Teague, TX: Sunday

Sunday morning, I headed out early (5:45am) to find a place to drink coffee and prepare myself for the final sessions of the seminar. I’ve both attended and led seminars that failed to finish strong and did not want to perpetrate yet another fizzle on the Teague church. Two sessions remained: one on some practical disciplines for experiencing the Spirit in our personal lives and in our churches; and one on the final Paraclete Passage—the promise of a revealing and transforming Spirit.

After two intense hours of prep (and many cups of bad coffee—Teague is too small to support a Starbucks!), I was ready for the morning. I picked up Julie and we drove to the Teague church.

The class session went well. The audience seemed curious about disciplines like “Asking for the Spirit,” “Becoming a Spirit-student,” “Developing a Spirit-vocabulary,” and—especially—“Praying in the Spirit.” We had a lively discussion in the auditorium (not a place, in my experience, often hosting ‘lively discussions’). Several of the older members made a point to say something encouraging to me between class and worship—a good sign that the seminar was being well-received and a particularly heartening sight to me personally.

I leave the best to last in this seminar. The fifth Paraclete Passage (Jn 16:12-15) contains the promise about the Spirit that excites me most: the promise of a transforming Spirit. In this passage, Jesus insists that “everything that belongs to the Father” has been given to him. All the Father’s plans and purposes. All the Father’s character and love. All the Father’s holiness and power. All has been given to Jesus. Jesus did his best to “reveal” all that to the disciples during his earthly ministry. But they were too limited. Their containers were too small. They could not “bear” it (vs 12). So Jesus comforts his disciples with the promise that all the Father had given the Son, the Son was now giving the Spirit. And the most vital work of the Spirit would be to take everything Jesus had entrusted to him and “make it known” to those who were Jesus’ followers.

This is an especially encouraging word to believers today. We struggle with the “largeness” of our calling: the big God we serve; the big Master we follow; the big mission we’ve been given; the big message we are charged to share. None of us is equal to the task. But if the Spirit is still active and working, if one of his primary duties is to make us capable, enlarge our capacity, mature us to the point where we can contain the fullness of God and Christ and Gospel, then that is very good news indeed.

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.