper that Jesus promised.
  • Him to connect you with the heart of the Father in ways not previously known.
  • Him to be real to you so that He can be real through you.

I’ll close with one of the most powerful statements that I have ever read about the “Personhood” of the Holy Spirit. The late Kathryn Kuhlman said it best, “The Holy Spirit is more real to me than you are.”

Is He? If not, allow me to take this opportunity to introduce to you the Person named the Holy Spirit. I’ll quit writing so that you two can start dialoguing.

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02 Jul Limiting the Holy Spirit

One of the greatest mistakes that we can make as Christians is to limit the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. We can be honest, right? We all are guilty of doing this … including us as ministers … or, more accurately, especially us as ministers. To lessen the pain of honesty, I will go beyond those who stand behind a pulpit and include anyone and everyone involved in some type of leadership in the church, be it in the children’s ministry or youth ministry or Sunday school classroom or senior adult ministry or music ministry or … you can add to the list.

This isn’t a new problem. We can read about limiting the Holy Spirit in the early church in the book of Acts. You might want to grab your Bible to follow along with me.

In Acts 6, we read about the leadership of the Jerusalem church recognizing the need to strengthen its ministry team and so they selected seven men who were of “honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.” (Acts 6:3) Not long afterwards, we read that one of these seven individuals named Philip left Jerusalem, moved to Samaria, and started an incredibly great church. In Acts 8, the author of Acts writes of a work taking place that any pastor would want to see:

  • Multitudes were born again and baptized in water
  • People were liberated from demonic spirits
  • Miraculous demonstrations of God’s power happened
  • Great joy filled Samaria

But, amongst all of the great things, there was one great need, one that perhaps Pastor Philip didn’t recognize. His church was growing. It was “the” church in Samaria. There wasn’t any other church like Philip’s church. So, what could be lacking?

While Spirit-filled Pastor Philip was mightily used by the Holy Spirit, from what we can read in Acts 8, Philip didn’t communicate about the Source of his power nor make it possible for those in his ministry to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The church grew because of the people “hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.” (Acts 8:6) Did you catch the words “which he did”? Evidently, being baptized in the Holy Spirit and having the demonstrations of the working of the Holy Spirit were limited to Philip. Thankfully, the church leadership in Jerusalem learned of this situation and “… sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:14-15) To the leadership in Jerusalem, being baptized and empowered by the Holy Spirit wasn’t a “leader’s-only” mandate. They recognized that every believer should be Holy Spirit filled so that they too could accomplish what was seen and heard in the life of their pastor.

Let me bring this biblical account up to where we see today’s church. All across America, many great churches are pastored and led by present-day Philips. The leaders (pastors, children’s pastors, youth pastors ….) are Jesus-loving, Word-believing individuals who, like Philip, are honest, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.  These leaders know the value and benefits of being filled with the Holy Spirit and praying in their prayer language. However, for whatever reason, they haven’t provided an opportunity for those in their ministry to obey the command given to every believer. (Acts 1:4; Ephesians 5:18).

Thank God for how He uses us as we preach to our congregation or teach our Sunday school class or give oversight to our area of ministry. But, eventually, our service or class will be over and people will go back to their home and not be back at our church for another 167 hours. Once they leave our building, will they be equipped “to turn their world upside down” (Acts 17:6) or will they have to bring people (school classmates, family members, work associates, etc.) to our service/class to hear and see the miracles that the present-day Philip does?

Leader, will we continue to limit and restrain the Holy Spirit?  Will we maintain a “leader’s-only” way of ministry or will we multiply ourselves by making it possible for every believer to be mightily used by God’s Spirit? Your answer is?

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