Over the past year, I’ve been in conversation with Matt, a Christian serving in the U.S. armed forces. After reading a blog entry I wrote on nonviolence and enemy-love, Matt emailed me and said that he’d begun to question his involvement in the army after one of his friends commented, “I just can’t picture Jesus picking up a gun and heading over to the Middle East and killing people.”
Matt told me what followed his friend’s comment: “Over the next weeks of leave, I woke up several times in the night. Every time I woke up, that phrase was playing in my mind. I couldn’t get rid of it! It was at this point that I felt I should give a second look to the issue of nonviolence, that perhaps God was saying something to me.”
I love how Matt’s story demonstrates the work of the Holy Spirit, who continues to actively speak messages of peace and wisdom to believers today. I’m also moved by Matt’s example of obedience, as he’s courageously taken the step of registering as a conscientious objector, a huge risk for someone in the military.John Hawbaker Harrisburg (Pa.) BIC
Our pastor, Woody Dalton, tells about a Sunday when he preached about the Holy Spirit. After the message, he invited people to come to the altar so he could pray for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “Don’t be afraid of this idea of being filled with the Holy Spirit,” he said. “People aren’t going to start screaming and rolling on the floor.”
So, people came. The first person Woody prayed for cried out and collapsed on
Woody says, “I decided I had better not try to tell God what to do.”Larry Locke Chambersburg (Pa.) BIC
Last summer, I met a man at Roxbury Holiness Camp Meeting (Orrstown, Pa.). His marriage was over, and he was at the end of his rope. I offered to meet with him for counseling and, over the course of those sessions, I discovered that he had an abusive relationship with his wife and children. After many sessions and teaching on the need for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, this brother’s life has radically changed. Through the glorious power of the Holy Spirit, he and his wife have even experienced a restored marriage. Praise God!Brian Ross Koinos Church (Reading, Pa.)
This past February, I was one of about 40 BIC pastors and leaders who took part in a theological conversation about how the Brethren in Christ interpret the Bible. Over those two days, the best of the BIC shone brightly. Everyone had a voice. Everyone’s statements were thoughtfully considered. Disagreements were plentiful yet always handled with grace and charity. There was a real sense that none of us had the “right” position, but that the Spirit would speak through all of us.
When it was all over and I was heading home, I was positively encouraged. This is what it looks like for mortals to be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
For more on the Consultation on the Nature of Scripture, visit bic-church.org/equipping/consultation.