Imagine you were given the choice between two doors: one marked “The Study of the Holy Spirit” and the other “The Holy Spirit Is Here.” Which door would you choose? Many Christians would opt for the safer route of classroom discussion. Study can be inspiring and enlightening—and safe. And who knows what might happen if you chose the second door? The Holy Spirit has been known to do unpredictable, audacious things with the lives of Christians submitted to his leadership.
These are things safer read about than experienced.
So, we might as well get it out in the open at the outset: we’ve got an upcoming book on the Holy Spirit which is designed to frustrate the classroom-only Christian. If you’re looking for nothing more than study of the Spirit, the book will irritate—like spurs in the sides of a horse. This is because the book is an invitation to choose Door #2 and actually experience the Spirit. And who knows what will happen if you surrender your life to the Holy Spirit for him to fill, empower, and lead you? David Young is the author of a book in Renew.org’s Real Life Theology series called Holy Spirit: Filled, Empowered, and Led. This book is far from a historical survey of a once-active Spirit who now lies dormant. No, the Spirit is powerfully on the move in our day. To hear David Young talk about what the Spirit is up to in our world, check out the following 3-minute video. The video provides a sneak peek into what goes on behind Door #2.
In Africa, in the year 1900, there were 9 million disciples of Jesus. Today, that number is 335 million. In just over one lifetime, an entire continent is being flipped in the name of Jesus. In fact, 3.7 times as many Protestants live in Africa now as live in North America. In Latin America, there were 50,000 Protestants in the year 1900. Today, there are 64 million—over the course of only 100 years. Now we go to Asia where there were 101 million Christians in 1970. Over the course of only a few decades, there are 351 million today. So, I’ve said to my church many times, if you want to be comfortable in heaven, you need to learn Chinese—because it will be the dominant language. In fact, in China, they say there are as many as 10,000 baptisms in China every single day. And this is in spite of the pushback of the most recent government. In 1980, 75% of the missionaries were sent out by the Global North. By 2020, 63% will come from the Global South. In the 19th century, there was not a single Christian disciple-making movement among Muslims. Today, there are more than a hundred disciple-making movements among Muslims. Last night, as a group of us gathered, one shared about the power of Jesus among Muslims. Listen to this number: In the last 14 years there have been more Muslims come to Jesus than in the last 1400 years combined—times 10.
The Holy Spirit is moving.
Worldwide, there are 651 church planting disciple making movements although only 8 here in North America. What’s happening? Well, people have been asking the Holy Spirit to do what the Holy Spirit does. To renew us. And so we started Renew.org for the purpose of asking the Holy Spirit to do the same in our lives in North America, to use us to be part of a great worldwide renewal to give every single human being the opportunity to respond to Jesus Christ before he returns.
For a free preview of the book Holy Spirit: Filled, Empowered, and Led, click here.