No thanks Holy Spirit, I’m good
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. In reading the story again this week, I see two big reasons we’ll struggle to see a Pentecost-type event.
We don’t wait (or pray).
Since the days of Pentecost, has the whole church ever put aside every other work and waited upon Him for ten days, that the Spirit’s power might be manifested? We give too much attention to method and machinery and resources, and too little to the source of power. Hudson Taylor
A year ago our church did spend a week in prayer and not much else. It was a great time. There weren’t 3000 converts that came out of it, but the Holy Spirit was really active in people’s lives and it breathed some new life into the church. We’ve done a week like that twice in the almost three years I’ve been the pastor there. I guess it’s better than nothing, but I’m not good at the discipline of waiting and praying and I’m passing that impatience on to our church. We’re too busy to just wait and pray. I’m not sure we really believe something like that will do much good anyway. Many of the great movements of the gospel in history have been birthed from prayer. I guess we think we can do it better than God and his Spirit.
There’s no room in the plan.
How little chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound Him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves. C.T. Studd
We’re a culture of strategic plans and long-range thinking. I wonder if the disciples’ plan was to have tongues of fire rest on their heads, preach the gospel in languages they didn’t know, and see 3000 converts in a day. Doubt it. They just waited until God moved.
But we love plans and programming. One pastor tells a story of his worship leader joking, “We’ve got this down to such a science we don’t need God anymore.” If only that were a complete joke in our churches. The wind of the Spirit would probably upset most of us because it would throw our plans off. I’m as guilty as anyone. I’m not anti-planning, but how do we make sure if the Spirit wants to do something unexpected we aren’t so set in our ways that we can’t see it? The Spirit seldom fits into our plans. He likes it better if we fit into His.