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Misrepresenting the Holy Spirit (MHS) II: The Insecurity Crew.

February 4, 2013

Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech,

“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:20)

Part One

Let’s start with the slight and subdued examples of misrepresenting the Holy Spirit (MHS). Examples the participants may not even be aware of, and on the surface seem to be harmless. Remember this is the Insecurity Crew, which will be explained in detail later.

In the first couple months after I was born again, I found myself with a constant urge to exaggerate what GOD was doing in my life. For me it was never public physical exaggerations, instead they were limited to how I explained my experiences with GOD. I’d tell someone what happened to me, or explain what GOD had done in other people’s lives, and when I reflected on what I just said, I found that I was adding a word here or changing a circumstance there. Never something that would change the overall truth about what I was saying, just subconsciously trying to make GOD bigger and better than I saw Him in that circumstance.

I did this because I had a relationship with GOD but I didn’t understand Him fully, and my lack of knowledge made my relationship with Him insecure. The only way to counteract this I realized was to do independent, sincere research and read the Bible. It didn’t take me long to realize this was something that I needed to stop. That there was no way to make GOD bigger and better. That He does everything for a reason. Doing this made other people’s relationship with GOD feel inadequate, while discounting GOD’S sovereignty and omniscience. After that point I made a commitment to tell things exactly how they were.

Outside of exaggerating experiences here’s another example of MHS exhibited by the Insecurity Crew. It’s the practice of bringing attention upon your self in church outside of the Spirit. For parishioners this can include raising your hands, crying, any loud verbal comment including Amen, showing up late so everyone can see you’re there and/or speaking in tongues (this is a much more egregious form of MHS that we’ll discuss later).

Now I’ve done all of these things except the last two. My wife Tara is compelled by the Holy Spirit to raise her hand to GOD and cry almost every service and so are many others. I rarely make it through a service without crying my eyes out and have also raised my hand in worship from time to time. In most churches these are done in the Spirit (except for tongues) and are a beautiful expression of ones love for GOD. However they are abused quite often as well.

For the members of the church who’re on stage either as a pastor, singer or band member, doing things outside the Spirit are magnified, avoidable and exponentially more destructive. Any pastor that allows someone on stage who has the potential to MHS should be rebuked. They’re making it about them instead of GOD! They’re hurting the credibility of the Spirit when they do this!

I’m proud to say that I have seen almost nonexistent levels of MHS from the leaders, pastors and worshippers on stage at both Willow Creek Chicago and Willow Barrington. Which I think is a direct result of their confidence in their relationship with GOD and what they’re doing for His kingdom.

I would also say that the vast majority of the congregation is the same way. There is no speaking in tongues and very few other forms of MHS outside of Bible displaying, coming late to church, and having their phones and iPads out. The next time you’re in a church of a few hundred people and their acting out in all kinds of irrational ways ask your self how that church happens to have so many more tongue speakers and healers and fainters than one of the largest and most Holy Spirit filled churches in the country.

I was visiting my dad near Dubuque a few months back and I finally talked him into going to church. It would be my dad, his loving wife Joy, Tara and myself. I did a little research and found what turned out to be a great little nondenominational Christian church located in what seemed to be an old catholic chapel.

The service was going really well, when all of the sudden the praise leading guitar player started acting erratically. Immediately my Spirit was in chaos as I could tell the noises he was making, the prayers he was saying during the music, and the constant looking up and down were works of the flesh. I’m now asking GOD why, begging Him to intercede because I know how this is going to go over with my dad. In reality I know how this goes over with anyone, it disgusts them. So I look down at my dad and I can tell this isn’t sitting right with him. I know the thoughts that are going through his head and I don’t blame him. Thoughts like “I knew all these people were nuts”, “this is why I don’t agree with church”, etc… What’s really tearing me up at this point, is he’s going to relate this experience to all churches and to GOD. I hope this illustration makes clear why any exaggeration of the Holy Spirit is so damaging.

Another example of MHS displayed by the Insecurity Crew is pulling out an iPhone or iPad to supposedly read scripture.  In addition to the phones and iPads being intensely distracting to everyone around you, I don’t know one person disciplined enough not to check their email, texts and Facebook in-between verses while they claim to be worshiping GOD in His house. Did you come to church to show off what new technology you have, or did you come in the hopes of being touched by GOD? Being touched by GOD should be everyone’s goal in church and it happens to many of us almost every service.

Continued here

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;

whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.

Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;

rebuke the wise and they will love you.

Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;

teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

(Proverbs 9:7-9)

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