Being Filled

When you think about filling something up,  what do you think of.  Remember just after the last dinosaur went extinct, there used to be something called a gas station attendant.  (I understand that they still have them in some of the more backwards parts of the country) As the procedure went, you would pull up to the gas station and an attendant would ask you what you wanted.  You would say,  “Filler up” and they would proceed to do what ever necessary things needed to be done to fill your car with fuel.   Of course in order to save money, they now require us to do that ourselves.  (Which is why gas here is so much cheaper than above mentioned “backwards states”…wait a minute why is their gas the same price?!……… but I digress. )   When you think of filling up, you think of something empty being filled with some substance.  But as we talked about last week the Holy Spirit is rightly understood as He not It.  So how do we think of that relationally?

The metaphors used in scripture of our relationship with the Holy Spirit certainly invite us to think of Him in such a way.  Being poured out and being filled certainly speaks to us of our abject emptiness without the Holy Spirit.  But it can also lead us toward an unhealthy approach when we take it to far.  When the Holy Spirit is gas in the gas tank, He becomes a commodity, and impersonal.  People mistakenly move toward manipulation and a magical world view (if we sing the right songs or say the right words emphasizing ….) then we will…..   It can also lead in the direction of creating a litmus test as to whether someone actually has experienced the Holy Spirit.  We impose upon Him expectations and experiential tests as if He can be corralled or controlled.  We can end up chasing after experience rather than relationship.  How sad.

So what does it mean to “be filled with the Spirit”?  How should we think about it staying within the bounds and emphasis of scripture?  How does one become “filled with the Spirit” and are you?  Do you want to be?  Prayerfully consider these things today and come to church with an expectant heart.  

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. – Acts 2:17

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



Greater Things

Just before Jesus goes to the cross, he is conversing with his disciples and he makes an outrageous claim. The disciples are pretty accustomed to this so no one questions him, but I have to believe the are thinking it. Here is what he says “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12. Do even greater things? What exactly would that encompass? In your wildest imaginations do you think about doing greater things than Jesus?

 Maybe we can assure ourselves that he was only talking to the Disciples. Maybe it was a special deal for them and really not intended to be taken so far as to suggest that the “they” is us. But the problem with that is what Jesus says in front of it, “..whoever believes in me…”. So the nifty escape clause is gone. Jesus certainly had his disciples in mind, but as usual he was gazing upon of multiple horizons. He was yes seeing the disciples in the foreground but beyond them, 2000+ years beyond them, he was looking at you, and he was looking at me.

All of this hinged on the very last clause in the sentience “Because I am going to the Father.” That was the key, and he clarified a little later in John 16: 7 “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”   You see the greater things that those who believe in him, those who are doing the works he was doing, were going to do was not going to be out of their personal efforts. They could be confident that Jesus was not going to leave them powerless. In fact, because of His return to the Father he was going to send the Holy Spirit. All of humanity would experience the presence of God in a new way. Not just an agreement and obedience with something outside of them, not just the teaching and miracles that they could see in the life of Jesus, but an indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It was by this Spirit who comes not only upon but into us that would change the whole deal.  It is by this Spirit that we are Empowered.

Are you ready to discover what it means to be so empowered? Are you ready to accept the possibility of even greater things?

 See you at church.

Pastor Chris



Sunrise Service Concludes Holy Week

As evening fell, we remembered what it must have been like for the disciples.  They had just seen their Messiah crucified.  He was laid in a tomb.  As the sun went down and the Sabbath began they must have been so discouraged and disillusioned. They would remain that way until the incredible discovery. The discovery that He had indeed been raised from the dead, and that would change everything!

 We gathered our friends and family as we celebrated His resurrection at sunrise service for Wellspring Fellowship of Gig Harbor at the Purdy Spit. We sang worship songs, listened to Pastor Chris Henderson share the Word as we concluded a truly amazing Holy Week.

 The pinnacle to the week came as he baptized Brooks and Brittany Surratt at the end of Sunrise Service. What an inspirational conclusion and beautiful representation of a new life having been sanctified through baptism. What a truly amazing Holy Week.

 Come, be a part of something special and visit us won’t you?? You have no idea what you are missing!!

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This Changes Everything

There are moments in history that are pivotal. History takes a right or left turn, goes forward or backwards, but it can not continue on it’s pervious course. You can think of those events in our modern era with things like the attack at Pearl Harbor, D-Day or 9-11.   Those events happen on a personal level as well. I don’t know anyone who when holding their first little one in their arms is not fundamentally changed. It changes everything.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was and continues to be just such an event. It changed everything. It changed it for the disciples, it changed the world and it continues to have this incredible transforming impact.

Do you think it would have that impact if it were all made up? Can you think of one other myth or legend or story that has had such an impact on the world? It is not just that our side won, but through history and even today whenever and wherever the resurrection of Jesus is proclaimed, and whenever and wherever it is accepted with the response of living faith, it changes everything! That is the power of the resurrection.

As evening falls, we can remember what it must have been like for the disciples. They had just seen their Messiah crucified. He was laid in a tomb. As the sun went down and the Sabbath began they must have been so discouraged and disillusioned. They would remain that way until the incredible discovery. The discovery that He had indeed raised from the dead, and that would change everything!

Gather your friends and family and come to church tomorrow as we celebrate His resurrection!

Pastor Chris

 



One Way to Fix It

Only One Way to Fix It.

 I recently replaced the faucet in my kitchen. I didn’t want to replace it. I wasn’t doing it to update the color or get one with more features, but rather because the faucet was worn out. The gaskets and mechanical parts were failing. The faucet was made in such a way that “fixing” it was not possible. No one sold the parts that it needs, and by the time you actually found said parts (if they exist) and ordered them you would have been most of the way to price of a purchasing a new faucet. They didn’t make it to be repaired they made it to be replaced. There was only one way to fix it. It had to be replaced.

 I like options. I hate being forced into “one way or the high way”. In fact, I am most attracted to methods and ways of doing things that are often considered unconventional. I find that the experience of life is better when I leave the highway and explore the less traveled lanes. However, on occasion there is nothing to be done. There is no creative way around it. There is no alternative choice, indeed there is only one way.

 The sacrifice of Jesus was just such an instance. Why did Jesus have to die? Why would he sacrifice Himself? Last week we talked about His motivation. He loved us and laid down his life for His friends all for the glory of God. It answers the question of motivation but leaves unanswered a question “Why this method?” Wasn’t there some other way that sin could be dealt with? Wasn’t there some way He could save His friends, but not have to experience crucifixion? 

The answer to this question lies in understanding the very nature of God Himself. It was not that there is some universal principle that constrains and supersedes even God. If that were true then there would be something greater than God. Nothing is. Rather, we can only understand the necessity for the sacrifice if we understand the immutability of the righteousness of God Himself. It is impossible for God to be something and act in a way that opposite of His very self.   Sins penalty is death comes out of God’s holiness and righteousness. There was only one way to fix it.  This week we will focus on this one way, the sacrifice of Jesus.

“Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.”

                     ~Hebrews 10:11-14 (MSG)

See you at church,

 Pastor Chris



Dear Occupant

When you pick up your mail every day don’t you love to get those letters from this that or the other business that just knows that you need their product or service? They have spent so much time getting to know you and what you need they neither know your name, nor do they really care who you are. You are just another consumer that they hope to entrap with their offer of easy credit cards, or junk you don’t need. They refer to you as occupant.   How different it is when you discover a letter from a friend.

It is certainly rare to actually get a letter in the mail. I almost hesitate to use the analogy for fear that a younger generation might not be able to even relate. Like VHS, and human controlled cars, it will eventually be completely replaced by superior and more reliable technology. But there is still that little jolt of excitement when surprisingly, mixed in all the junk, you find a card or a letter from a friend.

As we continue to explore the idea that Jesus coming and dying on a cross, and ultimately being raised from the dead, is believable, we are forced to consider motivation. We know that “God so loved the world that He sent his Son…”(John 3:16), and we know that Jesus went to the cross for the glory of the Father (John 12:27-28) but we too are in the mix. Jesus says this in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus loves His friends, and when we consider that, it makes the extraordinary understandable, even believable.

Are you a friend of Jesus or are you standing afar, distant, occupant? Come discover the ways he demonstrated His friendship and how it should cause us to worship Him!

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



Believable II

I got a call today from a fellow who said he was from the US Treasury department. He wanted to talk with Susan about a legal matter.   His halting English and my phone caller ID, which said he was from Brawley, CA (about 10 miles from Mexicali), said I don’t think so. There is not even a US treasury office in Brawley. I laughed at him and said “Cool now I too can say I got called by the IRS scammers. “ He just wasn’t even remotely believable.

 The last time we talk about Believable it was in the context of the miracles that surrounded the birth of Jesus. It was to ask and answer was this historical event, the arrival of Jesus, believable? It was! Now we move into part two of the trilogy. In the next 4 weeks we will look at the eyewitness accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.   Depending on where you are at you will be either challenged to believe or reaffirmed in your belief.

 Unlike the phony IRS scam caller, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has all the characteristics, all the tale-tale signs of something that rings true. This week we will look at His teachings and their qualities that make them and Him Believable.

 See you at church,

 Pastor Chris



Light Not Grey

 

 

Love is bannerWalking in darkness is never very much fun. I have pretty decent night vision, but even so wandering around in darkness can really get a person in trouble. You often can’t see to avoid the stick in the trail that is at about eye height. You fail to see the Lego minefield (if you have young ones) or the corner of that piece of furniture that you have walked around hundreds of times. Walking in darkness usually just hurts.

 February is a month where (since the 14th century and the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer) people have come to celebrate the romantic love we so enjoy with our sweethearts. Little cards, candies, and other sweet nothings will be exchanged. Romance is a gift from God, and it is wonderful. Our culture too will celebrate, by releasing their latest and greatest vomit of big screen pornography. Celebrating their walking in the darkness as they stumble, trip, fall, are impaled, and broken in their relationships, but pretend they are free and these things have no real impact. What they really need has nothing to do with ugliness of literotica blasted onto the big screen. What they really need is true love. What they really need is light not shades of darkness.

 For the month of February we will look at true love found in 1 John.   There are no shades, it is just pure light. All who bask in it will find true freedom, true joy, true strength, and an intimacy that that brings life. Hope to see you at church.

 Walking in the light,

 Pastor Chris



Ignoring the Prime Directive

I must confess I am a science fiction geek.    I enjoy entertainment that is about as far away from reality as I can get it.  If I watch movies or read books that are set in the real world I end up working.  I want to counsel bad relationships and help broken people. I find that I neither escape nor relax after watching a movie set in the real world.  But Star Trek that is another matter.   I don’t have to worry about the missionaries on Vulcan! 

In the Star Trek universe there is something called the Prime Directive.  Simply stated it forbids Starfleet personnel from interfering or impacting the internal development of alien civilizations.  Unfortunately all to often the Church has adopted the Prime Directive.

Having discovered that “the world” is alien with desires and motivations that are completely at odds with all things Christian.  And discovering that interacting with this world is hard work that sometimes results in things like criticism, mocking, and resistance we adopt the Prime Directive. We take our ball and go home.  We develop a little mini-society where everything we do is Christian.  We have Christian friends, watch Christian shows, and even in our service we end up serving Christians.  We adopt the Prime Directive, and just let the world go where it is headed.

Christ’s calling is higher than Starfleet’s.  We are called not to ignore the world, or isolate ourselves from it, but rather to serve.  We are not called to conform to the world, but rather do our best to transform and influence as many as God puts in our reach.  We are to love, serve, care for, visit, and encourage.  It is our hope that we do indeed impact and interfere with where their “alien” culture is headed.

This week we are once again be reminded of our targets in Vision 2020.  We are going to specifically be looking at how we will accomplish our call to service.

Come be encouraged to ignore the Prime Directive.

Live long and prosper and Go Hawks, 

Pastor Chris



A Letter From My Dad

In my office I have a letter from my dad.   I put it in a frame and with that letter I have a picture of when I was ordained as a pastor and my dad was praying over me.   The letter is not incredibly remarkable and I am quite certain my dad had no idea of the significance it would later have for me.   It was from his heart to mine, and so when roads are bumpy or when I feel tired I look at it and find comfort and encouragement there. My other Dad left me a letter too.

This letter is different. This other Dad did know of the significance it would hold and in fact, wanted it to have an amazing place in my life. In this letter not only does He relate to me who He is, but who I am as well.   He relays how much He loves me, and all the things He has given me both to strengthen me, guide me, teach me, and help me get through this life. But even more than all of that, He gave me this letter so we could be close. Like a love letter, it reveals His heart and draws my heart into His.

Sometimes I read it and it doesn’t seem like a love letter. Sometimes it tells stories of far off lands, peoples, and events. Sometimes I feel like ;“How does this have any meaning to me?” It is funny how I never felt that way when my earthly dad would tell me stories of his adventures. It had application to me because it was what happened to him. I guess not every letter has to be all about me.

Other times I read it, and the words reach me right where I am at. They comfort me and hold me up or maybe they give me a quick kick in the seat of the pants to get me going again. Usually, it is just what I needed and makes me feel close to my Dad.

Your Daddy has written you a letter, are you reading it?

See you at church,

Pastor Chris