One in Spirit
“One Spirit” was the emphasis of Friday night’s worship service, the second segment of the General Assembly theme “One Body, One Spirit, One Hope, One Lord, One Faith.” The service began with a greeting and invocation by General Superintendent J. K. Warrick before Global Nazarene Youth International President Gary Hartke welcomed the gathering and NYI delegates from sites around the world via live video. Hartke spoke of NYI’s establishment (formerly Nazarene Young Peoples Society) in 1923.
A medley of worship songs emphasizing the work of the Holy Spirit preceded a welcome by Dan Copp, International Board of Education commissioner. Copp noted that more than 50,000 Nazarene students are enrolled throughout the world today.
General Superintendent David W. Graves preached from Joel 2 and Acts 2, highlighting the promise of God to “pour out His Spirit on all people.” Because of God’s faithfulness, Graves reminded, we can “hold unswervingly to the promises we profess, because He who promises is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). God’s promise to “pour out His Spirit” can be trusted because of God’s faithfulness.
Graves further emphasized that God never pours out His Spirit simply for the purpose of entertaining. Instead, God pours out His Spirit to empower us to “take the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.”
“God wants to pour out His Spirit again today, just as He did at Pentecost,” Graves said.
The gift of God’s Spirit is not limited to a certain select few. Instead, “all who call upon the name of the Lord” can trust the promise of God to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In the words of Graves, “God poured, pours, and will continue to pour out His Spirit.” Also, “the Holy Spirit does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, or social class,” as Joel 2 reminds. In fact, according to Graves, “God’s Spirit is for all of us!”’
Graves reminded the congregation that youth are making a difference in the world and are needed by the Church to help carry on the mission of Christ. He shared an example of a group of Christian teenagers who have recently formed a Nazarene church in Hong Kong. The Church also needs active adults who will “dream dreams.” Using the example of Phineas Bresee being used of God to start the Church of the Nazarene at age 56, Graves recognized the need for everyone to be filled with the Spirit – the Spirit whom God promises to “pour out on all people,” not only to save us, but also to fill us.