The opening items on the list of the “50 Things the Holy Spirit Does” via Frank Viola @ Reimagining Church

1.      He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).

2.      He guides us into all truth (John 16:13).

3.      He regenerates us (John 3:5-8; Titus 3:5).

4.      He glorifies and testifies of Christ (John 15:26; 16:14).

5.      He reveals Christ to us and in us (John 16:14-15).

6.      He leads us (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1).

7.      He sanctifies us (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 5:16).

8.      He empowers us (Luke 4:14; 24:49; Rom. 15:19; Acts 1:8).

9.      He fills us (Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17).

10.   He teaches us to pray (Rom. 8:26-27; Jude 1:20).

11.    He bears witness in us that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16).

12.    He produces in us the fruit or evidence of His work and presence (Gal. 5:22-23).

13.    He distributes spiritual gifts and manifestations (the outshining) of His presence to and through the body (1 Cor.     12:4, 8-10; Heb. 2:4).

14.    He anoints us for ministry (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38).

15.    He washes and renews us (1 Tim. 3:5).

16.    He brings unity and oneness to the body (Eph. 4:3; 2:14-18). Here He plays the same role that He plays in the Godhead. The Spirit is the life that unites Father and Son. He plays the same role in the church. When He is operating in a group of people, He unites them in love. Therefore, a sure evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a group is Love and Unity. Not signs and wonders (those are seasonal and can be counterfeited).

DOVE: The Suffering Power of the Holy Spirit

In our time Christians have become particularly well known for making vocal judgments about the ills of our society. I am reminded of God’s struggle through the prophets to remind Israel  of her shortcomings. Surely the line of prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea, Micah, etc. – tried to bring about a just society. Finally, God chose to send his son to redeem a fallen nation and people. We could stand to learn about his God who was made known in the descending dove at Jesus’ baptism.

The Dove Is Associated with Jesus’ Baptism: "When Jesus came from Galilee  to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased’" (Matthew 3:13-17).

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WIND: The Creative Power of the Spirit

Ezekiel_374cwThe Spirit (wind – ruach – pneuma) can be described as the God’s creative power giving new life to dead things as in Ezekiel’s "valley of the dry bones" (see Ezekiel 37:1-14).

  • First, speak to dem bones. Instead of using the divine hand to raise up those scattered bones, God insists that the feat will be accomplished in part by the prophet’s voice. And once Ezekiel spoke to dem bones, the transformation from bones-to-bodies took place so rapidly that our ears are assaulted with the rattling racket of thousands of bones.
  • Second, blow on dem bones. Ezekiel now stood before a lifeless sea of corpses: for "there was no breath in them" (v. 8). God’s instructed this prophet to call upon the divine breath of life carried from the four corners of God’s creation.
  • Third, set dem bones. The Greek term for setting bones is derived from the same Greek root we translate as "to equip." Ezekiel was a bone-setter himself. Ezekiel equipped his frightened, depressed, beaten, landless people with God’s vision of a hopeful future.

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WATER: The Life-Giving Power of the Spirit

Revelation_27_water_cwWater is the source and sustainer … the stuff of life.

  • Water – liquid of rain and rivers: the clear liquid, essential for all plant and animal life, that occurs as rain, snow, and ice, and forms rivers, lakes, and seas. Pure water is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Naturally occurring water picks up color and taste from substances in its environment. H2O (Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P)2005 Microsoft Corporation).
  • Water is the basic element of human existence.  In a detailed article you may not want to read, English scientist Shawn Huston quotes Felix Franks as saying, "Biochemistry is primarily the chemistry of water."
  • Not having plentiful water shapes our souls differently according to Gretel Erlich: "Dryness is the common denominator in Wyoming. We’re drenched more often in dust than in water; it is the scalpel and the suit of armor that makes westerners what they are" (The Solace of Open Spaces, 1985, "On Water").
  • The womb’s gift of intelligent life.
  • Faith’s gift of abundant life: "While Jesus was standing there, he cried out, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ " Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:37-39).
  • Jesus’ gift of new life: "At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven‘" (Matthew 18:1-3).

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OIL: The Comforting Power of the Spirit

Scripture: "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah" (1 Samuel 16:13).

Observation: Jesse first anointed Saul King of Israel at the people’s request. Late in Samuel’s life he mourns that Saul is not the king that God desired for the nation. God comes in the moments of despair and says "Go to Bethlehem and visit Jesse and among his sons is the new king." Samuel fears for his life — anointing a new king while the king is still on the throne is an act of sedition — but he is obedient to the LORD’s call.  The following are the Hebrew definitions of key words:

  • Samuel = a prophet of Israel = literally "his name is God," he listened/obeyed God
  • Saul = the first king of Israel = literally "desired"
  • Bethlehem = literally "house of bread" and future home of Solomon’s store house
  • Jesse = literally "I possess" or this is a person of substance
  • Eliab = Jesse’s oldest son = literally "my God is father" or this is God’s man
  • Abinadab = Jesse’s second son = literally "my father is noble"
  • Shammah = Jesse’s third son = literally "astonishment" or better yet, a waste!
  • David = Jesse’s last (forgotten) son = literally "beloved"

Jesse present Eliab, Abinadab, Shammah, and seven other sons to Jesse.  Jesse is impressed with each one, but the LORD (YHWH) is not. In exasperation, Samuel says "is this all your sons?" Jesse finally remembers that David is taking care of the sheep. When David appears the LORD whispers to Samuel "Here is my man!" Samuel anoints David and the Spirit of the LORD descends upon him.

Oil is used in scripture as a sign of "strengthening or consecrating for service."

  • Moses anointed Aaron: "He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him" (Leviticus 8:12, see Psalm 133:1-2).
  • Samuel anointed David: "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah" (1 Samuel 16:13).
  • Jesus began his ministry with Isaiah’s claim: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed
    me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release
    to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the
    oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor" (Luke
    4:18-19, see Acts 10:38).

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FIRE: The Purifying Power of the Holy Spirit

Acts_0203awDoes your organization or business have mission statement?  We are wrestling with discerning our church’s mission statement.

Does your organization or business have an image statement? There are very few now that do. But in an image culture, it’s more important to have an image statement than a mission statement.

Providence is called by some the WaterFire City, and its WaterFire Festival has done more to revitalize downtown Providence than almost anything else. Fifty years ago, Providence was going the "rust-belt" way of other industrial cities unable to make the transition to an information economy. An "urban revitalization" consultant was hired to recommend new approaches to reversing the downward spiral that Providence found itself in. After extensive study, he made his proposals. Chief among which was the suggestion that the city blow up its perfectly good downtown bridge in order to give people "water experiences" like Providence offered its citizens in earlier days. Much to everyone’s surprise, Providence was in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world’s widest bridge – two miles wide at one point.

The consultant was laughed out of town. But Providence kept tanking as the urban flight move to panic stage. In desperation the money was raised to take down the bridge that covered the downtown in concrete and give people water experiences again. But it was too little, too late.

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Series on the Power of the Holy Spirit

The sermon series on the Holy Spirit featured on my “Front Porch” was inspired by a re-reading of Len Sweet’s New Life in the Spirit (Philadelphia: Westminster Press,1982), pp. 18-28.

  • Jesus promises in Acts 1:8 that we will “receive power when the Holy Spirit” comes.
  • Wind as the Creative Power of the Spirit (p. 18) — Gifted Ministry.
  • Oil as the Comforting Power of the Spirit (p. 22) — Group Fellowship.
  • Fire as the Purifying Power of the Spirit (p. 23) — Grace-Filled Worship.
  • Dove as the Suffering Power of the Spirit (p. 24) — Generous Mission.
  • Water as the Life-Giving Power of the Spirit (p. 26) — Growing Discipleship.
  • See Pentecost sermon by Victor Shepherd “The Holy Spirit as Breath, Dove, Oil and Fire.”

Holy Spirit in Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology.

Holy Spirit in Nave’s Topical Bible.

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Expecting to Receive the Spirit’s Power

Acts_0109cScripture: Jesus said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

Have you noticed that it’s rare to find anything that’s plain old good anymore? If it’s good, why isn’t it better, superior, or excellent?

I stepped into a mattress store with my children the other day. There we were faced with a decision among good, better, best, supreme, or ultimate mattresses. In the lineup I saw, good isn’t good at all – its four steps below ultimate! Our culture does not seriously consider anything today unless it’s extreme in some way or another—exceptionally wonderful, supremely dreadful, or as FedEx puts it, extremely urgent. Nothing mediocre, nothing in the middle will do.

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