Friday, May 23, 2014

Hidden in Plain Sight

"Don't take this the wrong way, but... What are you doing?"

I have a new acoustic guitar. I just picked it up a couple of weeks ago. When I accepted my new role as worship leader/director at The Well, I suddenly saw my well-traveled and much-used old guitar with new eyes.
Especially the worn-down frets that made those special tinny buzzing sounds when played with enthusiasm.

A new instrument was clearly needed. And having been impressed with the quality of guitars that my son Caleb has been using in recent years as he's re-invented himself from prog-rock wizard into a folk monster, I ended up getting a Seagull S6. For about ten days, I was mostly focused on enjoying the wonderful sounds of the new guitar.

And then, it was my first Sunday of leading worship at The Well. And just before beginning the pre-service rehearsal with the rest of the band, I pulled out my tuner and plugged my Seagull into it.

That's what prompted my son's bemused question: "Don't take this the wrong way, but..."

I thought he was joking. What was I doing? Clearly, I was tuning my guitar. It isn't rocket science.

Caleb reached over my shoulder and pointed at the Q1 electronics on my new Seagull. "You've got a tuner built right into your guitar, Dad. I thought you knew." (In my defence, the last time I purchased an acoustic guitar was in 1995. Built-in tuners? Love it -- but whodathunkit?)
Sometimes, I think the Holy Spirit is a lot like the tuner in my new guitar.
Every one of us has this incredible Resource within us -- the actual Spirit of Jesus. Jesus promised to send Him (John 14:16-18, 26, 16:7-15), and His last recorded words prior to His Ascension was to command His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit was poured out (Acts 1:4-8). The coming of the Holy Spirit was a big deal to Jesus.

And of course, there are spiritual gifts given by the Spirit, so that the church can be encouraged and built up in the faith (1 Corinthians 12-14, Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:11-16). And some incredibly encouraging and inspirational teaching on Life in the Spirit (Romans 8, Galatians 5:13-26).

And dozens of others passages about the Spirit and His work (say, perhaps, the entire book of Acts). But here's the rub:

We tend to forget that the Spirit is with us 24/7. And that we don't have to wait until the next time we can attend a meeting, hear an 'anointed' speaker, or be on the receiving end of prayer ministry in order to see Him active in our lives.
DISCLAIMER: I fully believe that ministry is meant to take place in community. We need each other; Lone Ranger Christians are a myth. Spiritual gifts are given by the Spirit to bless others, not ourselves. We can't function in a vacuum. That's not how God has designed us.
But at the same time, we can get so accustomed to seeing the Spirit move during larger gatherings (or even home groups), that we functionally forget His 24/7 presence within us. Not "completely forget". Just "functionally" -- meaning going through our day blissfully unaware, until something gets in our face that jolts us back to reality.

I'm thrilled with the built-in tuner in my new guitar. It's a radical and liberating addition to my guitar playing and worship leading. I'm really glad my son -- even while enjoying a chuckle at the old man's expense -- took the time to point out what was hidden in plain sight.

As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit of Jesus indwelling us. With us, 24/7/365. An incredible Source and Resource. Ideally, not hidden in plain sight.


  1. hey bro love your writing just saying man have a great day man
    thanks so much

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Asher. You rock!