Q: I want you to pretend like you’re back in the States and you are asked to preach a chapel service at your alma mater. What’s your advice to help the American church?
My sermon would revolve around walking in the Spirit. I would talk about the need for the American church and individual Christians to allow the Holy Spirit to operate in them, to work in them.
Jesus told His apostles not to leave Jerusalem until they received the gift that His Father promised: the Holy Spirit. He said,
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
That was the Author of the church speaking with the pioneers of the church. And He tells them: It’s not by sight or works or human understanding or human power or because of how educated you are. You need to be filled by the Spirit. You will need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in you because you need the Holy Spirit even to remind you the things which I have taught you.
I heard someone say once that the church of the US has done amazing things without the Holy Spirit.
Great memberships and all that. People claim to be lovers of Jesus, but they aren’t living in obedience to His will. They aren’t living out their Christian confession.
Jesus is not just a Savior; Jesus is Lord. We have to teach people to understand that when you come to Jesus, you want to obey His commands, live according to His teachings.
You cannot do that without the Holy Spirit. You cannot boldly share the Gospel without the Holy Spirit.
Most Americans are so scared of sharing the Gospel because they don’t know what the person will say. There is this fear of being intimidated or hurting people’s feelings or being labeled. We need to be reminded what Jesus said: you receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
Q: Let’s say you’ve been in a busy season, and you realize you haven’t really been allowing yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit. What does that shift back look like?
You will need to appreciate that this is not about you and you cannot do it on your own.
You’ve got to invite the Holy Spirit to guide you and to teach you and to use you. So I think there’s a need for one to take time and have that moment where you take time out and tell God, “I think I have been doing this just on my own strength and understanding. I’ve come to the understanding that I need the empowering of the Holy Spirit.”
You invite the Holy Spirit to fill you and take over. You will want to invite Him on a daily basis to be your teacher and to use you the way He wants to use you.
Every morning, one of my practices is to invite the Holy Spirit: “I cannot do this without you. I don’t want to do this alone. So take over. Take my mind, my intellect, my everything. I am nothing but your vessel. I want to be used of you. Welcome Holy Spirit. This day, I want nothing but what you want.”