Jeremy Linneman is one of the best story tellers that I know. Jeremy serves as Pastor of Community Life at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY. And he recently preached a sermon entitled "Spirit-Filled Parenting." Over the next few weeks, I'm posting portions of that sermon here. Don't miss out on each section of this important message. In this second installment Jeremy tells the story of his spiritual upbringing and teaches us about how the Holy Spirit fills us for the mundane moments of life.
The Spirit-Filled Life on Mondays
At Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, we’ve spent the past few months teaching through the great book of Ephesians. In chapter five, Paul writes, “Do not be foolish… Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (5:17-18). So what does it look like to be filled with the Spirit?
Growing up, my family was part of a large, well-known church in Kansas City, MO—one of the leading charismatic mega churches of the 80’s and 90’s. An offshoot of the so-called “Kansas City Prophets,” these folks were the Midwest Campus of the 1960’s Jesus Movement.
It really was a great place to grow up: there was an incredible emphasis on worship and prayer for which I’m still deeply thankful. But there were also some… oddities. Often, worship songs would stretch out for 40+ minutes because the Spirit was a-blowin’. But because the next service had to start soon, they’d do a 3-minute sermon. (I’m not sure if the worship guy and preacher got along). Every message was about the end times and the return of Christ to get people really energetic and committed.
In fact, I remember one Easter—the church would do a lot of dramas, especially on big Sundays—a man in a long white robe and Birkenstocks came and sat next to me. He had long brown hair, a well-groomed beard, and dazzling blue eyes, and he just nodded at me as he took the empty chair. Jesus Christ!, I thought to myself. I leaned over to my little sister, “Do you see him too?”
You see, everything was directed at the emotional life. There was this subtle message: “The Spiritual life is about the Sunday experience.” I’m all for the Sunday experience and true, expressive worship of God with our emotions. But here’s the point I want to make: If we’re completely filled with the Holy Spirit, he will transform every aspect of our life, especially the most routine and mundane moments.
Have you ever noticed what Paul teaches on after exhorting the Ephesians to “be filled with the Spirit”? The apostle goes on for two chapters—not on expressive worship and prayer—on church membership, marriage, parenting and work (5:19-6:9). It’s a not-so-subtle way of reminding Christians for all ages that the test of your Christian life doesn’t come on Sunday, it comes on Monday—in the routine and mundane moments of life.
For Paul, a religion has no power on Sunday if it has no power on Monday. And Christian doctrine does us no good if it leaves parenting unaffected.
If you're enjoying Jeremy's essay, leave him a comment below, and check out his personal website, The Fidelity Essays, where he writes on leadership, spiritual formation, and sports.