The thought this week is written by Revd Nick Lear, EBA Regional Minister
Isn’t it amazing how excited we get in the UK when it snows. You’d think it never happens from the flurry of pictures on social media that show snowy gardens and streets. Before you think I have gone all ‘bah humbug’ I confess to getting a bit excited about snow too. There’s something so peaceful and mesmerising about the way the flakes float down and the sound-muffling properties of a snow-covered landscape contribute to the serenity. And it’s fun to make snow people and throw snowballs too.
This morning I had to go out in my car (I know… what an adventure… going out!) so I swept all the snow off the top, scraped the windscreen and started the engine. The car started fine. But there was a problem. The fan heater in the car wasn’t working. No matter what buttons I pressed or settings I adjusted there was no air movement at all. I really needed the fan to clear the moisture from the inside of the windscreen and keep my vision clear. Thankfully my wife’s car was available so I repeated the snow and ice clearing and was able to carry out the mercy mission. Like with many things, I didn’t realise how much I depended on the fan heater until it wasn’t working. I took it for granted.
Many of you will already be ahead of me here, but the same is true of churches and the Holy Spirit. We might have everything else in excellent working order but unless the Spirit is blowing through us and in us we will be ineffective for God’s Kingdom. God’s mercy mission won’t be fulfilled as he doesn’t have a backup plan. What a risk God takes by entrusting his mission to us and its effectiveness to how open we are to the Spirit! What a responsibility that places on us too.
Ephesians 5:18 tells us to “…be filled with the Spirit…” You probably know that ‘be filled’ is in a present continuous imperative. In other words, it’s vital for us to keep on being filled with the Spirit. The wider context tells us that this is in contrast to self-indulgence and enables us to speak God’s words to one another. You might say that God’s Spirit is the church’s biggest fan (sorry, I’ll get my coat).
There are many examples of people in the Bible who were filled with the Spirit to enable them to do what God wanted them to do. It is clear that to do what God wants we need the help of God’s Spirit. Without him we have to rely on our own ideas and hard work to try (and fail) to do what only he can do. We may be able to run an efficient organisation, but if a church is not Spirit-filled it’s just a social action group with a strong sense of moral superiority. With God’s Spirit we are inspired to meet needs and have conversations we would never have thought of and we can respond to the promptings he is giving to those whom we meet so that they are able to make sense of life in Christ.
So how’s your church’s fan heater? Is it time for a service?
For your prayers
This week we’re praying for Dagenham Baptist Church – Weekly Prayer Focus – Eastern Baptist Association
This Sunday Beth is preaching at Fakenham Baptist Church and I am at Theydon Bois Baptist Church, while Graeme will be with another of our churches.
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