How wide, how long, how high, and how deep

– HMPC Sunday morning (note the “Holy Spirit ribbons!“)

I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you.

Ephesians 3:17-19
– NC writer Derek Maul

Yesterday I wrote, briefly, about Pentecost. Today, having enjoyed a good Sunday morning around a lot of joy, and life, and hope at HMPC in Raleigh, I want to pick up on the communication aspect of the coming of The Spirit.

The gifts received by the followers of Jesus that morning in Jerusalem were designed to help effect the mission of the early church. And the most pressing need at that time remains probably the most pressing today, that of effectively communicating the Good News story.

I believe this is important because sometimes we get caught up in the supernatural, the mystery, the dramatic. But there is really only one question when it comes to spiritual gifts: “Is the story of Jesus being told?”

If we are truly “Filled with the Spirit,” then obviously we must be filled with God’s generous, invitational, self-giving love.

And the evidence – the fruit – of the Spirit is, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5). These are remarkably effective tools for communicating the story.

I also believe it’s important for us to understand that the evidence of God’s Spirit is demonstrated – “proved” I might say – inasmuch as we live faith out loud with a confidence that speaks volumes. This cuts to the heart of this “communication aspect” I led with. Because the best way to communicate truth and transformation is to live it. Nothing tells the story so compellingly as authenticity.

Paul put it this way:

You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ.

Romans 8:15-17
– Laying on of hands and prayer of ordination….

If all that is true, then we have the confidence and the credibility to live like God’s heirs, and fellow heirs with Christ!

I like the fact that we ordained new elders and deacons yesterday morning. Leaders among God’s children, filled with the Holy Spirit, fellow heirs with Christ, living faith out loud in such a way that God’s intention at Pentecost is honored, that people will hear the Good News story, and that there will be clarity because of the love, the joy, the peace, the patience, the kindness, the goodness, the faithfulness, and the gentleness…

In love, and because God’s love gives us the power to tell the Good News Story – DEREK

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