Pastor's Pondering


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I Want to Miss Him if He Leaves

by Duane Mabee on June 8, 2017
If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference.  If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” ― A.W. Tozer

If Tozer’s comments were true 60 years ago, imagine how true they are today.  The church today has far more tools at hand which has only served to make us more self-reliant.  The church has more wealth, or at least more cash flow, than it did in the 1950’s, and far more programs are available to us.  The result is a sense that we can pretty much handle anything that comes our way.  We don’t sense a need for the Holy Spirit. 

The question that bothers me is: “If the first sentence in Tozer’s quote above applied to our church, how would we know?”  Would we miss the 5 percent that the Holy Spirit was doing before He withdrew, or would we be so accustomed to doing things on our own that we would simply adjust?  Would we seek to recover the missing 5 percent by spending more, starting a new program, or declaring “that’s just the way things are these days”?  I am concerned that the Holy Spirit has already stopped working in many of our churches, but no one has noticed.

As a church and as a denomination, we believe in the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Our statement of faith says, “It is the will of God that each believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit and be sanctified wholly, being separated from sin and the world and fully dedicated to the will of God, thereby receiving power for holy living and effective service.”  We believe that churches and individuals should be empowered by the Holy Spirit. 

Being filled with the Holy Spirit doesn’t have to be a weird thing, but it should be an identifiable thing.  In the New Testament, believers were “known to be full of the Holy Spirit”.  In fact, it was part of the selection criteria for filling a ministry position, even a position distributing food, (Acts 6:3).  Churches were known to be full of the Holy Spirit, (Acts 4:31).  So, what would it look like for us as individuals to be full of the Holy Spirit?  How would people be able to identify it?  What would it look like for our church to be full of the Holy Spirit? 

Church, my desire for myself and for North River is for the second sentence in Tozer’s quote to characterize us.  I want to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that 95 percent of what I/we do would immediately stop if the Holy Spirit withdrew and everyone would know the difference.  Is that your desire?