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April 17, 2009

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John Desaulniers, Jr.

I think we may not rely on the Spirit's work - or lack - as we ought. While I agree wholeheartedly that there's no problem with the Spirit's convicting work, I don't know that Scripture presents that ministry as an ongoing one when it comes to the unconverted. Paul and his companions were PREVENTED by the Spirit for preaching in Galatia, yet it's obvious that at some point the Spirit brought conviction and salvation to that area of Asia Minor, since we have Paul's letter to them.

Henry Blackaby, in his work, Experiencing God, notes that the Bible teaches that no one inherently seeks after God (Romans 3) and that no one comes to the Father unless drawn by the Spirit. He argues that our priority needs to be our personal relationship with Christ, so that we are always attune to His leading. Then, if we face an apathetic or callous response, we can rest in the reality that at least at this time, the Holy Spirit is not drawing that person. Just as Paul (while Saul) was at first antagonistic to the Gospel and in hearty agreement with Stephen's death, only to be converted later, so, too, the one who has no interest in spiritual things now may be softened by the Holy Spirit later.

Gary Reynolds

Gary, thank you for getting us to reflect on the issue of little or no response.

I would add two thoughts:

1. Signs & markers. What do we know about the signals/signs of response in the setting/context? Do we know how to read response in that setting? We need to be sure that we read the right signs. There may be generational & cultural blockers within ourselves that obscure signs of response.

2. Proclamation elements and carriers. Are there non-propositional elements to our proclamation? Is there a rich non-verbal carrier for the proclamation, something that authenticates or models the import of the words?

Another Gary (Gary Reynolds, Schaumburg, IL)

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"Cultivating spiritual intimacy is essential for leaders to live a vibrant missional life."— Gary Rohrmayer

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