Desiree and I have completed our current manuscript and it is officially on the market! The working title is The Holy Spirit of the Bible. In a time when books on the Holy Spirit focus on being primarily inspirational, we really wanted to take a solid, Biblical view of the roles of the Holy Spirit throughout the Old Testament and the New, and laying the groundwork of Scripture, we then illustrated with inspirational examples of how the Spirit of God continues His robust work now as He always has.
Take a look at an excerpt from the first chapter of the manuscript for a better understanding of where the book is going!
Chapter 1-What we are missing is the Holy Spirit
“I was living as a model of Christianity, both in study and in service. But deep inside, I had a growing sense that something was missing.”
“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” John 15:16
It all started with the question from my young son who had just watched Star Wars. “Dad, is ‘The Force’ real?” For those of you who have not watched this movie or read the books, it is a fantasy story about a future struggle between good and evil throughout the galaxy. In this setting, good and evil are characterized by either “the light side” or “the dark side,” both being polarized representations of “The Force,” an energy that one could learn to harness and utilize. The utilization, of course, depends on your desired effect. Will you use “The Force” selflessly for the good of humanity, or will you use it selfishly to satisfy your own lust for power?
My son was quite unaware of the deeper storyline, or the world-views represented in this film, produced during an era of a great societal search for meaning, fulfillment and spirituality. Many influential Christ-followers came out of this movement, as did an influx of New Age thought and pagan belief that led into the material excess of the 1980’s. My son, rather, was fascinated by the cinematic ability to use “The Force” to retrieve a light-saber without even touching it. “Dad, is ‘The Force’ real?” I pondered this question briefly before responding from my heart. It occurred to me that this might be a pivotal opportunity for his young heart. “Son,” I replied, “There is something much, much better than ‘The Force.’ You think it is amazing be able to pull a weapon toward yourself by just reaching for it, or to change someone’s mind by implanting thoughts in their head. What if,” I asked him, “What if you could heal someone by praying for them and touching them? What if you could bring a dead person back to life?”
This was a great opportunity to impart spiritual truth to the mind of my young son, all in language that he would understand. The intent was emphatically clear in my mind. I wanted him to understand the difference between cheap parlor tricks and true miraculous happenings. You see, for every perfect gift from the Creator, for every attribute of His perfect character, for every manifestation of the great Yahweh’s will, Satan has an imitation. These imitations are knock-offs, like swap-meet Rolex watches. They look like the real thing, but when tested, when examined, when scrutinized for the Maker’s mark, they fail the test. As you will soon see, God’s glory is the core motivation behind every authentic act of God. For this reason, we will spend substantial time in this book examining the concept of counterfeits.
Counterfeits have deliberate targets in their deceit. There are counterfeit fruits of the Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, roles of the Spirit, miracles and supernatural phenomenon. False fruits of the Spirit, for example, infiltrate the Church, appearing to be Godly, and skew people’s hearts to a point that is just off target. These are the subtle ways that Satan and his fellow fallen angels, “the enemy,” weasel their way into congregations and deceive people into thinking they are spiritually healthy. Counterfeit miracles, on the other hand, are much more recognizable to most Christ-followers, but I think the Church is generally afraid of them, whereas the world obsesses over these supernatural acts, ascribing glory and power to them. Just take a look at your local TV listings and see how many talk shows and primetime dramas are dedicated to the paranormal.
I personally believe that the enemy’s greatest triumph in this world is in keeping the Church unaware, deceived, afraid, and naïve of its God-given role in His grand design. More specifically, I believe the enemy targets Christian men in order to keep them oblivious, disconnected, overworked, and disenfranchised, all so that they don’t awaken and discover their destiny as warriors and elders for the Kingdom of God. One of the ways our enemy achieves this is by keeping us from the Heavenly Father, through any means necessary. It may be through guilt over sin, it may be through distraction and busyness, but probably and most tragically, it may be through our denial of the work of the Holy Spirit, whose primary role is to bring us to, and keep us connected with, our Father in heaven. What more effective way to cast doubt on the work of the Holy Spirit than to flat-out deny that the work even exists.
We are robbed by our fear
Our fears in life are typically born out of our instruction and experience, and the same holds true for our fears regarding the activity of the Holy Spirit.
Some of us come from settings where the Holy Spirit was simply never really spoken of. And while there was perhaps no theological slant to muddle or confuse such a person, there was also a distinct lack of models and teachers to introduce these Christians to the Spirit of God.
Others come from settings where the activity of the Holy Spirit is the main focus of teaching, preaching, evangelism and ministry in general, often outweighing teaching about Jesus or the Father. Perhaps they are taught that there are “proofs” of salvation for all believers, such as speaking in tongues. At times they may have been very uncomfortable with how the gifts of the Spirit were portrayed. Maybe they have hungered for deep intimacy with the Father, but the extremes of their church experience regarding the display of gifts only seem to scratch the surface of true spirituality.
Finally, there are those whose church background emphatically denies the miraculous activity of the Holy Spirit, particularly in the area of spiritual gifts. These people are called cessationists, as they believe that the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit ceased when the Bible finally came on the scene, or when the last apostle had died. There are differing levels of strictness in this group: some accept that God may still directly perform a rare miracle, but not through a Christian, while others do not believe in miracles at all.