March 3, 2010

Acquaintance or Hearsay?

A.W. Tozer in writing about the Holy Spirit said, "Acquaintance is always better than hearsay." He was talking the necessity for the Holy Spirit working in & through Christian leaders. His fear was that leaders would have heard stories about how the Holy Spirit without every having experienced it for themselves. He knew that if that happened there was a chance that eventually people wouldn't even think about those past stories of the Holy Spirit's work.

As leaders in the church, we have to remember that we cannot program or produce the thing that God is calling us to. The mission is just too big! However, we will always face the temptation to believe we can. Now more than ever, with all the resources available to us, we will be tempted to by-pass the power of the Holy Spirit in our own lives & in our ministries in favor of cool stories from the past & all the cool technical things we can use to produce a program.

While I think we are called to create environments for ministry, we have to remember that we can't produce the experience that we and those we lead so desperately need: a real, life-altering encounter with God. That can only be produced by the work of the Holy Spirit. So, we need to work our tails off to create the right kind of environments, but we also better be praying our tails off, begging God to add the one thing that we cannot provide, but that is absolutely essential in leading people to a growing relationship with Christ.

If you had to tell a story of how the Holy Spirit is working in & through your life, how old would that story be? If you have to go back 2 or 3 years, could it be that you are leaning on hearsay rather than an acquaintance with the Holy Spirit?

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