I used to think that great moves of the Holy Spirit were, while most desirable, rare and enigmatic. Perhaps God had a bingo cage in heaven where each numbered ball corresponded to a specific church; if you had any spiritual luck (that’s a great term!) your church might be the big winner some Sunday.
While that illustration may seem a bit farcical, the implication is a common belief: God seems to only send great moves of His Spirit once in a century and you must be in the right spot at the right time–wearing a cotton-poly blend suit–to participate.
Once again my experience–or lack of it–had gotten in the way. Once again I trusted my own subjective judgments over biblical principles. Same song, different verse.
We learn from scripture that God has always desired to pour out His Spirit and that Pentecost was the fulfillment of His desire. Since that initial outpouring, the gate is open. In Acts 2, Peter explained that this promise is for us and for our children and all following generations, yet, we still live with a bingo mindset rather than an open catcher’s mitt mentality.
If God really wants to send His Spirit’s power to us, what must we do to facilitate it? Where can we find a spiritual catcher’s mitt?
This past year, God has been dealing with me about time and schedule in our conferences. I have noticed that I frequently operate with an “I’ll do what I think is best unless God interrupts me” premise. Perhaps this is the default setting for those in ministry who have grown tired of waiting for God to call his or her church’s bingo number.
Through prayer, studying the scriptures and introspection, I have consistently heard God challenging my bingo mindset. I have become more convinced that He desires more, not less, than I could ask or imagine.
He has shown me that if I get rid of my bingo cage, I’d see that I already have the catcher’s mitt. So do you. It’s called TIME. Chronology. Just few moments of “Selah” in the middle of a church service or Bible study causes everyone’s spiritual sensitivity to become more acute. Just a simple silent pause after some worship songs or prayer; a silent lifting of our catcher’s mitt to heaven. Long enough to feel out of control, then He shows us what to do next. We can always trust Him.
Leaders are afraid of dead air because it appears unprofessional and silence is uncomfortable to us input-junkie Americans. We need flashing lights and subwoofers to enhance our Gen-X sacrament of baptism in vats of Red Bull–high energy thrill rides whose script disallows any time for failure.
We as leaders fear the unpredictable; but that is exactly the nature of the Holy Spirit. His wind blows unpredictably; Jesus said so.
I dare you as a pastor, Sunday school teacher or small group leader to give a few quiet, uncluttered corporate moments to try on the catcher’s mitt again. After all, it’s what the people we lead really want to experience anyway. Just a minute or so is all it takes before you hear the wind beginning to gently blow.
I guess it has always been blowing; we just couldn’t hear it over the racket of our bingo cages.