I pray that all is well with you. Today I will be brief. This is a big week for the Browns. My youngest daughter, Emma, graduates from high school this Friday. Then, Sunday we begin the yearly migration that all UM clergy in the WNCC perform, our trip to the annual conference in Lake Junaluska. I ask that you please pray for traveling mercies for my family and all the pastors and their families driving to the mountains. Pray for our meetings as well. As a result, there will be no thoughts from Thad for the next two Mondays. It will return on Monday the 26th of June.
Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. The day in which the Church remembers the arrival of God's Holy Spirit upon the people of God. I can personally testify that no greater power exists on the earth than God's Holy Spirit. I could not pastor a church or minister to people experiencing homelessness at OH without God's Spirit. The Spirit of God guides me in thought, word, and action, then, at days end, refills my personally poured out spirit, so that I can do it again. This miracle happens over and over on a daily basis.
Jesus promised us God's Spirit. In John 14:15-17, he calls God's Spirit, Counselor,
"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."
Here Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit will be with us forever. He is taking the place of Christ here on earth. Jesus even calls this other Counselor the Spirit of truth. The Spirit of truth is with us today (forever remember), sadly, many do not listen to what the Spirit of truth says. The Spirit guides and directs us. It does not take over control of our being like we were robots. This means that we can refuse to do what God's Spirit is directing us to do. If we do this on a continual basis the Spirit will leave us alone. To avoid this happening, welcome God's Spirit and his guidance and suggestions. Communicate with God's Spirit, ask questions, seek further understanding (Counselor remember).
Jesus even tells us that it is for our good that he is going away. In other words, we are better off with God's Spirit. Wow, that's mind-blowing. John 16:7-11,
"But I tell you the truth: Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me: in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world (Satan) now stands condemned."
Conviction and forgiveness are the work of the Holy Spirit. None of us can avoid this process. It is a life long process. Submit to it, confess, accept forgiveness, and grow. This is how it works. Don't make it complicated.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC