I’m happy to announce that my new book, Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life (Zondervan) is now available for purchase. You can get it at Amazon or at Christian bookstores. What follows is the Foreword written by Matt Chandler, lead pastor at the Village Church, Flower Mound, Texas, and President of the Acts 29 network. Continue reading . . .
I’m happy to announce that my new book, Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life (Zondervan) is now available for purchase. You can get it at Amazon or at Christian bookstores. What follows is the Foreword written by Matt Chandler, lead pastor at the Village Church, Flower Mound, Texas, and President of the Acts 29 network.
It is not an exaggeration to say I have been waiting for this book for close to 15 years.
I came to faith in a church that would preach extended sermons on why the gift of tongues didn’t exist and the dangers of the charismatic movement. It wasn’t hard to believe as I could see the abuses even as an 18 year old. But God in his mercy wanted to show me some things that would stand in sharp contrast to the teaching I was receiving at my home church.
The first mercy was the group of Christian friends that absorbed me into their group upon my conversion. They were an eclectic, uncool group of very serious Church of Christ kids and about 4-5 Assembly of God guys. I was Baptist. You can imagine the robust dialogue that took place as we worked through what we were learning at our respective churches. Topics ranged from music in services to tongues as an evidence of salvation and dozens of things in between. It was in this space that I developed a deep love for the scriptures and began to see why a humble approach to understand them and be gracious to others in the process was pleasing to God. I strongly disagreed with both my CoC friends as well as my AoG friends and yet they deeply loved Jesus and were a refuge for me as an infant in Christ. They taught me in their love for the bible and love for me that in both denominations there were serious things they emphasized that my tradition didn’t and vice versa.
The second mercy was some of the gifting the Spirit of God gave me that seemed to have no place within the church I was attending. I am primarily a preacher/teacher but that’s not all. I have a strong gift of evangelism and from time to time have had what Sam will define as “Prophetic Words” for people. God used these in powerful ways that led to people becoming Christians, repenting of secret sin and the reconciliation of broken relationships.
That gifting that seems to come and go (I can preach and teach every week but the prophetic gifting can seem to vanish for months at a time) left me feeling like a theological orphan. I embrace a reformed view of soteriology, am an unapologetic Complementarian and hold a high view of the scriptures as the inerrant Word of God and here I was on the outside of the majority of this camp as a continuationist. In time God would open another group of deep friendship that would help me, push me and get in the robust dialogue necessary to grow in a healthy understanding of the scriptures.
When I became the pastor of The Village Church (a Willow Creek model Baptist church) it seemed impossible to lead us into a practice of the gifts as we see them in the Scriptures. I could navigate myself, but how do I practically lead us into a healthy practice. The reason I say I have been waiting for this book you’re holding for 15 years is that this is the help I’ve been waiting for. Sam writes with the type of biblical conviction and practical know-how that I’ve come to love him for. If you believe there is more to walk in as a covenant community of faith but aren’t sure where to start in a way that is Christ honoring and loving to the people you have been called to serve, this book will serve you well.
Lead Pastor-The Village Church
President- Acts 29 Church Planting Network