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In Step with the Spirit

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I remember walking to my car after and I just knew. I had just finished the first meeting with a room full of strangers who would ultimately become friends. This meeting was an intersection of two stories. Stories that were unfolding from different origins with different circumstances but had now in this moment created a providential meeting to see if these stories were intended to merge. I didn’t know exactly how it would unfold but as I walked to my car that night, I just knew this was different. After more than two years of seeking, praying and discerning the steps that needed to be taken in my life and in my family’s life, that moment felt different than any other up to that point. And yet, it felt very familiar. I knew this feeling. I had experienced it before. Every momentous decision of my adult life had been accompanied by this same feeling. When I first had to face the significant decision of where to go to college, that anxiety and pressure was put to rest by this feeling deep within. When I fell in love and began to weigh the life-changing question of who to marry, this feeling was undeniable. As the chapters of my life have been written to determine when to start a family, where to live and what career to pursue, this feeling has felt as if it was the true author of these stories. So, on that night, walking to my car, that longed for stirring felt all too familiar.

I don’t know how to put those experiences into words. Even writing the word feeling seems incredibly irreverent and insufficient. It was so much more than a hunch or an emotion or an idea. It was the Spirit. Those milestones were not examples of personal exploration but journeys of prayer that were manifestations of this all consuming desire to pursue God’s will. I didn’t want to move unless I knew He said, “move.” God’s voice has never been literally audible to me and yet there are times where it has seemed louder than any noise I’ve ever heard. It has not always been clear, but there have been many moments when it’s been undeniable. I don’t know how to truly articulate what it’s like to sense God’s Spirit stirring within us but it is one of the most compelling, thrilling and terrifying experiences we can have in life. Consequently, I long for it.

The past few weeks we’ve talked together about what it means to stand on the promises of God. We have talked about the confidence His promises evoke within us. The book of Acts leads us directly to the promise of the Spirit and the promise of the Church. I think about the life-changing moments that I’ve referenced above and I’m overwhelmed with gratefulness that we have a God that stirs our hearts toward His. That He nudges and moves and leads us into His will. That reality is truly remarkable. It is His promised gift. It is His Spirit. And yet, His Spirit is more than some fortune-teller and life counselor that is there to tell us what jobs to take and what school to attend. The Spirit awakens us to truth. The Spirit opens our hearts and our minds to brokenness and the need for hope. The Spirit points us to the story of the cross, the miracle of the resurrection and the power of the ascension. The Spirit reveals the saving work of Jesus Christ and orients all of our existence to this work. Those milestone decisions are no longer considered in the light of earthly success and comfort but in shaping our identity in Christ. What step should we take so we can be most satisfied in Him and He be most glorified in us? This is why, we must ask the question … are we truly in step with the Spirit?

Walking to my car that night, I knew there were many more questions to be asked and conversations to be had. But I knew which direction to step. That step was directing me towards UBC. My family's story was intersecting with this church and this church’s story was intersecting with ours. I’m so grateful this first meeting was emblematic not just of my desire to be in step with the Spirit, but a whole congregation who mirrored that desire as well. This is an essential part of what started our story, and it will be essential part of how our story continues. I want you as individuals, as families and as a body of believers to long to be in step with the Spirit. Commit to make that a daily prayer. Ask God to put your life in step with the Spirit. Pray that we would all truly stand on this promised gift. - Jerimiah Smith, Pastor
Posted by Jerimiah Smith with 2 Comments


Julia on 4/1/19 8:14am

We felt it too! We joked (you know) about that first meeting being like a first date. And we knew we were going to have God’s choice for us. Every Sunday’s sermon reminds me of that “knowing.” Now I have experienced that “knowing” again. What a thrill to hear that voice that says “Go!” Even at my age!

Jane Lang on 4/1/19 3:31pm

So glad the Spirit brought us together! A true answer to prayer for me.