Unexpectedly, on my birthday, out of the blue, I was contacted by a longtime brother and a good friend, whom I respect very much. I have watched him rise to the status of an ordained Deacon and Reverend in a prominent denominational church. We’ve had several interesting and enlightening discussions through the years. Some of them developed into friendly debates.
After listening to his request for my performance in a themed concert that he was producing, he went on to explain that he had visited my website and read my most recent blog series entry--“Too Many Elephants in the Room” (Part 4) —The Apostasy. I had not prompted him in any way to go there.
He continued by complimenting me on my writing skill. I was taken back and humbled by his compliment. Coming from a talented and published author of the book: “Why Give?: Faith - Tradition - Obligation - Compassion,” it was an encouraging commendation with a dash of gratification for me.
The words that came to Rev. Gasaway through me seemed to have had an impact on him. He said it nudged him to compare the claims made in the piece to his own heart, to his own actions.
The characteristics that I had described were those of an apostate preacher. His willingness to examine himself and the unmistakable humble posture that he had taken, is an admirable trait. From what I know about my friend, I believe that he has very little to worry about, in that regard. He was not in the forefront of my mind when writing the sharp critique.
I felt a sense of compassion for him and sadness when he confessed his self-evaluation to me. I was a little concerned that I may have offended him indirectly and unintentionally. He assured me that it was all good.
I didn’t ask him what his heart search revealed—that’s between himself and the Lord. It’s an exercise that all people, especially self-professed Christians, should practice frequently. We seem to naturally gravitate toward the satisfaction of being full of ourselves.
This is one of several ways the Holy Spirit works. Through believers and sometimes nonbelievers, He will speak His important and timely messages to us. We need to be alert and watchful for them, if we want to receive His wisdom and guidance.
He will convict us in our hearts as a loving gesture intended to correct and steer us back on to the path that we should be continuously traveling upon. He will also commend us when we don’t stray from Him and obey His commands.
Rarely do we see the fruit generated when we step out in faith. This was one of those rare occurrences. To follow the lead of the Holy Spirit tugging at our heartstrings. To act upon His prompting regardless of our level of understanding, or our perceived consequences for doing so. Personally, I believe that’s His preferred MO and probably a test of our faith sometimes.
We will receive our just reward in God’s perfect timing. For myself, I find it best to leave the tally sheet in his care and focus on listening to Him for His next instruction.
This story doesn’t end here. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit led the shepherd to write and preach a sermon to his flock, he titled: “Remember Where It Began.” You can view the livestream recording by clicking on this link. The sermon begins at 15:20
Although his inspiration was not directly derived from the main topic of my piece, I think you will relate his train of thought to some of the content therein. Maybe the most noticeably being the all important core tenets of the Christian faith—where it began.
We must always remember to nurture the root of our faith. It has nothing to do with our contributions… outside of our sins. If there were anything, our wretchedness is what we contributed to the events of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Interestingly enough, the story of the Holy Spirit working through followers of Jesus Christ, in this example, is two fold and we could add a third, a fourth and potentially countless more folds to its rippling effect.
The words I wrote that were inspired by the Holy Spirit, inspired Rodney to deliver his Spirit driven sermon—which intern inspired me to write this piece. Then there are folks who were exposed to one, or both of our messages whom may have been moved to act on them in their own way.
We don’t know how far the ripples will travel when we step up and act in faith. They can even turn into large waves, because God assures us that His word never returns void.
When you understand your sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence, having the knowledge to realize that your body is God’s New Testament temple, you are in eternal communion with the clearly present Lord. Rejoice!
Focus verses: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
“Remember Where It Began”
Written and preached by: Reverend Rodney Gasaway
UMC Discipleship Ministries