A cup, a pitcher, a multi-colored polyester shirt.
That’s the visual as we re-visit last Sunday.
Gracepointe’s guest speaker was Dr. George Westlake Jr., Pastor Emeritus at Sheffield Family Life Center Church, or as he’s been known to coin himself, “The Old Guy on staff.”
Dr. Westake would continue the series that Dr. Fel had begun a few weeks prior: THE FORCE – THE SPIRIT IN YOU, emphasizing this week: the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Now if you read last week’s post, THE FORCE – PT. 1, you may have been thrown a bit when you found out I was going to discuss the subject of the Holy Spirit. At this point, knowing that I’m now going to talk about The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, you may be instantly squirming in your La-Z-Boy.
Well, don’t fear. I’m not going off into the unknown too quick. As a matter of fact, Dr. W. didn’t even begin his message there.
He sparked his talk by discussing how we as a society and culture are constantly in a state of busyness.
“We have the capability to be the fastest-moving people known to man…yet we don’t have time,” he said.
He then shared that the problem with being so busy is that we’re continually tired. And when we get tired, we lose strength. He shared an answer from the Bible in Isaiah 40:31:
“…those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength…”
He explained that the word renew in this verse actually means to “exchange” one’s strength. And that God’s promise to us is that if we slow down and wait on Him (more specifically—wait on His Spirit), –that we’ll exchange our strength–which is basically, nothing–for His UNLIMITED strength.
“Sounds like a great exchange to me!” he said.
Dr. Westlake would go on to say that we are so often filled with fear, anxiety, and worry…and that the Holy Spirit is the “life-giving source” that takes care of these things.
“The activity of the Holy Spirit is what makes the difference in our lives,” he declared.
He went on to say that the Holy Spirit helps us in so many ways. He even went on to assert that the Holy Spirit brings us a deep fulfillment that we’re all looking for.
“Satisfaction doesn’t come from the outside—in. Real satisfaction comes from the inside—out…”
He deconstructed the notion that the Holy Spirit is like a stick of emotional dynamite, but rather that it’s a special dynamic in our lives, much like a car motor:
“If you need an acceleration, the Holy Spirit’s there. If you just need to sit for a while in “Park,” He’s there. He comes to what you need.”
Then switching gears, Dr. Westlake went on to share about what happens when we’re “baptized” in the Holy Spirit. This is where it can, and has gotten confusing for people. But to help, he explained it with the cup and pitcher I mentioned above.
He poured some water into a cup, signifying what happens when we receive Jesus Christ into our life–the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us.
So we have the H.S. inside of us, but the Bible talks about how we can experience God’s Spirit even more.
To illustrate, Dr. W. then took that same cup full of water and put it down in the bottom of the pitcher until it was completely immersed in water.
“This is what happens when we’re baptized (Greek word: baptizó – immersed) in the Holy Spirit…When I accept Jesus into my life I have the Holy Spirit. –But when I receive the Baptism (immersion) of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit has me!”
Bringing it into practical application, he said that we need to be “possessed” in this way by God’s Spirit, so that we’ll have more spiritual power in our lives.
As I reflect on myself, as I reflect on Ben, I continue to see how this is true in my life. When I welcome this gift that God wants to freely give, He helps me steer clear of the choices that only harm me, as well as say “yes” to the things and the life that he naturally designed for me.
Lastly, Dr. W. touched on speaking in another language (or a “tongue”) as a result of being immersed in the Holy Spirit. He referenced the book of Acts chapter 2, verse 4 when Jesus’ disciples were filled with the H.S. and began to speak in other tongues while praying together.
Dr. W. asked the question that many have asked and still do.
“Why would God do that?”
He then brought our focus to the book of James chapter 3 verse 8 where it talks about how our tongue—our physical tongue–is the most unruly part of us. It’s like a fire. And just like that cup in the pitcher, we must come completely under the Spirit’s influence in our life—even to the point of allowing him our tongue, so that we won’t allow destruction for ourselves and others. In this way, God uses our tongue to edify (Greek word: oikadimeo – build a solid foundation) for our life.
The more the Holy Spirit has us, the better shape our life is in.
I was talking with my wife Enjoli the other day. She and I were reflecting on our own initial experience of speaking in a devotional-type language, as evidence of God’s Holy Spirit inside of us. We realized that our stories are similar; we were simply in a place where we wanted more of God. When God took over our tongue, we weren’t asking Him to. We were just pursuing Him, enjoying Him, slowing down to experience more of Him.
To this day, I’m so thankful for this sharper connection with God that the Holy Spirit provides. It’s as if I’m going from 2G to 4G–able to hear God better, get the strength I need, the confidence I need, and be who He’s really designed me to be.
What about you?
How much of yourself have you given to Jesus? Have you experienced His Spirit? Have you experienced His saving power? Have you experienced His fulfilling power?
Let this be your prayer today:
Holy Spirit, I welcome your activity in my life. Exceed my expectations. Show me who Jesus is. Give me power that I don’t have on my own. Set me on a solid foundation. In Jesus’ name, amen.