Thursday, November 5, 2009

In a World Gone Mad

What Is One To Do?

As we watch the insanity all around us, not everyone is taking it on the chin, lying down and saying that "This is the way it is." Some are openly complaining and making noise about injustice that they see. Still others, are seeing what is happening as a time to open up their lives to God the Father, particularly to His Son Jesus Christ, or wonder of wonders to the third person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

Many years ago, I became aware of the actions of the Holy Spirit, as I was spirited into the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement. As a lifelong Catholic, though I had a lengthy period of falling away, I had heard of the Holy Spirit, or as we called him in my youth, the Holy Ghost. But honestly, the Holy Spirit was no more real to me for most of my life than God the Father or even Jesus for that matter.

But, through friends that came into my life, I met Jesus personally. I know I'm a Catholic, and as Catholics we used to sit on our hands in the pews, listen and then go about our "real" lives. Evangelicals do that - have a personal relationship with Jesus, not Catholics. Wrong again, Bucko. What a moron I was to think that God would not want to have a personal relationship with me, and even more, that I would not want to have a personal relationship with Him.

But, with no disrespect meant to my Saviour, this piece is about having a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Knowing Jesus was just not enough, not because Jesus is not sufficient, but there is still more. Who knew! Surely not me.

But, friends again, invited me to attend a Life in the Spirit seminar. Over a number of weekly sessions, I came to know first the Father and Jesus more intimately, and then the Holy Spirit. What a trip. The Holy Spirit is God with presents.

If you look at the book of Acts in the Bible, you see that the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles with fire and they prophesied and spoke in foreign tongues and after that performed miracles like Jesus did when He was on the earth. Somewhere along the way, the Church put the Holy Spirit in the closet. I have no idea why, but now bringing Him back out is a challenge, since we have been asleep for so long about what He has to offer us.

But, I bring this up to say that something really cool is going on that I just have to share. I knew that a dear friend of mine and his wife had been asked to do a Life In The Spirit seminar down in a church they used to attend in Ridgetown, Ontario. It has been some time since they did these seminars, but with God, timing is everything.

So, yesterday I got to meet with my friend and hear how things were going. My friend loves God, and in turn (though God was first to love of the two of them) God is wonderfully kind and merciful to him.

Life in The Spirit seminars are fun, but can be kind of dry, because there is a lot of Church teaching before you get to the good stuff. Not so, this time. As my friend and his wife travelled to Ridgetown for the first session, God revealed to them a way of presenting life in His Holy Spirit in a new way.

Jesus spoke in parables to get his point across, and those parables were pertinent to the time and space. We still enjoy them, but it is challenging for us to relate to them out of context. So, God gave my friend a new context to teach about the Holy Spirit, Extreme Makeover, Spirit Edition.

Here is the flow of the 6 weekly sessions of the Life in The Spirit, Extreme Makeover:
Week 1: God’s Love = Foundation and on Vacation
Week 2: Salvation = Structure of the house
Week 3: New Life = Different materials used to finish off the interior and exterior
Week 4: Receiving God’s Gift = All the furnishings, appliances and d├ęcor
Week 5: Baptism of the Holy Spirit = “Bus driver move that bus”
Week 6: Growth = Discovering the new life at home and in the community

Today in 2009, the Holy Spirit still wants to be poured out on people who want to know God better, and live fully alive, just like after Jesus death and resurrection. There are 22 people in attendance at the seminar that my friends are conducting, all learning more about the God that we love and love to serve.

And, better yet, learning about the gifts that God has in store for us right now here on this earth. I hope to attend one or two of the sessions. Week 5 is the big one. "Bus driver, move that bus." On that evening, the attendees are prayed over by the seminar team, and it is wonderful to watch how God moves in the hearts and minds of the individuals present.

2 comments:

Joshua S. said...

I'd love more information about this than that it's in Ridgetown. A link maybe? An email addy? More information about "when's and where's". While I am not a "churchgoing Roman Catholic", I nonetheless have come to recognize how very deeply Catholic I am and have always been. I've only to glance backwards at my life to see the Road I've walked. I've had some company along the way - mostly my own family. And now I know you (sorta/kinda, Michael) through this site (which i visit several times a day because Michael can be a busy little blogger when the Spirit moves him!) But it would be nice to at least encounter a few other people along the way who are also seriously trying to read the map.

Thanks again for the great postings, Michael. Maybe it is part of your vocation to be a source of online inspiration (and reflection) to others. One way or another, you're doing an inspiring job of it!

mbrandon8026 said...

Joshua:

I think that God has given my dear friend Wayne Zimmer a real inspiration in how to make Life in the Spirit meaningful to more Christians.

We did a lot of Christian music together over the years, he as a guitar player and me on the piano. But, Wayne led by his smile and his personal witness, and until recently took a back seat to others who did the speaking and leading.

It seems that our Dear Lord is calling him to come out more and lead more directly. He is a charismatic but humble leader, and I am hoping to be able to help in documenting what the Spirit is leading him to.

I hope to attend next Monday night and report on what transpires.