Friday, March 16, 2012

Daily Devotion for Friday, March 16, 2012

Scripture Reading for Today: Ephesians 1:7-14

Key verse from today's reading: Ephesians 1:14, "The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory."

We may not have a very good grasp of the Holy Spirit or how it works in our lives.  Most mainline denominations have ceded the Holy Spirit to the Pentecostals.  In fact when we get a whiff of what we would call charismatic pastors, we tend to get a little nervous.

Salem United Methodist Church, Drummond, OK
When I was the pastor in Drummond, a senior from the high school named Cody approached me about preaching. in our church.  He was studying to be a pastor in the Church of God.  Out of his instruction, he was assigned to preach at another church than his home church which is an interesting request.  He knew me from my activity at the high school and felt comfortable asking me if he could preach at our church.

Those who know me understand that I don't give over my Sunday mornings lightly.  I also had no idea what kind of preacher he was or if his doctrine would be too far away from what United Methodism teaches.  But I also didn't want to discourage him so I told him that we would arrange an evening worship service with the ministerial alliance and invite all of the youth groups from the three churches in town to attend.  

This would fulfill his requirements and he seemed happy with the arrangement.  

Before the service, I met with our youth to share about speaking in tongues.  I'm not sure if any had ever seen it in person and most didn't know what I was talking about.  I told them about this spiritual experience and that the preacher was likely to speak in tongues during the service tonight.  

I also let them know that there would be an altar call and that if they felt led to pray there or to rededicate their lives to Christ that there was nothing wrong with that.  

The flame in our "cross
and flame" represents
the Holy Spirit
We had a nice service and at the end of his sermon, Cody did start to speak in tongues.  After he was through, I think he was a little disappointed that no one else received the Spirit in this way.  Maybe having others share in the Holy Spirit is the sign of an effective witness in his denomination - I'm not sure.  

After the service, I met with our youth again to debrief what they had experienced.  I still remember Asia Kliewer saying, "I thought he showed his convictions in his beliefs in that he was able to share in this way to a congregation that obviously didn't get it.  It was very brave."

The graceful acceptance of another's faithful witness - even though it was foreign to them - was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Our inheritance was present that day.

How do you perceive the working of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Breath Prayer: Holy Spirit, come.


  1. Sam, again a powerful insight. The Holy Spirit manifests in each one's life differently. we are each gifted in a unique way and the Spirit comes upon us in the same unique way. The openness and willingness to recognize and accept the gifts of the Spirit in others, even when we "don't get it" is one manifestation of the Spirit's moving within us. I perceive the Spirit in my own life each time I am able to greet another openly and without preconception. For me this represents the Spirit acting on me to be the accepting and loving follower of Christ I long to be. The Spirit moves powerfully when we begin to really recognize all persons as being of equal value in the eyes of God and we are better able to participate with them because the Spirit leads us forward.

  2. Thanks for the good word! I would agree with your comments as well. The times that I have most embraced the Holy Spirit are probably the times when I have overcome tendencies to distance myself from those whom I disagree with. As the old Strathdee song would say, "The Spirit in me greets the Spirit in you..."