We began our new Holy Spirit series by hearing stories from Rob & Fred, friends of Greg’s and podrishioners from a house church network in Philadelphia. They shared about what it looks like for them to choose to live in the flow of the Holy Spirit on a day to day basis.
The message started off with a short video on a passage from Jude reminding us that we are engaged in a cosmic battle between God and the forces of darkness. In this battle we need to use everything we have, prayer and scripture, being constantly on the lookout for the enemy’s weapons of doubt, lies, and fear that try to blind our hearts and keep us from helping others. We were encouraged to fight the good fight and to know truth so we were not led astray.
After the video Greg spoke about how believers are in a cosmic battle, the spiritual equivalent of D-Day in World War II. Earth is like Normandy and Christians must not be overly interested in civilian affairs, but rather be seeking to please their commanding officer- Christ Jesus. The only way this is possible is to be in touch with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God in us. He is present in all who have surrendered to Christ.
This summer will be the summer of the Spirit! While at a church planting conference Greg met Fred and Rob. As the three became friends, Greg quickly saw that there was no separation between ordinary life and spiritual life for Fred and Rob and asked if they would come share with Woodland Hills. Greg, Fred, and Rob shared what walking in the Spirit means in a interview-like style. The biggest obstacle for most believers it that though they believe in the Holy Spirit, they don’t experience Him on a day-to-day basis. To counter this Rob encouraged us to start everyday giving God our first fruits. Oftentimes there is a temptation to start the day with social media, or tv, or the news, but Jesus is the giver of all good things. Spending the very first part of the day with Him, praising Him and getting to know the goodness of God, sets the whole day on a positive foundation.
Rob impressed that a heart of gratitude towards God makes possible walking with Him. It is also this time with the Lord that makes possible loving others.
Rob and Fred shared how the Lord can lead in any part of the day. They will start by asking “Holy Spirit what do you have for us today?” Greg likened it to keeping our walkie-talkies on. Not that God dictates to us our every move, but rather as we move through the day founded in His goodness we are giving Him the opportunity to intercede.
Fred shared how he travels for work and to keep the door open for God to intercede he has chosen to take cabs. Most of his cab drivers are muslim and this gives him an opportunity to talk with them. During one cab ride he got the opportunity to invite his muslim cab driver to a prayer and worship meeting.
The key to staying aware of God’s presence and possible intercessions is to be intentional. We only have so much time in this life and why not live it fully to God’s glory? Rob shared how he had opportunity to talk with a woman at work about somethings that were on her heart. During the conversation he felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to ask some specific questions and this led to him having the opportunity to share Jesus with her.
The key to hearing God’s voice is to know what God’s voice sounds like. Speaking time getting to know God allows us to know our Father’s voice. He has a lot of wonderful things to say about every single person. Greg likened it to being in a crowded room. When you are surrounded by people you might not notice a gentle nudge. Same with the Holy Spirit, if our lives are too full of noise we have a much harder time hearing the Lord’s voice.
Hearing God’s voice allows for opportunities to share and love others. Rob cautioned to never treat anyone like a projected but to recognize that we might be the only example of Jesus that someone every meets. Fred met a woman at a boutique that mentioned to him that she had a friend in accident. Fred asked to pray for her and right there prayed with her about her friend, impressing during that prayer the love and compassion of Christ. We don’t have to “close the deal” and bring someone to Christ. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. We only need to be agents of God’s pursuing love. Never be afraid to say the name of Christ, even if it might seem to offend people, because there is power in His name.
Rob shared a story of going out on a two person evangelist outing. Before Rob and his partner in the outing, Chris, set out they prayed and ask the Holy Spirit if there were specific people that they should talk to. Rob saw in his imagination a young man in a plaid shirt and Chris saw a woman in a hooded sweatshirt. Throughout the night they each found the person that they had seen in their mind. Rob was able to share a natural conversation about Christ with the man in the plaid shirt. He found that he didn’t have to do the work of the Holy Spirit, but rather simply step out in faith. Later they found the woman in the sweatshirt and were able to pray with her about her need for physical healing and share Jesus with her.
But how do we know that the nudges we get from the Holy Spirit are from Him or just our brain? Part of it is being in a community with a culture of sharing testimonies. As we hear these stories we get a better sense of how God works. Fred shared that he was once driving a bus and felt the need to open the door and tell the man in the car next to him that Jesus was still on His throne. Fred thought that was too odd and pushed it aside, but after hearing it three times, he did. The man in the car next to him started to weep after he heard Fred. Fred explained that we can’t always understand what God is doing but need only be faithful.
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8 thoughts on “Walking In The Spirit”
Listening, watching and experiencing Rob and Fred with Greg in the beginning of this summer series I’m aware of three words which seem to me interconnected: communion; community; and mystery. However, not as dry concepts are the three connected. Connected as real time experience as Christ speaking in the “present perfect.”
The Trappist monk Thomas Merton (AKA Fr.Lewis) details what must be a similar walk with the inner Spirit of Christ, the living God speaking us into being.
A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Life, The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3: 1952-1960″ by Thomas Merton:
“Why is it we must be afraid of Mystery, as if the Mystery of God’s love were not infinitely simple and infinitely clear? Why do we run away from Him into the dark which, to us, is light? That is the other mystery of sin, which no one understands. Yet we act as if we understand sin and as if we were really aware of the love of God when we have never deeply experienced the meaning of either one.”
“ After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
The mission of the disciples is little different for believers of today and it is interesting to see some parallels between these verses and the testimony of Rob and Fred. There is so much to unpack here that would take far more than this short blog. However, there are some matters of note. The disciples are to go, ‘where he himself was about to go’ ie Jesus and, effectively, go unprepared in terms of food, money and clothing and don’t necessarily go with a message to everyone you see; namely, “and greet no one on the road” and “Do not go from house to house.” In other words, you will be guided into making the ‘harvest’, for the words they/you speak are ‘sharper than any two-edged sword’ that will require a life decision by those who are going to accept or reject that word. And where Jesus says, ‘I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy’, clearly this can only be achieved by walking in the Spirit from the viewpoint of the results indicated, and similarly the outcomes of Rob and Fred can also only be achieved through His empowerment.
Neither do i discount God’s Spirit speaking to me in other forms….i love the Fred’s term “sacred intersections’…i say ‘Divine Coincidence’…A big moment that stands out in my mind is this: Another brother and i were driving down the freeway wrestling with God on what to do in some situation or other; i can’t remember…in that instant, a big 18 wheeler passed us….written in the dirt on the back door of the trailer were the words “Trust Jesus”.
amen amen amen. So thankful for this message and these Godly men!
Rather than going to Sunday School I walk the sidewalks right outside of our church and invite people to our services. I also hand out tracts and New Testaments. Right across the street there is a man who sells newspapers, he is there every Sunday. I have spoken with him a couple of times. this morning I felt the need to go talk with him. We had a good talk and I gave him a copy of the gospel of John. I wondered how many papers he intended to sell, or the amount he was expected to sell. So, I asked him. I think it would be great if our church could buy him out, just a thought. I appreciate the encouragement to live a life sensitive to a seeking Savior.
Hi- Can someone tell me how to contact these guys? I live right outside Philadelphia. I truly believe I needed to see this message. I would appreciate any help to get connected.
Hello Eileen! Here is the contact that we have for them: email@example.com. Hope this helps!
Really, really enjoyed this, thank you!