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Catching the Wind

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Last summer, my family and I visited relatives along the coastal waterways of North Carolina. We took in the salty air, watched workers at crab factories and listened to the quiet of an “early-to-bed” little town.

I had the wonderful opportunity of helping my wife’s grandfather remove the sails from his little boat. As we worked, I was instructed on sailing terms and how sails were properly tied. Also, I heard many stories of life in this small coastal town. Those that particularly stood out were about yearly sailboat races, how to handle a boat in storms and about always catching the right wind to speed a craft along the inland waterways.

Catching the right wind struck a chord with me, though I’ve never dared to venture out on a sailboat. My mind drifted immediately to a verse in the Bible: “‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit’” (John 3:8).

Our knowledge of wind may help us to better understand what Scripture is saying about the Holy Spirit. We cannot physically see the Holy Spirit, yet we can see the results of His presence. We can feel that He is present much like we can feel when the wind is blowing. The Holy Spirit is the calming, gentle breeze amidst the storm, when peace is what we need most. He is the mighty gale that tears away dead leaves and dying branches from trees, so that new life may grow. He is the forceful and faithful wind that pushes sailing vessels (mankind) from one destination to another.

It is not enough for us as to simply put up our sails and hope to catch the Spirit. We must first be sure that we have put our vessel in the mighty waters of God’s loving grace by believing that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. After that we must be sure to ready our sails, well-made and secured tightly to the mast. We do this by being an earnest student of Scripture. We must then hoist our sails and align them to “catch the Wind.” We must be people who are humble, submissive and passionate about prayer to God.

It is our desire to be focused on knowing and worshiping God, so that our sails may be filled by the Spirit, just as the disciples had been on Pentecost. The second chapter of Acts relates the event in detail. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (vv. 1–4).

On that day, 3,000 people came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Scripture tells us that “the Lord added to their number daily” (v. 47). Praise God that the gift of the Holy Spirit is not a one-time limited offer. His Spirit is a gift to enable us to serve Him to our fullest capability. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and our provider of peace. He enables us to worship God in truth and to be light in a dark world. The Holy Spirit was God’s driving wind that caused the disciples’ hearts and minds to burn with passion for those who had not heard of Jesus Christ, the only path to reconciliation with God.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus:

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then, we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up of itself in love, as each part does its work (Eph. 4:11–16).

As we discover and utilize the gifts that God has given us, and as we better embrace the diversity of God’s creations (various skills, nationalities, life circumstances), we begin functioning properly as the Church of Christ. Bible study, prayer, fellowship, accountability, encouragement and humility are stepping stones to bring us to a unity of faith and knowledge of Christ. The Holy Spirit is here! We have set our sails to “catch the wind.”

The Holy Spirit is the driving force behind the sailing vessel we know as the C&MA because of the evidence of His presence. We recognize the Holy Spirit’s presence in the world by the fingerprints He leaves behind, the fruit that He bears. The Bible tells us how to recognize the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” (Gal. 5:22–26).

My wife’s grandfather told me that when sailing even a small vessel, you are always correcting your course. The sails have to be adjusted continually to be certain that you are still catching the right wind. So let us in unity be fervent in prayer and in the study of Scripture so that we may be sure that we are still “catching the Wind!”

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