The Holy Spirit and Your Team

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” This quote, from Acts 15, gives us a good biblical example of working as a team toward good decision making. Full transparency, I used to be better at asking the Holy Spirit to bless what I was doing than to listen and watch to see how I could participate in what he was already doing. I was living under one of the misconceptions about the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, there are several misconceptions about how the Holy Spirit works in our lives and in the lives of our congregations. One of my pet peeves is the assumption that the Holy Spirit always works in the moment rather than in the planning. It comes across as if the Holy Spirit is reactive and impulsive, rather than guiding our... Read the article

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Faith is Not Enough

Participating in the Love Avenue doesn’t make us right with God—it shows we already are. I spent most of my life studying the Bible in an effort to get right with God. I studied the Old Testament so I could be faithful to some of the law, statutes, and judgments. I studied the New Testament so I could gain Jesus’ and the apostle’s teaching on how to get right with God. My goal was to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18) – again, so I could be right with God. I struggled with certain passages such as when James tells us faith without works is dead. I knew if I could study enough, I’d get right with God, and then the good works would naturally flow from me. The question was, how much study and growing in grace and... Read the article

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Ordinary Time

What is it, and what does it have to do with me? When Greg Williams asked me to start focusing on the Christian worship calendar in Equipper, I thought, “Sure, that will be good for a couple articles. What else?” I had no idea of the depth of meaning and purpose we find in the worship calendar. I knew Christmas and Easter were important; I liked the candles and focus on Jesus’ coming for Advent, and I enjoyed celebrating the birth of the New Testament church on Pentecost, but the other days didn’t seem to have as much meaning. Man, was I mistaken. Focusing on just bits and pieces of the worship calendar is missing the truth that everything revolves around Jesus and reminds us he is the center of the center. Further, it keeps us... Read the article

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Pentecost – What the Day Fulfilled and Looks Forward To

Pentecost is much more than the beginning of the New Testament church. It’s a day of change that includes reversals, firsts, fulfilled prophecy and promises, identification, affirmation, and power. I’m one of those odd persons that loves change. Not all changes, mind you, but I love the challenge of moving forward, trying something new, doing things differently. I love what change can bring – a new outlook, new understanding, new methodology, new perspectives. Pentecost brought all this and more to the disciples and followers of Christ. And truth be told, I would have been just as excited, overwhelmed, and scared as they were. Let’s look at what Pentecost brought. The great reversal One of the most common understandings of... Read the article

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Jesus’ Ascension – An End, A Beginning, and An End

The ascension represents the completion of God’s work in Christ incarnate and the completion of Christ’s work in us. It’s easy to gloss over the Ascension as we move through the 50 days of Easter toward our celebration of Pentecost, but we should not do so. The Ascension represents a fulfillment of prophecy and explains visions seen by the prophets. It is the fulfillment of Christ’s incarnate work on earth. It is the end of Jesus’ limitations of time and space as he reentered the spiritual realm. It results in the sending of the Holy Spirit and the imparting of spiritual gifts, which we will celebrate at Pentecost. It has so much meaning, yet it is often overlooked as part of the celebration of the life of Jesus. In GCI we... Read the article

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We Believe; Help Our Unbelief

The journey through Holy Week and beyond helps us with our unbelief. The disciples had been through a lot with Jesus; they’d seen multitudes fed, demons rebuked, people healed, and the dead brought back to life. There was still confusion in their minds about who Jesus really was, but some were starting to believe he just might be the Messiah. His teachings were profound at times, confusing at other times as he loved to speak in parables – requiring them to think deeply about what meaning was behind his words and stories. They knew they were headed toward Jerusalem, but they seemed to believe it was for a different purpose than Jesus told them. Three times, he told them what he was going to face. Here is the third passage: While Jesus... Read the article

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Three Questions We Must Answer

As we focus on the Love Avenue and our theme, Compelled by Love, there are three questions each one of us needs to address. There is a lot of enthusiasm in GCI as we focus on the Love Avenue and reaching out to our neighbors and friends, but there are also a lot of questions. How do we do this? Why are we doing this? Is this really our calling? What can my little group do? What does this mean for me and my personal life? I submit these questions are mostly addressed when we answer the three main questions for every Christian. Who is Jesus? Who am I in relation to Jesus? Who are others in relation to Jesus? The answer to these questions gives us the Why of the Love Avenue and our participation with Jesus.   Who is Jesus? It... Read the article

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What it Means to be Lost

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. Editor’s Note: For years I struggled with the word “lost” when referring to people who don’t know Jesus. It seemed such an ominous term – almost permanent, as if there was no hope for those who are “lost.” Yet the term is used in the Bible. Jeremiah and Ezekiel refer to people who have become lost (Jeremiah 50:6, Ezekiel 34:16). The psalmist referred to himself as a lost sheep (Psalm 119:176). Luke tells us, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Reading these passages, I see the term “lost” referring to those whom the Lord is seeking. So what does “lost” mean? What does it have to do with our 2022 theme Compelled by Love?... Read the article

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For the Sake of Other People

Continuing our focus on Healthy Church, the 2022 theme for Equipper and our GCI media team is “Compelled by Love.” The church of Jesus Christ exists for the sake of other people. I spent most of my life with an “us and them” point of view. The main “us and them” concerned those who believed in Jesus and those who didn’t believe in Jesus – for simplicity I referred to these two groups as believer and unbeliever. Believers were included; unbelievers were excluded. But my erroneous point of view went beyond that. I also believed in an “us and them” among those who professed belief in Jesus. If you believed what I believed and followed certain commandments, I believed were more important than others, you were among the... Read the article

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Invitation to the Dance

When the Son of God put on humanity and became the Son of Man, he was inviting us to participate in the relationship – the dance – that he shares as Father, Son and Spirit. Cheryl and I love to dance, in particular to waltz or slow dance. Good dancing is fluid – it is two individuals becoming one on the dance floor. Dancing is more than moving to the beat—it is following the rhythm and flowing with the music. It is being in communion with the music and with your dance partner. Good dancers almost glide across the floor as they move together with one purpose. I don’t dance as well as I’d like to, but I love the experience of Cheryl and I moving in unison, sharing in the joy of the dance and the company of each other. Is it... Read the article

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