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Thanks for visiting our website! This month’s picture is from the August 2018 retreat of Colombian preachers in Santa Marta. I was honored to be asked to participate. [Click picture to enlarge.]

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Ministry and mission work is a team effort -- Jan and I have shared the work of ministry and missions for 49+ years! Countless people have encouraged us, supported us, loved us, and prayed for us. In addition to the customary "Brother Bob," I am also known as dad and papaw. One of my favorite breakfasts is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of rich Colombian coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and to help develop authentic "kingdom people." I seek to serve and share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go, helping people find Jesus and helping people mature as disciples of Jesus. One of the greatest blessings of my life is to be loved by countless people around the world!


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Archive for September, 2017

Study One: The Holy Spirit–Who is He, What does He do? [John 14-16]

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

In these studies, I hope you will find encouragement in the fact that the Holy Spirit is eager to work in your life to draw you closer to God. I have previously demonstrated in an academic paper (link appears below) that the primary roles of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts were in confirmation, expectation, and equipping. I encourage you to take time to read two other essays. The first explains the gift of the Spirit that is received by every Christian at baptism–baptism in water and in the Spirit; the second is about being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit in Acts and the Early Church
The Gift of the Holy Spirit
Filled with the Holy Spirit

Introduction: Getting the Most Out of this Study
This lesson introduces an extended study of the Holy Spirit.
Consider these items from a Christianity Today survey (Dec. 2015): 96% affirm doctrine of Trinity, but almost one-fifth believe or are not sure whether the Holy Spirit is less divine than the Father and the Son. Most troubling is that 58% agree or are not sure (accept the possibility) that the “Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being.”
Our language and vocabulary should reflect that the HS is a person, not a mere force. Our language should also reflect that the HS is divine, a part of deity. When we affirm that the Holy Spirit does something, we should be able to point to specific actions and show that these are possible or to be expected biblically. This requires that we study what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit does.

Study One: Meet the Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit is a person. He can be treated as a person. In the Bible, personal pronouns are used to describe him. The Holy Spirit has specific works to do. The Holy Spirit was sent as a comforter. The Holy Spirit ministers and consoles. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is said to do several things: he ministers, speaks with God’s authority, confirms, renews, liberates, transforms, empowers, equips, guides. influences and leads, and unites.
The Holy Spirit is God, the Holy Spirit is a person (personality) who shares the divine nature. He is deity. We begin in the New Testament with Jesus’ explanation that the Holy Spirit would come after he left. We begin before the Holy Spirit arrives. In what ways was it to the disciples’ advantage that Jesus would go away and the Spirit would come? Of the different activities of the Holy Spirit described above, which one have you heard about most often? Which one do you need most in your life right now?

This study focuses on John 14-16. We cannot study every text in every book. The goal is to include enough texts to make the point of the lesson clear. In the Gospel of John, those seeking further study will want to look especially at John 6 and John 17.

Primary Text: John 16:5-15 — the Spirit has a ministry, Jesus introduces the ministry of the HS as he prepares to leave his disciples; he promises he will send the Comforter.

What will the Holy Spirit do in/for the world? (John 16)
• Convict the world of sin. This relates to the identity of Jesus, the necessity of believing in Jesus. The Holy Spirit points to Jesus, making clear the contrast between Jesus and the sinful world.
• Convict the world of righteousness or justice. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension shows his righteousness, the need for righteousness, and the inability to be righteous by one’s own power. Again, the Holy Spirit points to Jesus.
• Convict the world of judgment. The prince of this world (Satan) is condemned in light of the Jesus story, leading one away from an alignment with Satan. The Holy Spirit points the world to Jesus.

What will the Holy Spirit do for believers?
• John 14:17-18; He is with us. Be with them forever, live in them, be in them, represent God’s presence. What does this mean?

    o Presence, ability to know him, understand him
    o Comfort
    o Affirms for us life

• John 14:26-27; He teaches us. Teach all things, remind of Jesus’ teachings, guide into all truth (16:13). What does this mean?

    o 2 Tim. 3:16-17
    o Holy Spirit will say the same things Jesus said, Jesus is superior — not the Holy Spirit. Purpose of Holy Spirit is to point to Jesus, as he does for the world.
    o The word of God is truth (17:17), Jesus lived consistent with that truth and is thus that truth (14:6), so also the Holy Spirit will point to the same truth.

• John 15:26; this teaching validates, testifies about Jesus. Testify about Jesus, Jesus’ identity

    o Another way of saying what we have said. Holy Spirit points to Jesus, testifies about Jesus
    o Can do that after he comes, is not in list of John 5.
    o The time of the Holy Spirit had not come, the HS had not yet been given, but when he comes, he will testify about Jesus.

• John 15:27; the Holy Spirit empowers our testimony. The Holy Spirit gives people the power to testify about Jesus (15:27 may be primary reference to apostles, given the qualifications of Acts 1). Application is then by extension, secondary. Reminder of Jesus’ promise: the words you need to speak will be given you.

    o We are empowered to testify about Jesus
    o This testimony keeps us faithful; the Holy Spirit has a part in our faith, so it will not fail.

• John 16:13-15; this teaching secures the promise of our future. The Holy Spirit will speak of future, things yet to come.

    o What the Holy Spirit says about the future will be the same as what Jesus said.
    o The Holy Spirit will bring glory to Jesus by continuing the task and purpose of Jesus, so do we.
    o The Holy Spirit will bring glory by making Jesus known

Three Sermons to Introduce the Study of the Holy Spirit

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

It’s Sunday Again–Thinking about the Holy Spirit
I am wonderfully blessed to have time to study, write about, and share God’s word. The Holy Spirit has for too long been a mystery to many Christians. I want to know, understand, and enjoy the presence and power of the Spirit in my life today. What does the Holy Spirit do? What does the Holy Spirit do in the New Testament? Concepts, future lessons. The biblical texts are not exhaustive–only beginning points.
The Spirit ministers (John 16:5-15); the Spirit speaks with God’s authority, often to confirm (1 Cor 2; 2 Tim. 3;16-17); the Spirit renews (John 3:1-8; Tit 3); the Spirit liberates (2 Cor 3:16-18); the Spirit transforms (Gal. 5:13-26; 2 Cor 3); the Spirit empowers (Acts 6:1-15); the Spirit equips (1 Cor 12); the Spirit guides (Acts 16:1-15); the Spirit influences and leads (Eph. 5:15ff); the Spirit unites (Eph. 4:1-3).

Sermon: “Young in Spirit”
Today’s sermon is a Bible study, two texts, two extremely important texts to unpack and apply. Important because they are not in our purview when we think about the Spirit, and because they have not been thoroughly studied, understood, and lived out. We study and read through three lenses: What is God doing in the text? What was and is the message? What was and is the meaning?
Gal. 5:16-26, walk in the Spirit so you will not fulfill the longings of the fleshly human being
2 Cor. 4:16-18, the power for life is renewed within, like an artesian well, as God’s Spirit dwells in us

Sermon: “The Spirit Gives Me What I Need”
Ogilvie, in his book about the Holy Spirit, wrote about things that every Christian needs to have. All of us need help in our relationship with God, our relationships with others, life, and with ourselves. His list motivated me to make my own list. In my introduction to this series of studies of the Holy Spirit (#1 above), I noted some things the Holy Spirit does: he ministers, speaks, confirms, renews, liberates, transforms, empowers, equips, guides, influences, leads, and unites.
Today’s sermon looks at these concepts from a different perspective. Every Christian needs…
• The sword of the Spirit, the word of God inspired by the Spirit—to know God’s will and to have strength for the obedient life
• The gift of the Spirit—to be reminded and assured of our salvation, our unreserved loyalty to God and God’s loyalty to us
• The presence of the Spirit—to help us in our daily walk of discipleship, the result of renewal, transformation, and liberty in Christ
• To be filled with the Spirit—to be able to speak, to empower evangelism; to see opportunities to love, care, and share faith, evidences of being empowered, equipped, and led by the Spirit
• To walk in the Spirit—to sensitively respond to the influences of the Spirit, so we do not fulfill the longings that are based in this world
• To know the unity of the Spirit—the basis for our concern for the needs of others [spiritual needs, physical needs, social issues] so that we can go forth as God’s hands in ministry and service

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