By Rev. Dr. Linda Hollies
The Church of The Living God has always been under attack! Jesus Christ was a revolutionary! His followers were honestly out of the box! Jesus had strange taste in company: non-catching fishermen; women with bad reputations, who did not know their places and little snotty-nosed children, as well as foreigners and known sinners! Yet, this assorted group of folks, who continued to hang with the Jesus Way, after his death, burial and Resurrection, have caught our attention and brought us into being followers, but where is the “attack” against the Church?
Oh, some of us are attacked when we speak out against the homosexual lifestyle, but we don’t speak with the same fervor and intensity about the adultery, fornication and domestic abuse going on right in front of our face. Where is the bold Church? Oh, we might speak about HIV/AIDS in December, but we don’t speak with the same fervor and intensity about how our children come to the church building, have sex and get pregnant, for the adults are too busy “worshipping” to watch them! Oh, some of us are attacked when we dare to ask for God’s tithe and offerings, but I don’t hear the same fervor and intensity when it comes to the sin of going to The Boats with God’s money and the bill money too! Might be that I need to go and be fitted for a hearing aid, for I don’t hear these subjects in any denomination.
I enjoy watching Joel Osteen. His practical, day-to-day principles to help us Live Your Best Life Now is a good self-help book. I admire Rick Warren and will be ever so glad when my publisher can sell over 15 MILLION of any book that I write. So, I salute him and his The Purpose Driven Life. However, neither one of these books attack the sin problem at the core of our being. Neither one gives us insight into the need for the Holy Spirit to be at work in us, on us, through us, and in spite of us if we want to be successful as born-again Christians in a world that is so filled with deceit. Both books tend to help us feel that we can make this through a mind set, intentions and their self-help suggestions. It won’t work!
We cannot make it with our little church membership, organizational affiliation and officer nominations and positions! None of these will get us into heaven and eternal life! They are good things to possess. They are good to do, but, they won’t keep us saved! For it requires the power of the living, guiding, directing Holy Spirit to lead us in the ways that please God and allows The Church of Jesus Christ to be bold!
When Peter and John defied the civil authorities and continued to heal and to preach about the Savior whom “they” had killed but who rose again, they were threatened, beaten and imprisoned, but they did not shut up. They did not back down. They did not keep quiet as ordered. Instead they prayed: “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” (Acts 4: 29) And the enabling that they sought came through the power of The Holy Spirit; the presence of God who lives inside of us at our invitation and acceptance.
My ministry is grounded in the very fact that without the infilling of The Holy Spirit we will have a difficult, if not impossible time, living effectively for Jesus Christ. My Pentecostal roots, despite education, illumination and sophistication remain embedded in my soul, and I cannot make it without asking The Spirit of The Living God to fall fresh one me. For I will cut up in a New York minute if the Holy Spirit is not putting a curb on me! I will act out without regard for who it hurts if the Holy Spirit is not in charge of me! I just know what is required for me to live holy, and it’s the power, the leading and the direction of The Holy Spirit. I am going to share with you some functions of The Holy Spirit as given to me by one of my Froebel High School classmates, Rev. Lonnell Johnson, who is an English prof at Otterbein College in Ohio.
When the Holy Spirit is invited, (please see Matthew 7: 11 that reads, “If you, though evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will God give The Holy Spirit to those who ask.”) the Holy Spirit will come to take up residence in a clean temple. This means that as long as we remain clean and holy the Holy Spirit will do the work of assisting our lives. However, the Holy Spirit cannot remain where sin resides! So, Brother Lonnell says that the Holy Spirit comes with validation that we are truly saved, clean and born again.
The next function of The Holy Spirit is to give us an impartation of God’s imprint on our lives. This impartation causes us separation from the evil of our past and the world. We no longer care to do the same old things or to keep company with the old friends of our past. So, Lonnell says that with our separation comes our transformation. Paul declares that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. And, that renewing agent is none other than the Holy Spirit who comes to teach us all things that Jesus taught while on earth. With our transformation we get activation and our evangelizing begins. Now, catch this one: Televisualization is the direct result of our activation by The Holy Spirit!
I told you that Lonnell is deep. He’s a college English professor as well as a preacher/poet/teacher. So, he explains that televisualization is the ability to see dimensionally. We can “see” what’s occurring in the present world, and we can “see” what it means spiritually as our citizenship is no longer of this world. In plain English, I’d call it discernment to know evil, wicked and ugly stuff. However, Lonnell is teaching here, I’m just the scribe. From televisualization we get initiation into a new family with a new name. Remember the old saints singing, “I told Jesus it would be alright if he changed my name”?
With our initiation into the fellowship of believers, we incur an obligation. Many of us are members of sororities and fraternities where the rites of passage, the “secret orders” and the “crossing over the burning sands” are obligatory in order to belong! Our obligation as baptized, Spirit-filled believers is to live right according to Biblical “orders”; to support the Church (family) with our tithes and offerings; to seek the lost (unsaved) and to spread the message of Jesus everywhere that we go! When we actually live within this realm, we move to new revelation.
When the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, God can trust us with new secret knowledge! We can know the “secrets”, the mind of God. And, we can be exposed and even experience the “height, depth and length” of God’s love! “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” (1 Corinthians 2: 6-7) I really want to thank my “homeboy” for this powerful explanation of The Holy Spirit that is done with poetic excellence! Give a round of applause for an old Gary, Indiana native, Rev. Dr. Lonnell Johnson!
Many of us have been “touched” by the power of The Holy Spirit at one time or another, but to be a Bold Church, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This will allow the Holy Spirit to move from v-i-s-i-t-a-t-i-o-n to habitation! And we can create this atmosphere of habitation by simply inviting the Holy Spirit to “come in today, come in to stay. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus!” For when Jesus returned to heaven, with all power, the Holy Spirit was released into the earth realm to help us be as bold as needed for the living of these days!
As we help each other to cope with the aftermath of Katrina, let’s keep the praise song, the prayer song and the prayer request upon our lips: Spirit of The Living God, fall fresh on me. Spirit of The Living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me. Spirit of The Living God, fall fresh on me. Amen!”
Remember me, for I’m singing as we journey too! Shalom, God’s Best Shalom! On the journey with ya! Rev. Dr. Linda H. Hollies
Let’s live holy; laugh often; and let’s love with flair and with extravagance! WomanSpace: 820 Monroe, NW Suite 323, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503, (616) 776-9706. Saving Sisters, one woman at a time! Join us! Shalom!