Sabbath School

The Gifts of the Spirit

What’s the difference between a gift and a present?

This is the question that I’ve been asking myself, for the past several years, every time my birthday or the holidays roll around. It is the question that exasperates my loved ones as they try to give me gifts.

Here’s my own personal definition: presents are something that I have specifically requested. I would like this shirt at Macy’s. I would like that item on Amazon. When the designated gift-giving day rolls around, I get to enjoy the present that I chose.

The Most Powerful Demonstration of the Spirit

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

Living a Holy Life

May God Himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.

—1 Thessalonians 5:23, The Message

I have a confession to make: I get itchy when I hear the word "holiness."

I seem to feel fine when I hear about the holiness of God, the Holy Spirit, that our God is a holy God, but when it comes to ascribing holiness to people, then I get itchy.

God Pours the Spirit Without Measure

It has become common usage to speak of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but how to understand it does not enjoy a consensus.

The Personality of the Holy Spirit

The Sabbath School lesson for this week takes up the question of the Personality of the Holy Spirit, exploring the long-time discussion or debate about the nature of the Holy Spirit. Over time, people have had various ideas on this subject. Some have claimed the Holy Spirit to be an emanation from God, that it is an unseen force of some kind, while other have attributed personhood to the Spirit. This question has been long debated partly because of the language used to describe the Trinity.  One particular difficulty is the use of the word “Person,” or “three Persons” of the Godhead.

The Divinity of the Holy Spirit

What I am about to explain is far from an easy task. I have to admit my human limitations in trying to explain the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Even Ellen White admits, “The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them, but the acceptance of these views will not strengthen the church.

The Holy Spirit: Working Behind the Scenes

The lesson this week takes us into some very interesting territory. It leads us to think about an aspect of the Holy Spirit that is very intriguing, namely that the Holy Spirit, for reasons not fully understood by us, works behind the scenes more than in the limelight. The official lesson even uses the word, “elusive.” If we ascribe personhood, or personality, to the Spirit, we could very quickly come to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is somewhat introverted, perhaps.

Selective Attention

Perhaps you have seen the Youtube video of a now famous 1999 experiment by two cognitive scientists, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, on selective attention.  In the film, six people stand in a room, some of them dressed in white and some of them dressed in black. Viewers are instructed to watch the group throw basketballs to one another and to count only the passes made by the players dressed in white.

Thinking It Over: Job and God’s Dereliction of Duty

Three well-heeled theologians walked into a bar to meet with a peer who had fallen on hard times and was facing a harsh legal sentence. It was the bar of justice, and they came as friends of the court. Each had prepared a brief designed to convince their peer that his adversary was in the right and that he needed to plead guilty and make a deal. They argued that he could not successfully resist the arguments of the prosecution. His adversary had power, public opinion, and tradition on his side.  The outcome was a given.

The Peculiar Character of Seventh-day Adventists

“Blameless and upright.” According to scripture (Job 1:8), Job was known as a person of good moral character. Of course, one can always argue about “the good,” character, and associated virtues. Norms of morality ebb and flow through the years, so the character of Job and/or his friends may be somewhat foreign to us. Nonetheless, in three stages, roughly chronological, let us explore character through the story of Job.

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