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The Holy Spirit isn’t on Lockdown1 month ago
ReSource Minister David O'Brien reminds us that God's plans are not on hold
The 24th April was the date set for commissioning the ReSource Ministers. It was all set up with the Archbishop of York and I was looking forward together with my Alison to spending a few days in York prior to this because the 24th coincides with our birthdays. The 23rd April is Alison’s and mine is the 25th April. She’s St George and I’m Mark the Evangelist.
Everyone’s plans are on hold. But not God’s. The lock down has pushed many churches to provide spiritual input via social media and other means of modern technology. The feedback thus far and my own experience at St Thomas’ Blackpool is lots of people interacting in prayer and a proportion of whom are not regular church attenders. I keep saying to our people the more we pray and the more people are praying, the more God will do stuff. In other words, this lock down is turning more people to prayer and the Holy Spirit is moving.
John 20. 19 The disciples are behind closed doors when Jesus appears
John 20. 26 The doors were locked a week later when Jesus appears to Thomas
Acts 5.19 An angel of the Lord opens the prison doors and releases the Apostles
Acts 12.7 An angel of the Lord opens the prison doors for Peter
Acts 12.12-17 The church is behind closed doors praying for Peter
Revelation 1.9 The Apostle John is exiled on the Island of Patmos when he receives the vision of what we call the Book of revelation.
Since when did isolation, geography or circumstance stop the work of the Holy Spirit? Rather He seems to excel in working whenever and wherever human beings reach their limitations or capacity to do anything.
I remember a Chinese pastor in the 1980s telling a congregation in England about his 25 years in prison. His church had 500 members. The communists sought to destroy the church by targeting the pastors. He spent 25 in isolation shovelling out the cess pit. The pit collected the waste from the camp toilets. It stank and so the guards left him alone all day. During those hours and years he was left alone to pray and worship God. Upon his release 25 years later the church of 500 had grown to 5000.
I wouldn’t wish what that pastor went through on anyone. The lesson though was that despite the absence of pastors, buildings, even computers, the church grew.
There is no reason why ‘Little, local, ordinary’ churches can’t grow, because the Holy Spirit who worked through the Apostle, throughout history and with this Chinese pastor cannot work through us. The message therefore is this: the ministry of ReSource goes on, as do all our lives and ministries, because God the Holy Spirit still has a mission.