Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why Speaking in Tongues is for everyone

Occasionally, I still run into the argument that only specific people can speak in tongues. This is of course true if we are talking about the public use of the gift. Concerning the saints gathered together the Apostle Paul writes, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."(1 Cor 12.7) But of course, the Apostle is speaking of the use of the gift in public where it is needful that the gift of tongues be interpreted. (Looking at 1 Corinthians we see that he is dealing with the church gathered together from 11.17 onwards to 14.40) We read that Paul himself distinguishes the practice from private tongue speaking in 14.18-19. Declaring that he "speaks in tongues more than all of you."

Paul uses 1 Cor 14 to spell out his insistence that intelligibility is to be preferred when saints gather together. But in so doing he does reveal some benefits of speaking in tongues (see my June 5 2007 post). Among them Speaking directly to God, praying his perfect will, personal edification and strengthening faith and making a statement to unbelievers.

When we read the book of Acts we see people baptised into the Spirit. This is distinguished from salvation as a secondary experience as the Ephesian disciples found out (Acts 19). they had only been baptized into the baptism of John and had not "received the Holy Spirit" yet. We know that these "disciples" are believers in Jesus already because Luke never uses that term lightly and always refers to followers of Jesus when he does use it. When they did receive the baptism into the Spirit they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

We see that the Holy Spirit baptism comes after salvation. When, in Acts 8, they had heard the message and responded in faith and water baptism the Holy Spirit had not been distributed. After Peter and John laid hands upon them they saw the powerful demonstration of the Spirit fall and Simon witnessed this and wanted to purchase the power to Baptize people in the Holy Spirit.

If the Baptism into the Holy Spirit were identical to salvation then these verses would be confusing. How can one be baptized in water, and have faith but not have the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit given with the laying on of hands? How can one dedicate himself as a disciple and not have salvation? But since the Scripture is referring to a secondary experience we understand the role of these apostolic intercessors in bringing them into the expereince.

Paul commanded all believers to live under the control of the Holy Spirit in Eph 5.17. Living "Full" of the Spirit means more than to be excited about Jesus. It is an empowering (Acts 1.8) act that is desired for all of the followers of Christ. Jesus demnded that all "wait until they are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24.49) before they attempt ministry. We have seen that tongues accompanies this baptism into the Holy Spirit. So it should be expected that this promise that Peter preached about at Pentecost, is for all "you and your children and for all who are far off- for all whom the Lord our God will call."

So "seek earnestly" the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and all the gifts of the Spirit. They are there for your asking.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Haiti: Redux

As I am thinking through some of the details of the up coming trip to Haiti, I am moved at the memories of the trip earlier this summer. The brokenness of the people and the epic proportions of the tragedy of that earthquake. It is hard to think about because I get so completely overwhelmed. What can we do?

We can build showers for the orphans and improve their quality of life. We can buy a water filter for their supply and the supply of the villagers around them... insuring health for the future. We can go and be a witness, help feed the poor,and support a local pastor who is meeting needs of orphans and villagers alike.

What can we do... we can raise money for the trip. I am inspired to see what can be done when we all come together and give toward this trip. Please help us if you can.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Jus' Stuff

I heard it again this morning on the news. A man was being interviewed and he recounted the tree falling from his front yard and through his roof. "Scary, he said but everyone is all right and it is just stuff- it can be replaced." Kudos to this dude who obviously has some things in perspective.

Stuff is important and expensive but it is not the important stuff in life. Ya know what I mean Vern? Stuff is the material that we spend our life accumulating and slaving for in order to come to the conclusion that it isn't worth all the effort.
now I like nice stuff. You should have seen my face when I ran over my cell phone with the mower... you would know that I appreciate some stuff.

But the reality is that the stuff can be (in fact, needs to be) replaced (frequently!) So don't get all stuffy... remember that people are the irreplacable things in life. So don't forget your peeps!