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thoughts after reading “Forgotten God”

January 15, 2010

in Francis Chan’s treatise on the Holy Spirit, Forgotten God, he reveals an unsightly truth of modern Christians’ disregard of the Spirit. this revelation has prompted me to focus more on this “forgotten” aspect of the Trinity, and to search a deeper understanding of His ways.

1. why so mysterious?

i think just about anytime i have heard a sermon or lesson considering the Holy Spirit (important factoid: this has not been common), the pastor/speaker has opened with a statement along the lines of “now, this is something i know is very weird and mysterious, because the Spirit is difficult to understand.” this is true, but i think truer than we really know. what i mean is that we know we can’t understand the Spirit, but we can say the exact same thing about God and Jesus, but we are never afraid to talk about them. in a way, to say that the Holy Spirit is mysterious so we won’t talk about Him as much is to say that we completely understand the persons of the Trinity (if you don’t know this yet, that’s not true!*). let’s not tread softly on the topic of the Spirit and its ways. we will never completely understand any aspect of the Trinity, or even the concept of the Trinity. it’s just not going to happen. we are finite beings with finite minds who cannot hope to gain a good understanding of the Divine, but should always pursue said understanding.

2. the Spirit is a person.

this is an interesting concept that caught me off guard at first. still, the more i thought about it, the more sense it made. most of the time when someone mentions the Holy Spirit, they refer to Him as an “it”(i did myself writing this blog and had to correct it). we also commonly think of the Spirit as an insensitive cosmic force, which is chronically false. the One who counsels us, who convicts us, who prays over us is not a “thing.” He is a personal being who dwells with us and with the Father and the Son. things cannot communicate and have thoughts and wills and feelings, the Spirit can.

3. who’s controlling who?

another incredible misunderstanding of the Spirit we often hold is that it is a power to harness. we can easily think that the Spirit is something like the Force from Star Wars or something like that (there are some parallels, but these lines will intersect at some point). the Spirit is not a power that we control, but rather a Power that controls us. a steadfast and earnest heart will be overcome by the Spirit and used by Him.

4. the Spirit is the point.

the main point of Forgotten God is that many of have drastically missed out on a crucial portion of the Godhead. this isn’t exactly a Truth we can realize and think, oh yeah, i’ve got to work on that. if we don’t have the Spirit working in our lives, it is impossible to please God. the Spirit is not a lesser part of the Trinity, He is the Trinity just as God and Jesus are. Jesus said the Counselor is the One who comes in His place to dwell in us so He can convict us and guide us in God’s will, so we have Jesus right in us. it’s a breath-taking thing to think that God lives right in us. we often say we ask Jesus into our heart, and that is very much more true than we realize.

it’s a sad reality that many people come away from a church service talking more about a good sermon or a good song. Chan points out that, unfortunately, if you just throw together a charismatic speaker, a good worship band, and a neat set up, you can draw a huge congregation. the point is not to be inspired by a few challenging words, or to come away with a good illustration the next chance you have to witness. the point is to be prompted by the Holy Spirit to action and to live a life evident of His Presence.

*check 2:49

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Erik Burklin permalink
    January 16, 2010 3:21 am

    Great post, Jason. I am starting to read “Forgotten God” as part of a study with our elder board at church. So I was intrigued by your comments and I can’t wait to find out for myself what this book will challenge me with.

  2. February 17, 2010 4:18 pm

    Hi, I’ve noticed that you’ve blogged about Forgotten God, by Francis Chan. As you may know, we have just released a Forgotten God DVD Study Resource. Because of your wonderful blog post about the book, I’d like to offer you a free copy of the DVD to review. Please email me your address, and I’d be happy to send it. Thanks!

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