First you will find a chapter from the impressive work by Dr. Tom C. Fuller, Grow Up!—Seriously Following Jesus in an Extreme and Compromising World, which Path Publishing was happy to publish a few years ago. But the information is still as relevant as ever.
In “The Hard-Working Holy Spirit,” Dr. Fuller gives an overview of the Holy Spirit. In subsequent chapters he enlarges on the roles of the Holy Spirit.
The full contents are below the chapter. If you would like to order an autographed copy of this title, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write “book order” in the subject line. Tell him you found his book at PathPublishing.com.
Next comes “How to Stay Healthy in a Sick World,” the fourth chapter in Making Life Work for You, the first volume in the Successful Living Series by John Schmidt.
Finally, you can read a few poems from Poems for God, by John Schmidt.
The Hard-Working Holy Spirit
In the last few decades, much has been said and written about the Holy Spirit. The odd thing is, in the first 18 centuries of the church’s existence, comparatively little attention was given to the subject. Then came the American Holiness movement. The Spirit suddenly got a deluge of attention. Pentecostal, charismatic and independent churches, preoccupied with the third Person of the Trinity, sprang up everywhere. Many congregations are exciting and are making disciples, but others commit bizarre, manipulative, and even evil acts in the name of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians believe the evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is the gift of tongues.
Others equally sincerely believe the gift is out-of-date. Some view virtually any display of spiritual zeal with suspicion. To borrow from Pilate, what in the world is truth? In one sense, any significant amount of attention to the subject here will honor the trivial.
Dr. Jones observed in The Christ of the Mount, “We occupy ourselves with the marginal, and do not appropriate the central.” So, let us broaden our minds and do something radical: Put down your presuppositions, no matter how sincere you are about them, and consider what the Bible has to say.
According to Scripture, the Holy Spirit was not introduced at Pentecost. Actually, He’s been active since at least back around the beginning of time. The first reference is in Genesis Chapter 1. (And that’s about as way-back as it gets.)
[When] the Earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Gen. 1:2).
Folks were “Spirit-filled” long before the day of Pentecost: The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri...and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts” (Ex. 31:1-3).
The first biblical reference to the two words Holy Spirit is found in Psalm 51: “Create in me a pure heart, O God... Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:10-11).
I believe the best definition of the Holy Spirit is the Person of God Who enters a Christian and grants power to be like Jesus, and to complete the work Jesus started. The Holy Spirit is not a trinket to wear like some piece of jewelry. The Holy Spirit is utilitarian and pragmatic. He is the workhorse person of the Trinity, Whose task is to get a big, tough job done, not merely to tickle the senses.
Once while preaching, to emphasize this point I asked the congregation, “How many of you here are excited about electricity?”—presuming nobody with any sense would respond. Instantly, up shot a hand to my left. There, grinning broadly, was a friend of mine named Jim, with a sense of humor and a degree from Texas A&M in electrical engineering! I’d forgotten about him! He wrecked my analogy! So, I backed up and said, “Let me rephrase that. How many normal people here…besides Jim and any other Aggies present...are excited about electricity?” Truth is, all metaphors fall short of Eternal truth. But my point was, the Holy Spirit is the gas God puts into our tanks to get the vehicle of the church to its destination, to carry through on the command, “Follow Me!”
During the spiritual journey, when does the Holy Spirit enter a Christian? Great debates have raged over that theoretical (and, I believe, relatively insignificant) question. Is the infilling of the Spirit a second, distinct and separate experience from conversion, or one and the same? The answer is, “Yes...and more!” For the disciples in Acts 2, it seems to have been a second occurrence, chronologically later than their conversions. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (Acts 2:4).
However, not all followers of Jesus received the Spirit that way. John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit before He believed in Jesus, yea, before he was even born! Not all people receive the Spirit after they are converted. Jesus was never converted at all, yet, as an angel revealed to the startled old man Zechariah, Jesus “will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth” (Luke 1:15b).
John Wesley believed the Spirit’s power to be available immediately upon one’s acceptance of Christ as Savior. After all, from the moment of conversion, the Christian has a big job to do: cleaning up a life, making amends for past wrongs, unlearning ingrained habits, abandoning old sinful bents, and denying the self in order to be reprogrammed and set upon the path of finishing the work the Savior started. Dr. Jones believed the same: I know I would not be called to walk in the way without being provided with power to walk in the way. (The Way)
So, still laying aside presuppositions and stereotypes, let us examine 15 New Testament verb concepts which describe what the Holy Spirit does in the lives of serious disciples: The Holy Spirit controls, cleanses, unifies, frees, enjoys, compels, empowers, sends, explains, exposes sin, equips, fruits, transforms, helps, and assures.
PART ONE: AN OVERVIEW 1
Introduction to Part I 3
1. “Who is this Man?” 7
2. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus?” 14
3. We Are Called to Be “Disciples” 19
PART TWO: DISCIPLES ARE CONVERTED 21
4. The World’s Greatest Need 23
5. Disciples of Jesus Must “Be Saved” 29
6. The Wonderful Tenses of Salvation 42
7. Compartmentalization 47
8. Disciples of Jesus Must Believe 51
9. Disciples of Jesus Must Confess 54
10. Disciples of Jesus Must Surrender and Follow a New Leader 57
11. The Outward Evidence of Conversion Is a Change of Behavior 60
PART THREE: DISCIPLES ARE SPIRIT-
12. The Hard-Working Holy Spirit 69
13. The Holy Spirit Fills, or Controls 73
14. The Holy Spirit Cleanses and Purges 76
15. The Holy Spirit Harmonizes and Unifies 79
16. The Holy Spirit Frees 86
17. The Holy Spirit Enjoys, or Provides Joy from Hidden Sources 96
18. The Holy Spirit Compels 99
19. The Holy Spirit Empowers 101
20. The Holy Spirit Ordains and Sends 104
21. The Holy Spirit Teaches and Explains 106
22. The Holy Spirit Exposes and Expels Sin 114
23. The Holy Spirit Arms and Equips 118
24. The Holy Spirit Fruits, or Produces Fruit 120
25. The Holy Spirit Transforms 124
26. The Holy Spirit Helps Us 126
27. The Holy Spirit Assures 131
PART FOUR: DISCIPLES ARE ORGANIZED 133
28. God’s Amazing Army 135
29. The Body of Christ 138
30. Four Words for the Church 142
PART FIVE: DISCIPLES ARE KINGDOMED 147
31. God’s Confounding Kingdom 149
32. Too Extreme to See 155
33. Keeping the Kingdom Is Hard Work 160
34. The “Nevertheless” Principle 165
35. Those Confusing Kingdom Principles 175
PART SIX: DISCIPLES ARE COMPLETED 187
36. Perfect People? 189
37. What’s Happening to Me? 194
38. How Do I Love Thee? 197
End Notes 207
Let’s Grow Up! Seriously Following Jesus in an Extreme and Compromising World
Dr. Tom C. Fuller
Foreword by Bishop James Mathews
Tom can be reached at email@example.com.
How to Stay Healthy in a Sick World
By John Schmidt
When I was in my twenties and thirties I lost many relationships because I moved away to take advantage of job opportunities, their mates needed to move far away for some reason, or my wanderlust. Often I moved away from them and then got busy in my new location. There are people who I would like to return to see, but those days are past. They would be too hard to find. The Internet, including Facebook, can be a help, but not always.
As I grow older, I lose people because they go to Heaven. On the fingers of both hands I can count people who had important places in my life and are sometimes very difficult to replace, either with other people or with activities.
I’m tired of this. I’m tired of losing valuable people who had much to give to the world and were cut short in their giving because of health concerns. So I’m writing this essay to ask you to consider lifestyle changes that might literally save your life, allowing you to continue to bring productivity and joy into the lives of other people for as long as possible.
The Bible says we are supposed to live 120 years, minimum. The 70-year time span was related to the Jews in the desert, who denied the importance of taking the Promised Land, as God ordained, and had 50 years cut off the ideal.
Why are so many people not even getting to 70?
What I’m about to tell you may not be popular concepts or ideas you grew up with, but these health suggestions are widely held by naturopaths, health food store owners and their employees, organic grocers and farmers, and many others. And most of them would agree that the quality of our food has decreased in the last 50 years. So what you grew up with might not work as well as these tips.
Before we get into suggestions, let’s talk about money. Does anybody gain money when you are sick? Does anyone gain money by selling you food that is not necessarily healthy for you in the long term—not as healthy as organic food and supplements? Does anyone gain money by getting you addicted to something? I don’t just mean liquor and hard drugs—I’m talking about sugar, coffee, food additives, and more.
Where your money goes, your life will follow. You need to understand that there are many people who are willing to let you die in order to make more money. Just think about that. They are not going to warn you about bad habits or how their products lead to bad habits. And the government is in some ways also money driven.
The government is going to warn you about some things, and then ignore other things totally; or the advice they give is going to be so tame that it will allow many evils to come into your diet and your life. The government may not allow into our country much more effective ways of treating some conditions simply because our medical community, as a whole, sometimes makes more money by using archaic and dangerous remedies that often heal only a small percentage of those who are recipients of their prescriptions or violent healing methods.
You must take responsibility. If you want to stay healthy and have a good, long life, only you can take charge. These outside people or forces are often not going to make you savvy and keep you healthy.
On the contrary, there are thousands of people who give good advice. Listen to them. Do not be so afraid of what your family members think or your neighbors think or what relatives think if you need to take more supplements or do other things that will keep you healthy. You are not a child anymore. You are an adult who is responsible for your physical body and your life conditions. Be proactive.
Make a plan to eliminate harmful products and habits, even if you need to gradually work yourself free. Cut down and gradually eliminate prescription drugs. Usually, a laboratory-produced product can do the one or two things it is designed to do. But so often with our drugs, the effects on the entire body are not examined, not even seriously tested until they are released onto the public. Then if there are serious issues, the FDA will ban the product or demand that marketing containers have more severe warning labels—which most people don’t even read, especially if the product was recommended by a doctor—their own doctor or someone on the Internet.
Some people are on several medications, perhaps even a dozen or more. The negative effects of all of the drugs hitting the body at one time (perhaps every day for months or years) can be catastrophic. Sometimes drugs have key ingredients that go by more than one name. The patient has to look at all of the drugs combined and see if every ingredient is going past its limit when other drugs are added into the mix. To make the situation more complicated, an ingredient may go by more than one name or have the same effect as a similar drug or ingredient with an entirely different name. My advice is, slowly cut out the drugs, prescription or street drugs. Seek a naturopath to help you in this process. Keep your life simple and healthy.
Many people believe that organic foods are too expensive. I agree that if you compare an individual item in a health food store to an equivalent grocery store item, you are going to pay more. But not always. Sometimes organic grocers have sale items that are less expensive. Most people don’t shop and critically compare prices anyway.
The community in which I live has been blessed with Natural Grocers; I purchase almost all of my groceries from that store. If your community is not so blessed, go to naturalgrocers.com and do a search on their store location feature. It might be worth even a long drive every few months to be able to purchase items from them. They have been in existence for 60 years.
When the seasons permit, look around for neighborhood or city food markets where individuals gather to sell their produce. But you still must be careful to only purchase from those who promise that they are organic growers.
To be blunt, whom do you want to pay? The organic grocer and his farmers this week or doctors, hospitals, and pharmacists months or years to come? The former path is actually cheaper, certainly when you add in the cost of a funeral and the loss of productivity if a life is shortened 15 to 20 years.
With organic foods you are not going to get the following things:
• Sugar (or at least not much)
• An overabundance of salt
• Food colorings, some of which have names that cannot even be pronounced
• Addictive substances
• Pesticides that are retained in the food because the plants or fruit were sprayed (and the lands that the plants grew on have been sprayed for years)
• Hormones injected into animals
• Arsenic injected into turkeys to make them fatter around marketing time
• And so much more unwanted stuff
And I do mean “stuff.” These really are things you need to avoid. In contrast, with organic foods…
You’re going to get simple, nutritious food that your body can actually use without having to eliminate all the unnecessary molecules.
You’re going to be able to eat vegetables that have naturally occurring elements that fight off disease. Because the plants were not sprayed with chemicals, they had to fend for themselves against a world of bugs. And this is good. If plants fight bugs, you will end up with far fewer health “bugs” in the long run.
You’re going to eat less, most likely, because your body is getting what it needs.
You’re going to have far fewer problems with indigestion and stomach issues because your body is not having to do unnecessary work.
You’re going to be able to find foods that are gluten free. Look at the word “gluten”; within it you will see the letters that make up the word “glue.” That’s exactly what gluten does to the digestive track; it sticks like glue to the smaller intestines and makes absorption of the food much harder. Gluten has become a problem because our wheat has deteriorated in quality in the general marketplace.
And certainly, you will not see GMO products on the shelves of organic grocers and health food stores. “Genetically modified” usually means that someone is trying to make the production process cheaper and bypass the rules of Mother Nature. You can think of GMO as standing for…
Next, let’s consider supplements. It’s my opinion, and many experts agree, that we cannot get everything our bodies need from food, even organic food. I think it’s okay if a person takes 20 or 30 supplements each week. They don’t have to be all in the same day. You may take a supplement three times a week, twice a month, or only when you feel a cold might be coming on. But a good multiple vitamin supplement is essential every day. Personally, I also take the following every day:
• Omega 3 fatty acids, even though I eat tuna or salmon with almost every meal
• Vitamins: A, B-Complex, C, D3 (not D or D2), E
Other helpful products that I take each week, but perhaps not every day:
• Ginkgo (good for the brain)
• CO Q-10 (good for the heart)
• Milk Thistle (good for the liver)
I purchase almost all of my supplements from Puritan Pride, Puritan.com. They have millions of customers.
This is not the complete list, but it will get you started. Incidentally, there is a super product that you need to take when you feel like your body is being attacked and a cold or the flu might come your way. It’s called Oscillococcinum. The best price I have found is at Swanson Health Products, which can be easily found on the Internet at SwansonVitamins.com. But check Natural Grocers if you have a store in your area.
Reduce stress. I know you have heard about exercising, getting sufficient sleep, and prayer or meditation. But here are other ideas that might help you.
When I use the word stress, I don’t use it in a positive tone. I know some authorities say there is good stress and bad stress. Good stress, I call normal activity, which should in itself have positive stimulants. Yes, one’s work is going to have occasional frustrations, but if some of those situations are stressful, they will be overcome. Any activity can sometimes be stressful, even playing with one’s children. But that doesn’t mean stress must be hung onto and allowed to materialize itself in the body long-term. When I say the word stress, I mean stuff you don’t need.
The main thing is to not allow stress in the first place. So often, Americans allow their culture to influence their lives. For example, when people wait in line at a grocery store, why should they get upset? I mean, stuff happens. Let it go. Don’t shop at that store anymore. Think about something else. Recite Bible verses to yourself. Talk to somebody else in the line about something positive.
Our society has influences on us in subtle ways also. Like, why does a person need to take on a large mortgage for the next 30 years and have to maintain a house twice the size of his and his family’s true needs? The maintenance and all the frustrations that will be coming up could be avoided: lawn mowing twice a month every summer; maintenance on fixtures, appliances, and machines; painting the house every 15 to 20 years; and so much more. A smaller house means less maintenance and less stress.
And think of all the extra money that a person is going to have to come up with when purchasing the home from a bank, thus paying twice to three times its market value. If one has to get a second job, there will be additional stress. If a person cannot find time to talk to his own children because he is always at work, that’s more stress. If a husband and wife both work, just barely making ends meet, and then one of them loses their job—well, you get the idea.
Let me tell you my story. When I got out of college I saved enough money to purchase a travel trailer. I saved my money and purchased a mobile home, cash. Heading for retirement, the Holy Spirit encouraged me to sell the mobile home, eliminate maintenance completely, and get an apartment in town. I now live one block from a post office, a barber, a church, and a bank. I no longer have to do very much maintenance on my car since I work at home and drive it so little.
How much money have I paid in interest on housing and cars in my lifetime? Nothing. Not one dime. I always paid cash for my cars. The car I currently own has been with me for more than 20 years. But it’s very dependable and gets me where I need to go—isn’t that the purpose of a car? Why should a car have to be a status symbol or a symbol of personal worth? My worth is in God and His service to people through me.
But living within one’s means will take courage. Society says a person should buy a huge house, purchase cars and furniture using loans, perhaps have very little extra cash for fun items, and hopefully get by without a crisis.
I don’t like crises. I don’t like stress. So I cut down on stress by limiting my goals to things that are reasonable.
One thing about stress and employment: Don’t let ambition hurt your health. As an author, if I don’t sell a work or accomplish what I wanted in my writing craft, it’s no big deal. God still loves me, and there is always the next book or project I will be doing with Him. Remember, there is no stress in God. So let’s live with Him, and in His way of doing things.
One could say that stress is a spiritual issue. If one is not aligned with one’s spiritual purpose, there will be duality within the soul. Then the mind will be stressed by the fact that he has to do things he doesn’t really want to, because he really and truly wants to follow God’s plan. If the mind is stressed, emotions follow. Then emotions influence the physical body and can make it sick. So, find God’s plan for your life and don’t allow stress to filter down into your body.
Last, let’s talk about water. Where does city water come from? Yes, it originally came from rain, a local lake or reservoir, or a river. But after that, where does it come from? Yes, a processing plant near your home, but where do they get most of their water? From the water that you flush down your toilet and water that flows from your bathtub drain and sinks.
I know the city facilities are usually pretty good, sometimes amazingly good at cleaning up water supplies. But what do they have to do to recycle our water? Among other things, they have to use chlorine. If you drank even a small glass of chlorine you would most likely get very ill. And that’s only one thing that is added to your water supply.
Millions of people every day purchase bottled water from stores for drinking purposes. And I’m all in favor of that. Even the least expensive bottle of water on a grocery shelf is better than city water. But I would recommend, if at all possible, that you purchase water filters for every faucet or, even better, a reverse-osmosis machine under your kitchen sink. For a few hundred dollars and filter maintenance every year or two, you can have virtually unlimited pure drinking water that you don’t have to carry home from a store.
You can also purchase filters that go on your shower nozzle, but I’m not sure you really need to. I don’t think city water is greatly absorbed by the body when a person takes a shower. It’s much more absorbed when a person takes a bath, but if you feel like you must take a bath and can’t do with a shower, then it’s better to be clean.
That’s it. I could go into greater detail about these things, but this is a game plan for health. If you put these ideas into operation your life will be greatly improved and you will not pass out of the lives of other people nearly as soon. And you will be happier, as you are a greater blessing to the whole world, organic grocers included.
From Poems for God, by John Schmidt
I Remember That Too
I remember when they said it couldn’t be done:
air flight across the oceans uniting continents
weather forecasting weeks in advance
machines linked together to enable one of us
to send mail to Alaska in five seconds
the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in the sky.
It seems life is often so unkind
until I look at thoughts that are mine
and perceive what I did not design—
long links between these pains
and hurt people sorely intertwined
with desires as my aim.
An Amazing Afterlife
Thinking birth the beginning of
his existence, he was
surprised to see spiritual love
flowing back for eons, above
a sea of patience.
The third child left home two days ago.
This morning, the difference fully hit me.
Ten years ago, occasionally, I was imagining,
almost longing for quiet like this.
Henry, the cat, sits in the windowsill observing
the neighbor dog, hardly reacting because
he knows the house offers him full protection.
With my husband at work, the house
is especially quiet.
I think I need to start painting again.
It’s when life comes at me from all
directions, not trials,
just things to do and be, I call
on Jesus—in His hands let fall
the stress—it is gone.
me to all of life
and I will be glad in it, for
I have known
those days when there was little to
live for, except in hope for
Dreams found within move me far more
than I thought. Yet fear lives too. For
the last few years I have begun
to see that the love in God’s Son
is stronger than any tremor.
God grant me the courage to forge
ahead when obstacles and core
beliefs cast down the love
dreams found within.
The dream God set in me threescore
years ago will not—NOT be torn
out of me by the faithless run-
of-the-mill souls who’ve not begun
a search to God’s door and abhor
dreams found within.
my friend,” I thought
in my youth. Realized
years later that God is within
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12, NIV