"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Philip RAN up to the Chariot" (ROCC SG Final Week)

We completed our study on Galatians with last night’s final small group session of the Fall. Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia taught us a great deal about God’s grace, freedom from the law, false teaching, Paul’s personality and the idea of living in the Spirit. In fact, Paul so strongly reminds us to walk with the Spirit, that we should at least understand what that means and how walking  / living / sowing to the Spirit is possible.

To that end, Pastor Beaty provided an outstanding message this past Sunday. In short, he taught us to better live in the Spirit by:

1. Acknowledging the Holy Spirit :  Do we understand who the Holy Spirit is and what He was sent to provide for us? Are we reverent of the Holy Spirit? We are told by Christ, that He and the Father would provide a teacher, counselor, helper that would come to us in their physical absence. This teacher would be the God / Christ in us. The Holy Trinity, as it was termed by the early church, is the final substance of God that we experience as mankind. God the Father created, His son Jesus came to die for us and the Holy Spirit is implanted in believers when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

2. Being Attentive to the Holy Spirit : We’ve talked often during this study about the need to be about those things that are of God. This is not a suggestion to live out a ‘Monk-like’ existence, but it is true that where we spend our time, and with whom we spend our time, we are influenced. If we are consumed with the Holy Spirit, we will be in the Word. And not only in the Word, we will look to meditate on scripture and seek the Spirit’s counsel. Ask, then seek and listen.

3. Acting on the Holy Spirit’s calling : Once we acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and we become truly attentive to His work, we then must act upon that guidance. Our action becomes Kingdom work when we take the leaps of faith and go where the Spirit is calling us to go. For most of us this not require selling off everything and making a permanent home in a third world country (but it might). No, for most of us, it’s the urging to share God and His love with the neighbor next door, the co-worker, the homeless. Acting becomes the living out of our Faith.

The verse referenced by Pastor Beaty, while explaining the idea of acting upon the Spirit’s calling, was Acts 8:30.  Here we find Philip being asked to travel a road without knowing exactly why. Soon enough, Philip found himself with the opportunity to share with a stranger. An Ethiopian traveling home from Jerusalem had been reading through Isaiah, when upon the Spirit’s prompting, "Philip RAN alongside the chariot" to strike up the conversation. Scripture doesn’t say that Philip hesitated, or that he was prompted twice, or even that he slowly made his way over. Scripture tells us that he RAN! Like we discuss in Run For God, often God’s Word uses the term run to describe the urgency required. Here I think it might truly be that Philip ran to catch up with the chariot and that he did so with great urgency, not letting it slip away. What a great encouragement for us to follow.

As we acknowledge, stay attentive to and act according to the Spirit’s leading, I believe we will all be better RUNNERS!

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