Today’s Our Daily Bread talks about waiting on the Spirit and not relying on our own efforts…
During the discussion of a book on the Holy Spirit written by a ninety-four-year-old German theologian named Jürgen Moltmann, an interviewer asked him: “How do you activate the Holy Spirit? Can you take a pill? Do the pharmaceutical companies [deliver the Spirit]?” Moltmann’s bushy eyebrows shot up. Shaking his head, he grinned, answering in accented English. “What can I do? Don’t do anything. Wait on the Spirit, and the Spirit will come.”
Moltmann highlighted our mistaken belief that our energy and expertise make things happen. Acts reveals that God makes things happen. At the start of the church, it had nothing to do with human strategy or impressive leadership. Rather, the Spirit arrived “like the blowing of a violent wind” into a room of frightened, helpless, and bewildered disciples (2:2). Next, the Spirit shattered all ethnic superiorities by gathering people who were at odds into one new community. The disciples were as shocked as anyone to see what God was doing within them. They didn’t make anything happen; “the Spirit enabled them” (v. 4).
The church—and our shared work in the world—isn’t defined by what we can do. We’re entirely dependent on what only the Spirit can do. This allows us to be both bold and restful. On this day—the day we celebrate Pentecost—may we wait for the Spirit and respond.
God, I’ve exhausted myself by believing that I must make things happen. Holy Spirit, come and help me. In Jesus name, Amen
I read this story today and it got me reflecting on small changes…
“Will I make the Olympics? The college swimmer worried her speed was too slow. But when math professor Ken Ono studied her swim techniques, he saw how to improve her time by six full seconds—a substantial difference at that level of competition. Attaching sensors to the swimmer’s back, he didn’t identify major changes to improve her time. Instead, Ono identified tiny corrective actions that, if applied, could make the swimmer more efficient in the water, making the winning difference.”
Small corrective actions in spiritual matters can make a big difference for us too. I can remember when I decided to do my devotions first thing in the morning. A small change, but it focussed my mind of godly things to start the day.
Another small thing I added is go for a prayer walk up our rock when I am really thinking through things. It just gives me space and time to walk and talk with God. Often the answer will come on those walks, but if it doesn’t I know I have thought through it with God.
Small things can make a difference. Like the sailing boat in the picture, sometimes it is about making a small adjustment to the sails, rather than buying a new sail that can make all the difference to the journey.
I wonder if you have small changes you can make that will make you grow spiritually?
If you are a new Christian you have made a great decision to follow Jesus! To get you started I have provided some suggestions for you to help you grow on your new journey. Below you will find some things that really helped me nearly 35 years ago when I decided to follow Jesus.
Read the Bible
The Bible will help you to learn more about God and gives you practical advice about how we should live. A good place to start is the Gospel of Luke that is found in the New Testament. This book will give you information on the life of Jesus Christ and you will be able to read about His miracles and teachings to His followers. After this you can move on to the Book of Acts. This talks about the early church and how they got started. We also have a number of two week reading plans on our Bible Readings page. If you don’t have access to a Bible, you can find an online one here at www.biblegateway.com
Start to pray
Prayer is simply communicating with God. It is a part of building our relationship with Him. Just remember to keep it simple. The Bible tells us to give thanks to God for what He has done when pray and also to ask for the things we need for ourselves and others. Before long you will see the difference prayer makes in your life and in the lives of those around you. You can check out our prayer category on our blog for some tips.
Meet with other Christians
God wants us to meet with other Christians and be a part of a caring faith community. We see in the Bible that He wants us to have a support network and a place where we can learn more about Him. We don’t recommend any church in particular, but encourage you to try a local one near you in your community. If you are in Western Australia you might like to look for a local Church of Christ, Baptist Church or an Australian Christian Church.
Do a discipleship course
Doing a discipleship course will help you to set a solid foundation for your new life in Christ. We have a free booklet you can download on our discipleship page. The booklet has 10 short studies on the Bible, prayer, church, serving God, sharing your faith and being assured of your salvation. It includes a number of Scriptures on each topic, some reflection questions, a simple prayer and some Bible memory verses.
Tell others about your new faith
Sharing your faith can be fun and rewarding. You might like to start by telling people close to you that you have accepted Jesus into your life. Telling others about your faith and decision to follow Jesus can will allow them to follow Him too. If you need some tips to help you share your faith you can visit a sermon I preached on this topic.
Today’s WordPress question is about being involved in the community. This is a simple one to answer for me – I go to church.
Some people might not consider going to church as being involved in the community. But in a small country town it is. You get to know people of all different ages, backgrounds and nationalities, you get to share lives and you hear of needs in the community.
In a small country town churches are often involved in the community projects. There is always something going on. Our churches have food parcel help, help with free furniture, run youth groups and we have an overnight shelter. These are just some of the things we can help with.
So for me getting involved in my community starts with church. If I moved to a small country town again I would start by visiting the local churches.
In Isaiah 12 he offers his personal hymn of praise. It is a great description of the joy the people will have when Jesus Christ comes to reign over the earth.
Rather that providing reflections on this passage, I will just let you read it for yourself…
Isaiah 12:1-6 NLT  In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O LORD! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me.  See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”  With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!  In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the LORD! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is!  Sing to the LORD, for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world.  Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.”