We’re at day three and last night’s sleep wasn’t too bad; some people just snore differently each night. This morning’s breakfast again demanded more cup noodles, there just wasn’t enough and it wasn’t filling unless you really tried to make it so.
Today’s seminar took us through the entire book of Acts, the entire book! Never before have I ever tried to go through a larger book of the Bible in a mere hour and a half. It’s preposterous to think that one can fully understand it in such little time. But the goal here was not to fully grasp the message and concept of the book, but rather to exegetically extract the relevant bits to do with the Spirit.
We also had a look at all the signs and miracles in it; interesting how it wasn’t only Jesus who was performing miracles, but that’s because the Holy Spirit gave them “powers’” to. Of course from here we move onto Pentecostal matters where we think about whether it’s feasible to expect the Holy Spirit to do similar things to us today as it did back then; for example, the whole tongues thing.
Obvious answer is that we shouldn’t be expecting the “supernatural” things that the Spirit used to do. But then that doesn’t stop other people from trying to get those “powers”. There’s always the question of whether or not we’re meant to be expecting these “powers” but upon thinking about them logically, there is no longer any need for them. Miracles? Won’t people just put them off as illusions? Prophecy? There’s nothing more to prophesy.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Our afternoon seminar was based on what we had done just earlier that day. This seminar by Paul Grimmond dealt more with the other “gifts” of the Holy Spirit, that aren’t related to supernatural powers and stuff. Rather we were talking about skills, in speech, in musical talent, etc, the skills that would be useful in the Christian life. Every one of us excel in certain aspects of our lives, and so we are more useful in some areas than others. But Grimmo (rather than Paul, being mistaken with the apostle) stressed that whatever skills we have, we should be trying to use them for the glory of God.
Having said that, it becomes apparent that whatever God has given us has a reason and a purpose; I think I might have touched on that in one of my other posts called “Reason and Purpose”? So consequently, Grimmo was saying that everything is a gift from God, no just our skills and all, but including the people we meet, the circumstances we go through, especially the bad ones because most of us have probably seen how a bad situation was able to turn out good.
Carl continued on from Romans 8 tonight about the “power” that comes from the Holy Spirit. Again he touched on how we think of the Holy Spirit as something that empowers us to be able to do wonderful things. And so some Christians earnestly seek to obtain this feeling that the Holy Spirit really is giving them power of some sort. Again he went back to the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches that try and “channel” the Holy Spirit and exercise its power.
The trouble from that is that people misinterpret their experiences, thinking that everything is “spiritual” and from God and so they give it more authority than the Word of God. In a sense, that would be following your instincts rather than your head, a real danger to the Christian life. Most authority must be given to the Bible in leading our Christian, being being followed by experiences, traditions and reason, not necessarily in that order.
But Carl taught us that we do have power from the Spirit. It might not be as extreme as being able to perform miracles, but today all Christians have the power to resist sin, the power to be able to live godly lives and follow Christ amidst all the temptations of the world. We learn to be able to love despite people not loving us back, the ability to forgive when the other person may not deserve it. We have the power to stand as justified in God’s eyes though we have not been taken up to heaven yet. Being able to stand as righteous right now but also in anticipation of the salvation is indeed a strange concept but that is the thing that gives us the desperate hope that we need today.
Night Session (cont’d)
After the formal night session, our faculty was announced to have to perform an act for tomorrow night. Although none of us really had any ideas over the last few days, we all still pushed to be the faculty to be nominated to perform the following night. So before bed time we all rushed to the Prayer Tower to come up with our act. We were definitely going to do a song, or two, and maybe put in a little skit to go with it. But with 80+ people, it was hard in deciding on a song. I was pushing for us to perform “Baby” (artist excluded) because it’d definitely make ours a memorable act; and we could easily change the lyrics to fit in with our topic of the Holy Spirit. We only managed to get through the song choices at night, the rest would have to wait till tomorrow.