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What Type of Relevance Do You Choose?

bibleFrancis Chan in his introduction to Forgotten God draws his lines clearly,

The Holy Spirit is absolutely vital to our situation today. Of course, He is always vital; but perhaps especially now. After all, if the Holy Spirit moves, nothing can stop Him. If He doesn’t move, we will not produce genuine fruit—no matter how much effort or money we expend. The church becomes irrelevant when it becomes purely a human creation. We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God.

Money in the right hands does a lot of good. Effort applied to worthy causes is a beautiful thing. They cannot, however, be confused with the building of the Church or the expansion of God’s Kingdom.

I admit I’ve entertained and even drank a serving of the “relevance” kool-aid at one point. Don’t be too demonstrative or expressive. Be very careful Don’t talk to much about spiritual things. Keep it on a practical level.

While I do think we are responsible to make the spiritual both accessible and practical, abandoning the move of the Holy Spirit won’t achieve lasting fruit. In fact, the Holy Spirit enables us to make the spiritual attainable. I never would have said that leaving Him behind was my stated goal, but I can see how this could be the inevitable end of the relevance road.

That’s the crux, I believe.

Are we pleased with a measure of temporary relevance and kudos by human design and effort or will we stand for eternal relevance and lasting fruit that can only be birthed by the Spirit of God? It’s not a matter of abandoning the Holy Spirit in a quest for people’s hearts and minds; it’s embracing the Holy Spirit who enables transformation of people’s hearts and minds.

The apostles spoke to communities. They weren’t always loved by the crowds, but no one could deny something had happened. God showed up in powerful ways and lives were changed. The course of nations changed forever.

History makers. World changers. Salt and light.

Not because they sought to be relevant, but because they lived and breathed the Holy Spirit, who is Relevance. He did the unexplainable and I know He desires to do the same in us today.

What do you think? Are you or have you been drawn to ‘relevance’ at the expense of forgetting the Holy Spirit? What is your experience?

Welcome to our book club discussion of Forgotten God (disclosure) by Francis Chan. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. We’re covering a chapter a week (this week is the introduction). If you have a response on your blog, add the link to the widget below. Either way, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts.

Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

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  1. After living in Mexico from age 4 until my sophomore year of high school, I returned to the US to find church to be more like a social clubhouse than a place for those who are desperate for God to gather. At the time I was disappointed by what I saw.

    And then I became accustomed to it and I became a part of it… comfortable in it.

    Lately, God has been convicting me to sincerely seek Him and be desperate for Him, to heed his movement and direction in my life, to humble myself as His servant. I believe only in those steps will I be able to come to a place where I am not tragically neglecting His Spirit for the sake of relevance, or entertainment, or whatever else is the fashionable coup du jour.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Tragically NeglectedMy Profile

    • You are so right. It can be difficult to buck against the established culture and norms. We are basically programmed to seek out entertainment and be consumers of everything. The only way to overcome that mindset is through His Spirit. So glad the Father poured Him out and He is available to every believer! Thanks so much, Dusty.

  2. The flesh wants accolades, our spirit wants to honor our Father. The two worlds never meet. The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh if ugly weak… It is a constant battle.

    • Yeah, I think there are good intentions many times, but we don’t always consider where it will lead. He knows, of course! And He draws us back to true relationship and knowledge of Him. Thanks Floyd!

  3. I love that quote and almost used it my post as well. As someone who has been encouraged my whole life to seek the things of the Spirit, I’m looking for to the fresh challenge that this book will bring.
    Philip recently posted..The Forgotten God Study IntroductionMy Profile

    • Absolutely! Thanks Philip.

  4. I hesitated to leave a comment because I don’t feel I have anything to add to what you’ve said here. But then, what’s a discussion without… well, without discussion? So, I will throw in my two-and-a-half cents here, if you don’t mind. 🙂

    I grew up as a pastor’s daughter in a denomination that, at that time, was going through a crisis over its view of the Holy Spirit. From the denomination, I was taught that the Holy Spirit wasn’t particularly active in the present world. But from my Dad, I learned something different. He put me in front of some amazing teachings on the Holy Spirit, and sent me to events (camps, retreats, etc.) outside of our denomination, where I learned that the Holy Spirit really is a multi-faceted person.

    I’ve moved amongst different denominations over the years and have finally settled into an urban church-plant of about 40 active attenders who range from Quaker to Assemblies of God and everything in between. And I treasure having learned from so many different people, the many ways that the Holy Spirit has worked in and through them.

    But I’m still learning. And I’m looking forward to this discussion. I know that this topic *can* be divisive. (I’ve experienced that.) But I think that here, in this safe place, we’re going to talk and learn and share. And most importantly, we’re going to get to know Him better.

    And that’s my two-and-a-half cents. 🙂
    Sarah Salter recently posted..MisunderstoodMy Profile

    • I agree, Sarah, there is much to be learned from various denominations. I’ve attended different denominations throughout my life and have learned from each of them. It’s sad that there isn’t more unity between the denominations. So much of the NT is about unity and yet so many of us don’t walk in that unity. The Spirit is key to being about to walk in Unity through the fruits HE gives.

    • That’s excellent, Sarah. No one has the market cornered on the Holy Spirit, so to speak. It’s going to be a beautiful thing to hear, listen, and learn from everyone in this process and our discussions. Thanks Sarah.

  5. I’ve shared on my blog that my family and I are struggling to find a church home. Part of the problem we keep encountering is that we visit churches and we don’t see or feel evidence of God’s Spirit moving.
    It’s sad that there are so many churches operating without the Spirits involvement.
    While this discourages some Christians, it’s motivating my family and I to seek God all the more. We want to know God, to be moved by God and I believe this book is timely for us!

    • TC, I struggled for a long time to find the church where I am. Almost a year and a half, in fact. We are small (we average 40ish on a Sunday). And many of us are introverts. The worship service isn’t particularly raucous. But the Spirit is there, and the way I know He is there is by the love that I see among the people. I’ll be praying that you find that. And don’t worry. You will. Because God specializes in giving families to the lonely. 🙂
      Sarah Salter recently posted..MisunderstoodMy Profile

    • Thankful for the work God is doing in you and your family, TC. With Sarah, praying you find the place/people God has for you to join with. I appreciate your heart and honesty! Thank you, TC.

  6. I must confess that I don’t know a lot about the Holy Spirit. In my mind, the Holy Spirit really is the forgotten God, bringing up the Father and the Son easily but not considering the third party in the trinity. I look forward to hearing from great minds through this series so that I can learn more about it.
    Thomas Mason recently posted..The Truth About LiesMy Profile

    • That’s awesome, Thomas. The Holy Spirit is such a wonderful gift given by the Father! Truly giving of Himself for out benefit. Amazing! Thanks so much.

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