Initial Words from “Forgotten God”

Here’s some of my favorite quotes from chapters 1-2 in Forgotten God by Francis Chan (David C. Cook, 2009). As I continue to read, I will add more…

There is a big gap between what we read in Scripture about the Holy Spirit and how most believers and churches operate today. In many modern churches, you would be stunned by the apparent absence of the Spirit in any manifest way. And this, I believe, is the crux of the problem. (p. 16)

…seeking a “healthy balance” of the Holy Spirit assumes that there are some who have too much Holy Spirit and others who have to little. I have yet to meet anyone with too much Holy Spirit. Granted, I’ve met many who talk about Him too much, but none who are actually overfilled with His presence. (p. 20)

Even our church growth can happen without [the Holy Spirit]. Let’s be hones: if you’re a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band, and some hip, creative events, people will attend your church. Yet this does not mean that the Holy Spirit of God is actively working and moving in the lives of the people who are coming. It simply means that you have created a space that is appealing enough to draw people in for an hour or two on Sunday. (p. 31)

This may be a silly illustration, but if I told you I had an encounter with God where He entered my body and gave me a supernatural ability to play basketball, wouldn’t you expect to see an amazing improvement in my jumpsuit, my defense, and my speed on the court? After all, this is God we’re talking about. And if you saw no change in my athleticism, wouldn’t you question the validity of my “encounter”? Churchgoers all across the nation say the Holy Spirit has entered them. They claim that God has given them a supernatural ability to follow Christ, put their sin to death, and serve the church. Christians talk about being born again and say that they were dead but now have come to life. We have become hardened to those words, but they are powerful words that have significant meaning. Yet when those outside the church see no difference in our lives, they begin to question our integrity, our sanity, or even worse, our God. And can you blame them? (p. 32-33)

The reality is that the early church knew less about the Holy Spirit than most of us in the church today, at least in the intellectual sense. But they came to know the Spirit intimately and powerfully as He worked in and thought their lives. All throughout the New Testament, we read of the apostles whose lives were led by the Spirit and lived out by His power. (p. 37)

There is a huge difference between believing what God has promised and praying for things you’d like to be true…Do you trust God that when He says no or “not in this way” to you, you still believe that He is good and doing what is best? (p. 49)

So, if you say that you want the Holy Spirit, you must first honestly as yourself if you want to do His will. Because if you do not genuinely want to know and do His will, why should you ask for His presence at all? (p. 51)

When we become overly concerned about our appearance, our spiritual reputation, our coolness, and our acceptance, we are living as citizens of this world rather than as ambassadors. (p. 54)

Many of these words serve as an indictment against the church and our neglect of the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that our churches will be inspired to know God more fully and experience His presence in their daily lives.

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