The Holy Spirit and evangelism

It has been unfortunate that we put the Holy Spirit in a box. In Acts 1:8 Jesus said that “‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”’ So why don’t we live that way? Again I refer you to “Forgotten God” by Frrancis Chan and John’s Gospel chapters 14-17. But I have also typed up something below.
Let me write, I do not come from a Spirit-filled background. I have never spoken in tongues nor interpreted. Meagan can interpret tongues but that is resent. I come from a college that would for the most part be considered cessationalist which means they believe the sign gifts of the Spirit do not exist any more. But my seminary was not that way at all and I am not. I was part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and the Missionary Church USA which both recognize the Spirit in mighty ways, but that doesn’t mean I have.
But as I read about great revivals or renewals or evangelism movements I see the Spirit at work. People get over their tendency to be Spiritual introverts and let their emotions flow. They are so excited and overcome to know Christ and so that is expressed in awesome ways. We need this in our church and our churches. We need this if we ever expect to see another “Great Awakening.” We need this if we want to see many come to know Christ. I want to see this. I want to see masses come to know Christ. I pray that I mean this with pure motives. So first we must be opened to the Holy Spirit. Please read below. I read this in the end notes of Vertical church:

James MacDonald. Vertical Church: What Every Heart Longs For. What Every Church Can Be.
David C. Cook / 2011 / Hardcover

Pages 315-316 in end notes number 25 for chapter 5: Unashamed Adoration:
John Wesley (1703-1791) was one of the founding members of the Methodist movement, and his journals are filled with descriptions of unusual physical manifestations that accompanied revival. For example, when describing the effects of a sermon on Saturday, July 14, 1759, he wrote, “Several fell to the ground, some of whom seemed dead, others in the agonies of death, the violence of their bodily convulsions exceeding all description. There was also great crying and agonizing in prayer, mixed with deep and deadly groans on every side.” (“Journals of John Wesley,” The Wesley Center Online, accessed January 3, 2011, http://wesley.nnu.edujohn-wesley/the-journal-of-john-wesley-vol-4/the-eleventh-part-section-two/.)
George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a contemporary of Wesley in England. When he heard reports of people responding boldly in Wesley’s meetings, Whitefield confronted his fellow preacher in a letter dated June 25, 1739: “I cannot think it right in you to give so much encouragement to these convulsions which people have been thrown in your ministry.” But a very short time later, Whitefield had to reverse his judgment when people began, without any prompting, to respond outwardly during his meetings. Henry Venn, a contemporary of Whitefield, wrote of the crowds listening to the great preacher: “Under Mr. Whitefield’s sermon, many among the immense crowd that filled every part of the burial ground were overcome with fainting. Some sobbed deeply; others wept silently; and a solemn concern appeared on the countenance of almost the whole assembly.” (Cited in J.C. Ryle Christian Leaders of the 18th Century [London: Banner of Truth, 1997], 253-53).
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) also described the sometimes-unusual events that would accompany a revival. Writing of those who find God’s grace for the first time, Edwards said, “It was very wonderful to see how persons’ affections were sometimes moved— when God as it were suddenly opened their eyes…. Their joyful surprise has caused their hearts as it were to leap, so that they have been ready to break forth into laughter, tears often at the same time issuing like a flood, and intermingling a loud weeping.” (“A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998], 1:354.)
In his description of the Great Awakening, Edwards wrote, “Many of the young people and children that were professors appeared to be overcome with a sense of the greatness and glory of Divine things, and with admiration, love, joy and praise, and compassion to others that looked upon themselves as in a state of nature; and many others at the same time were overcome with distress about their sinful and miserable state and condition; so that the whole room was full of nothing but outcries, faintings, and such like…. It was a very frequent thing to see a house full of outcries, faintings, convulsions and such like, both with distress, and also with admiration and joy.” (Jonathan Edwards, The Great Awakening: A Faithful Narrative [New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1972], 4:546-47.)
When considering the physical and emotional manifestations of revival, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) wrote that “these phenomena are not essential to revival yet it is true to say that, on the whole, they do tend to be present when there is a revival. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival [Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1987].)

The Holy Spirit and “Forgotten God”

Recently I began listening to the book “Forgotten God.” This is a book written by Francis Chan and I am listening to an audio version while I run. I am now on chapter 5. It is a very good book with the basic idea that we forget the Holy Spirit. What do you think? Do you think we forget the Holy Spirit? I have to agree.
The audio version begins with an interview with Francis Chan and he points out that so many times we talk about knowing God’s will but are we willing to follow? For example, what if God’s will is for you to talk with your neighbor? In one of the first few chapters Chan gives the illustration of speaking with a close friend about God’s will and the Holy Spirit. His friend said that he is honestly afraid to know God’s will. Yet, we have the Holy Spirit and Chan laments that, though we have the Holy Spirit with us, why are we no different than those who do not have the Holy Spirit. He gives an illustration of basketball. What if we had a great basketball player with us and in us? Wouldn’t we play better?
I am enjoying this book. You can find it here:
I was able to download the audio version for two weeks from the library.
I have to admit that my church background has neglected the Holy Spirit. Others would say we have to have balance. Chan points out, “I have never met someone with too much of the Holy Spirit.” We must avoid the mistakes of “balance” in the Christian life. I think community and the Holy Spirit are struggling in our American Christianity. Over the last year, my belief of tongues as a spiritual gift has been challenged, challenged by God. This is because I experienced it in several prayer meetings. Someone spoke in tongues and Meagan interpreted. The Spirit is active and we must not put Him in a box. He is God, not an “it.” God is with us. (John 14-17)

On another note:
This past week I have dealt with a sick child. Mercedes Grace has graced us with her vomit, repeatedly. It all started on Wednesday night and it was a long night. (I am getting to an application.) Mercedes went to sleep at about midnight after vomiting all her drinks and food. We went to sleep soon after. But just after 3 she woke up screaming. She went back to sleep for a minute, but soon woke up again screaming and screaming and screaming. We got her out of her crib and she went for the refrigerator. The poor child was so thirsty as she had nothing in her. We gave her three ounces of pedialyte. She drank it up and guess what? Within a few minutes Meagan was wearing it. Mercedes went back to sleep until just after 7 AM. She woke up thirsty. This time Meagan gave her a tablespoon of pedialyte and we waited for 10 minutes and then gave her another tablespoon and then an ounce and then more. But in between those small doses she screamed and screamed. She wanted more. Poor Mercedes didn’t know, nor could she know why we couldn’t give her more. Here is the point: How big is your view of God? Do you really believe that He alone knows what is best? We knew that we couldn’t give Mercedes that much at once, but she couldn’t understand. God knows what is best for us, even when we cannot understand. Do you trust God? Mercedes has to trust us, and hopefully we will trust God. This past week I read something very interesting: (This is from James MacDonald)
John Piper’s book, Let the Nations Be Glad, says, “Charles Misner, a scientific specialist in general relativity theory, expressed Albert Einstein’s skepticism over the church with words that should awaken all of us to the shallowness of our worship of God. The design of the universe is very magnificent and shouldn’t be taken for granted. In fact, I believe that is why Einstein had so little use for organized religion, although he strikes me as basically a very religious man. He must have looked at what the preachers said about God and felt that they were blaspheming. He had seen so much more majesty than they had ever imagined and they were just not talking about the real thing. My guess is that he simply felt that religion he’d run across did not have proper respect for the author of the universe.” He goes on and gives some details. “Scientists . . . know that the galaxy of which our solar system is a part is 100,000 light years across, about 587,000 trillion miles. It’s one of about a million such galaxies in the optical range of our most powerful telescopes.” And every time they get a more powerful telescope they go, “Oooh! There’s more?”
We who believe the Bible know this even better than scientists. If there is a personal God who spoke this universe into being, then there is a certain respect, reverence, wonder, and dread that we should have when we come together to talk about Him and to worship Him. But the tragic fact is that we have been deifying man and humanizing God for so long that we see worship as just kind of a step up. We’re worshiping a God who’s just slightly more exalted than us. And that is such a painful and small way to live our lives. It’s time for the people of God to rise up and recognize the foolishness of living for our own exalted nonsense. Instead, we can live for God’s agenda, which is the exaltation of Jesus Christ. There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are seeking to exalt themselves, and those who are living for God’s agenda. We are most alive when we live for God’s agenda and most miserable when we do not.
—James MacDonald
Have a blessed week!