Religious People Suck!

I feel for religious people. They have all the rules to follow with no benefit gained from their obedience and faithfulness. The height of being religious is seen in the Pharisees. I mean, whenever they get brought up I immediately think, “Great. What arrogant nonsense are they sprouting now?” No Joke: most of these guys were the epitome of self-righteous religious imposters sucking life out of people who were truly hungry for God.

The Pharisees were known as the religious elite, the top dogs, and the high-and-mighty of faith. And although these nicknames sound incredibly awesome, the men who were behind them weren’t all too savvy when it came to actually knowing their heavenly Father, Pharisees were known to be righteous and zealous for keeping the law. But their observance and protection of the law was filled with arrogance and hypocrisy. They were prideful and stingy with grace. Judgment was easy for these guys, but refusing to show grace or give second chances was their demise.

In Matthew 23, you will find Jesus teaching to the crowds and to His disciples about the problems of hypocrisy. He claimed that although the words of the Pharisees may have been wise, their actions did not match what they preached. He continued by describing what most religious people, including religious Christians, face in today’s generation: ‘Everything they do is for show’ (Matthew 23:5).

Jesus was publicly calling out the Pharisees for being religious show-offs who were looking to gain nothing but personal acknowledgment for their actions. They were using their faith and knowledge of the Scriptures as a catalyst for personal popularity. They loved the idea of being extremely religious, but failed to convert that into passion for God Himself.

Not only did the actions of the Pharisees hurt their own opportunity for salvation, but their ways of living gave a false reflection of what it actually meant to be a follow of God. The constant judgment and religious entanglement they repeatedly subjected people to was theologically unjustifiable. 

Listen to what Jesus said about these religious people…

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you won’t let others enter either (Matthew 23:13).

The Pharisees spent so much time focusing on their outer appearance that they failed to allow the inner transformation to take place. You know, the one thing that actually mattered. It would be similar to someone who buys an old car from the junkyard, completely restores both the interior and exterior, and then doesn’t put any money into fixing the car’s engine. It may look spectacular, but it’s not going anywhere. Likewise, we seem to have convinced ourselves that if the outer image looks grand enough, then no one will bother asking about what’s actually under the hood.

When we find ourselves being complimented on the outer appearance long enough, it’s easy to forget about fixing what’s inside. As you can imagine, this is a hindrance to many people who are trying to find true transformation in Christ Himself.

Since the Pharisees found themselves in the spotlight of religious appreciation, it’s no surprise that their elegant speech and impressive knowledge of the law kept them comfortable and unwilling to push further in their spiritual journey.

Do you want to know how to live a great gospel-centered life? Just do the exact opposite of everything the Pharisees did. The Pharisees were more focused on impressing each other with spiritual knowledge than actually following the commandments of God, showing grace, or lending a selfless hand. We have to make an effort to walk that talk.

The Pharisees – Prayed in public for recognition

True followers of Christ – Pray in public because they are unashamed

The Pharisees – Read God’s Word for head knowledge 

True followers of Christ – Read God’s Word to deepen their relationship with God

The Pharisees – Judged people for the sake of judgment

True followers of Christ – Lovingly correct people because they care

So, as you can see – religious people suck! And, it is regretful how many people who called themselves believers – even Christians – are really nothing more than religious people who look good but are inwardly lifeless. Such a pointless existence … believing that things are good only to one day, discover that although they knew the Word of God they did not know God. And thus missed spending eternity with Him in heaven.

And you … what about you? Whee do you fit in to this picture?

There Are No Part-Time Disciples 

If you claim to be a Christian, then the questions of “the meaning of life” is already solved and answered for you! The purpose of your life is to share the Gospel of the Kingdom and the redemptive qualities of Christ (Matthew 28:19). You ARE in the ministry. 

Galatians 2:20 reads, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” There is a vital truth to what this verse states. It is no longer YOU who lives, but Christ who lives IN you. Meaning, it’s no longer about your agenda, your desires, and your needs. If you call yourself a Christian your agenda is now filled with an all-consuming calling from Christ Himself.

So, your current situation and workplace are your personal mission field. Why? Because you can reach people a church can’t. You’re on the front lines! You might even have a better opportunity to reach people than a missionary or church professional does. Don’t let anyone tell you that full-time ministry can only be found within the confines of a church building. God is bigger than four walls and a steeple. 

God has put the people around you in your life for a reason. Find out what that reason is, and make it your mission to empower their lives with Christ. Jesus will always supply you with the necessary tools and weapons needed to conquer anything that comes in your path. 

Work at a grocery store? Perfect. You have the opportunity to share and reflect the love and servanthood of Christ to dozen of customers a day. Work for a restaurant? Awesome! Use your time at work to share your testimony with your coworkers, or even share a reflection of Jesus’ kindness to each person who walks through your doors. If you really look, there are endless possibilities for anyone who is looking to be a full-time disciple of Jesus Christ.

Your job title doesn’t matter, but the way you use your time does. Stop letting people tell you that working for the government or for your company isn’t God’s plan for you. Stop allowing the opinions of man to keep you from being a light to your current workplace (Matthew 5:14). Just because you may not have a seminary degree and a position serving in a local congregation doesn’t mean you’re not in full-time ministry.

Jesus Himself wasn’t paid by a church. He was a carpenter who used His everyday knowledge of work and carpentry to relate to the people He was surrounded by. Yes, men like Paul and Peter dropped everything to follow the plans of Jesus, but don’t forget about the thousands of other people who stayed where they were in order to be a light where it was needed.

The New Testament couple Priscilla and Aquila are perfect examples of this. Acts 18:2-3 tells us:

“And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.”

We see that both Priscilla and Aquila were tent makers who helped Paul on his apostolic journey by allowing him to live and work with them in order to provide for himself. Their regular work flowed seamlessly into their ministry – a ministry that happened to help during one of the most critical points in Christian history. Tent makers, Yes! But, history makers as well!

So, step out and start vocalizing what God has put on your heart. If you’re not willing to do it where you are, what makes you think you would do it somewhere else?

This ideology of every Christian embracing a lifestyle of full-time ministry has the potential to transform the world from the inside out. It’s a possibility that could truly reach the far ends of the world for the sake of the Gospel. Imagine if everyday people, working everyday jobs, meeting everyday customers, all shared the extraordinary salvation given through Jesus Christ. The potential is limitless.

In order to embrace the fullness of what Jesus is calling us to, embrace the mission of using every moment available to share your faith in Christ. There are no limitations on where God can work.

So, know this: Jesus is not hiring part-time disciples. While this may discourage you in the beginning, I would encourage you to allow it to fuel your purpose in life. Stop, take a deep breath, and make today the day you start using every avenue available in every place, no matter how mundane, as a way to share the hope, grace, and salvation of Jesus Christ. Trust me, it’s worth every moment. 

Dare to Be Real – Don’t Settle for Fake! – Part Two

Do you know that you can fail and still be seen as righteous in the sight of God? Do you know that, as a believer, you can mess up big-time and still be welcome in the Church? Do you know that being a Christian is not about being morally perfect and constantly having al the right answers as you live a life that is properly put together without any cracks?

I have come to learn that understanding God’s grace depends on whether we have been conditioned to run and hide when we sin, like Adam and Eve did, or to run straight to the Father when we sin, like David did. We can either cover ourselves in shame or run to the Lord and say, “Search me, God, and know my heart” (Psalm 139:23). 

When David messed up bad, he wrote these words to God.

“Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity

and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight…”

(Psalm 51:1-4a NIV)

David understood, on the deepest level, that he could always come to God, no matter how deep or awful his sin. It’s crucial we get this, because we need God in order to please God. We’re like a child needing to borrow money from his dad so they can buy him a present. Our hearts can’t change for God unless they’re changed by God. It’s quite a paradox. The Man you are sinning against is the Man you’re asking for help so you won’t continue to sin against Him. 

And He’s patient with us. He’s so patient with us.

But Jesus goes even further to make this point clear in the Gospels. He says that if someone sins against us, we should forgive them not just seven times but seventy times seven. God does even better than. 

You know what the difference is between a righteous person and a sinner? One banks on forgiveness found in the cross, and the other doesn’t. Christians are not better than anyone else. We’re just forgiven. We didn’t achieve salvation. We received grace.

So, may I ask, why are we constantly putting on a mask and acting like we’re perfect. Or, at least, acting like we got things together; life is working for us. We’re good? It doesn’t help us, and it definitely won’t help the church reach those who do not know Jesus. People today need real, not fake.

Being something you’re not is exhausting. No one wins. You know the truth. God knows the truth. Your family probably also knows the truth. So, why not just bank on His grace? Rely on Him to be your strength in a time of weakness.

Here is what I have learned over the decades of ministering ….

Be confident in who you are, and comfortable with who you’re not. 

As believers, we’ve been freed from trying to keep up with the Joneses. It’s hard enough to keep up with Jesus. Why exhaust ourselves trying to serve two masters?

Dare to be Real – Don’t Settle for Fake – Part One

The unspoken rule in the church seems to be that the longer you have been a Christian, the less you can hurt and suffer through problems. This is especially true if you are in leadership. I say this because I am currently reading a good book by a pastor who committed suicide in the fall of last year. And most people – other than his family – seemed to be unaware that he was struggling with issues. After all, he was a church leader. He was a believer.

We seem to have this wrong view of what it means to be a Christian. We need to remember that having issues and facing problems is not a lack of faith but simply the way life is unfolding at that moment. In reality, the more you give your life to God, the more you become a threat to the Enemy! So, for Christians, we can expect – as Jesus said – that we will have troubles, trials, and tribulation. Life will not always be gentle to us. 

I mean, let’s look at Paul. I would consider him closer to God than I am or than you are. I’d be happy just to get a glimpse of the second heaven, and this brother was invited to the third heaven!

Yet still, knowing that God’s power is perfected in weakness, Paul declares, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He would boast all the more gladly. Not because he’s proud of his weaknesses but because he’s confident in God’s response to them. And, the church culture today seems to require, often demand, that we hide our weaknesses. 

It is unfortunate that we have churches today where we cannot admit that we are not perfect. That we have issues. That we are struggling. That everything is not alright. The reality is there’s no such thing as a perfect Christian. The reality is there is no such thing as a strong Christian. Just weak Christians relying on a strong God. And, because weakness and trouble seem to indicate to others that we are not living right or, heaven forbid, we have sin in our lives, we wear a mask and talk and relate in such a way that the message others receive from us is that things are great even when they are not.

Proverbs 24:16 states that “the righteous fall seven times.”

Not once.

Not twice.

Not three times.

Note four times.

Not five times.

Not six times.

The righteous fall seven times.

Remember, we are not talking about the wicked. We are talking about the people who are getting it right. They still fall over and over again. But by God’s grace, we don’t stay in our failure. The verse in context says, “though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” We all fall. The Spirit just doesn’t want us to stay there. When we hide our moments of failure, we are also hiding our moments of grace. We are not calling upon the Spirit to lift us up, dust us off, and encourage us to try again. 

Being a Christian is not about being morally perfect and constantly having all the right answers. It is about daring to be real and no longer pretending that everything is great. Being a believer means not settling for our “Sunday best face” but being real, transparent, and vulnerable. It means not being a fake – because that is hypocritical. And, Jesus was not a fan of the hypocrites of His day. They were called the Pharisees, the religious leaders and teachers.

Remember, even if you can fool the people, you can’t fool God. He knows your heart. He knows what you are thinking. And He knows what you are going through. So, to receive His grace we need to dare to be real and never settle for fake. 

What Happened to Peace and Joy

I arrived back in the city where I live to discover that while I was away in the eastern part of Canada a young boy tried to burn down the north-end Walmart in my city. You know, the one nearest where I live. So, I drove over to do some basic household shopping the other day. I don’t ever do any Christmas shopping. It was closed. There was enough fire and smoke damage to close the store for the rest of the holiday season. 

So, several days ago I drove to the southend Walmart along with, I am sure, many other northenders. After all, Walmart has what we need and at a decent price. The traffic into the parking lot was bumper-to-bumper. It took a half hour to just get into the parking lot from the nearest stop light. Then, no shopping carts. I mean none. None in the store and none in the outside “place your carts here” locations. So, I followed someone around the parking lot while they tried to locate their car so I could grab their cart once they had loaded things into their car.

The store was packed. You waited at every isle and every turn. But, I finally had everything I came for (nothing with respect to Christmas) and was looking forward to getting out and getting home.  So, cat litter, cat food, dog pads, and dog food in shopping cart I head to the cash out. Well, forty minutes later I was finally out the door heading for my car. Being chased by a little old lady looking to steal my cart as soon as I was finished with it. 

Getting out of the parking lot and back to that nearest stop light – 40 minutes. And, figure this, no coffee. 

So, I arrived home, unpacked everything and poured a strong coffee. And, as I sat in my favourite chair I was thinking about my experience. I wondered what happened to the “great joy” that the angel spoke of when announcing the birth of the Christ child? Luke 2:10 states, “I bring you good news of a great joy…” I didn’t see any joy in my outing. Regretfully, not even in my heart. In fact, I am sure even my countenance did not exhibit any joy. 

Then I got to thinking about the fact that we are celebrating the birth and arrival of the “Prince of peace.” And, believe me, I did not see any semblance of peace on anyone’s face during the whole outing. Anger, yes. Frustration, yes. Impatience, yes. Anxiety, yes. Tiredness, yes. Peace of heart or mind, no!

Is it just me or is there something wrong with this Christmas thing? It seems to me that the worse time of the year to find or see peace and joy is in the mad rush of the Christmas season. 

Could it be that we have taken the Christ out of Christmas? Could it be that there is simply no time to find that peace that so easily escapes us. We are just too busy with the celebration of a Christ-less Christmas. Yes, even the Christians. And, in the busy season when so many extra activities are added to an already busy and full schedule what little peace of heart and mind we regularly experience seems to disappear completely. 

It’s time to take back Christmas for the Christ child. Maybe it is even time for those who do not believe that Jesus is the Christ and have not confessed Him as Lord and Saviour to get off our holiday. Go to work. Don’t take a holiday.  You don’t believe so what is it that you are really celebrating. And, why are you celebrating with a Christmas tree and Christmas presents when you don’t love or worship the Christ. Get off our holiday. Or, celebrate your days off differently and stop living like a hypocrite apparently celebrating the birth of a child you don’t believe in.

Just a recurring thought I have about this time each and every year. Just a thought. 

Two Simple Habits

Despite the thousands of good habits we could adopt in our lives as believers, according to the broad-brush themes of the Bible, I would suggest that there are two basic habits we all need to adopt. “Sit and wait” habits and “go and do” habits.

God says we are to be still and know that He is God, and that we are to wait on His voice and His guidance and His peace. And then He says that faith without works is dead faith. And that a primary purpose in our lives is to go and share the Gospel of the Kingdom with people who need to be saved.

Jesus says, “Come into my presence. Still your mind. Quiet your thoughts. Hear from me. And then take the grace and peace I’ve given you to a chaotic and embittered world.”

If you crave a reset and a change in your daily routine, then this two-part sequence is for you. First, sit and wait. And then, in God’s Name, go and do.

Sit and Wait:

Tomorrow, start your day with a simple prayer. Before your feet hit the floor, say, “God, today I want to follow you. I want to hear your voice. I want to feel joy and peace and fulfillment. I want to live today as your child.” After you pray, open up a passage of the Bible and read until a verse strikes you as relevant to the situation you are in. Write the verse down – log it on your phone, grab a dry-erase marker and jot it down on your mirror, scribble it on your hand – and come back to it throughout your day, letting the power of God’s truth wash over you again and again.

Go and Do:

Next, as you work to stay in conversation with God throughout your day, ask him to give you the strength and courage to practice being grateful and kind and wise. Start with little things, like making eye contact with a stranger and saying hello, or reaching out to a friend with an encouraging word, or changing the subject when a friend starts gossiping to you about someone, or saying thanks but no thanks when you’re offered the drink or the pill or the bong or whatever the thing is that usually leaves you deflated and derailed.

Day by day, add a few small habits that lead to life, and subtract a few that don’t. Over time, you will be remade. You will see drastic and permanent change in your life and in your relationships. As Paul said in his famous letter to the church in Rome – “Do not conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:2)

Revival

I was recently at a church in Canada. One that was new to me. I enjoyed my time with them and we connected, as pastors and leaders often do, exchanging email addresses and cell phone numbers. A follow-up to it was that I was asked to befriend the leader on Facebook and then ended up having a closer look at the man and his church on their Facebook page. Great way to see what is happening or not happening and to help form an opinion or two as we begin building relationally.

I am amazed how many churches are advertising “revivals.” I shouldn’t be shocked or surprised as often they talk about revival over coffee, pray for revival, and hold regular revival services. I have always found that to be interesting. In earlier centuries the Church would schedule revivals. They would advertise that they were coming up and ask people to mark their calendars. Then there would be a series of special services usually with a guest speaker. People would attend and some would even get born again. This practice continues in some Christian circles through to today.

There were a number of major revivals in the Old Testament. God would send His messenger to call His nation back to their God. So, Israel would assemble, the prophet would preach, and people would repent and turn back to worshipping their God once again. This was God calling His nation back to Him. He selected the time and place and announced it through His spokesperson, the prophet. It was not planned and scheduled by man. It was something God initiated. The last revival was when John the Baptist called God’s people back to Him in preparation for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. 

Interesting to note that there are no references to “revivals” in the New Testament other than John’s. And, that was initiated by God and was still under the Old Covenant because Jesus had yet to die on the Cross and thus the New Covenant had yet start.  

Under the New Covenant, God no longer had a nation to call back to Him through repentance. Now He has a people who were, in time, scattered throughout many nations. These people were very much alive and in a personal relationship with Him. When they repented and turned to God He poured His love and His life into them. They were alive; vibrant and enthusiastic about God and the things of God. So alive that they spread the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the then known world and more than half the Roman Empire claimed Christ as their Lord by the year 300. No revival – just believers fulfilling the command of Christ to “go into al the world and make disciples.”

However, some still hold revivals today expecting non-believers to come and receive Christ as their Lord and Saviour. And yet, this is not what revivals are really all about. You do not revive something that has never been spiritually alive. Revivals should, if you are going to have them at all, should be focused on turning the church members back to God. The focus should be believers returning to the ‘life’ they once received and experienced. This ‘life’ now needing to be revived. They were not meant to see the lost saved. 

Saving the lost is accomplished through Christians building relationships with the unsaved and showing them the love of God. Eventually, having won their trust and respect then sharing the Gospel verbally as spiritual questions are asked and people begin to have an interest in finding out more regarding the God we believe in, worship, and serve. 

However, we still hold tent revivals, church revivals, youth revivals, spring revivals, fall revivals… focusing on seeing the lost come to the Cross and receive Christ. They are man-made programs designed to grab the attention of the unsaved. And who are kidding – do we really believe a sign saving “Revival Service Tonight” is going to attract an unsaved person. And, advertising “coffee and Cookies” isn’t exactly a drawing card either. 

We are apparently missing the fact that in the early Church there were no revivals. Just on-fire, enthusiastic, and obedient believers who spread the fire through their lifestyle and their words. No revival needed to do this.  

Instead of praying for revival why don’t we pray what Jesus told us to pray… that there would be more workers reporting for duty in the fields already ripe for harvest. 

Thoughts On Life and Making It Count

How quickly things can change. One day we are doing really well, healthy and enjoying life. We are relating to our family, making a difference in the lives of those that we know, and are planning the months to come, the change of seasons, and some of the things we would like to accomplish in life. And, then realty can hit and change all of that.

I have reached the age where I realize hat I am on the down side of the hill. In my early seventies there are, at most, 15 very active years left and then a few slower ones near the end before heading into eternity and the home Jesus has prepared for me before my arrival. So, I am writing or creating a bucket list of the things I would like to do before dying. And, I chose the  word ‘dying’ on purpose as I think it is so wrong to refer to someone as ‘passing.’ Passed is what you do when you have gas. You pass gas. And, it is not a ‘bucket list’ as I don’t plan to ‘kick the bucket.’ I am planning on doing what all human beings do – die. 

So, I have a “Let’s have a terrific time” list. And, it includes many amazing activities I want to become involved in before I die. Many places and countries I want to visit and learn about. Many nations I want to preach in and share the Gospel of the Kingdom in as I plant churches. 

Of course, there are things I want to do that are simply fun – camping, paddle boarding, reading some of my favourite authors, skydiving, scuba diving, living on a deserted island in a warm climate for six months by myself, write several books, and on the list could go. Some of the “Let’s have a terrific time” lists are of a more personal nature but you get the idea.

Of course, we don’t know when we will die. Only the Lord knows that. The Psalmist states that God, our heavenly Father, has a certain number of days for each of us to live. And, if we are healthy and care for the health that He has given to us we can live three score years and ten, which means 70 years. Of course, I have been blessed with having passed that milestone and am still in great health ready to see another decade or two before slowing down. I am simply enjoying my life too much to just sit and veg as many my age do. I am not into inactivity and boredom. I want to be challenged, stretched, do new things, go new places and continue the journey with Jesus which I have now been on for 42 years, 8 months. 

Many people die before they die, if you get my drift. They stop living long before they stop breathing. It is a choice. And, I choose life. There is simply too much I want to do for the Lord and so many things I want to taste, try, and do personally that I am not ready to simply sit. I am trusting the Lord that He still has many things for me to experience. I am doing my best to stay healthy physically, relationally, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. And, to invest the last years of my life pushing back the darkness, preaching, the gospel, planting churches, training and mentoring young men, and generally having a good time – a blast – enjoying all of life while doing all of these things. 

Relationships Are Key

Relationships are important in the Kingdom and thus, of course, in the Church. However, much of what we do does not encourage the building of healthy and dynamic relationships. 

Think about it, we sit in pews or chairs facing the back of someone’s head. We have a set program that we dutifully go through each time we assemble for worship – welcome, worship, greet one another (now there is a great relationship builder), announcement and offering, and then a teaching followed by another hymn, prayer time, or simply a dismissal. 

Of course there is the pre-service coffee fellowship (or mid-service or end of service) where people talk with their friends and those they know are safe. But, again, this seldom encourages existing relationships to grow and mature and certainly does not build new ones.

It takes time and effort to build quality relationships upon which the Kingdom and the Church are then built. It requires time because it actually takes a good length of time to build trust within a new relationship. And, without trust the relational sharing will lack any serious depth and simply be taking about the weather or recent sports game. Seldom about Jesus and never any sharing of personal issues, life circumstances and related feelings.

Not only must there be time for trust to be built up so that it then forms one of the foundations for healthy relationships. But, you and those you are relating to must feel safe enough to share. In other words, there must be a safe place where people can then be vulnerable. Vunerability is key to building relationally. 

You must feel that others are truly interested in what you have to say and what you are feeling. But, even more than that, they care about how you are feeling. To continue to be vulnerable the person you are sharing with must respond to what you are sharing. Continued vulnerability requires more than a passive receiving of information from the person listening. It requires that person to embrace and engage with what is being shared and the person who is doing the sharing. Again, this, like trust, does not come easily or naturally and takes time.

Add to this a large dose of confidentiality where you know that what you share will be received and responded to. But, more than that, it will remain confidential and not become the center of the latest gossip circle or the gossip chain often disguised as a prayer chain. People need to feel that you are trustworthy and confidential and will keep their confidences regardless. Not spreading them all over the local church. 

These three – trust, vulnerability, and confidentiality – are the basic requirements for healthy inter-personal relationships. And healthy relationships are essential for both the local church and the Kingdom to continue to grow and reach the lost with the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The Soaring Eagles

It is Independence Day in the United States and their main symbol is the eagle. This blog has nothing to do with that eagle or the nation of the United States. It has to do with the eagles I saw soaring on the wind this morning as I drank an early morning, and I mean early, coffee at a camp sight in northern Saskatchewan. I am on holidays and mornings have been cool and rainy. This morning was bright and sunny and clear. So, a coffee outside listening to the birds, watching the squirrels, and admiring the soaring eagles gliding on the wind currents over my head and the lake I am camped beside.

It is amazing how the eagles glide. It looks to be effortless but I am sure it is not. They look like they are having fun. Maybe they are scouting for breakfast under the water over which they are soaring. Perhaps they are simply having a good time. But, they have caught the flow of the wind and they are moving as it moves going where the wind takes them.

Of course, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is like the wind. The encounter with Nicodemus is found in John, chapter 3. Jesus told Nicodemus that the Holy Spirit, like the wind, goes where He wants. And, that often we, as believers, won’t know where He has come from or even where He is going. In other words, we may not always be deeply aware of what the Holy Spirit has done, is doing, or will be doing in our lives. And, we will not often know where He is taking us.

So, our task is to ride the wind. Go with the Holy Spirit. At times you may simply be moving forward in your relationship with Him. This is called ‘fellowship’ as seen in 1 Corinthians 13:14. At times you may be moving forward and not know why it is happening or even where you will end up – Like Abraham when He left Ur and headed out with God as his guide not knowing the direction or the destination. At all times it is fun because you are soaring on the wind and moving with the plans and purposes of the Living God whom you love and adore.

To ride the wind for whatever reason we need to yield to the Spirit. If you fight the wind you will not soar like the eagles. You have to go with the wind, go with the flow. We are reminded in Ephesians 5:18 that we are to yield to the Spirit letting Him control our thoughts, feelings, words, actions, and attitude. And, yielding means you may not always have a clear understanding of where He is taking you and what He wants you to do when you get there. But you have put Him in control of your life and you are trusting Him completely. 

It is okay not to know everything and understand fully. It is half the fun and we are called to walk by faith and not by sight or understanding. We are called to live in the spirit and not in the flesh. So, let go and begin to soar on the wind.