As pastors we have to understand that as we serve our church, it will begin to look like us. Our shared life will rub off on each other. We will take on the DNA of that local church body and always carry it with us. And part of who we are will always stay with them. We are related after all, and we will start to look like each other.
I am God’s plan for turning the world upside-down. You are God’s plan for turning the world upside-down. And for this reason, Jesus promised and God pours out power on every follower of Jesus.
I understand these people better than I want to admit. I know what it means to become so focused on the work and the politics and the systems and the next big book that’s going to tell us how to really do it right, that I can forget what Jesus is capable of and why he’s filled me with the Holy Spirit and what he’s called me to do. Somehow (I’m sure this is not the correct theological language), it seems like the Spirit leaks out. Or maybe I push him out. I know it has happened when I find myself telling God how big my storm is, rather than telling my storm how big my God is.
In a letter to John Smith on June 25, 1746, John Wesley, in reflecting on the Methodist movement, wrote, “What is the end of all ecclesiastical order? Is it not to bring souls from the power of Satan to God? And to build them in his fear and love? Order, then, is so far valuable as it answers these ends; and if it answers them not it is worth nothing.”
I have been thinking a lot lately about Methodism. What made Methodism so attractive? Why did so many people in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries join the Methodist movement? What did Methodists say that people found compelling? What, if anything, constituted the heart of the Methodist message? I believe these questions can be answered in one word: transformation.
The conclusions reached in God’s Love through the Spirit, particularly concerning an understanding of love both within God’s own life and in Christian participation in God by grace, challenge the claim that Western theology suffers from a pneumatological deficiency, and represent a significant contribution to the study of Aquinas and of Wesley, to ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Methodists (and Protestants more broadly), and to the retrieval and development of a genuinely constructive pneumatology.
The primary way that the Holy Spirit points out the brokenness and sinfulness of our world and the contrasting righteousness/right ways of God is through the lives of Jesus’ followers who are intoxicated by the Holy Spirit.
If you don’t face your own suffering, how will you ever find rest? Real, true rest for the mind and spirit? To face your own suffering is to come uncomfortably close to Christ in Gethsemene: does the idea of Christ, the suffering servant, comfort or trouble you? The fully divine, fully human being sweating drops of blood from anguish…
Humor is profoundly spiritual! And how profound it is when a congregation recognizes humor as a spiritual gift and makes spiritual humor part of the congregational lifestyle. That is done one pastor at a time, one class at a time, and one person at a time.