(October 11, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan challenge all who feel something is missing …
Some time ago we read somewhere a very meaningful observation of Know the Truth blogger Philip De Courey, Kindred Community Church’s pastor, Anaheim.
He wrote that ‘The average Christian is a theological kindergartner lacking a basic knowledge of Christian doctrine … When it comes to doctrine; this is a day of the lowest common denominator. Congregations want preachers to play on their hearts not to tamper with their minds.’
Our own observation is that the line following is still so relevant in October 2017: ‘Ours is a time when people want to feel God and know God without having to think biblically about God.’
Often we find ourselves pointing out to congregations that we live in a day when many Christians are playacting, not participating – that they have problems simply because they can’t trust God and don’t (to use an often quoted expression church/business) move forward!
And why is that? Because they don’t know him! Oh they know about God but don’t know him intimately, neither the other members in the Trinity, Jesus and the Holy Spirit!
Not like caring married couples who really know and love each other Song of Songs-wise and live out the 1 Corinthians 13 agape principles before each another, really know each other so personally and deeply in every way – each able to totally trust the other because of that personal knowledge. (For a clear biblical understanding of agape, see Dr Jim McClure’s article, link below).
A missing link
Something vital and precious is missing today in many Christians’ lives, in church circles… something has been lost, overlooked, forgotten, not latched onto, not spent time on to really discover its depth, ignored.
Now we could name a few things… such as the lack of –
- More regular attendance
- Genuine worship unclouded by slick ‘entertainment type’ so called worship (see link below)
- Church attenders really connecting with others, not just favourite fellow coffee companions
- Committed faithful financial giving to support one’s local church’s ongoing work
- Awareness that God’s love and his justice are two sides of the same coin
- Meaningful prayer support for the minister and other ministry team members
- Personal knowledge of scriptures – so vital to living the Christian life
- Greater expectation for more salvations, healings and miracles
- And more…
- Especially the Holy Spirit moving in signs and wonders such as healings and miracles.
The above last is an obvious one – the lacking in many Christians, even leaders, of a personal, intimate relationship with the powerful Holy Spirit, the blessed third person of the Godhead!
The Spirit is not a kindergartner squatter!
The Holy Spirit enters into us when we receive Christ as Saviour and we become God’s spiritual children – but there’s more to it than just that! The Spirit is not a squatter; he is ever active and desires to flow through every believer in some productive way or another!
He’s not only the great comforter but the great empower of ability and vision to serve Jesus so that we are not leaving kingdom building to others, especially only leadership! He wants us all to grow up in our Christianity and faith, to leave our spiritual babyhood, childhood and teenager years behind: to be responsible in living for Christ and our witnessing – and not be mere church squatters but active disciples of Jesus!
We’re not meant to remain at kindergartner level forever. As Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 13:11Mge, ‘When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.’
‘Infant’ or ‘childish’ (KJV) things is nepios – figuratively meaning ‘a simpleminded person, an immature Christian, a babe.’
The writer of Hebrews wrote along similar lines as Paul did when penning Hebrews 5:12-14: ‘By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one – baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong’ (Message).
In these dark days of a vastly troubled world, our nation and some churches as well, it’s time that more Christians grew up in Christ! Many need to start on the solid food of scripture, not go on lapping up ‘lowest common denominator‘ milk! We need to let our minds be tampered with biblically – that is challenged – not our ‘fancies’ tickled with, our hearts played with and consequently messed with!
Paul warned a young faithful minister about this in 2 Timothy 4: 3-4Mge, ‘You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food – catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages.’
Time to discover – or rediscover – our greatest friend!
In John 14-16 (NIRV) Jesus revealed his desire to send his followers the amazing Holy Spirit after he’d returned to heaven, that he’d no longer be with them and they could wrongly be feeling like orphans.
In reality Jesus is encouraging all of us to know and make the Spirit of truth, the comforter, advocate, great helper our forever friend…. and all to his glory (John 16:14). Yet, some still foolishly say, ‘Oh that’s not for me.’
Sadly, many Christians have never been taught about or encouraged to know and build, let alone actually built this vital relationship and have missed out.
It’s time for a change and ministers and leaders must accept responsibility to excite and inspire their church people with the presence of the Holy Spirit through clear Bible teaching and demonstrations of the Spirit in action.
This is especially needed among our young people! We don’t want to lose their enthusiasm and energy… we must inspire and encourage them to know God’s word and vision for the world. And prepare them take the church into the future years – with a life force that is biblically based and Spirit anointed. They need to understand now what the Bible teaches about the Spirit and to see the dynamic of the Spirit in our churches today… Acts 29 in action if you like!
But not just a ‘next generation’ – the ‘Now Generation’
Yes, there’s a noticeable hunger and thirst among many the younger generation today to know about the Holy Spirit! But in reality it’s every Christian who should know the Holy Spirit in a personal, intimate way and be active for Jesus!
We miss the point when we over-emphasise ‘youth being the next generation’ – let’s concentrate on the ‘Now Generation’ – every disciple of Jesus whatever age not just knowing about the third person of the Godhead but actually knowing him personally through what God’s word clearly teaches and experiencing him in our lives and ministry.
It seems that possibilities of volcanoes erupting are often in the news these days. There’s a real volcano erupting in some with-it churches for something more in God! A fresh longing – for the reality of God’s word and the Spirit’s dynamic presence exploding today!
An interesting GoodNews report from the States some time back was very encouraging. Evidently quite a number of university Christian students were seeking the Holy Spirit. They’ve realised that something exciting and energising has missing in their lives, their church, home group, uni group and in their very Christianity.
Many Christians have hungered and thirsted for, sought after and found the Holy Spirit in a very personal way. They’ve discovered that he is real and the greatest friend. That the baptism in the Spirit is not just a new personal prayer language but the gateway to being used powerfully in God’s supernatural to minister and help build one’s local church. And that it is all exciting and catching.
‘Everything old is new again…’
Unfortunately some churches and Christians do know about the Holy Spirit and the fulness of the Spirit’s infilling but consider this a historic piece and not for today.
Peter Allen’s lyrics come to mind…
‘Don’t throw the past away
You might need it some rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again.’
Today is a rainy day – we need the explosive supernatural heat, the fire of the Holy Spirit!
Tired of spiritual shallowness and dryness?
This longing for something more meaningful, more dynamic sounds reminiscent of what happened back in the late 1890s! Yes, as far back as the late 1890s – when Christians in mainstream churches began longing for something deeper and more realistic from God’s word, their Sunday services and in their own Christian experience than they were receiving in their local churches. An inner hunger and thirsting began and the Holiness Movement developed, leading to the beginning of what became termed Modern Pentecost. There was an excitement in the air and a sense of God at work.
But that was then! There’s a new, fresh hunger for God, to know really his word and his Holy Spirit today.
And it’s arising from an awareness that many churches, even some Pentecostal ones – and ministers – are shallow and dry, promising much but delivering little! Or they appear on-fire but in reality it may be only depth-less entertainment, the old numbers game and pursuing finance above genuine spirituality.
The now generation, not just young people only, don’t want to be squatters any more than the Spirit does! They’re looking for something solid in God. And this is only found through a practical relationship with the Holy Spirit and a realistic knowledge of the power of God’s word.
Let’s teach and demonstrate both! Whatever our church denomination, we don’t want theological kindergartners squatting in churches! Let’s feed that current hunger with the meat of the word, not milk – especially watered down milk at that.
May the Holy Spirit, the real builder of the church of Jesus, the CEO, never have to challenge any church leader’s Sunday run sheet with a desperate ‘Harrumph? Excuse me – but where am I on your program?’
(Scripture and other emphases ours) Links: Jim McClure’s … https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/05/11/words-of-life-g2-love-without-limits-agape/ / Tim Edwards’ https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/10/17/standing-in-the-gap/ / Meredee Berg’s churchleaders.com/news/international/310736-evensong-church-of-england-resurrects-tradition-attract-millennials.html