Posts Tagged: "holy spirit"

Lent Day 17… Greet One Another With A Holy Embrace

We all did it… all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ.

— Ephesians 2.3-4

God embraced us.

Dirty, corrupt, broken as we were—He embraced us. He pulled us in, all close and personal. And this embrace has brought us life.

“Greet one another with a holy embrace.” —2 Corinthians 13.12

Some versions of this Scripture say, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

That’s not something we Americans are particularly known for. Europeans do it. So do Middle-Easterners. And Ethiopians, Somalis, and Eritreans. But you just don’t see a whole lot of cheek-kissing as a form of greeting in the U.S. (and I for one am cool with that).

On Friday, the last day of our team’s work with the L.A. Dream Center, we went to MacArthur Park to hand out food and pray with people. While we were there, we met this one lady who drives 90 minutes to help—and she has done this for over 10 years. She is a real character.

Mike, one of the guys from our church, was talking with her… and I overheard him say something about how he was going to give her… Read More

Lent Day 6… the wind (Spirit) will only rattle you if you’re hoping to stay right where you are

Today’s Lent post is a video. It’s from a series I did last summer—13 weeks of preaching on the wild and untamed ways of the Holy Spirit. This particular message is titled, “Sails Up, The Wind Is Blowing.”

I hope you’ll take the time to watch it. The opening sequence (a prayer) is absolutely beautiful. And I think the message is timely, challenging.

Nobody in the audience says “Amen” during this sermon. In fact, everyone is quiet throughout the message (with the exception of a baby or two). The quietness might be the result of the opening lines of my sermon…

We pastors crave, we want “Amens.” Sometimes we joke about it and ask for them. Sometimes we just straight up plead with the people to give us “Amens.”

There is something encouraging and affirming about it. It’s nice to know people are with you—listening, and affirming what you’re saying…

And there’s also something about it… like, when I’m listening (to a sermon) and I say “Amen,” it’s quick. I mean ya gotta get that out there quickly right after the thing was said—and basically, what it means is, “I already knew that, I already believe that.” That’s something I recognize and it registers right away in my brain, “Yeah, that’s true.”

So, that’s what amen is saying. Like, “Yes, that’s true. Amen. Let that be.” It’s a very fast reaction that essentially means you didn’t learn anything new… because if you’re hearing something you’ve never heard before and you’re processing something that strikes you like, “What???” you’re not gonna shout out “Amen!” because you’re not really sure if you believe that thing yet.

And so part of my desire in this series is to have a few less “Amens,” and a few more, “Whaaaaattt???? What the heck?” I actually want that to be some of our reaction.

I wonder if we can we be open? Is it possible? And will we be?

Is there anything new we can learn? Or do we already… Read More

When Doves Cry

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Pigeon friend of mine, fly on, sing on. —Carl Sandburg

Last weekend in Maple Valley my family and I walked from the farmer’s market back home – through a neighborhood – and while we were walking, I could hear a distinct sound. One we’ve all probably heard before. It wasn’t loud, but it was present.

Like a subtle soundtrack. Music to set the scene. And yet it seemed unusual. A bit out of place or context. For a moment I tried to place the sound. And then I realized what it was…

The gentle cooing of doves.

Which did seem odd to me. Are there doves here?

My last experience with… Read More

Wind of God

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This is the sermon bumper from Sunday’s message – part 2 in our Untamed series, “Sails Up, The Wind Is Blowing.” It’s one of my favorites. Kinda felt like there was no need to preach after it – it would have been enough just to let that sink in…

Video & sound editing—Shaun Jones-Morford, voice… Read More

Wind of the Wilderness

picture: from hiking along the stream above Multnomah Falls with my friend Moses.

The following is from Paul J. Pastor’s beautiful book The Face of the Deep: Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit…

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If you are ever in Oregon, you must go some early morning on the eastern highway that runs beside the Columbia River down the floor of the great gorge between Portland and The Dalles. If the clouds are few, you will be greeted by a sunrise “lovely beyond any singing of it,” clean and utterly strange, that washes and stripes the waterfalls and basalt columns with ageless, shifting color.

Travel toward the sun. When you see the signposts, turn off the highway and stop by the stone lodge flanking Multnomah Falls. You will see the stairs that run up from the road, running past the lodge and to a lookout in view of the lower falls. At a particular point at the top of those stairs—count seven stones from the left at the top flight—stop, turn due west, and listen.

This is what you will hear: in your left ear, the roar of… Read More

Kindness Revealed

As I have grown in my understanding of God, and in my relationship with him over the years, I’ve come to believe something about his nature…

He is kind.

I will have compassion on you with everlasting kindness, says the Lord —Isaiah 54.8 GWT

His kindness is everlasting.

And it’s not a hidden feature. Sometimes the church and his people do a good job of hiding it… Read More