Awareness and Expression


I have been ruminating on something lately. A friend of mine texted me just prior to a speaking engagement, praying that I’d have an acute awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirt. Ever since, I have been reminded of the powerful relationship between awareness and expression. In short, I believe that our awareness of the Presence of the Holy Spirit has a direct impact on the strength and substance of what we express (in ministry and in all of life).

Cultivating a deeper, deliberate awareness of His presence has a causative impact on His influence upon and expression through my life – in word and deed.

It seems to me that Jesus made this connection clear in Luke 4:18-19. Reading from the scroll of Isaiah (and immediately claiming “these words” were fulfilled in their hearing), Jesus said “The Spirit of The Lord is upon me…” I am intrigued by this rather straight forward statement of fact. He stated what he believed to be true – what he was aware of by faith (faith that was affected by experience, perhaps even informed by experience). The Spirit of The Lord was “upon Him” and had anointed Him to be a liberator, healer, deliverer and herald of good news. I find it fascinating that Jesus professes His awareness of the Spirit’s presence and proclaims how that presence will be expressed in a cause-and-effect manner.

Later in Jesus’ ministry, when touched by a suffering woman who believed that touch would make her well, Jesus claimed that He knew he was touched because He felt power come out from Him. He was aware of the Presence of the Spirit upon Him so acutely that He sensed the movement of His power from Him.

After Pentecost, Peter carried an awareness of the Spirit’s presence and power – with an apparent expectation of expressing that power. In Acts 3, when the man at the gate beautiful asks for alms, Peter answered famously that although did not have money, “what I DO have I DO give.” What I have (what I am aware of, have a deep, acute, assurance of – by faith and by experience) I give (I express now – by faith).

Awareness is often informed and affected by experience (like Luke 3:21-22 or Acts 2:1-4). Awareness is also determined by a decision. Peter in Acts 2 quoted Psalms 16. The quote in Acts is slightly different in some words than the OT version – probably due to Peter’s LXX version or something. But what Peter says, in close proximity to the Pentecostal experience of the Spirit, is this:
~ I have set The Lord always before me:
Do you see this? The Psalmist confessed that he has made a choice to place The Lord ALWAYS before him – in front of him, before his face. It is fair to say the Psalmist says, “I have decided to be always be aware of the Lord’s presence.” The Lord’s presence is “front and center” – the centerpiece of his consciousness.

In the interest of brevity (there are many more passages of scripture and a significant amount of biographical testimony that is relevant to this thought), I offer just one more passage for consideration – or two more. 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19. In both passages Paul is arguing for attitude and behavior changes on the part of the Corinthian church. And his argument is basically this: awareness should influence expression. “Know ye not?” Paul asks. Do you not know that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit? Do you not know that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If they were aware, then they surely would not have been engaging in divisive and dishonorable behavior.

For me, I believe that this means I can (and should) cultivate a confident awareness of the Spirit with a specific anticipation and assurance of that Presence being expressed in a manner congruent with the strength and substance of my awareness. Awareness of His anointing will produce a powerful expression of that anointing. Awareness of His abiding will produce a joy and a peace and a boldness. Awareness of His Holy Presence will produce a life-style that honors and cherishes it.

So, I jot these thoughts down mostly as a way to reinforce my own commitment to cultivate a deeper, stronger, more deliberate awareness of His presence. That awareness will, I hope, continue to be informed and enriched by experience, while remaining secured, protected and promoted by faith.

I share these loosely worded thoughts with you in hopes that, as always, you too will be encouraged.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to share

Seven Reasons to Invite Someone To Church This (every) Weekend

casual hands shaking

What if we sought to cultivate a habit, perhaps already present for some but maybe new for others, of inviting someone to church every weekend? No pressure; no gags; no gimmicks; just a happy and sincere invitation: “would you come to church with me this weekend?”

I hope to encourage many in our home church to embrace this habit, and maybe a few others, too. And there are at least 7 good reasons why.

First of all, inviting people to church who currently do not have a home church significantly increases the probability of them hearing the gospel, which in turn significantly increases the probability of them believing said gospel. This is a two-fer: two good reasons summed in one.

Secondly, when you invite someone to church, it will likely increase your propensity to pray for them, pray for your church, pray for the actual gathering to which you are inviting them, and even pray for “me” (Lord, help the pastor to say something that somehow connects with my friend/family/neighbor/colleague). This, too, is a multi-faceted benefit, as is usually the case when we pray.

Next, when you bring someone to church with you, it increases your sensitivity to and awareness of the environment. You are desperate for the other people at church to appear friendly and warm and genuine (and maybe not unnecessarily weird). You yourself might sport a metaphorical “hey I am happy you’re here and care about you” button. This, often, in contrast to when we come guest-less to church with the temptation to just slink in and keep to ourselves (often too distracted by the eclipsing importance of what irritated us on the way to church or what we want to eat afterward – and “why is this church coffee so bad”). Furthermore, you might well pay more attention to the appearance of the facility, the need for improved sound equipment, and for pens in the back of the chairs that actually work. Who knows, you might even become aware of how important the hospitality crew is, finding yourself volunteering to serve on those front lines.

Inviting people to church has an ego-involvement benefit. By that I mean that when you invite people to church, it becomes “your” church. You are a greater stakeholder than when you remain simply a visitor emeritus.

The general likelihood of your church (and hopefully my home church) continuing to grow numerically is increased in direct proportion to… new people coming there. So, inviting people to church regularly is a really terrific way of causing your church to grow. Luke 14:23 hints pretty strongly that our Lord is a fan of His House being full.

Many Christians can trace their family’s faith to the salvation of a parent or grandparent. Others encountered Christ as a child or teenager – because somehow someone brought them to church. What I am saying is that inviting one person to church might impact the destiny of generations. Whole families might well be saved. Marriages can be restored. Children can hear of hope and promise. Teens can learn security and integrity and purpose. A man (a godly prayer warrior, helper of the hurting and servant of children) in my church is the great-great (maybe another “great” I can’t remember) grandson of General William Booth of the Salvation Army. Consider what generational avalanche might occur if we invite people to church – this weekend.

Finally, if we make a habit of inviting people to church, for all the above reasons and more, we will change the world. So, essentially, the fate of the world really hangs on you inviting someone to church this weekend. (Too much? Well, you get the idea anyway).

Thanks for reading.

~ Dav