Category Archives: Pentecost

Hunger and thirst

Hunger and thirst. That is what comes to mind when I think of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. These basic needs are present in every human being in order that we may stay alive.

As a baby, I had no conscious awareness of this. I made a noise, I cried because my body craved to be fed. My mother knew what I needed and she fed me. As I grew, I was given more solid food and after a while I even figured out that I could put things in my mouth myself. Some things tasted bad, could even be harmful, but bit by bit I discovered what was good and tasty. (As all children, I also had to eat some things because they were healthy, not because I liked them.)

I believe that God also has given us a hunger and thirst for a relationship with him. I don’t remember that I was aware of this as a young child. However, I am sure that I was prepared to have a conscious spiritual hunger by the fact that my parents fed me simple, spiritual experiences.

When I made a personal choice to receive Jesus, it was also the start of reflecting on what I saw and experienced among other believers. There were many who had a living relationship with God. To use the analogy, it was as if, through their personality and ministry, they were serving lovely, home-cooked food and drinks. There were also those who seemed to share cold leftovers.

This experience of constant learning has continued all my life. My thirst for Living Water and my hunger for the Bread of Life in Jesus have been stimulated by people I meet, by attending services of different church traditions and by reading the Bible and other books.

In my mid-teens I had a classmate who radiated joy in Jesus. She sent me a postcard with an illustration and the words of Jesus: “Whoever believes in me, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38). I got thirsty!

In the mid ’70s, many young people in The Salvation Army got a new experience of God’s love through the Holy Spirit. I began to read Catherine Booth’s sermons and found that the young Salvation Army was filled with this life and power. The words of Jesus in Luke 11:13 encouraged me: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” I asked!

When I was in my third year as an officer, I thought I had what I needed from the Holy Spirit. Through the ministry of an evangelist, God was doing special things with people in some corps. Many were changed and renewed while others were afraid. I was challenged to trust and go deeper with God – not just as a personal experience but in order to be equipped to serve with God.

However, it has not stopped there. Like the food that feeds my body, I need both daily intakes of ‘Life to the full’* in Jesus as well as the special Spirit-filled feasts of conferences and events.

Hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit. Thank God, I still have it. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Jesus, in Matthew 5:6).

*John 10:10

This text has been published in the Heilsarmee Magazin #5 2018

Hurray! Pentecost / Hurra! Pfingsten

What is Pentecost about? “People were confused because they understood what was said, not because they heard different languages.” (Egil Svartdahl) (Acts 2:1-21)

I will celebrate Pentecost with the people in Göppingen Corps. The message will be about the Holy Spirit helping us to understand… the Bible, the times we live in and our own personal calling. As Christians, we can be more confused when we understand what the Spirit says than when we live in ignorance.

This confusion can make us hungry for being filled with the Spirit of God or it can be an excuse for keeping our distance from God. What is your choice in the confusion about the work of the Spirit? Do you start making jokes about what’s going on in order to keep the Holy Spirit at a distance, as the people in Jerusalem did? Or does it awaken in you a longing for a presence and a power in your life that really makes you feel alive!

For me, there is no doubt about what I choose over and over again. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” says Jesus. That is not a longing for activity but to be filled with the Spirit of God.

Come Holy Spirit!

Pfingstrose / The name for peony in German is ‘Pentecost Rose’

Worum geht es eigentlich an Pfingsten? „Menschen waren verwirrt weil sie tatsächlich verstanden, was gesagt wurde, nicht weil sie verschiedene Sprachen hörten.“ (Egil Svartdahl) (Apg 2,1-21 )

Ich werde Pfingsten mit den Menschen im Korps Göppingen feiern. In der Botschaft wird es um das Thema gehen, wie der Heilige Geist uns helfen kann beim Verständnis von… der Bibel, den Zeiten, in denen wir leben, und meiner persönlichen Berufung. Als Christen können wir durch das Verstehen dessen, was der Heilige Geist sagt, verwirrter sein, als wenn wir in Ignoranz leben.

Diese Verwirrung kann uns hungrig machen nach einem vom Geist Gottes erfüllten Leben oder es kann eine Ausrede sein, um uns von Gott entfernt zu halten. Was ist deine Entscheidung in der Verwirrung um die Arbeit des Geistes? Machst du, wie die Menschen in Jerusalem, Witze über das, was passiert, damit der Heilige Geist Abstand hält? Oder erweckt sie ein Verlangen nach einer Gegenwart und einer Kraft in deinem Leben, die dir das Gefühl gibt, wirklich lebendig zu sein!

Für mich gibt es keinen Zweifel, was ich immer und immer wieder wähle. „Gesegnet sind die, die es nach Gerechtigkeit hungert und dürstet“ sagt Jesus. Das ist kein Verlangen nach Aktivität sondern nach einer Erfüllung mit dem Geist Gottes.

Komm Heiliger Geist!