I grew up as a pastor’s kid. And the church I grew up in was quite a bit different than the church I work at now (FBC). This was true in several ways, but particularly it was different from a theological perspective. It was what is called a Charismatic church, which FBC definitely is not.
No, if you don’t know what that means, I’ll give you a quick theology lesson. Within theology (the study of God), there are several sub-branches. One of these branches is called pneumatology, which is the study of the Holy Spirit.
While most churches believe that he (the Holy Spirit) is one of the three equal members of the Trinity, along with the Father and the Son, many churches have different pneumatological perspectives. That is to say, they have different beliefs around how the Holy Spirit functions and operates. I can’t get into all of those differences here (hit me up if you’re curious), but let’s just say that these differences can truly shift the focus of a church.
Charismatic churches tend to place a larger focus on the present-day acts of the Holy Spirit. In fact, many of these churches have been accused of placing too great of a focus or even demand here, which in many cases might be a valid charge.
However, on the flip side, and equally valid, many Baptist-like churches can tend to lead their people to forget that the Holy Spirit exists by their sheer silence on the topic.
Both extremes are equally unfortunate.
Pause that thought for a moment.
Lately, my two-year-old daughter, Avra, has been on this kick of asking us to tell her Bible stories. This has been awesome, but has also served as a real test of our Bible aptitude. As I try to spitball stories from memory, I’m challenged to test how accurately I remember the story.
There was this period of a couple of weeks where Avra constantly wanted to hear the story of Pentecost (Acts 2). I had told it to her once and then she regularly demanded it be told to her. Within that same timeframe though, we were regularly racking our brains to bring up more stories, many of which came from the Old Testament.
Being in a Baptist church, it’s easy to fall into a routine of telling these stories as just facts that happen along the way, but this interlacing of the story of Pentecost struck me in a pretty cool way.
I’ve known for a long time that the Holy Spirit isn’t a new invention in the New Testament. I also know that he is at work all through the Old Testament. However, as I continually went back to verify the veracity of my versions of biblical stories, I was once again reminded of his presence at work within God’s people.
Cool stories didn’t happen in the Old Testament. God’s Spirit moved in the Old Testament.
Seriously. I would encourage you to go read the stories of:
And the list goes on. Time and time again, God works powerfully by his Spirit through his followers.
It’s easy to forget the incredible and powerful work of the Holy Spirit in these stories. It’s probably even easier to forget that this same Spirit lives in us as followers of God. But when we lose sight of that, we lose sight of the great and powerful things God is waiting to do through us (Ephesians 2:10).
So, don’t neglect the Spirit. Remember that he loves you, he lives in you, and he desires to do great things through you.