What does the ideal church look like? Graham H. Twelftree, in his recent book entitled People of the Spirit: Exploring Luke’s View of the Church, poses that very question to the author of Luke-Acts. While Twelftree admits his study is not comprehensive he does claim it identifies and explains the major aspects of Luke’s ecclesiology. Given the amount of subjects covered in the book and the controversial nature of some of the material it would be unrealistic to think that Luke and Acts scholars as well as those interested in ecclesiology will not appreciate Twelftree’s nuanced analysis and careful investigation of Luke’s writing. Read the rest of this entry »
Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’
Vinson Synan has written a delightful new book in which he combines historical events of Pentecostal and charismatic history with his own memories of the people, places, and events surrounding them. Many of the historical facts in this book he takes from some of his other sixteen published books, but what is new is the addition of his anecdotes and personal reflections on these events, as well as his predictions for the future. Although Synan was born in 1934, he begins with the Azusa Street revival of 1906 and traces his family and denominational roots to show how he is a “child of Azusa.” He may not have been an eyewitness to all the events, but he recounts many fascinating renewal moments by the Holy Spirit, both within the church and within himself by finding links to past revivals and ideas to help understand the “new” revival. Read the rest of this entry »
The Spirit of God dances. He can’t be tamed. He won’t be contained. He refuses to be confined to a weekend retreat, an evening meeting, or even a moment of devotion. He doesn’t follow schedules, programs, or agendas, and He doesn’t wait for His name to be called.
The Spirit of God dances…on out into the streets. He dances by the harlots in the red-light districts, by the victims of AIDS in lonely homes, by bag ladies in the inner cities, and by struggling farm families across the plains. He finds the orphans and widows and dances through the lonely pain of their lives.
He dances through the camps of hungry children, through the crowded streets of the oppressed, and past the wire where the South African woman is hanging out ragged laundry as well as by the scrubbed white faces sitting in church in the nearby city.
His favorite dancing places are those where [we] don’t want Him to go: on MTV, on drive-in movie screens, or on smoky stages with microphones that smell of whiskey. The Spirit of God loves sinners and dances best where life spills out on the floor.
The Spirit of God refuses to be choreographed. His dance is raw, new, and jerky. It’s not always pleasing to the eye, but His dance is fresh in the lives of human beings whose floors have not been cleaned up. It isn’t well-rehearsed, polished, or perfect; it slips and slides, sometimes innovative and shocking and at other times just exhilarant, but it’s always real.
Most people, even those who pride themselves in their dancing, are afraid of this spontaneous dance. They’re afraid of anything they can’t control…so they must create their own dance of predictable steps and prescribed routines and send all their people through dance school — or outlaw dance altogether.
But this should come as no surprise. It has always been this way. The Lord of the Dance himself was here once, and it was the same way then. He danced on the keepers’ holy days and broke their holy laws. His timing — if not His whole dance — always seemed offbeat…
He wanted to turn their empty religious movements into heartfelt, joyous dancing. He wanted them to exchange the grip of the Law for the freedom of the dance. But they thought He was a clumsy dancer, always bumping into their traditions and stepping on their pious toes. He even danced with the wrong crowd, in smoke-filled rooms and on messy floors.
Once He described His generation and declared, “We played the flute for you, but you would not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ “
No, nothing’s really changed… but the Spirit of God dances on.
While most of Fischer’s words aren’t Scripture, they are bursting with compelling reminders as to the uncontainable, un-confinable and uncontrollable nature of the Holy Spirit. And, like a snowball in the face, his words remind us of our innate fear of following God’s Spirit into places that are seemingly dark, uncharted, off-limits, secular and, heaven forbid, offensive to our Christian sensibilities.
You see, I grew up in a church culture where the Spirit of God was free to dance in the midst of our Sunday morning party, but I suppose we figured it best if we locked him up in the sanctuary all week so He could rest up and prepare his new song and dance for us the following Sunday. Many of us didn’t know that He, like Jesus, would not be restrained to dancing only with religious people in sacred settings. We didn’t know that, when church was over, He was rolling up His sleeves and going to dance in places we would never go–lest we get too offended or “infected” by the dirtiness of those places and the people who lived there. Don’t get me wrong, we’d be willing to breeze in and out of there to hand out tracts to these “spiritual targets.” But to dance with them and do life with them? That just wasn’t for us.
May I continually be reminded that the Spirit of God first hovered over the dark, formless chaos (Gen. 1:2) and continues to, like the wind, blows where it wishes (John 3:8). This same Spirit knows no boundaries and finds no dark, shadowy territory to be off-limits. After all, if it is true that “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps. 24:1),” then why shouldn’t we expect the Spirit to be imparting God’s life to every square inch of this fallen world? And dare I follow His lead as He teaches me to dance out there where church steeples are no longer in sight?