For these past posts, I’ve been focusing on the spiritual preparation that is required for any of us to move toward the Call of the Holy Spirit on our lives. Far too often, the Holy Spirit whispers something to us – not so much as an immediate call to action – but to help us prepare our hearts, souls, and minds for what He has in store for us. As human beings we are often far too grandiose with all of this. The ‘Holy Spirit’ gave me this vision, this ‘call’, or this ‘word’ is often heard in the circles of spiritual growth. It all sounds good! Perhaps sometimes it comes off as a little pietistic. We mean well. The Holy Spirit is his own ‘drummer’. He keeps his own cadence! Sometimes we are ahead of the beat. Sometimes we are off the beat. Most of all, the Holy Spirit – as the comedian Rodney Dangerfield made famous – ‘He gets no respect!’ Think on this! When is the last time you heard someone pray directly to the Holy Spirit?? How many times do our liturgical prayers begin with, “O, Holy Spirit”?? He is often the ‘ghost in the room’! Gracious, we used to call him, “The Holy Ghost”. Often the Holy Spirit sees something in us, a need, or a place that may take us years to uncover. On the other hand, sometimes the Holy Spirit is kicking us in the pants, trying to get us to accelerate a little faster. At those times, I ask myself, “Is this His call, or is it mine?” Another reality to ponder on is that our learning, our education, our spiritual disciplines, our interactions with others include along with the Holy Spirit a large part of our selves. They are subject to attack by the Enemy. Whenever we get close to a deeper relationship with God, whenever a new mission finds expression, whenever an important decision is brought before our fellowship, the Enemy is just as much ‘at home’ within us, as he is in our fellowships, our Church pews, our Church councils. Ephesians 6: 12ff often leaves out of our discussion & preaching an understanding that this “roaring Lion” engages us from ‘the heavenlies, the spiritual realms we do not see nor hear: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood”. Do you know what that means??? You may think you’re having a fight with your spouse, your kids, your boss! Not at all: ‘For our struggle….. is against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this DARK WORLD and against the SPIRITUAL FORCES of EVIL in the heavenly realms”. WHOA!!! This demands a whole different paradigm shift on our spiritual journey. The battle never stops. It is on-going. The closer we come to following Jesus, the more vicious the attacks of the Enemy. If our mission, our fellowship, our Worship, our Council meetings, and those dreaded committee meetings can be de-railed into arguments of minutia, the minutes of the last meeting, the intrusion of pride and self-worth in our discussions, or, “My Way or the Highway”, the Enemy is ‘cherry picking’. Every skirmish, every debate, every human argument that delays the actions of God’s people is another victory for the Enemy. Why is it that the hardest “committee” or “church board” to fill is the ‘evangelism committee’ or ‘outreach committee’, or nomenclature that implies following Jesus beyond our Church walls?? The reason is that those activities bring Christ to people. The Enemy hates that! He’ll do everything he can to intimidate, confound, confuse, and bewilder us into wondering what ever happened to the Church of our youth? So our spiritual journey requires spiritual protection. If we are to “stand our ground” when the battles come, we must ‘Stand firm”, armed with truth, righteousness, readiness, the Gospel of Peace, faith, salvation, and the “Spirit which is the Word of God”. We need to pray and be alert.
We confess a triune God in our creeds – in many Churches on a weekly basis. While God and Jesus certainly receive our prayers, devotion, hymns of praise, and witness, it is the Holy Spirit within us that holds us all together. It is my thinking and spiritual understanding that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Manager of the Church! I think we understand him best, when we are in small groups, Bible classes, through the Spoken Word of sermons, through the rising choruses of hymns and anthems. Most of us never come to an understanding of the unique gifts the Holy Spirit has given us. Others see those gifts in us long before we do. If we dare to say, “I think the Lord (or Holy Spirit) wants me to do…….” the Body of Believers will either affirm that call or deny it. Sometimes we stumble along anyway and then wonder why we failed! The Holy Spirit drives the lost to Jesus. He provides God’s people with the gifts they require to fulfill His Call on their lives. It is the Holy Spirit and His Ministry that drives us closer to stepping on the heels of Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit that stands with us, protects us from the ‘fiery darts of the Evil one’. To be engaged with the Inward Journey as we encounter ourselves, God, and others, our spiritual journey must have a heart, soul, and mind that can hear his voice, and can recognize his conversations to us through the words of others who also are on this journey inward.
NEWS FROM THE URBAN OUTPOST: On Sunday April 6th following the 10:30a.m. service at Christ the Rock Lutheran Church at the corner of Newberg & Mill Rds, the http://www.thejerichoprojectrockford.org will share its ministry with the congregation. Our Jericho House residents will be there! Please come and support us! We need your prayers & help!! Blessings!
Next week: A story from the Urban Outpost! Prayers and blessings to you!

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