Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Earlier today I responded to an excellent post by my new blog-friend, Lionel over at his blog.

Lionel started an excellent discussion regarding the role of women in today's Church by asking readers to answer a question about someone who devotes their life to building up the Body, yet happens to be female. Would we call that person a pastor?

This is a question, and a subject, worthy of great discussion and debate within Christian circles today.

My short answer is that I have no problem with this at all, however the subject is multi-faceted and any discussion of this must take the time to examine the various angles equally.

As I see it, there are three issues at the core of this discussion:

1- What would Biblical leadership look like in the Church?
2- Can women take a leadership role in the Church?
3- What does Paul intend to communicate in his various teachings on the subject?

First, let's tackle the first issue regarding the nature of leadership within the Church according to the New Testament.

1- What would Biblical leadership look like in the Church?

One problem we face is that we equate leadership within the Christian Church as being the CEO/Pastor who acts as a Boss and through whom all teaching, edification, instruction, encouragement, (and many of the other 28 spiritual gifts described throughout the NT) must flow.

This is not a Biblical position. So, whenever we examine the New Testament regarding this issue, and others like it, we have to take off our 21st Century filters and attempt to read things at face value. The early church did not resemble what we experience today. The weekly gathering was in a home, meals were shared, everyone contributed and there was no visible leader in the group who did all the talking or teaching while the rest of them listened.

According to 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12, God has designed His Church to act relationally. He has given everything the Body needs to function and grow to the Body itself, "for the common good". The Body is able to thrive through the power and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which lives within each member of this Body.

If you read 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12 and elsewhere in the New Testament, you will NOT see any teaching or practice within the Body of Christ where all of the gifts flow from one elect leader to everyone else so that they can grow, mature, receive mercy, etc.

What God DID do was to give all of the gifts to various people distributed throughout the Body. In God's relational design for His Church, the encouragement you need is available from someone else in the Body. This means you need the rest of us. It means we need you. We need each other to grow and mature.

Couldn't God have given each person the spiritual gift they needed, when they needed it? Yes, of course He could have. But then we wouldn't need to relate to one another. Instead, God's plan was to place the gift you need most in the hands of someone else so that you and I are required to communicate our needs with one another. It is necessary for the life and health of the Body that we share our weakness and that we share the gifts we have been given.

With this in mind, let's look at the rest of our issues.

2- Can women take a leadership role in the Church?

Some are convinced that there are New Testament scriptures which prohibit a woman to act as a leader within the Body. We'll look at those verses more closely in our next discussion point, but in general I would remind everyone that women played a very important role in the ministry of Jesus. His most powerful interactions, healings and teachings involve women (the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the woman with the issue of blood, the woman whose son had died, the woman who annointed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, the woman who broke the gnard of perfume over his feet, etc.) and women supported his ministry, watched him die, attended his grave and gave witness to his resurrection from the dead.

Jesus honored women in a culture where women were undervalued and equal to children and unbelievers.

Now, let's see what Paul really had to say about this subject and, beyond that, what he meant to teach us about the role that women play in the Body.

3- What does Paul intend to communicate in his various teachings on the subject?

Lionel's article references 1 Timothy chapters 2 and 3. In those chapters the main thing we take away is found in verse 12 of chapter 2 where Paul says: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."

Paul says, rather clearly and somewhat chauvinistically I might add, that he does not permit a woman to teach, or to have authority over a man. He also says she must be silent.

As with all difficult teachings and doctrine, we have to take the consensus of other scriptures on the subject in order to get a clear picture of what is being said and taught.

While Paul appears to teach that women shouldn't have any authority over a man within the Body in this passge, we have to remember that elsewhere Paul also teaches that a woman should cover her head when she Prophesies. (see 1 Cor 11:4-5)

What's going on here? In one verse Paul says that he doesn't allow a woman to speak and he doesn't allow a woman to teach, yet in this passage he's providing guidelines for how a woman should prophesy in the gathering of believers.

Let me remind you that, to Paul, the gift of Prophecy is one of the greatest "leadership" gifts in the entire Body (see 1 Cor 14: 1-5). Doesn't one who prophesies speak to the entire Body and provide a message from God for their edification and strengthening?

How do we reconcile these seemingly contradictory ideas regarding Paul's vision of Church? Women are allowed to prophesy as long as their heads are covered, and yet they are called to keep silent. What's going on?

In my opinion, there are a few things going on here.

First, Paul says one thing to the Church in Corinth because he is addressing some very specific issues they are facing in their fellowship together. This means that when he writes to Timothy and he gives a different set of guidelines he is attempting to correct a different set of behaviors within a different Body.

Simply put, Timothy's church didn't face the same problems as the church in Corinth, therefore Paul's advice to one was not the same as what was given to the other.

Also, Paul often says certain controversial things and he attaches a qualifier like, "I am saying this, and not the LORD..." as he does in 1 Cor 7:12, "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say, If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to be with him, let him not divorce her."

In passages like this Paul seems to be aware of certain opinions that he might hold that may, or may not, be necessarily a hard line teaching from God.

With this in mind, I think it's interesting that in our original passage (1 Tim 2-3), Paul says, "I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man..." and in my mind this leaves room for us to wonder out loud about whether or not Paul intended this teaching to be taken as "from the Lord" or from Paul's personal bag of wisdom. At any rate, I believe Paul leaves room for us to disagree with him in these matters of cultural preference regarding the role of women within the gathering. I want to stress, however, that we do not have that same privelege when Paul leaves off that qualifier, "I, not the Lord".


Paul writes in Timothy and in Titus to provide criteria for an Elder, and an Overseer within the Body. In those passages he centers on the male gender, calling for them to be "Husbands of one wife", etc.

However, the New Testament also includes great evidence that the early church had many women deacons. Paul speaks of a deaconess named Phoebe in Romans 16:1 and also mentions Priscilla and Aquila in verse 2 calling them "my fellow workers in Christ Jesus". These two are also prominent in Paul's ministry, even travelling with him on Missionary journey's in Acts 18:18, and we know that the two of them hosted a church in their home according to 1 Cor 16:19. (Paul also mentions Euodia and Syntyche in Philipians 4, as well as Tabitha or Dorcas in Acts 9.)

DISCUSS: There also seems to be a difference between the roles of elders and overseers as it pertains to the Worship service or share time versus the life of the Church outside the meeting. Women are welcome to share among the rest of the people who gather to share and worship in the 1 Cor 12 model, however the authority required to rebuke or confront a believer caught in sin, etc. seems to rest on those male elders and overseers who were recognized as having a Fatherly position within the Body.

Your thoughts?

Friday, July 25, 2008


The internet is a strange place and apparently several of my more vocal online fans have submitted my name to a talk show host who has now helped to create a grassroots campaign calling for me to run for President.

No, I'm serious.

Watch this news clip:

I don't think any Third Party candidate has a hope of winning the Presidential Election anytime soon, but this groundswell of support to recruit me into running for the highest office in the land is very humbling.

What do you guys think?


Thursday, July 24, 2008


This is going to sound very weird, but the other night I had a series of very strange dreams. They were the kind of dreams where my wife Wendy has to pray for me because I am struggling, both within the dream and outside the dream, to wake up.

I call these spiritual dreams because they always involve a message, a vision or a sense of spiritual encounter.

So, my dream the other night involved a phrase in German that I could not understand. Mostly because I do not speak German. So, when I woke up around 2am I went into the den and scribbled the word down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't forget it.

Today, just a few moments ago actually, my sister-in-law called me to interpret my German message from God. (She speaks German).

The words I had written were: Einze Gehoben. According to Felicia, my sister-in-law, these words are interpreted as:

Einze = First

Gehoben = One who is lifted up or elevated

So, I still don't know exactly what to make of this. Why would God give me a message in a language I don't speak? Why would it be something cryptic like "The First one who is lifted up?"

Not sure. But it is interesting isn't it?

I could draw parrallels to scripture and recall the verse where Jesus says, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself". Jesus was the first one to be lifted up, onto the cross, for the salvation of mankind. We also are called to carry our cross, daily, in order to follow Jesus. Our cross and his cross are linked together.

Is my German message just another name for Jesus, the "Einze Gehoben"? Or is it something more?

I'll be praying about this over the next few days. If you have any ideas what this could mean I'd appreciate the feedback. Just place a comment below.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Yesterday I sent out my weekly [Subversive Underground] article to the subscribers of my little e-newsletter. It was entitled "The Reluctant Radical" and it was something I have been working on and thinking about for some time now.

(You can read this article by clicking on the [Subversive Underground] link at the left-nav).

Already I've received several responses which tells me several things. One, that some people actually read those things, which is a relief. It also tells me, based on the email and comments I'm receiving, that I need to clarify a few things.

Below I have pasted some of my correspondence with my good friend Ben V. and also with fellow blogger Adam on the subjects of church history, practice and leadership.

Here ya go:

I hope that people who read my articles still get that I'm not against traditional churches or those who attend them. I've tried to balance what I'm saying with the idea that I still have many friends who are traditional pastors and parents who still attend, and love, their mega-church, etc.

My high-wire act is to share what I'm learning with everyone and allow them to draw the conclusions, allow them to fill in the "Now What?" blanks for themselves.

Yes, I have my opinions, and I try to share them as graciously as possible, and yes, sometimes people get offended by what I share and that's ok too, I guess.

I am pretty open about the fact that our family has decided to enter the house church arena, and I hope that people get more light than heat from my articles. I hope so, anyway.

To answer your questions:

A) "when I actually read Acts and realized the Believers were still meeting in the Temple daily for prayer."

Well, not exactly. I mean, yes, at the beginning of Acts we read that they met daily in the Temple Courts. But this stopped pretty much instantaneously after Stephen was stoned to death and Saul started going from house to house to round up these Followers of The Way. After this is was pretty much the house meeting exclusively to avoid arrest.

It's important to note, however, that the decision to meet in houses didn't come up after the persecution as a way to protect the Body. It was something they were doing from day one. What they did was eliminate the more public and Jewish-based meeting in the Temple Courts, but the house meetings were ongoing from Jesus, into the Upper Room meetings and throughout the New Testament church.

I'm not kidding when I say don't read the history of the early church unless you want to have your concepts blasted apart. The less you know about these things he easier it will be for you to stay safe and happy the way you are. I'm just sayin'....

B) "It talks about the church hierarchy and it seems similar to what we have today"

Again, not really. We tend to read into the New Testament these patterns because that's how we've always been taught to see and understand things. But there was no hierarchy in the early church, not until late in the Third Century when newly converted pagans became leaders and brought their ideas of Priest and Bishop into the fold. Before this the church was lead mainly by Elders who were self-identified by the rest of the Body and sometimes by one of the Apostles.

The word "Pastor" only appears once in the Bible. We have no formal explanation of what someone with this gifting did, other than to trace the root of the word as it relates to "Shepherd", or one who cares for the flock. To me, it's significant that the only way to lead a flock of sheep is from behind. Jesus modelled a very different kind of leader for us, and for his disciples, which they took to heart.

At any rate, those with pastoral giftings in the early church certainly didn't look or act anything like the one's we have today.

I recently engaged in a Q & A with a guy (ADAM) over this on the [SU] so rather than re-type this here's what I said to him about the idea of leadership within the early church:

ADAM SAID: "...having been in the corporate world a while, one truth I have found regarding human nature is that people WANT to be led."

KEITH'S RESPONSE: Yes, people do want to be lead, but what I've learned is that leadership doesn't have to look like what we're used to seeing in the church.

The traditional church models a CEO leadership and takes its cues from the business world, but there are other forms of leadership that don't take the "I'm the boss" approach.

The form of leadership that Jesus modelled was to wash the feet of his followers, and then he commanded them to do the same, especially pointing out that when they lead others they were not to "Lord it over people" as the pagans did/do.

Leadership, as modelled by Jesus, is by example, based on servant hood and facilitates dialog, cooperation and teamwork, not a professional clergy class.

ADAM SAID: "But what about Romans 12:5-8 which I was always taught about spiritual gifts?....there is a Leadership "gift.""

KEITH'S RESPONSE: You're correct, but again, we cannot assume that "leadership" means what we've come to know it as simply because that's the model we've grown up with. Does the Bible show us a different model for leadership? Yes, it does. My argument is that we, as followers of Jesus, need to adopt the model that Jesus gave us, not the one we've borrowed from Bill Gates and Starbucks, etc.

ADAM SAID: "...this passage insinuates a multi-member, multi-function organization with people in leadership roles. If the pastor is not designated the "leader" then who is?"

KEITH'S RESPONSE: You're getting it. The Bible gives us a model where function within the Body is shared and relational. Each person contributes something that no one else can using their unique gifts.

ADAM: "Just curious, how does your house church operate?"

KEITH: Glad you asked! I've got several articles I could send you which describe this in greater detail, (and I'll email those links to you if you ask me at "elysiansky" at hotmail (dot) com), but essentially I facilitate our share times together and try not to dominate the dialog, allowing everyone (even the children) to share insights into scripture, communicate a testimony, provide an insight, etc. to encourage the rest of us in our walk with Christ.

There are times when I need to exert my "Pastoral Authority" but usually everyone plays nice and most of the leadership you'd expect to see is done behind the scenes, in private and one-on-one with those who need a loving rebuke or a nudge in the right direction


Ben - I'm glad to hear you're re-reading through the book of Acts. I'd encourage you to go to the library and pick out pretty much ANY book on Constantine and/or early church history. It will change your mind about a lot of things.

As you say, "It would be truly terrible to find out one day that, like our Catholic brothers, we've been getting things wrong for centuries. Of course, that may be the case . . ."

Yes, that would be truly terrible.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


This is one indie film worth seeking out. "Lord Save Us From Your Followers" is not a slam against Christianity by non-believers, it's an honest look at Christianity in America that we need to take seriously.

First, this film hopes to reclaim the heart of the Gospel and to restore the concepts of relationship and love for people, as Jesus commanded us.

Secondly, the film hopes to inspire dialogue between political or ideological extremes, particularly Christian and non-Christian; Liberal and conservative.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Rabbi Unveils Secret Name of God


(FROM THE ARTICLE ABOVE): "Rabbi Mark Sameth contends...that the four-letter Hebrew name for God…should actually be read in reverse. When the four letters are flipped, he says, the new name makes the sounds of the Hebrew words for "he" and "she."

Wow. If you flip the four letter name for God and read the gibberish out loud it sounds like the words "he" and "she"."

This is an historic discovery. Apparently if you take the name of God from the Hebrew, reverse the letters, and then attempt to pronounce the gibberish, someone who speaks Hebrew will think you are saying "He, She" and do you know what that means?

I don't either, really. But, I decided to take this genius theory and apply it to my own name to discover even more about myself.

So, if you reverse the letters in my last name you get "Selig" and often people will call me "Kevin" instead of "Keith" since the two names are very similar. This leaves you with "Kevin Selig". Amazing, huh?

So, if you Google the name "Kevin Selig" you find this page:

Here's what we've learned: First, not only is Kevin Selig, my anti-thesis, a blogger who writes articles on the InterWeb (just like me), it turns our that Kevin loves coffee as much as I do.

You know the most amazing thing about all of this? I'm going to tell you. The most amazing thing about all of this that the Rabbi who came up with this theory has a picture of himself on the first link (go check) and he looks just like John McCain who is running against Barack Obama who has not one, not two, but THREE Muslim names.

Doesn't that strike you as oddly fascinating?

Me neither.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Arrested for Feeding the Poor

On April 4, 2007, at the conclusion of an Orlando police undercover investigation that, according to the Orlando Weekly, cost taxpayers $65,000, FNB member Eric Montanez was arrested. His alleged crime: feeding more than 24 people. His weapon: a ladle.

The result was twofold. One: A jury who understood the concept of "unconscionability" found Eric "not guilty." Two: The arrest scared away groups and people who were participating, especially some of the church groups, who were afraid of being labeled "law-breakers."

Yes, it is unconscionable to let people go hungry, in a city of plenty in a nation of plenty. It is a higher magnitude of unconscionability to persecute those who feel called to serve the poor and subject them to arrest and prosecution.


These stories make me wonder if I would continue to go out and serve the poor if I knew I would be arrested for doing it. Part of me wants to say, "Absolutely", but the truth is that I have a family, and the idea of being arrested kind of scares me. Would I really be willing to feed people, serve people, love people even if it meant that I'd be handcuffed and taken to jail for doing it?

Next weekend our house church is taking a truck load of free groceries to hand out to the families who live at the California Studio Inn in Santa Ana, as we've done for over 5 years now. But what if our local government made it illegal to pass out food to people in motel parking lots? Would I still show up and face arrest?

Next month some of our Mission house church family are taking food and supplies to an orphanage just over the border into Tijuana, Mexico. What if we knew they could be detained and thrown into jail for doing this? Would we still be so eager to serve?

I ask these questions because they reveal a sense of comfort in me that I find disturbing. Am I really more interested in serving and loving others than I am in my own comfort and safety? I know we're not supposed to be stupid about how we serve people either. We don't just take any stranger off the street and allow them to sleep on the floor next to our children at night. We're careful within reasonable boundaries and we use our brains to make wise choices as we serve others.

I just wonder if the day ever comes when serving costs me my freedom or my safety, will I be willing to serve and to love anyway?


Monday, July 14, 2008


Over the last two and a half years my family has been trying to live out a missional calling to the neighborhood where we live.

One of the main ways we've accomplished this has been through the children who live on our cul-de-sac in Orange and play with our boys every week.

A few weeks ago at the Mission we were joined on a Thursday evening by five of the children from our neighborhood. They knocked on our door as we were finishing up dinner and preparing to enter worship to announce that they were coming to church with us.

They sang along with us, took communion with us and engaged in our open share time dialog along with everyone else.

The day we moved into this house it was Parker, a street smart kid who is used to taking care of himself and his two younger siblings for much of the time, who first welcomed us to the neighborhood, and himself to our house.

Parker, who is only about 7 or 8 years old, is head strong, funny and smart as a whip. He's got the mind of a 19 year old in the body of a young boy so you never know what he might do or say.

This night, as we were answering the rapid fire questions being thrown at us from the kids, Parker suddenly had a revelation and shouted, "Hey, wait a minute!"

We all paused to hear what he might be preparing to say next. "If Adam and Eve were the only people in the beginning and then they had kids and their kids had kids, then that means the whole planet is one big family."

The adults in the room all smiled and nodded to one another. We were visibly impressed by Parker's revelation.

"You're right," I said to Parker. "If only the leaders of our Nations and the people of our planet could all remember that, our World would be a much better place wouldn't it?"

Parker agreed.


Thursday, July 10, 2008


"...the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - Jesus (John 14:26-27)

If there's anything I need right now, it's the peace of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

I've felt so disjointed the last few weeks, as you may have noticed due to my less-than-frequent blogging here. Life is busy.

I know that everyone in Orange County is "Busy". If you don't believe me, just ask them. They'll tell you with a sigh that they are busy.

But for the last several years my wife and I have been, intentionally, living as simple and as stress free a life as we can manage.

A lot of our friends say we already do too much, but the truth is we normally only do the things we love doing and then we just do a whole lot of it. For instance, we love to serve the poor and to spend time with people so we do as much of that as we can with our kids and our house church. We also love our kids and so we spend as much time doing family stuff as we can. We also love our house church family and so any chance to be with them we take advantage of it and we do that.

Lately, however, we've been invaded by a series of time-stealing activities that have made me long for those days when we could spend more time doing what we love instead of what we have to do.

So, today at work, where I am buried under a never ending mountain of projects, I googled this verse and took a moment to meditate on what it means to lean on the Holy Spirit and to ask Jesus for his peace.

I need that peace right now. I need the joy of the Lord to be my strength.

Granted, these things that are stealing my time for the moment are passing. Soon enough my life will return to normal (in about six more weeks) and then I can stretch out and enjoy the luxury of a quiet moment with my family, or a fun time with my sons, or a warm cup of coffee with a good friend.

Until then, I am daily seeking Jesus for His peace and for the strength that God provides me through His joy.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

And the Lord said, "Wait..."

For about six or seven years now my wife and I have noticed an ongoing pattern in our lives. Everytime we start down a path or attempt something new, God always seems to respond with "Wait".

Sometimes it's as mundane and everyday as waiting in traffic, or unexpected delays at an airport, but many times it's big things like that check we need from the IRS to help us pay our rent, or a new job so we can get out of debt, or an answer to a prayer we've been bringing to Him for months, sometimes years.

It's almost like a conspiracy of sorts.

These days Wendy and I will usually just look at each other and nod silently, or simply repeat the word to each other- "Wait" as if it's the punchline to a joke we've heard many, many, many times before.

Except that this joke is only funnier the longer it goes on. In the beginning we didn't laugh when God said "Wait". Instead we threw fits and cried and rolled around on the floor like spoiled brats. Over time we've learned to roll our eyes, or comfort one another with the simple, yet very familiar word of God, "Wait".

A few weeks ago we attended a day-long seminar on the ministry of the Holy Spirit lead by Mike Pilavachi. It was a great day to be with my old friends from Soul Survivor and to receive practical instruction on how to pray for people and to move in the power of the Holy Spirit...which is something I have to admit I am really terrible at.

My dear wife was the first to bring it to my attention. "Isn't it funny," she asked me as we stood in the kitchen on the day after our Holy Spirit conference. "What?" I said. "You know," she continued, "God's been trying to get us to understand the importance of waiting on Him for years now and yesterday Mike Pilavachi demonstrated to us the secret of moving in the power of the Holy Spirit was all about waiting for Him to move."

I didn't respond at first. It took a moment to sink in all the way, but when it did I had to laugh. "The reason why I'm so bad at moving in the power of the Holy Spirit is because the secret is to wait on Him to move first," I said, stating the obvious point which had eluded me all these years.

It gave me a new understanding of the verse where God says, "Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they will mount up with wings as Eagles."

Suddenly I could see that this verse wasn't just about waiting for months on God's answer to prayer, or for years to discover God's will for my life, but also about waiting five or six minutes in silence for the Holy Spirit to move or to speak to us as we gathered together to pray.

So, I have to admit, I am still not very good at this. In fact, I am still downright horrible at it. But, now that I understand the principle and the importance of waiting on the Holy Spirit, I can honestly say I have a hope of improving in this area.

The secret is to wait.


Monday, July 07, 2008


I'm hard at work writing my third book, "Jesus Called. He Wants His Church Back" and I'm very hopeful that it will be complete and ready by the end of this year.

This book will take a look at the church that Jesus built, the Cyprian heresy, and specifically how God's people need a fresh understanding of what it means to "Be The Church" rather than attend one.

In addition, I plan to include a section of the book with testinonials from pastors, friends and everyday people like you who have discovered the power of "being the Church" and moved towards a more organic and simple ecclesiology. (If you'd like for me to include your testimony feel free to contact me about it at "elysiansky" at "hotmail" dot "com).

The book will also include a section detailing our specific adventures into House Church at The Mission over the last 3 years in a journal/diary section taken from my personal diary and my articles over at www.MissionHouseChurch.com and over at SeedStories.com and Ginkworld.net.

My first two books are still available at the link on the left-nav bar and one of them should be officially re-published before the end of this year also. More on that as soon as I've signed the actual contracts.

Thanks to all of you who have downloaded the free PDF versions of my book, and giant "THANK YOU'S" to those awesome folks who actually purchased a hard copy of your very own. I am very blessed to read your feedback and to hear how God has challenged you as you read these books.

I pray that this new book would also inspire, challenge and bless a new generation of people to understand how God designed His Church to function and what it means to be the temple, the daily sacrifice and the royal priesthood of God.

More later..


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Normal Holy Spirit

Fellow blogger Adam made an interesting, and very honest, comment on my last entry regarding his reaction to the Holy Spirit and I wanted to follow up with a few comments of my own on this subject.

I am, like Adam, a recovering Baptist who was raised to believe that God answers prayer and heals, but most likely won't in my case.

It's a pretty common thing, I believe, for us to doubt testimonies of miraculous healing or Divine Appointments. Our everyday experience often conspires against our inner faith in God's willingness to intervene in daily life.

Part of the problem, I think, is that we've all seen the Holy Spirit used as a tool to coerce people or manipulate them. Usually this manipulation involves sending in a check to an Evangelist with bad 70's hair and an immaculate Armani suite on channel 40.

However, the Holy Spirit is real. He is the third person of the Trinity. He is continuing the ministry of Jesus in the actual world you and I live in every single day. Without the Holy Spirit the Church, you and I, would have no hope of accomplishing anything in the Kingdom of God on our own.

Todd Hunter recently made a statement about the Holy Spirit that helped to center this discussion for me. He said, "In the Early Church, and in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit was not a controversial subject. It just wasn't. Because the Holy Spirit was simply the manifest presence of God empowering them to continue the ongoing message and ministry of Jesus".

Part of our problem is fear. I also think that, speaking for myself, I need to overcome the delusion that God doesn't want to heal or to speak or to move or to empower His Church to utilize their Spiritual Gifts. Of course He does! Why would God want to cripple His own Body? Why would the Holy Spirit desire to bring doubt to God's people? Why would Jesus want to withold the power necessary to encourage His Bride to live and love as He did?

Answer: He wouldn't.

The Holy Spirit is real. He is no more "weird" than Jesus. He is no more inaccessible than our own thoughts and prayers.

In fact, the same Holy of Holies that once hid behind a 300 pound veil is now located somewhere in your chest, nestled just inside the doorway of your heart.

He is near. He is real. He wants to bless and heal and empower us to be the Church we're called to be.