Teague, TX: Saturday

Saturday morning began—as any Saturday gathering of God’s people should—with coffee, donuts, and fellowship. We moved into the day slowly by looking at two churches found in the New Testament: the church at Laodicea (a luke-warm, Spirit-oblivious church) and the church at Corinth (a whirling-dervish, Spirit-obsessed church). I told the Teague congregation that I’m not interested in going to church with the Corinthians or experiencing a Spirit that produces wonders but not transformation. Neither, however, do I want to keep going to church with the Laodiceans (a church that reminds me chillingly of many of the churches I’ve known in my Christian life); I want more than ritual and routine and reliance on riches. Is there a “golden mean” between these two extremes? In fact, John’s gospel and what Jesus said about the Spirit in The Final Discourse may well chart a course for relationship with the Spirit that is both trustable and winsome.

With that as a foundation, we launched into a study of the Paraclete Passages, hearing Jesus talk about the Spirit and listening in as he made promises that were (and are) music to all believers’ ears and hearts. The Spirit would be Jesus continuing presence with the disciples, the means by which he could say and mean that he was not abandoning the disciples. The Spirit would continue teaching the disciples, equipping them for ministry and making them competent to do the mission left in their care. The Spirit would be active in the world, testifying to the truth that is in Jesus and fueling, enCOURAGEing the testimony of the disciples themselves. The Spirit would also be actively working in the world to convict people of guilt and their need for a Savior; getting the world ready for the gospel. These are the promises Jesus made the Twelve. And they are the promises, I believe, he made to the rest of us … all those who follow Jesus in whatever time and place.

The presentations were punctuated with small group discussions in which participants were able to talk about, question, and interact with the ideas I’d been tossing out through the morning. The discussions were lively, people were obviously engaged, and there was a buzz of excitement throughout the building as the Teague Christians began to get a glimpse of what, just possibly, the Spirit could have in store for us.

The one concept that really seemed to capture their attention (and became the focal point of their discussions in the small groups) was found in John 14:16 – “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever…“

The tenor of the conversation was: “How is it we can read something for years and then, all at once, the light bulb goes off?” They were talking about this scripture as if it was the first time they had read it.  They knew this passage and were familiar with its words, but it was as if this was the first time they had actually FELT the impact of what Jesus was saying.  They were deeply encouraged to hear Jesus say that he was sending ‘another’ Counselor to be with them forever!

We capped the day with a great bar-b-que meal (what else would you expect … it’s Texas, after all!). A long nap that afternoon and then a delightful dinner with Benjamin and Rachael Neely (talking about ministry and raising a family under the watchful eye of a church) were the highlights of the remainder of the day.

If you would like to check out the Teague Church of Christ website, go to: http://teaguechurchofchrist.com.

Benjamin Neeley, the young and gifted preacher for this congregation, keeps a blog: http:benjaminneeley.blogspot.com.

© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.