Rebel with a cause – the unpredictability of the Spirit

Most of my 694 blog posts have been to push, challenge, and comfort you, the reader.  A few have been for my own benefit.  This is probably one of those ‘pep talks’ for me (and other clergy).  Thanks for bearing with me and being an encouragement to me by your faithful reading. I pray that God still speaks a Word to you through today’s blog:

John 3:8 says, “The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  The word wind here is the Greek word pneuma which can mean wind, spirit, or Spirit, each of which occurs in this context.  John is saying the Spirit blows where it pleases.  If we think about that, it can make us uncomfortable.  Especially so if any of us like to be in control.  And what’s more unnerving is that it says anyone born of the Spirit is going to be the same way.  God’s Spirit can not be controlled.  Nor can His people be controlled (see Luke 19:39-40).

In his book A Second Resurrection, Bill Easum says most established churches reward fear over courage.  Easum says fear and control stagnates Spiritual growth when people try to control God’s uncontrollable Spirit.  God’s Spirit must be allowed to run free and wild and it takes courage to allow that to happen.  When the Spirit is given room to move and work – that’s when awesome things happen.

In the above Scripture from John 3, Jesus was telling that to Nicodemus, who was a religious professional.  At times, I wish I were not a ‘religious professional’.  Paul Louis Metzger wrote,

When you make your living off religion like I do, you can easily move from being a Christ-follower who happens to have a religious profession to being a religious professional who happens to be a Christ follower.

I don’t want to control God’s Spirit.  I want the Spirit of God to control me.  I don’t want the congregation to control me, I don’t want the bureaucracy of the UMC to control me, and I don’t even want to control myself.  And sometimes that makes life difficult for me as someone who now makes their living off of religion.  Pastors have an easier life in the church if they conform to the predictable expectations of the congregations than the unpredictable revelations of the Holy Spirit.  But no Christ-followers are called to a life of ease.  If I ever have a life of ease, I think I will know I’m doing something wrong.  In the Scripture from John, Jesus was calling Nicodemus from his life of ease.

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