Holy Spirit’s Marvelous Ways

[In my January 1, 2015 post, I christened this the “Year of Learning” here on the blog. Each post, I’ll aim to share something recently discovered (or re-discovered) in the hope that you might add my learning to your own discoveries and make double-moves forward and upward this year!]

One strand of the past few years has been a desire and effort to increase my familiarity with the Holy Spirit. Taken wrong, that sentence could suggest that I’m doing a report on Him as subject. I know He wants different treatment than that! He wants intimate weaving of His life with mine, a mingling of deep with deep. Toward that end, there is much for this fellow to learn. Some of it comes through means far removed from traditional study; some of it involves books.

flame of loveFrom the realm of books, I recently finished a most enjoyable volume on the Holy Spirit. Clark Pinnock was a Canadian theologian and professor, who passed away in 2010, at the age of 73. I never met him, but from a distance, I’ve always loved his gracious spirit and pressing mind. Pinnock often took criticism for views that bordered on unorthodox, but he was always measured and loving in the questions that drove him and in his responses to such critique. I alluded to him back in a post last year as well.

“Flame of Love” is the book I recently completed. In one section, Pinnock gathered from other authors a summary of metaphors from Hildegard of Bingen, born in the 11th century. This list features some of the stream of thought that used to help Hildegard consider the role of the Holy Spirit.

“In a profusion of images, Hildegard of Bingen depicts Spirit in marvelous ways: as the life of creatures, as a burning fire that sparks, ignites, inflames and kindles our hearts; as a guide in the fog, a balm for wounds, a shining serenity and an overflowing fountain that spreads to all sides. Spirit is life, movement, color, radiance and a stillness that restores, bringing withered sticks and souls alive with the sap of life. The Spirit purifies, absolves, strengthens, heals, gathers the perplexed, seeks the lost, pours the juice of contrition into hardened hearts and plays music in the soul, melodies of praise and joy. The Spirit awakens mighty hope, blowing winds of renewal everywhere in creation.”

Who doesn’t need some of that?!

Surely every human being can find a phrase within that paragraph that stirs something within. Pinnock points out that this universality is one of the most wondrous things about the Spirit. Whereas the New Testament image of Jesus locks our focus — appropriately — on a specific man with a specific body in a specific time and a specific place, the Holy Spirit is described in Scripture in ways that unlock that specificity. His efforts are around-the-world and around-the-clock to bring redemption and renewal to all of Creation’s faces and facets. He is not far off from where you are this moment. He is incapable of being far off, and he is incapable of being uninvolved.

He is with you, and he is for you.

As God breathed His Spirit into dust-Adam and brought about entirely new dimensions of life, so He is eager to breathe into His people today. Seek Him, my friends. There is fresh breath for you.


Six-Pack (67)

Welcome to the Six-Pack!

My apologies for missing last week — I heard no rumblings of revolution, so I think we’re all right. Back at it with the six worth-sharing pieces from recent days — about ministry or faith or who-knows-what!

If a half-dozen feels daunting, start with the *Picks of the Week*, and move out.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) We Don’t Need Another Hero (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Sean Palmer takes issue with the relatively recent fascination everyone has with their “stories” — one particular issue. Bang on!

2)  What Cessationists Really Think About the Supernatural
Moving from what I describe as a Cessationist mentality into a life increasingly intrigued by the Holy Spirit, I was curious to see what Charisma Magazine would have to say in an article with that title.

3)  Clark Pinnock: Postmodern Pioneer
One of my favourite theologians was a Canadian man named Clark Pinnock. Capable of ruffling feathers and stirring pots while remaining absolutely humble and gracious, he passed away in 2010. This article of reflection back on his life and contributions was touching to me.

4)  Fundamental Greatness: The Oral History of Tim Duncan
I’ve been an ardent Tim Duncan fan since he entered the NBA many moons ago. This collection of quotes and comments is a fascinating chronicling of the “Big Fundamental’s” storied career.

5)  Six Subtle Things Highly Productive People Do Everyday (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
I like to think I’m productive; I like do dream how much more productive I could be. This piece from Business Insider has some valuable tips and reminders to get you closer to whatever productivity goals you’ve got set.

6) How One ADD Writer Focuses and Cranks Out Drafts
Jessi Stanley shares her approach for how to stop thinking and how to “get at it”.

May your week ahead be filled with life, as you seek the One from whom it flows!

leaveacommentYOUR TURN: Your input makes this post better!

  • Which link above was today’s best-of-the-best?
  • Why that one?

Direct others to the best of the bunch with a quick comment.

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Thursday Thanks (46-50)

fiveEach week (I aim for Thursday), I’ll use this space to list five things (items, experiences, people, whatever) for which I’ve been recently grateful. Consider it my “blessings count”. Ann Voskamp’s famous challenge to list 1000 gifts seemed daunting — I’m committing to 500, a task which will take me two years of weekly posts to complete!

I missed it last week altogether, as I was too busy aging by a year!

Back to being grateful!

1) Sheets
With summer officially here, we recently changed the sheets on our bed to something other than flannel. I visited this page to find a local laundry mat so I can get my sheets cleaned. Whether it’s laundry days or seasonal changes, why do I so love the feel of clean sheets?

2) Bikes
Beautiful weather and city street construction have give me multiple reasons to love riding my bike to work lately.

3) Spurs
I haven’t cared so much about sports series as I do about the NBA Finals, in I-don’t-know-how-long. The Spurs knocking out the Heat would be a thing of beauty. Love that team!

4) Theology Books
Studying for a lesson series on the Holy Spirit, I was blown away by portions of writing from Gordon Fee and Clark Pinnock. Crystal-clear language about beyond-description truths — these are marvelous to me!

5) Exact
That’s the brand name of Superstore’s razors that I have recently begun using. The quality seems great, and they’re a fraction of every big-brand version of I’ve been scammed into paying for. Cheap and smooth — that’s how I like to be!

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  • Did any of this week’s list especially strike a chord with you?
  • What’s one thing you’re particularly grateful for this week?

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