“The Spirit is here. Pay attention.”

23 10 2010

BY ERICA BLEVINS NYE, Young Adult Ministries

I sat in my living room, reading and working on my laptop. I work from my home, supporting Young Adult Ministries for the worldwide church. This particular afternoon, a fire burned in the fireplace. It had burned steadily for hours, and I ran out of wood.

I needed to go outside to bring in more. The prospect didn’t excite me. It had rained in Detroit for days, leaving the wood soaked and heavy.

I carried in the damp logs and tossed a couple into the fireplace. It would take a while for them to dry out, but I figured they eventually would catch fire. I settled back to work. The small fire quietly flickered.

I had continued jotting e-mails for about two minutes when suddenly I heard: Whoosh!

I looked up and saw a wet log burst into huge flames. What caused such a sudden burst of fire, the largest flames I saw all afternoon?

I had a sense. “The Spirit is here.” It was a strange reminder, a sign.

“The Spirit is here now, strongly. The work you are doing is blessed. Pay attention.”

I looked down at the work I had been doing. It sure didn’t seem exciting: preparing for meetings, reading. I felt encouraged, though, for the reminder of the value of my ministry. It sometimes feels like I’m not doing much of importance or urgency. At home alone, I rely on my own motivation.

I can’t connect regularly with my colleagues for an inspiration fix. This all-at-once awareness of the Spirit brought renewed energy! I continued my tasks, feeling blessed and reassured.

As I worked for a few more minutes, an e-mail popped up on my laptop. It was from President Steve Veazey. “I have an idea,” he wrote. “A possibility.” He suggested we host an event for young adults to discuss the “future chapters of the church” with church leaders. We would explore where Community of Christ is headed and to what we are called.

In his address to the church April 5, 2009, President Veazey announced he and other church leaders would connect with young adults around the globe. They would listen to their needs and sense of calling. These gatherings are called Vision Project.

By January 2011, members of the First Presidency will have met more than 30 groups of young adults. Participants have expressed respect for Community of Christ’s culture and Enduring Principles. They are eager to guide their congregations beyond their walls and into the world, but they often struggle to find places to lead.

They envision worship that draws on the church’s gifts to speak to the changing needs of new generations. Church leadership has heard them. It is working with young adults to consider how the church will respond. Vision Project began with a simple idea, and it has grown to empower the restless energy of a generation.

“The Spirit is here.

“Pay attention.”



3 responses

27 10 2010
Leigh Anne

There are many ways to respond to the Spirit of God. One of the most profound is a simple but multi-layered response given by many of the spiritual servants in the scriptures. “Hineini” “Here I am”. Much more than “Here” or “Present” and definitely not a “Just a second God”, it expresses a deep readiness to stand before (and with) the Lord.

So, my question would be, after we here the “Pay Attention”, what is our response? Are we in a state of deep readiness for whatever the Lord calls us to do, or are we wanting to finish the game, worry about the outcome first, or see what is in it for us before we respond?

23 10 2010
Diane McNeil

I can relate to the experience Erica has shared. I too have observed the Holy Spirit igniting the lives of young adults who desire to live out their discipleship in a meaningful and creative way. These visionary saints inspire me to be better in listening to the voice of God spoken when least expected and easily missed! Thank you, Erica, for calling us to pay attention to the presence of God with us and in us.

23 10 2010
Gary McDonald

I agree with you that the Holy Spirit is here and working. I believe He is invested heavily in His creation and is actively working to reconcile His entire creation unto Himself. From time to time we glimpse evidences of His work. In my book “God’s Light is Near” I write about developing our spirituality within the context of Christianity and what it means to be spiritual as a disciple of Christ. The entire subject is fascinating.

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