Podcast Transcript

Reset

Part 4: Spirit | January 28, 2018

 

JONATHAN

Thanks for joining us today. I’m Jonathan Deatherage, the Director of Communications here at Bent Tree. I took some time to follow-up with Pete after his fourth sermon in the Reset series on “Spirit.” We’ve got some great nuggets here for you; a lot of stuff I really think you can take home with you throughout you week. Take a listen.

[to Pete] Hey, Pete.

PETE

Hi, Jonathan.

JONATHAN

Thanks for being here.

PETE

You bet.

JONATHAN

I noticed in the first part of your sermon your dad had encouraged you about three things about the church: that you preach Christ, take care of the kids, and pray for the Spirit to move. Often we’re more comfortable with the first two, but maybe not the third. What are we missing out on if we don’t do the third?

PETE

I think we’re missing out on the adventure. I think the Spirit is going to move, many times whether we ask him or not. [he laughs] I mean, he’s the Spirit, right? And so, I’m thinking of the beginning of Luke’s Gospel where John the Baptist, when he was in utero, was filled with the Spirit. He obviously didn’t ask for that, and he didn’t do anything; it just happened to him. So the Spirit can do what he wants to do.

I think when we pray for the Spirit to move, what we’re basically saying is, “Holy Spirit, I’m available for you to move through me, and through us as a church. I’m not gonna resist that, and I’m not gonna run away, and I’m going to stick my nose in there if you ask me to.”

So when we don’t do that we miss out on all the adventure and the opportunity to see God work in people’s lives as a result of that type of openness and availability.

JONATHAN

It goes back to that idea of what we talked about with JoAnn, the first week we talked, where she said following the Spirit is so much about risk. It’s getting us out of our comfort zone.

I like that you said that we’re available to him. I think that’s so much a key of what we talk about a lot here. It’s saying, “Lord, whatever you want. I’m here for you.”

In Romans 6 it talks about how we have spiritual union with Christ. That is the resident reality in which we live. You’re talking this morning about being filled with the Spirit. I know you kind of addressed this in your sermon, but I’d love to hear you elaborate a little bit more. What’s the difference between being united with Christ spiritually and then having that experiencing of filling.

PETE

Yeah. So Paul and the biblical writers are using human language to convey supernatural things. The words always break down. So when we think of the word filling, we automatically think of water pouring into a bowl, or air filling a balloon, you know.

JONATHAN

Physical analogies.

PETE

Yeah, physical analogies, where there’s lack and now there’s plenty. So I think some of the imagery can get us off a little bit. I think it’s the idea that, because we’re available, the Spirit really can compel us and can move us into things he wants to move us into.

It’s more about movement as much as anything. I can sit here in the flesh, or I can be available to the Spirit for him to move me into the conversations he wants, in to the ministry that he wants, in to the love that he wants to do through me, in to other people’s lives, whereas in my flesh I wouldn’t naturally go there.

I think it’s manifest in ministry, whereas the indwelling of the Spirit is all about our personal walk with him, it’s about our personal intimacy with him, our union with Christ. That’s all there; it’s all real. That never changes. But the filling is, “Are you going to be available to me today for ministry, to be involved in people’s lives?” ‘Cause that’s what the filling points us towards.

JONATHAN

That’s great. I love it. Even for me, that’s a fresh idea, that it’s about the functionality, that it’s the movement. I like how you said that. The dynamic. Which is a great interplay, because it is easy for us. I know that we’ve been accused of thinking of our lives as passive. For all that we talk here about the indwelling Christ and how valuable that is, how wonderful it is that God loves us and we’re safe in his love, I think sometimes we get accused of just passivity.

And this is a great complement to that concept. I like what you said, “We’re in our flesh, but we’re just sitting there ignoring the Spirit.”

PETE

Yup. That’s passive!

JONATHAN

Yeah! [They laugh] And he’s telling us to go do that thing, and speak to that person, or minister in this way. And we’re like, “Eh, yeah, no, I’m good here.”

Because the flesh is the mindset where we’re ignoring God. We’re saying, “God, you’re leading me here, and I’m going to do the other thing.”

That’s fascinating. I love that. Fresh, that feeling that motivates us.

PETE

Yes.

JONATHAN

Okay, so again, you mentioned this in your sermon. I’d love to hear some more on this one: What about that person who, as Mitch was pointing out, might be saying, “Hey, I don’t feel like the Spirit has been quote-unquote poured out on me.” If you have a second to speak to that person directly, how would you care for them?

PETE

Yeah, if that person was sitting across the table at Starbucks with me and they said that, I would say, “Let’s figure out where your spiritual gifting is, because you’re going to experience that in the area of your gifting. Remember, when we’re filled with the Spirit and God is working, we can do things that we can’t do. That’s because we have a gift that we didn’t have before we were believers. So if we can do things that we can’t do, then (in Mitch’s terminology, ‘You’re not that good,’) you’re seeing God do things, and you’re thinking, ‘I could never do that.’”

It really is starting to say, “I’m going to take a risk. I’m going to try and figure out what my spiritual gifting is, and I’m going to step into that. I’m going to start to serve and ask the Holy Spirit to use me.” I’ll find myself doing things that I can’t do, and I won’t be asking this question anymore.

JONATHAN

I think of those moments when people are like, “Ooo, I just got goosebumps!” And I think of moments, even in my life, where I’ve noticed, “Wow, I took a risk, said yes to that thing, and saw the Spirit do something in my life.” I’ll be driving home in the car thinking, “Wow, that was really cool!” and having that goosebump moment.

I’m bringing it up because I think it’s one of those things that we look back on. It’s the excitement of “Wow, that was really cool! I was just a part of something that was beyond me.”

PETE

Yup.

JONATHAN

And it’s what we want. As believers, it’s what our heart longs for, to see him use us in a way that’s beyond us.

You also mentioned the history of the church. I loved that you said, “Let’s go back to the history of the church. This is the first sentence, the first day of the church, the first sermon, and Joel says, “Girls can play, too.” I know [the concept of] women in leadership has been such an important part of our recent history. Can you share briefly a little bit about why you think that’s important for the future of our church?

PETE

Yeah. Jonathan, I’m really sensitive to the fact that there’s tremendous debate on this. I have dear, dear friends who see this differently from me. I don’t question their heart; I don’t question their motives. We just see it differently.

But there is a growing number of evangelicals who are evaluating their position on women in leadership, maybe for the first time, and are starting to realize that there’s a much broader discussion than they once thought. It’s not quite as cut-and-dry as they thought it was. More and more people are saying, “You know what, I think there really is a ton of biblical evidence here for the fact that the Holy Spirit does release women to exercise their gifts freely.”

We’ve simply come to that conclusion here, and we’ve decided to pattern our modus operandi around that. We do now have women serving in every level of leadership and in every ministry opportunity, and they’re doing so with magnificent beauty, adding flavor to it that we’ve never had before. Exactly how you would think diversity would lend to beauty.

We’re more and more convinced every day we did the right thing. We wrote a paper because some people want to see biblically how we got there. It’s on our web page, and I’d love for you to give people directions on how to get to that. That’s out there and available for people if they want to do a study for themselves. They can look through the text there and figure it out.

JONATHAN

Absolutely. We do have that on our web page. That document is called The Future of Leadership at Bent Tree. If you’d like to check that out, you can go to benttree.org/shared-leadership.

Editor’s note: The conversation here has been edited for clarity.

In your story about Louie at the end, you talked about how he was looking for conversation, connection, and divine appointments. I love that! It’s such a really concrete way of us applying what we talked about last week on the importance of being willing to share your experience of Jesus with another person. I think it’s such an easy way for us to think about that, and they tie in so well. So if I’m listening now, and I’m feeling like, “Okay, I don’t feel equipped to do that,” what might you say? How might you counsel?

PETE

I think Louie’s story is beautiful on multiple levels. But one of them is the simplicity of his question: “What do you need?” That’s an incredible question, because everyone has needs, right? [he laughs]

If you’re looking at someone and you can tell they’re struggling, there’s probably one thing that can help them. If you can find out what that is, there may be a way for you to provide that help. That is making the wonders of God known. I mean, you are stepping into someone’s life. You are being the hands and the feet of Jesus. You are loving them in a very specific place of need.

Declaring the wonders of God isn’t always speech. It does include speech; I think it’s necessary eventually. But sometimes it’s just actions of love that the Spirit prompts us to. Acts chapter two is a great example for those of us that feel scared that we won’t know what to say. I mean, think about the folks in the story. If you ever wonder if the Holy Spirit can speak through you, just read through Acts chapter two! [he laughs] I mean, he was speaking in different language through them. Talk about being clueless - they had no idea, and he conveyed the wonders of God through them. Talk about an available mouthpiece. That’s simply what we are.

So if he can do that through them, you know what, he’ll figure out a way to stumble through it with us. [he laughs] And once again, if we’re available - if we’re captivated, motivated, and activated by the Spirit - he can speak through us. We just have to believe that, and take a step of faith, step into it, and see what happens.

JONATHAN

I love those three words: captivated, motivated, and activated. That’s such a good way of summarizing what you’re saying is the activity, being filled with the Spirit, moving us.

I’d love for you to lead us in a prayer now. As you landed your sermon, you were talking about the importance of just being available to the Spirit, of saying, “Spirit, fill me.” So, Pete, would you lead us?

PETE

Heavenly Father, thank you for your unconditional love, and for including us in your family, for adopting us, and for making us new. Thank you for the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, many times forgotten. We don’t want to forget him, and we want him to be actively involved in our lives. We want to be captivated, motivated, and activated by the Spirit, so that you can use us in people’s lives, moment by moment, day by day. So I pray that you would do that. I pray you would fill us with your Spirit in this sense, and give us divine appointments, even today. Give us people that we can simply say, “What do you need?” to. And then use us to meet needs, and to encourage, and to declare the wonders of our God. Thank you for the privilege of joining you on this adventure. It’s incredible. And we pray all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.