This is probably not the wisest thing to admit as a Bible study leader, and it just might make you think I’m the most unholy person ever, but here goes… When I was little I envisioned God the Father as a big, strong, grandfatherly figure with long, white, curly hair, a fluffy beard, and a smile on His face. I saw Jesus as the classic carpenter — muscular, dusty, content in His workshop, and manly, with dark, long, wavy hair, and brown, mischievous, happy eyes.
But, the Holy Spirit? I wondered what is He like. A puff of smoke? A ghost? The wind howling in the trees? The storm over the ocean? I didn’t know how to picture Him. The thought the Holy Spirit was just kind of… creepy. Just strange and a little spooky-scary. Like “you’d better behave, little girl, or the Holy Ghost is gonna getcha!” I know that’s awful, but please tell me you know what I mean.
That said, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this week!
We’re in session five, “Holy Spirit.”
As Christians, we get this surprising gift — God Himself who comes to live in us! The Holy Spirit is our life-line. He’s the connection between an unreachable God and sin-soaked us. He is the weight of our prayers, the breath in our lungs, and the power in our Christian walk and ministry. Without Him, we are lost, without God, dry as bones, and lacking in the strength we need. With Him, we are laden with the riches of Yahweh, full of the Lord Himself, brought to life to the fullness of the fullness, and empowered and emboldened to do the work He has set out for us to do! Are you ready?
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. — John 14:12
Here’s what’s happening this final week of our study together:
- Watch the video for Week 5 – either on DVD or here on FaithGateway.
- If you’re meeting with a small group or in a church setting with others, go through the discussion questions for Chapter 5 in your Play With Fire Study Guide (pages 154-161).
- For your personal study this week, go through the between-sessions personal study in the Play With Fire Study Guide (pages 162-187). This is the final session, friends! Don’t worry if you’ve fallen behind because next week is catch-up week.
- Recommended (but optional) reading for this week: Read the final chapters of Play With Fire – the book, not study guide.
- Join us Thursday November 10th (optional) for a live chat to discuss this final week’s study with our awesome community of believers at 2 pm EST and 9 pm EST.
And finally, I encourage you to invite the Holy Spirit’s presence into your life. Maybe you’re already in tune with Him, which is wonderful — invite Him into more of your life. Maybe this is an entirely new concept, which is totally ok — be brave and open to door to the Holy Spirit and just see what happens!
The Fire Within
But the Advocate, 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. — John 14:26
It turns out that the Holy Spirit is a gift, not something to fear. Remember when He fell at Pentecost in Acts 2?
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. — Acts 2:1-4
If you have yet to experience the falling of the Holy Spirit that might sound scary. That’s ok. It took experiencing the sweet presence and the might of the Holy Spirit for me to begin to understand that although He is incredibly powerful and mysterious, we don’t need to be afraid of Him. In fact, we need Him because He’s the very Person of God who comes to dwell within us! We need His wisdom, guidance, correction, comfort, and His knowledge of things that are beyond our capacity to know and His power over things that are beyond our capacity to do.
When we welcome Him into our lives, we begin to recognize His presence as we pray, feel His weighty glory in worship, and discover Him as our personal Counselor, Teacher, and Friend. When we begin to see Him change people’s lives from the inside out — from tortured to healed and joyful, from guilt-laden to forgiven and free, from broken to mended and coming alongside others in empathy — we understand why Jesus called Him a Helper (John 14:16).
For me, it wasn’t until I was utterly broken that I understood how much I need Him every moment and need to hear His voice.
The best way to hear the Lord is through the Word of God. — Bianca
Do you know the Holy Spirit? Have you felt His presence? Do you want to be closer to Him? I do. I want more of Him.
You see, now that I’ve known Him for a while, I can’t help but love Him. Isn’t that true for you, too?
He gives us wisdom — Sometimes we can be in the most confusing, frustrating, no-win situation and when we bring it to the Lord, the Holy Spirit drops a solution into our minds that is absolutely clear. It’s an answer that only He could possibly know and in His goodness, He fills us in on how He’s going to solve the problem.
He is our Comforter — No person in the world can soothe our brokenness like the Lord. One time when I was profoundly shaken and feeling the heat of deep loneliness, the Comforter said so clearly, “Come, sit beside Me.” Even now that memory brings tears because it was so dear, so gentle, so kind.
He gives us words of knowledge — Another time when my daughter was about three, she lost her favorite bear, Rainbow. We searched the entire house, the car, the garage, everywhere, but Rainbow was gone. Finally, as a last resort (I know. I know.), we prayed. Within a few minutes, my daughter said, “I know where he is! He’s behind the guest bed at Poppy and Nana’s house! God told me!” And, He had!
He heals us — My grandmother was dying of stomach cancer. She’d done all the treatments and surgeries and finally decided that, for her, the treatment was too much. So, without a word to our family about that decision, she asked us all to pray for her at a family party. And, in the coming months we would learn that the Lord had healed her. She lived another 18 years cancer free because the Holy Spirit fell on her and completely healed her body from every shred of cancer!
And that’s just the beginning of who the Holy Spirit is to us!
My Promised Land… is the presence and fullness of God. — Bianca
Friends, we can’t miss the Holy Spirit. We can’t be satisfied with God in two Persons. We need the third Person of the Trinity because He is God Himself who came to dwell within us! God! Within!
What a gift!
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine… — Ephesians 3:20
The Holy Spirit knows us, He loves us, He sees us, He helps us. The Spirit refines us, He transforms us, He renames us, He fills us with His power. The Holy Spirit encourages us, exhorts us, convicts us, and stays with us in the fires of life. I need Him. You need Him. We need Him!
Don’t you want more of Him? Let’s ask for more!
Prayer for the Week
Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Help us to be brave and allow You to have full access to our hearts, lives, minds, and choices. Help us to know You. Help us to hear You. Help us to follow You. Help us to be and do what You are guiding us to be and do. We need Your wisdom, Your counsel, Your friendship, Your comfort, Your presence, Your abiding within us. We welcome You and we love You. Amen.
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Come share with us about the impact of the Holy Spirit in your life! We want to hear how He is stoking His fire in you!
Play with Fire
Bianca Juarez Olthoff
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Play with Fire Study Guide
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Play with Fire: A DVD Study
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Play with Fire Study Guide with DVD
Bianca Juarez Olthoff
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