Hi kids <3
Wrapping up the “book report” portion of our week with Breakthrough: Rediscovery of the Holy Spirit written by Alan Walker and published in 1969.
As I mentioned in the introductory post about April’s books, this is now out of print and rather pricey to purchase through rare book sellers.
It is a small but powerful book of only 92 pages separated into seven chapters. My thought is to just give a summary and highlight from each of those because they are all relevant to our Christian walk in 2022.
Rediscovering the Power of the Holy Spirit:
Speaking into the end of that decade, Walker saw the Church was struggling with many changes and upheaval in the world that would require the power of the Holy Spirit to be accessed as the Church was in need of renewal.
He reminds the reader that the world was much in chaos and yet God’s Spirit brings order to chaos and it is only when the Church uses the Power of the Holy Spirit, we can be agents of positive change in our communities and world.
The Spirit Makes New People:
The on-going work of the Spirit is to transform individual people on the inside so that their behavior changes on the outside.
The works of the Spirit include (among other things) conversion, compassion, and an awareness of others needs with the ability to put them before our own.
The Spirit Brings Maturity:
Just as we come to Salvation through the work of the Spirit – we grow, mature…are sanctified by that same power.
One of the quotes I underlined:
“Over the years He reveals to his areas of incompleteness and of sin which have escaped our gaze.”Breakthrough: Rediscovery of the Holy Spirit; Abingdon Press, 1969; P 35
He warns his readers from the year 1969 or earlier, about the power of culture over young people.
This next quote speaks to us the same warning today:
“The need of today is a higher quality of Christian living among those who claim to be followers of Jesus. Nothing is more powerful in witness than the personal integrity and caring concern for others seen in Christians.”Breakthrough: Rediscovery of the Holy Spirit; Abingdon Press, 1969; p. 39
Isn’t this still so very true.
We are known as Christians by our love and care for one another, by the integrity of our lives. The showing up and doing the right thing no matter what others are doing, WITH an attitude of love, humility, grace, mercy and compassion is how we walk out following Jesus.
The past few years, we have been tested and tried in this loving one another in the Body.
Special Baptism of the Spirit:
In this section, Walker addresses the Scriptural evidence in four places where a special baptism of the Holy Spirit is documented as separate from conversion and water baptism. He includes the discussion that many would prefer to avoid about speaking in tongues.
I appreciated how the author says that whatever our personal take on this is, because of the Scriptures surrounding it, we are obliged to try and understand it. Using Scripture, he points out that it is valid, but also reminds that its absence is not a sign that the person has not received both the baptism of water and the baptism of the Spirit, as evidenced by Paul’s address of the topic.
The best advice I ever read on this subject is to just prayerfully ask God to give you all of His fullness in His timing.
I cannot imagine that anyone who has sincerely and whole-heartedly received Jesus as Lord and Savior would not desire whatever fullness of the Spirit God would want to give him or her; and to gain as much knowledge as God desires to impart about Himself.
The Spirit Renews the Church:
Using historical markers, Alan Walker reminds us that many times throughout history, the Church has struggled and appeared to be dying out; but it is the Holy Spirit who has continued to bring revival, hope, growth and life to the Church of Jesus Christ around the world.
Ironically, one of the examples he chose to include in this five decades old writing is the underground church in Communist Russia.
This brought to my mind immediately the ministry of our own dear pastor and his wife back in the early 80’s as they traveled throughout Communist held countries, smuggling bibles and worshipping with these underground Christians.
They have told stories of the persecution and oppression these Christians lived under, yet the power of the Holy Spirit kept the Church alive and growing in the hardest and darkest of places.
And I wonder this morning, can it be that as much of the world rightfully condemns Russia and its cruel activities, that also hidden away from sight of this oppressive tyranny, the Church in Russia is praying in basements and homes the very same prayers we are praying?
Can we remember that even in Russia, we have brothers and sisters who are risking their lives to wage war in the heavenlies on behalf of the country their own home country is attacking?
And can we acknowledge that in the Body of Christ, all believers share a common homeland and heritage and we are family because of His Blood?
The Spirit and the World Revolution:
He addresses all the many conflicts and strife we know made up the 60’s but points out that even as things were seemingly blowing up all around the people of that time, God is active in World History.
He is not sitting on the bench or oblivious to what is happening and sometimes the very things that seem to be out of control are happening as part of His divine plan.
The shakings of established systems might in fact be God’s way of getting the attention of His people.
This quote is as relevant to the Church today as it was in 1969.
“We who are of the affluent West are uneasy and guilty as we sense we have, like the rich man… in the parable Jesus told, not even noticed the hungry millions at our gate. From slavery to segregation, we know in our treatment of coloured people our iniquity towers mountain-high. The pride, the cruelty of a war-drenched century bow our spirits in penitence.”Breakthrough: Rediscovery of the Holy Spirit; Abingdon Press, 1969; P. 69
The Spirit in World Mission:
The Holy Spirit gives us the power to draw men and women out of isolation and into community. Individualism is god of this century. But God calls us to community.
At the time the book was written, there was a trend for populations to migrate to large cities around the world. We can concur with Alan Walker’s prediction as cities have grown astronomically while small communities are dying out. Our young people are drawn to the choices and offerings a city has, but the drawback is the sheer size can create pockets of loneliness.
Nothing the world has to offer in the way of fellowship can fill the soul needs like a healthy church community. In the book I shared yesterday, Soong-Chan Rah attributed the huge growth numbers in the immigrant churches in America (contrasted with the shutting down of many established churches over the same time frame) with the way these congregations care for those entering this country and becoming citizens.
Many immigrants do not speak English, or do not speak well enough to navigate the red tape and paperwork our country thrives on.
So the Immigrant Church is the place they go to get help needed to settle in to their new homeland. Gathering with people who speak their language and share the same culture and foods makes them feel welcome. It becomes their social hub and resource center for practical life needs.
A lot of the immigrants who rely on this Church community are not even Christians. But over time, many are led to Christ – not by clever evangelistic techniques but because Christ has been shown to them by example and He is irresistible when we see Him for who He truly is. They understand the “family of God” because they have experienced it.
I know that I often minimize the power of the Holy Spirit, crying out for Him only when I am feeling particularly weak or have no other resource to turn to.
How much better could I follow Jesus if I realized I rely on His Power for every breath of every day of my life.
Well, there is the long version of the short version of the third book. I hope something spoke to you that you can take with you today.
Tomorrow I have a fun little story to share and I promise it will not be long and wordy.
Please come back…I like meeting you here <3