But no one knew how to answer my question.
Adoniram Judson first brought the Gospel to Myanmar in 1813. Currently, Christianity is embraced by over 3 million Burmese people, or 6.2% of the total population. Half of those are Baptist, most of whom are very traditional in their beliefs and practices. This means that they focus on worshipping God the Father and Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, but often do not know how and where the Holy Spirit fits into their theology or daily life.
you answer my question?
When I asked the class how they saw the Holy Spirit at work in their life, the students might have wondered if I was talking about signs, wonders, and dramatic exhibitions of the Spirit--something few, if any, of them had experienced. Others seemed to be so discouraged because of their own struggles and failings that they were (falsely) assuming God wasn't very active in their lives.
You'll have to take the course if you want the full biblical and theological answer to how the greatest signs of the Holy Spirit's activity are not dramatic, but are often subtle, deep, and meaningful.
The problem for many of us is that we're not used to looking for those quieter signs, and so we draw the wrong conclusions. However, you probably wouldn't be reading this article if the Spirit weren't at work in your life, prompting you to seek God and look for deeper spiritual truths.
For example, the Spirit is the one who leads you to faith, convinces you of your sin and need for a Savior, fills your heart with gratitude and love for Jesus, produces godly qualities in your life, comforts you in times of distress, gives insight when you seek wisdom, fills your heart with compassion and a desire to help others in need, and enables you to serve Christ in meaningful and fruitful ways.
|DMin. students praying on the labyrinth in Faith, Hope, and Love Chapel
As the course progressed, we also took time to talk about all the little ways the Holy Spirit reminds of us truth and shows us the right way to go from day to day. We took time to read Scripture and pray together. They were amazed by how God spoke to each one of us when we practiced
Lectio Divina with the story of Jesus' healing of blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). When we walked a labyrinth to pray, and listened for the voice of the Spirit, the joy was palpable as person after person spoke of the messages they heard in the silence, while walking, reflecting, and praying.
By the end of the course, everyone was enthusiastically affirming similar realities: The Holy Spirit is quite close and available to each one of us. But we have to create enough space in our life to notice. As my former spiritual director, the late Rev. John Ackerman, advised: We need to "stop, look, and listen" if we want to access and recognize the Spirit's presence and working in our lives. We have to step back from our emotional and mental preoccupations for a moment. We need to look carefully at what is really going in our lives, relationships, and ministries. Then, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to speak into our experience in some meaningful way. And then, we must quietly listen.
|2d year DMin. students at Myanmar Institute of Theology
Another rich semester of teaching and ministry in Myanmar has just finished, including special lectures, visits to IDP camps in Kachin State, and a workshop for pastors in Vietnam. Over and over again, I witnessed the Holy Spirit opening eyes, changing hearts, enlightening minds, and bringing refreshment and renewal to hundreds of students, co-workers, and pastors. All these experiences would go into my answer to the question, "How has the Holy Spirit has been active in my life lately?"
I am now in Cambodia teaching 50 pastors on Spirit-Led Living for a week (March 20-24). The first week in April, I'll conduct a
Spirit-Led Leadership workshop Ukraine. I will take a spiritual retreat week for myself in France over Easter. Then on April 18, I return to the USA in time to speak to 100 American Baptist Church pastors from four states at their biennial conference.
Please pray that the Holy Spirit will continue working meaningfully during the upcoming workshops and ministries this month, just as he has been doing all year long so far. Pray pray particularly for my own spiritual health and well-being, as well as for the pastors and other leaders I will be serving. Thank you.
Grateful for your partnership,