Charismatic with a Seatbelt?

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Charismatic with a Seatbelt?

By Daniel Kolenda   /     Mar 09, 2010  /     Articles, Devotional, Teachings, Uncategorized  /  

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” ~ John 3:8

I am a native Floridian and I have been through many hurricanes, but 2004 was by far the most active hurricane season I have ever experienced in my life.  Although I am originally from Port Charlotte (a town in the southwest), I was living in Tampa Bay at the time.

In August we watched with nervous curiosity as a tropical storm off the coast of Africa began to gain strength and started barreling toward us.  By the time it swept down into the Gulf of Mexico it was a full-blown hurricane with winds topping 100 miles per hour.  All of the weather forecasts predicted that it would make landfall in Tampa Bay so we began to make preparations; buying water and batteries, barricading windows with plywood and bringing outdoor furniture inside.  We became concerned when we saw that the winds were approaching 150 miles per hour as the inevitable moment of impact drew near.

Suddenly, while only about 100 miles away, hurricane “Charley” took an unexpected, unpredicted and abrupt easterly, 90 degree turn and made a beeline for Port Charlotte…the town where I was born.  I called home to make sure that my family was aware of the danger they were in.  Before the power went out, they had been watching the same news channels that I was watching and they also thought that Charley was headed for Tampa Bay.  The whole city was taken off guard and it was literally a matter of minutes before the eye of the mammoth storm would pass directly over them.  They had not made any pre-storm preparations.  No windows were boarded.  Provisions were not stockpiled.  This category 4 hurricane devastated the town to such an extent that when I arrived the following day, places I had known since childhood were totally unrecognizable.

Some have scoffed condescendingly at the words of Jesus to Nicodemous claiming that his assessment; “you cannot tell where the wind is coming from or where it is going” is an outdated statement.  Science, they say, has made this opinion invalid.  Doppler radar, satellite imagery, fancy gizmos and computer gadgets have made the weather as predictable as can be in our day.  But I remember that afternoon in August when every prediction was off by at least a hundred miles.  And we all learned that the words of Jesus still hold true today.

The wind is unpredictable and it is untamable.  You can’t confine it to a prescribed pattern and you can’t hold it to preconceived expectations.  It does what it wants and asks no one for permission.  And if you think you have it figured out, that is just when you will be terribly surprised that the wind is not your subordinate.  It can turn and change direction on a whim and if you are not ready it just might catch you by surprise.

I heard of a man today who describes his church as “Charismatic friendly with a seatbelt”.  He has apparently preapproved a way in which the Holy Spirit is allowed to move in his Church.  He has issued a permit for a particular sort of spiritual activity but requires that it remained buckled in at all times.  We wouldn’t want anyone flying out of their seat and going through the windshield.  Everything must be done according to our definition of “decently and in order”.

Those who have become familiar with the Holy Spirit know that this is simply not the way it works.  In fact the more we know about the Holy Spirit, the more we realize that, “The wind blows wherever it pleases.  The moving of Holy Spirit cannot be prescribed or predicted.  I have heard preachers encourage their members to “let God out of the box”, but I have news for those precious Christians.  God was never in their box to begin with.  If you have a box, the only one inside it is you.  And if you have a seatbelt, you are the only one wearing it.

How dare we think that we can tame this mighty hurricane of God that has been blowing through the earth since the day of Pentecost!  He is the sameSpirit that hovered over the primordial chaos before creation.  He is the same Spirit that spoke to the fathers through the prophets.  He is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.  He is God in action on earth.

Are you disturbed by abuses in the Charismatic church?  So am I.  But I am most supremely concerned about those abusing the presence of the Holy Spirit.  He is not a water spicket to be turned on and off at will according to our preferences.  He is the limitless ocean of God’s infinite power.  A gnat is more formidable commanding a hurricane than we are commanding the Holy Spirit.  Its high time we get back in our place and say HAVE YOUR WAY HOLY SPIRIT!

We don’t command you.  We don’t define you.  We cont control you.  We don’t limit you.  We yield to you and we honor you Great Holy Spirit of God!

Oh, see us on Your altar lay,
We give our lives to you today,
So crown the offering now we pray:
Send the fire today!

8 Comments

  1. avatar
    Vik Feodorov Says: March 19, 2010 7:34 pm

    Excellent topic, biblical and wonderfully Pentecostal by its very nature! Still a slow reader in English, I read it again and am going to read it to my sons and a daughter tonight!

    Reply this comment
  2. avatar
    Olga Says: March 16, 2010 6:49 pm

    Dear brother, I totally agree with you that we should bless others, and even our enemies. In fact, a very good example of how to bless our enemies can be seen in Luke 23:34 and Acts 7:60, when both Jesus and Stephen asked God to forgive their enemies and not to charge them with their sin of murder… But there is a big difference between God’s blessing and man’s blessing. Anyway, I just wanted to share with you what the Holy Spirit had taught me. Daniel, why don’t you ask the Lord about it?

    Reply this comment
  3. avatar
    Aaron Bagwell Says: March 12, 2010 10:08 pm

    Love it! Keep preaching, I believe God will raise the generation to follow Him and not the patterns of fleshly church!

    Reply this comment
  4. avatar
    Mark Says: March 10, 2010 4:15 pm

    It is tempting to place the Holy Spirit into the limits of our human understanding. However, life is much more fun riding His wind. Amen.

    Reply this comment
  5. avatar
    Daniel Kolenda Says: March 10, 2010 5:34 pm

    Amen Mark!

    Reply this comment
  6. avatar
    Olga Says: March 9, 2010 6:44 pm

    When Paul writes, “Let all things be done decently and in order”, he is not not referring to absolute control by a church leader. Paul also is not saying about a pre-planned order for a church service. But rather, he is saying: to be a vessel that the Holy Spirit can flow through. When we are moving by the Holy Spirit, every time we come togethere there will be order and purpose. But the order will come from God, not from us.
    Like you, I am also concerned about those abusing the presence of the Holy Spirit. Also, I'm concerned about the Christians who often say “Bless you” instead of “May God bless you”. I wonder if they realize what they saying. Are they really able to bless someone?!
    May God bless you richly!

    Reply this comment
    • avatar
      Daniel Kolenda Says: March 14, 2010 12:01 am

      Hi Olga…I say “Bless you” all the time and feel that it is very Biblical. In fact we are commanded to bless others…even our enemies (Rom 12:14).

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