Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit. I wanted to remind you that you are filled with the Spirit of God today, at this very moment. He doesn’t take off every time you have a stupid thought or act like a jerk or fail to do something you should have done. He is with you. He is in you. Right now.
Jesus said, “He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing... Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:5, 9)
Abide in Him. Keep turning your attention to Him. Remember that He is present. Honor Him. Obey Him. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. Meditate on Him and on His love for you. He loves you! He is with you because He delights in you and likes you. If we can be convinced of that today, I think we’ll bear fruit for the glory of Jesus. His presence is an amazing and overwhelming mystery, and yet it is absolutely true.
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves...
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control...
“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
(Galatians 5:16, 22-23, 25)
We have been filled with the Spirit of God - the very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. He is alive in you! His intent is to make us witnesses for Jesus, that the world might know who He is and what He has done for them. He also labors to make us more like Jesus, so we can demonstrate to the world what He is like. Though we have been filled with the Spirit, we can be filled again. If we are struggling in our witness; if we are noticing a lack of true Holy Spirit fruit, we can seek to be filled anew, just as the disciples did in Acts 4. And He is faithful.
You can walk in joy and in love and in peace and all of those things. The key is the Spirit. Paul admonishes us, “let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” We all need to step back at times and seek Him. We need to renew our vows to Him, and to once again give Him everything - every part of our lives. Give Him our futures and our ambitions and our money and our relationships and our sins and habits and addictions and hopes and all of it. Lay it before Him. Oh, the crazy fulfillment that comes with this! The cross demonstrates that He has already given us His all. He is faithful!
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” — Acts 1:8
All of us as followers of Jesus are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and that power is given to us that we might be Jesus’ witnesses. That we might tell people everywhere about Him. That we might live lives that reflect who He truly is. I’m so glad this is by the power of the Spirit. That gives me hope.
By God’s grace, I will be headed back to Uganda in June. I am so grateful that the tickets have been provided, and the details are coming together. While there, my team of friends and I will be holding a leadership conference for pastors and regional church leaders in Masaka. I am thrilled that this is coming together - and a little nervous. :). My prayer is that all who come will be further equipped to bear fruit in the important work God has given them to do. Further, I pray that our time spent with significant church network leaders will lead to a strategy of empowering and equipping hundreds of leaders, discipling churches to maturity, and thrusting forth many into the mission of bringing the Gospel to all.
I will also have the opportunity to spend a couple of days with students from ORU who will be serving in Uganda at the time, sharing with them in the ministry of evangelism and teaching. I hope to be an encouragement to several congregations that are dear to me, and to have quality time with a number of key leaders.
If you’d like to hear more about this trip, and how you can help, please let me know.
I still love spending time each week at the Merchant, where God is enabling us to build deeper relationships and to proclaim the gospel to the poor. What a privilege! Last Sunday, friends from another local church here in town provided a wonderful breakfast for all who came to our worship service. They had passed out flyers downtown to invite folks, and we were able to welcome a good number who had never worshipped with us before. What a blessing to be part of the Body of Christ working together in His great cause!