God’s Holy Spirit is Active in Worship

GodReflection: Is Worship for God or for Me?

gary portraitI sometimes wonder if the traditional way I’ve understood the Holy Spirit is less than helpful. Let me explain.

Truth is the word trinity is not found on the Bible’s pages. Nor are Father, Son and Holy Spirit ever used together in a specific Scripture text as three distinct personhoods.

Rather than the view of Father, Son and Spirit as three different Holy Beings, what if I envisioned the Holy Spirit as the earthly presence of Father and Son? Isn’t that more in line with the New Testament? My copy of Acts and the Letters paint the picture of Father and Son actively at work through believers who composed the church—the body of Christ.

In Acts chapter sixteen Father and Son desired the message of God’s grace to enter the continent of Europe. We read this account:

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.

However, note verse seven:

When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to (Acts 16: 6-7).

It is the Spirit of Father and Son that dwells within the heart of believers and guide their steps.

spirit1I don’t believe Scripture ever tells us to worship the Spirit as a third member of the Godhead. Whereas worship is always directed only to Father or Son. The Spirit of Father and Son are present to receive worship.

When Paul the apostle writes to a group of believers in the city of Thessalonica he makes the connection between Father and Spirit as one and the same: Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:8).

Let me lay one more foundational stone to my thought process. It comes from the conversation of Jesus with a woman at a well in Samaria. Jesus’ response is focused on God’s Spirit in worship:

“. . . Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

Ok, here is what I think.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit is simply the presence of the Spirit of God and Christ.

spirit6When I engage in the worship assembly the spirit of Father and Son not only are present in my body but are also present within every believer in the room.

We are in the combined presence of the Holy.

Where could be a better place to be convicted or to encounter forgiveness and healing than in the presence of the Holy? That is intensified through the joint presence of Holy-indwelled siblings.

spirit7In silence I look around the room. It isn’t difficult to envision the weakness and defects of all us human types. Then I think of the contrast beyond comprehension that is palpable. In contrast to all my weakness stands the strength of the Holy Spirit. Father and Son are present and active.

We have had the joyful audacity to bring our sin and defects into the Holy Presence. Perhaps that alone is the picture of God’s Holy Spirit active in worship.

Isn’t that a blessing that comes through joint worship for God AND for me?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells




He Shares with Me His Spirit

GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?
gary portraitMy acquaintance with the Holy Spirit is a process. Like the metamorphic change of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly I have a profound desire for the resident Spirit to work its transformative power to help me move from acquaintance to a close relationship.

An almost forgotten voice in my family church linage is that of Kentuckian Barton W. Stone (1772-1844). In his sermon “The Four Unities,” his fourth unity which he identifies spirit0as “fire unity” where he affirmed that the Spirit’s residence in the hearts of believers is what unites the body of Jesus—the church.

I am united and with Jesus and all believers through His Spirit that took up residence in my body and soul when I submitted to God through His Son.

spirit3With the apostle Peter’s revelation and instruction “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” Jesus shares His Spirit with all submissive humans.

Another apostle, Paul, wants me to join with Timothy his protégé to “guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

Do I have to understand the reality of the Spirit within for me to trust its reality?

When I think of Christ followers of the first three centuries I am reminded that their walk with Jesus took place without the advantage of a Bible with sixty-six books and letters. Truth is, until recent times a majority of the Christian world walks an identical path.

I suspect those early believers were hard-wired to the daily present Holy Spirit far beyond what I can possibly imagine. Their discernment antenna probably tuned into the Spirit more readily than mine does.

spirit6In stark contrast, I have 24/7 access to Holy Scripture through King James, the American Standard Version, the RSV, NIV, the ESV, and a gazillion other translations to aid my walk.

Around-the-clock, podcasts, sermons, websites, and Christian writers flood my brain. I suspect the Spirit sifts and chooses through all of that input to provide me with daily guidance.

However, with all my advantages could it be that I fail to see through it all to appreciate as I should the Spirit’s action within?

spirit7I would like to think that my Spirit discernment is on the upswing as my path wines toward the sunset. There times when I see His presence with greater clarity. But, through it all I plant my eighth brick on the witness of the aged apostle John.

Most likely in his nineties, after walking Jerusalem’s street and country sides with Jesus; after observation of death, burial and resurrection; after persecution and a lifetime of perseverance; after daily acquaintance with the post ascension presence of Jesus’ spirit within his own body; old John writes:

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4: 13-16).

spirit10Through a lifetime I’ve seen enough intermittent signs of the Holy Spirit to trust His presence as an indwelt guide. I know He is there even when I miss His sign posts.

So here is brick number eight of twelve: He shares with me Hisbrick7 Spirit.

Like the previous seven, I lay this brick to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He cares specifically about me.

Don’t you suspect we would all be more successful at life were we to acknowledge Holy Spirit presence and accept His assistance?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: He Shares With Me His Spirit


Secret Earth Walk

GodReflection: God Shares His Secret

garyguarujaMy parents taught me how to navigate the streets of our hometown.

Firsts, by repeated routes in our old car or work truck, then by parental permission of discovery with my bicycle.

My Grandpa and the Boy Scouts taught me about the four compass points. For Grandpa, as long as his old chevy and the road was pointed in his predetermined compass direction life was good. Scouts used merit badges to teach me how to follow that same wiggly needle.

My dad taught me how to read roadmaps that were usually given free at gasoline stations.

walk9Not long after my twenty-first birthday at the end of the Junior year in college, I loaded my baby blue Ford Mustang with all possessions—roadmaps included—and navigated the southern Interstate routes from Abilene, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts.

The returned to the New Mexico desert was plotted by a northern interstate route that took me through Indianapolis, St. Louis and Tulsa.

walk1.jpgEach journey built on cumulative experiences prepared me for a move to the mega-city Sao Paulo, Brazil at age twenty-two. There the maze of streets was so extensive that maps took  the form of a thick book, O Guia São Paulo. In size, it was more like Genesis to Revelation.

I find my early life of direction acquisition to be a wonderful analogy of my earth walk under the canopy of the Holy.  It too was a learned navigation experience.

From cradle to adolescent baptism, to family and church I was provided basic instruction in Holy Compass Points.

walk14I did not emerge from baptismal waters ready to read topographical Spirit walk maps.

However, there was a God-secret about map reading I didn’t understand at the time. In fact, it took more years than I would like to admit to learn the secret to navigate my earth walk.

There is an aspect of how to earth walk that perhaps I knew intellectually but only now can I see with greater clarity.

Let me explain.

In the one of the first two blog posts of early September 2012, I observed that the years of my life walk took on three phases: learning, doing and being.

walk10Over my prime “doing years,” God used the gifts He issued to me, for my own growth and for His advancement into the lives of others.

In His graciousness, He allowed me to feel as if I was a player who brought talent to His game plan.

Here is my new aha. Here is what I now see with greater clarity.

No longer am I a sharp tool. The once honed edges are now worn. So, at the sunset of my walk12walk I judge my effectiveness as minimal.

As this old earth body continues to wear, tear and disintegrate, I am less and less of a problem solver. There is very little I can do to discover solutions  (as if there ever was under my own steam).

As Moses said to the Hebrews so I say to my earth walk: “You are too heavy of a burden for me to carry alone” (Deuteronomy 1:9).

I now see with greater clearness the secret gift of life navigation that God issued to me at my baptism. The Holy Spirit really does live within and in fact does guide my life walk.

This is my current game plan.

Throughout the day and night, I rehearse with the Creator my daily unsolvable concerns. And leave it to His Spirit to run the plays. Sure, I feel concern. Yes, worry has less and less of a presence. Don’t tell anyone—it’s our secret—God shared it with me.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on Secret Earth Walk 

Gary@GodReflection.org     www.GodReflection.org  www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Life with The Holy Spirit

GodReflection: Life in the Holy Presence

garyguarujahspirit3Me and the Holy Spirit got off to a late start on our relationship. The problem was with me and not with him.

After all, with observance of costumes and spooks on Halloween the King James’ “Holy Ghost” wasn’t someone I wanted to meet.

He knew me. However, I received a late introduction to him.

I will return to that thought in a moment.

Recently I came across a verse in 2 Chronicles 16 as the story of Judah’s King Asa unfolded. On a certain occasion God challenged him with a rebuke proceeded by the following statement:

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 

The story of God is the story of His availability to humankind—His beloved creation. He still stands ready and active to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

hspirit6Two thousand years ago He sent His Son to walk the earth, to show us in human form how much He loved and cared for us.

As His Son returned to heaven, that Son Jesus promised that the eternal presence in the form of the Holy Spirit would personally indwell all who would come to belief.

Now back to my late introduction.

During the early years of my life preacher types had far too much power. They forgot to tell us they might be wrong. In many cases their personalities were so strong and their presence and presentation was so powerful that few pew sitters questioned their conclusions.

And so I learned that the Holy Spirit resided only in some sort of inspirational manner in Scripture. He made the Bible Holy. So unless I was in the actual process of reading my Bible I was on my own. It never occurred to me that the bodily dwelled Holy Spirit watched over my holiness which I received through Jesus.

As I look back I conclude we human types are rather incapable of a successful walk with Jesus when we attempt to live in his presence under our own steam.

It was during my college years that exploration and learning started to play more of a role in our national fabric. That made it easier for my church tribe to begin to examine former conclusion. As it turns out that process continues.

Our God is a changeless God. The extent of the depth of how I understand God is in constant change as I mature. His eyes still range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

Hspirit4Back to my Holy Spirit introduction.

I came to awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence over a lifetime rather than in a big moment one-time encounter.

It came from an initial realization  that the gift of the spirit  Jesus promised to send to his disciples after his ascension, would be received by all who experienced the death, burial and resurrection with him through baptismal waters.

As Jesus’ salvation act was shared from Jerusalem to Rome those who witnessed the story and wrote it down constantly attributed the progress of its spread as being under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

From Paul I learn that God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:5) and that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in me, whom I have received from God so I am not my own (1 Corinthians 6:19), and it takes the aid of the Holy Spirit living in me to stay true to my commitment to Jesus.

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:14

Ok, how can I live my life in the presence of the Holy Spirit? Here is what I think.

I don’t think I can throw away my GPS and expect the Holy Spirit to tell me to turn left, right, or to continue straight ahead. However, I do notice when I live with a heart open for guidance I seem to make better life decisions. Any consistency in good outcomes is most likely not rooted in my own human decision making ability.

Normally, I find that whatever confidence I may have at any given time in Holy Spirit direction comes from a quick rehearsal of past decision experience. It is when I look back that I see his presence and his guidance.

I would love to hear from you as to how you have experienced life with the Holy Spirit.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on Life with The Holy Spirit

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org



Life in the Holy Trinity

GodReflection: Life in the Holy Presence

garyguarujaNo doubt about it. Certainly I can be accused of overthinking things. A part of it is my wiring and a portion is most likely my western mindset that tends to want to sort and label.

Trinity2About the time I think I’ve figured out the roles and distinctions of Father, Son, and Spirit, I come across a portion of Scripture or a situation that fails to fit my sorted categories.

The reality of Father, Son, and Spirit being one and yet being individually three is beyond the human DNA to understand and to sort.

This seems like a good time to apply the words of the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes from Old Testament Scripture:

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

Trinity1Isn’t it enough to act upon the invitation issued in the Biblical narrative that traces the story of creation by the Holy Trinity and live in the Holy presence of that story?

If by faith and trust I live my life in the presence of the Holy Trinity—without understanding every last detail of the Godhead’s actions in my daily walk—isn’t that sufficient?

Perhaps I don’t need to overthink every detail of the Holy Trinity. Why make it so hard?

Why not just enjoy Father, Son, and Spirit and let my actions flow from their presence?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on Life in the Holy Trinity

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org


God Breaks the Silence

GodReflection: Silent God—Seeking His Voice

garyguarujaIt is my intent to wrap-up this series on Silent God with the next post.

However, I am compelled to raise two additional considerations relevant to my search for the voice of God.

I am coming to see that God’s voice is always present and just waiting for me to listen.

Scripture5In Post Three on Interpreting God’s Silence, I suggested that for the past two thousand years God speaks to us through the teachings and work of Jesus. So here I am in the 21st Century. I can hear the voice of God as I get to know Jesus.

In addition to growing in relationship with the Son I find another source of the voice of God.

Perhaps God hasn’t been as silent throughout history as it might seem.

One way to think about the voice of God is that He breaks His silence through written Scripture compiled over the history of humankind.

I’ve noticed that the more I let the whole of Scripture flow through my brain the more of it gets into my heart. Taken in its entirety I start to see that God left me written answers to many of the dilemmas I take to Him in prayer.

Scripture6So, as I raise concerns about pain and suffering God told me long ago through the Inspired Word that it is not unique to me. It is a temporary result of Satan’s games with humanity.

Through Scripture I learn God can use any thorn that Satan tosses my way to help me grow in patience and steadfastness.

He will not give me more than I can endure and thorns will have no presence in my resurrected body.

So I have my answer. It’s not the magical fix of fairy tale lore. My answer is already in Scripture and at the same time God must smile with pleasure when I converse with Him about my thorny concerns.

God also breaks His silence as He speaks to me through His Holy Spirit.

I am confident the previous sentence is true. I wouldn’t want to attempt to offer a logical defense in court to support my belief.

Scripture4To say that I have minimal comprehension of how the Almighty communicates through the Holy Spirit would be an overstatement of my knowledge base.

The New Testament’s Acts of the Apostles and Letters are essentially chronicles of the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the lives of baptized believers.

From those examples and teachings, I draw my current observations.

Here is what I think.

I assume that the Spirit is considerably more active in my life than I can possibly understand. 

The activity of the Spirit does not require my proof. I don’t have to prove the Spirit to anyone. What I think or what others think doesn’t negate His activity.

At the same time, I suspect my walk would be enriched and my faith would grow were I to slow down and observe.

I just might see the doors that open and close before me, and the actions that take place around me could be related to the subjects I address through prayer.

Scripture1If I take at face value the truth of the totality of promises given in Scripture as to God and Jesus living inside of me through the Holy Spirit, I have to wonder if some of “my brilliant ideas” to solve my own prayer concerns, are in actuality ideas planted by the Holy.

Is it possible as I interface with people throughout my day that I receive Holy nudges concerning how I am to respond? Are these signs of God along my way?

Once again I am confronted with the possibility that God isn’t silent at all. Perhaps, His speech is not limited by the lack of human vocal cords.

Maybe in fact He does break His silence through history, through Jesus, through Scripture, and through His Holy Spirit.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on God Breaks the Silence.

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org




Grace Seats Me With God Now

GodReflection: Breathing Grace

garyguarujaThis is a big idea post.

It is an idea so huge that I can’t grasp it in its entirety. It’s a current reality and a celestial promise I claim because I breath grace.

Paul’s letter to believers in the city of Ephesus is a New Testament show stopper.

I don’t remember how many decades ago it was when I read the Ephesian letter for the first time. But even today I still catch myself uttering a mental “wow” or “unbelievable” as I read Paul’s Ephesian letter in awed belief where repeatedly he describes the power grace breathed into my life.

Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of table7his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2).

So here is a big idea I take from Paul.

My faith placed in Jesus [next post] activates God grace on my behalf and just as He raised Jesus from the dead, through grace he raises me from a dead end life. And in the process God seats me with Him (current tense) in heavenly realities in Christ.

table1Grace brings me into God’s house as a child in His family. So my Dad (not meant in any way to be irreverent) is the biggest and best Dad on the block. I can live without fear under His protection. At the end of each day I can sit at the family table and share the day’s victories, defeats, and concerns.

Grace makes living in heavenly realms an immediate reality. I live now in the presence of—and in relationship with—God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. I also suspect from Scripture hints that I may have unseen assistance from Angels on mission from God.

Through Jesus’ body the church, I already live in the presence of brothers and sisters who grow daily in Jesus’ image. And to think—I don’t have to wait until the next reality to be blessed by their lives.

It sounds like God’s breath of grace makes my eternity and heaven experience begin now. So the totality of my reward doesn’t wait until Jesus’ return to start. I live in heavenly realms now.

Just think—tonight at my Father’s table I will feel His love as we talk about my day and His hopes for me.

All because of His grace.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on Grace Seats Me with God Now.
Gary@Godreflection.org      http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com