Empowered for Ministry & Mission

This Sunday as we continued our Ghost Stories series, we discussed the “Power of the Holy Spirit.” We talked about this big idea:

The Holy Spirit empowers us for shared ministry & shared mission.

There are numerous ways in which the Holy Spirit empowers us, but one of the key ways is through spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit as a part of God’s grace to every follower of Jesus for ministry and mission. We also discussed ways to discover your spiritual gifts: (1) personal experience; (2) others’ affirmation; and (3) take an inventory. Here is a good Spiritual Gifts Inventory to help you discover your spiritual gifts.

Once you take this inventory, go through the results with your small group or another trusted follower of Jesus. Spiritual gift inventories are best used in concert with personal experience and others’ affirmation. Lastly, are you currently using your spiritual gifts?

If you’re not, here are some different ways to serve and volunteer at Northshore, in the local community, or around the world.

My hope and prayer is that you would discover and use your spiritual gifts in ministry and mission.

May Jesus give you great joy through the Holy Spirit has you serve in His name!

Hearing & Following the Voice of Jesus

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27)

This past Sunday as we explored the “Presence of the Spirit” in our new series Ghost Stories, I presented a way to pray that helps us experience the Holy Spirit’s leadership and guidance in our lives. I discovered this pattern in Gordon Smith’s book The Voice of Jesus. This book has had a significant impact on my spiritual life and how I follow the voice of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. By way of reminder and further explanation, here’s the pattern for our prayer:

Gratitude is our response to the Holy Spirit’s assurance that we are loved by the Father. We must always start here—the love of God for us. Nothing is so fundamental to the Christian journey as knowing and feeling that we loved by the Father. It is from the experience of God’s love that we know the grace of God and live out every other dimension of our Christian faith. In gratitude, be specific about what you’re thankful for. In doing so, you will see and experience the presence of God and His goodness and love for you.

Confession is our response to the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin. When we know the depths to which we are loved and known by the Father, then our sin becomes all the more “despicable.” I don’t say that to take us into deeper places of self-loathing and shame. I say that to ask, “how can we walk away from that love in our sin and disobedience?” The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and then disciplines us because He loves us… because He wants to remove all of the barriers and roadblocks that prevent us from seeing and experiencing the Father’s love. Our response is confession. As with gratitude, be specific about your sin and remember that God is faithful to forgive and cleanse you (1 John 1:9)

Meditation is our response the Holy Spirit’s illumining our hearts and minds through Scripture. Knowing that we loved by the Father, having confessed our sin and rebellion against Him and His love, we are now ready to come to God through His Word. Our minds and hearts are clear to hear His voice and to see His character and plan as revealed through His Word. The Holy Spirit illumines (shines light on) the Word, and our hearts are changed in the process. Our response to that light is to meditate upon it. Here’s a helpful article about studying and meditating upon God’s word.

Discernment is our response to the Spirit guidance in times of choice. Now that we are beginning to know and experience the assurance that we loved by the Father, convicted of our sin in His perfect love, and having come to His Scriptures to shape our hearts and minds in light of who Jesus Christ really and fully is, now and only now are we ready to hear the voice of Jesus through the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides in times of choice.  The problem is that we often jump immediately to wanting the Spirit’s guidance in times of choice. When we go here without having practiced gratitude, confession, and meditation, we short-circuit the process and cannot clearly hear the voice of Jesus through the leading of the Holy Spirit. If we know we are loved, if we know we are forgiven and freed from our sin, and if we know the heart and character of God as revealed in the Scriptures, then we are much more likely to make the right choices through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Try praying this pattern and see how the Holy Spirit develops wisdom and discernment in your life and experience.

I’d enjoy hearing how it goes and if you have any questions or thoughts.

Ghost Stories

Many people think they have a clear picture of who the Father is and who Jesus is, but when it comes to the Holy Spirit, it’s a little more confusing. In this not-so-scary series, we’re exploring who the Holy Spirit is, His role in our everyday lives, and how He guides us to live the life we were created to live.

Here are the topics we’ll cover:

October 9 – Person of the Holy Spirit

October 16 – Presence of the Holy Spirit

October 23 – Power of the Holy Spirit

October 30 – Promise of the Holy Spirit

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday worship gatherings, click HERE.

Join us at Sundays at 8, 9:30, and 11 am (Children’s & Student Ministry is available at the 9:30 & 11 am gatherings).