The next four Sundays are the last four Sundays of winter! How shall we use them to prepare for spring?
Spring is the surging up of latent life under the warmth of the sun and the moisture of melting snow. Have you sensed the fragrance of spring blowing our way at Bethlehem? Is not the warmth of God’s favor beginning to stir the latent life of this great church? Is not the God of hope about to apply to us this promise?
“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.” (Isaiah 44:3–4)
Just like in nature so in the church springtime is a gift of God. No one can stop the coming of spring when God has appointed its time. And no one can bring forth the life of spring unless God sends it. (Our hearts know the difference between all-embracing spring and greenhouse gladiolas.)
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all” (John 6:63). If we are to have a springtime surge of life at Bethlehem, it will be “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
Therefore, since I love life and spring is my favorite season, I plan to preach about the Holy Spirit during the next four Sunday mornings. What does it mean to be born of the Spirit (John 3:5), to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), to be baptized in (1 Corinthians 12:13) and filled with (Ephesians 5:18) the Spirit, and to use the gifts of the Spirit (Hebrews 2:4)?
But no! I will not just preach about him. I will talk to him. We will talk to him. He is here now, and he is on his way to us with springtime power. We will take strength from his presence to entreat his abundance. The Spirit is like an ocean of love. Most of us are still wading along the shore. Pray with me that a great breaker would knock us off our feet (flesh) and the great undertow of grace would sweep us into the deeps!