Pastor's Blog

Holy Week Devotion - Pastor Rex Howe

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Because He Lives, Jesus Sent the Holy Spirit.

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged (John 16:7–11). 

The context leading up to this passage speaks of the anticipated persecution that his disciples would face following his departure. Three times in the above passage, Jesus referenced his departure. Each time, Jesus emphasized the advantage of his departure — the coming of the Helper, the Holy Spirit. The word advantage refers to what is helpful, beneficial, profitable, useful, or better. The term Helper (Greek paraklete, cf. Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26) described an advocate or better yet an intercessor, and so we learn what kind of Helper Jesus promised to send—an indwelling Intercessor for his disciples as they faced persecution. Think about it this way, the same Prayer Warrior Helper who accompanied Jesus on his way to the cross has been sent by the resurrected Christ to dwell in the believer. Pending persecution prompted the promise of the Paraklete.

After Jesus explained the benefit of the coming Intercessor, he revealed another function of the Holy Spirit’s anticipated advent—convicting the world. Convict meant to “bring a person to the point of recognizing wrongdoing.” Some related meanings included scrutinize, examine carefully, or “express strong disapproval of someone’s action.” Jesus taught that the Spirit would convict the world in three areas: (1) concerning the sin of unbelief in Christ, (2) concerning the righteousness of Christ, and (3) concerning the judgment of the evil one by the work of Christ. The Spirit testifies that Jesus has disarmed and defeated the ruler of this world — “that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). The verb judged expressed a heavenly perspective. The Spirit convicts the world that the work of Christ has brought knowledge of the devil’s future doom into the present. The world system that he has built has been sentenced.

Therefore, the reason that Jesus anticipated persecution for his disciples comes into clear view. The local church is the present base of operations from which the Holy Spirit continues and advances this ministry of conviction in the world. What does this mean? Well, the Spirit must scrutinize and expose the world, but it doesn’t always welcome such a ministry, as even our Lord himself experienced. The Spirit has been commissioned with conviction concerning Christ, and the church is his vessel through which he makes his appeal to the world to be reconciled to God through Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5). 

Take heart. The grace of God is at work through the Spirit’s work of conviction. This conviction has the power to direct a sinner out of the world and onto the path toward faith and repentance. Remember, it is to our advantage that Christ has ascended and that the Spirit has descended. For as we faithfully yield to the Spirit’s ministry of conviction in the world, we also experience his help, his intercession. While Christ too is an intercessor for us to the Father (1 Jn. 2:1), the Holy Spirit indwells, groans along with us in our weaknesses, and aims in all seasons and difficulties to conform us to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:26–29). As you think of the resurrection of Christ this week, remember and give thanks that “Because He Lives,” Jesus sent the Spirit to help us and to convict the world through us.

Other Scriptures about the Sending of the Holy Spirit: Luke 24:45–49; John 14:25–31; 15:26–27; 16:7–15; Acts 1:5–8; 2:29–35; 1 Corinthians 2:9–13; 2 Corinthians 3; Ephesians 1:13–14; 1 John 2:18–27

Posted by Rex Howe

Share the Gospel in 25 Words or Less

I sense a call from the Lord this year to be more intentional about sharing my faith in the gospel of Jesus. Around the office, we say our word for this new year is “Clarity.” This extends to the gospel and sharing our faith too. I’d like to include all of you with me in a fun challenge this year.  

I got the idea from a Moody Radio email (they always have good ideas!), maybe you received it too. Here’s the link:

And here’s a summary of the challenge:

  1. Write a gospel presentation in 25 words or less.

  2. Write how you put your faith in the gospel in 25 words or less.

  3. Share the gospel this year with 25 people or less! 

Now, some of you may get to knock out 25 people all at once - if you have a speaking/teaching platform of some kind, if you get to offer a word or eulogy at a funeral, if you get to speak before praying at a family or work function, etc. Other times, it may look like a one-on-one opportunity with a friend or co-worker who is hurting. The Bible is so clear that sin is our biggest problem for which God has provided the remedy in Jesus Christ.

We don’t need a church program to evangelize. As Paul told Timothy, “Do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5). Let’s take up an evangelistic challenge in 2020 and see what God’s Spirit does!

Posted by Rex Howe

Ministry Team Description

We Are Believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Belief in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection for salvation, authenticated by baptism, is required to be a member of the worship ministry team of West Lisbon Church.

We Are Committed to Serving the Worshipping Community at West Lisbon Church.

All members of the WLC Worship Team must be active in discipleship (e.g., active in learning through Sunday School, a Community Group, or Men’s or Women’s Ministries, and active in the Sunday Worship Service). All team members should already be members or on a clear trajectory toward local church membership at WLC. Membership says “I’m committed to believing, belonging, and serving with you.” Those who lead in worship should be committed to the local church. The Worship Team Coordinator, who works closely with the Pastor, to plan worship each week must be a member of West Lisbon.

We Are Servants Not Professionals.

The talents and skills of the members of the worship ministry team will vary. The motivation for developing talents and gifts should not be professionalism, but service to the body and to God.

We Are Servants Not Performers.

Our goal is not entertainment. Our goal is worship of the true and living God. This distinction allows us to pursue excellence humbly before God and in the interest of the community.

We Are Servants of All Ages.

Our team should reflect our congregation. Our congregation is made up of worshippers of all ages. With some basic requirements in place, our ministry team should reflect those who worship in the congregation. Children and young people who are motivated to serve in the worship ministry should be willing to submit to the leadership of the worship team. This means being open to development, mentoring, and even redirection when it comes to exercising your gifts and talents in the worship ministry of the church.

We Are Servant-Leaders.

Worship ministry team members lead the church in one of its essential works—the exaltation of God. Team members should be found walking by the Spirit in holiness and not in carnal or sinful living (Gal. 5:13–26). Our style of leadership and interaction with those whom we serve should reflect the servant leadership of our Lord (Mark 10:35–45).

Posted by Rex Howe