Leadership Blog

04 Mar Holy Spirit 101, The Basics

Welcome to Holy Spirit 101, the Basics, the ultimate foundational study of the Holy Spirit. As with any 101 class in high school or college, what would be an in-depth, immense teaching has been reduced to a simple, bare-bone, easy-to-comprehend overview of the subject. The subject matter in this basic teaching is taken from the introduction given by Jesus of the soon-to-arrive Holy Spirit. (John 14-16). This easy-to-remember five-word alliteration will definitely be something to share with other believers.

Person – When talking about the Holy Spirit, Jesus over and over again (19 times to be exact) used personal pronouns like He, Him, Himself. Jesus was telling us that the Holy Spirit is NOT a mysterious force or mist or vapor. It is through His Personhood that we can have a relationship with Him. (John 14:16,17,26; 15:26; 16:7,8,13,14)
Promise – The sending of the Holy Spirit wasn’t an afterthought in the Father’s mind. (John 14:16) 
Presence At one time, the Holy Spirit would come upon select individuals for a given amount of  time for a specific purpose. Now, the Holy Spirit has been sent to live and abide within each and every believer forever. (John 14:16-17)
Purpose – The Holy Spirit was sent to be our Helper. Many modern translations use the word “Helper” in place of the word “Comforter” found in the King James Version. Throughout His teaching, Jesus listed several of the many ways that the Holy Spirit would help His followers. (John 14:12,16,17,18,26; 15:26; 16:7-14)
Priority – Jesus told His followers that the sending of the Holy Spirit was not on heaven’s eventually-get-around-to-it list. No. A million times no. Jesus knew that without the abiding presence of another Comforter (John 14:16) His followers would be helpless (John 14:18). Upon arriving in heaven, Jesus said that He would pray the Father to send the One who would give us the needed advantage (John 16:7) to enable us to do His work (John 14:12). The sending of the Holy Spirit was heaven’s priority and the receiving of the promised Helper must be our priority.

Your assignment for this Holy Spirit 101, the Basics class … use this alliteration to strengthen your relationship with the Holy Spirit. Class dismissed.

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25 Feb Does God Want to Baptize You in His Spirit?

From time to time, I will hear people question for any number of reasons if God will baptize them in His precious Holy Spirit. I honestly could write pages of information and cite many scriptures to answer their question. But really, there’s no need to go through all of that writing. Charles G. Finney in his Revival Lectures answered the question in just 110 words. I know that you will want to copy, paste, and send Finney’s quote to many of your friends.

“God says he is more ready to give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him, than parents are to give bread unto their children. Here we are bound to believe that we shall receive it when we pray for it. You have no right to put an if, and say, “Lord, if it be your will, give us thy Holy Spirit.” This is an insult to God. To put an if into God’s promise, where God has put none, is tantamount to charging God with being insincere. It is like saying, “O God, if thou art in earnest in making these promises, grant us the blessing we pray for.” 

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18 Feb Praying in the Spirit Illustrations – Part 13

In reading Mark 16:17 ” … they shall speak with new tongues ..”, many believers today would ask, “Why would we need to speak in a new tongue?” Thankfully, there are people like you that are using these easy-to-do, simple-to-understand illustrations to give a solid, biblical answer in your teaching/preaching/sharing. Once again, I will give a brief, skeletal overview of the illustration. Then, with the Holy Spirit’s help, you can personalize the illustration to become a powerful teaching tool.

The Importance of Praying in Other Tongues 
Part 13 – Gain the Aid of the Great Helper

For this illustration, you will need a Bible and a hank of rope.

For today’s teaching, I need a helper that knows how to play a game called Tug of War. (Bring a young child, perhaps a six- or seven-years-old to the platform.) Tug of War needs little explanation. It is a contest in which two teams pull at opposite ends of a rope until one drags the other over a central line. In this teaching, we are going to play an imaginary game of Tug of War. I will give you the end of this hank of rope and we will pretend that you are playing the game with a bunch of your friends that are about the same age and height. (Give the child the end of the rope.) I’m going to ask my friend to show me how that they would hold the rope and how that they would stand while playing the game. (Allow the child to demonstrate.) It would be a fun game and a fierce competition, wouldn’t it! Now, let me add a twist to this game. What would happen if I came to stand behind you, wrapped my arms around you to grab the rope with you, and began to pull the rope together with you? (Demonstrate.) Bear in mind that I am older, much taller, much bigger, and much stronger than the kids on the opposing team. Who would win the contest? (Allow responses.)

The game of Tug of War illustrates one of the greatest reasons for praying in other tongues. The Bible (show Bible) tells us in Romans 8:26 that there are times that we are in a struggle and at a disadvantage (KJV – “our infirmities”; ESV – “weakness”) when we pray. (Have the child to hold the rope as though they are struggling in the Tug of War game.) It is in these times that the Holy Spirit (point to  yourself) comes alongside to help. (Walk over and stand behind the child.) The word “helpeth” in this verse actually comes from three different Greek root words. One root word means “to take hold together“; the second means “with“; and the third means “against“. When put all together, we see that the Holy Spirit “takes hold together with us against our enemy”. Just as we saw in our Tug of War game, while we are praying in our heavenly prayer language (KJV – “groanings”), the bigger-than-us, more-powerful-than-us Holy Spirit (point to yourself) steps into the prayer (KJV – “maketh intercession”) and supernaturally wraps Himself around us (stand behind the child, reach around to grab hold of the rope with them) to help us (act as though you together are engaged in Tug of War) make up for our weakness (KJV – “we know not what we should pray for as we ought”) by giving what is needed to bring about the victory (high-five each other) against our enemy.

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11 Feb Simple & Powerful!

I recently shared a series of posts with simple-to-do, easy-to-understand illustrations to help those wanting to teach/preach about the importance of praying in the Spirit (also known as praying in other tongues). I trust that you are enjoying and taking advantage of these illustrations.

I want to share just how easy it is to use these illustrations. A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from Tracey Zannini Guillory asking permission for her 10-year-old son, Austin, to use one of these illustrations, Holy Spirit Illustrations Part 12, in an upcoming Assemblies of God statewide competition. The Louisiana district had just added an Object Lesson category to their Fine Arts Festival. I gave a Texas-size YES to her request for two reasons. First, this series was posted to be USED!  Second, I love the Fine Arts Festival because it allows children and youth to showcase their God-given talents. These children and youth will be the future leaders of the church.

Was the object lesson simple? Yep. Was is powerful? Double yep! 10-year-old Austin nailed it!!! (And so can you!) Take a minute and view this short video that Tracey posted on my Facebook page.  

Way to go Austin. I know for a fact that the video of your presentation has been viewed around the world. Keep on teaching and preaching the gospel. You are needed.

If you missed any or all of these illustrations, you can find them at www.billyburns.com/blog beginning with Praying in Spirit Illustrations – Part 1 which posted on October 8, 2018. Here is a link to the illustration that Austin shared.



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04 Feb The Baptism in the Holy Spirit – Part 3

Because they heard your teaching (Part 1), prepared for and know what to expect upon receiving this gift (Part 2), this final part is easy (and exciting). 

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Part 3 – The Receiving

Let me first relieve you as the pastor/teacher/leader of any anxiety or fear by sharing the verse that we used in the first blog post in this series.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children:
how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit
to them that ask him?”
Luke 11:13

This verse reminds us that there is absolutely NO pressure on your part. (Go ahead and let out a great big sigh of relief. ) You have nothing to do with this gift. You don’t have to create the gift. You aren’t the giver of the gift. And, you aren’t the one receiving this gift. All that you have to do is provide the opportunity for these believers to receive! (This would be a great time for another Texas-size whew!) 

Here are some simple steps to take during the altar ministry.

  1. Read or share Luke 11:13 to instruct that our part is to ask and His is to give.
  2. Read or share Acts 2:4 to turn on their “expectator”. (See Part 2)
  3. Ask for a Spirit-filled believer to stand with each individual. 
  4. After leading in a prayer asking to receive the gift, set the example by boldly praying and worshiping God out loud in your heavenly prayer language. Leading by example gives an assurance that the language that they have isn’t spooky or weird. 

I would be amiss if I didn’t close out by sharing this final bit of wisdom. Over the years, I have witnessed some really unbelievable things happen during these altar times. Let’s use a little brain power. Here are some things to not do:

  1. PLEASE don’t tell the seeker the words to say. I have witnessed well-intentioned people tell people to repeat words like these … “who stola the keysa to my Honda”, “tie a my tie, tie a my bowtie”. Don’t insult the Holy Spirit by creating a language that according to Acts 2:4 should come from Him. “… as the Spirit enabled them.”
  2. PLEASE don’t frighten the seeker by being loud and boisterous. The Holy Spirit is a Person, not an emotion. You don’t have to MAKE things happen by being loud and emotional.
  3. PLEASE don’t create confusion. Don’t beat them on the back and holler “hold on” while the person on the other side is saying “turn loose!”

Is this difficult? No. It this complicated? No. No. Is ministering on this subject pressureful? No. No. No. Again, to me this is the EASIEST message to preach because the Father is ANXIOUSLY awaiting the opportunity to GIVE this GIFT to EVERYONE who asks! 

If you have any questions, I am just an email away. billy@billyburns.com.

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