Discipleship Central: Learning to be open to the Spirit
It was really encouraging to see so many members of our congregations join together in June for our first ever ‘Discipleship Central’ with John McGinley (vicar of Holy Trinity Leicester)
John spoke on ‘receiving and releasing the Holy Spirit’ and very clearly and simply helped us to see more of what it means to be ‘open to the presence, guidance and power of the Holy Spirit’ in our lives.
John particularly talked about the Holy Spirit being within us like a ‘river’ not a ‘lake’ – the Holy Spirit is not simply given to us for our own pleasure and blessing, but so that we can be channels of God’s transforming power, flowing out of us into our communities.
He particularly identified three ways we can be more open and sensitive to the Spirit being at work in us:
1) Turn our hearts to God wherever we are. This maybe involve stopping in the middle of our day to say the Lord’s prayer or to consciously open ourselves up to God’s presence.
2) Expect the Spirit’s promptings. We need to be expectant that the Spirit will prompt us and use us, just like Jesus.
3) Ask questions of God as we go about our daily business. ‘God where are you at work in this situation?…Who do you want me to spend time with?…What do you want me to say?…’ and be ready and obedient if we sense any promptings.
After the talk, there was time to discuss further in small groups before coming back for a time of ministry and listening to God. Several people sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to them about situations. For some, God was beginning to break down barriers of fear and resistance to the Spirit’s work, and beginning to bring healing from the past; others received words about future callings. And a word given to us all as a church was that we should ‘dream bigger dreams’ about what God can do here amongst us.
One person insightfully reflected to me a few days later that this evening had really helped them grasp how ‘receiving and releasing the Spirit’ was the key element to us being fruitful on our frontlines – it is only when we are filled and empowered by the Spirit that we will be truly effective on our frontlines. Let us therefore be open to receiving more of God’s Spirit and being channels of God’s transforming power in our homes, neighbourhoods and workplaces.
Discipleship Central is to be a termly midweek gathering where all small groups, and others not connected with small groups, come together for extended interactive teaching as we seek to grow more as followers of Jesus. The next one will be on Wednesday 19th November.
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