This week I had the privilege to listen to Guy Kawasaki speak. It is refreshing to learn from an actual world-class leader. Guy is “one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984. He popularized the word evangelist in marketing the Macintosh and the concepts of evangelism marketing and technology evangelism.” One of his excellent points is this: Let 100 flowers blossom.
I understand that I just asked a big question, and one that will certainly not be answered in this short article or on this forum. But it is a question that I think is worth discussing, and highly relevant to our discussions here lately about community. I’ve started to realize something rather amazing. The way I communicate with God has a lot to do with the way I communicate with other people. And thus my communicating with God affects my role in the communities I am participating in. I don’t have any great theological truth to dictate to you today. Nor do I have any grand answers to what some might rightly call an unanswerable question. I do however want to present a framework for a dicussion about a topic I feel is a relevant and highly exciting part of my journey recently. In Christian terms, the primary word for communicating with God is of course prayer.
It must come to an end. If it doesn’t end, it won’t be healthy for any of us. That was the advice one of our pastors gave to a member of our cohort group as we concluded our nine-month “Emerging Journey” class. One of my new friends in this class was sad that the fellowship had to end. Nine months have flown by so quickly! As we finished our class last night, none of us wanted it to end. All night our pastor’s words bounced around in my head. He reminded us that it is unhealthy for a spiritual discipline or church program to go on and on without conclusion.
[Admin note: Don’t like talking about UBF so much? Then let’s talk about the gospel! Here is another article submitted to us regarding Christian life and how the gospel of Jesus impacts our life.] I entered UBF when I was seventeen years old. I had just finished a disastrous break-up with a high school girlfriend that had left me with overwhelming guilt and shame because of the impurity of our relationship. I was disgusted with my life-dominating sin problems, and I earnestly prayed for God’s help to change.
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What does “unobtrusive” mean? Last week when I was praying with a friend who is a UBF leader, I prayed for him to be unobtrusive. The word “unobtrusive” just popped into my mind as I was praying for him. It was unplanned. It was as though the Holy Spirit put that word in my mind while I prayed for him. After we prayed, he asked me what “unobtrusive” meant. I said, “To not be in the way of other people.” Then I apologized to him, because he was not really an obtrusive leader. In fact, while apologizing to him for implying that he was obtrusive, I realized that it should be my prayer for myself, because by nature, I am an obtrusive sort of person. My wife lovingly calls me “highly annoying,” which I often regard as a compliment of the highest order. Since then, the word “unobtrusive” has been on my heart and mind. I began asking myself a question, “Should a Christian leader, pastor, Bible teacher, shepherd be obtrusive or unobtrusive?” I thought that the answer is quite obvious. But are those of us who are in positions of Christian influence unobtrusive?
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In his prior two articles, Part 2 and Part 1, David began reviewing Jonathan Edwards’ writing, “The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God”. Edwards explained some marks that may be good, but do not necessarily prove that a certain work was indeed inspired by the Holy Spirit. Some football teams or rock bands have done marvelous works with the characteristics that Edwards mentions, but they were clearly not the work of God’s Spirit of Truth.
The important question then, is what are the marks of a work that is done by the Spirit?
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For this holiday weekend (well at least in America it’s a holiday!), I’d like to publish a heartfelt story that my grandmother sent to me today.
It is in slideshow form and was translated from French into English: Mon_fils_English
Here is a free viewer if you have trouble viewing the file: Free MS PowerPoint viewer.
Continuing in the discussion of Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God by Jonathan Edwards, here are the five remaining “negative signs.” Remember: by calling them “negative signs,” Edwards is not saying that these marks prove that the Holy Spirit is not at work. He is saying that these signs do not conclusively prove or disprove that the Spirit is working. These signs may be present in a true movement of the Spirit, but they may also be found in counterfeit movements.
5. When people are stongly influenced by the personal example of others. Personal example plays an important role in human life and in all interactions among people whether or not the Spirit is moving. If many people begin to take action after being influenced by someone’s personal example, and if many people or many groups begin to exhibit similar thoughts and behaviors, it means nothing.
Jonathan Edwards was a witness to and one of key figures in the Great Awakening (c. 1730-1745). During this great revival, the Holy Spirit came and worked in new and unexpected ways. This revival touched many lives and had many followers, but it had many strong opponents as well. The opponents pointed to unusual phenomena within this movement, claiming it was not the true work of the Spirit, and because of it questioned the validity of whole movement.