There are few things on the planet that can bring me as much joy as what I got to experience last week. My beautiful wife is one of them. Spending time with her is literally my favorite activity in the history of time. My children are a second. Their laugh and smiles are infectious, and just the medicine that this “daddy” needs when he walks through the door each night. Watching a game at Lambeau Field or Miller Park would be a close third. I love me some sports, and cheering on my team from their own friendly confines, never fails to be a magical experience. None of these however, are the source of my elation this past weekend. On Friday at 12:01AM, I spent an hour on my couch listening to new music from David Crowder.
The man never seems to disappoint me – and it’s actually quite surprising. I prefer my music ‘au natural’ – from actual instruments. This is not the case with this record, or many preceding it. He, is a fan of the bloops and the blips of computer programming. I do not favor the artistic stylings of hip-hop – this album is full of it. I do not FULLY understand the connection I have with him, but I can say that I am fond of his incredible lyrical content, and the way that he pushes the genre of “christian” music to places it otherwise has not gone. I am ALWAYS enveloped by his work, and it very often inspires me in my own relationship with God, and to be better and more inspirational in my own ministry opportunities.
This newest venture, is entitled ‘I know a ghost’ – and is all about how life-altering our relationship with the Holy Spirit of God (Ghost) is supposed to be. It’s a unique concept for an album to be sure, but one that resonated with me as I planned, completely unrelated, to preach a message on how the Holy Spirit of God lives inside of us as believers. I am not a huge proponent of ‘chance,’ nor do I place most things in the camp of ‘divine providence.’ I tend to think things happen the way they happen, and that God is as involved as HE chooses to be. But this occurrence seemed a bit ‘ordained’ if I am being honest. After all, I too, know a ghost – and I’m hoping you do too.
Stop me when it starts to get weird. An invisible God who you can’t audibly hear, visibly see, or physically touch created you as a unique and individual person, capable of free will decision that will impact your eternity. When He was not satisfied with the choices you were making (or going to make), He sent a part of Himself, in bodily form, to demonstrate what a life lived in perfection looked like, and to offer himself as the sacrifice needed to pay the price for all the bad choices you (and every other person ever) would make. Then, following the life, death and resurrection of His ‘Son,’ He still desired a relationship with you SO much, that He sent a different part of Himself to live inside of you – not to control you – but to offer you help as you navigate the realities of life, and try to further His kingdom here on earth.
Not weird yet? But wait there’s more. Not only does that Spirit of God live inside you and offer you spiritual guidance, but it supernaturally helps you to understand the most interesting and complex book ever published (The Bible), and just when you thought He was finished, He helps you to change the desires and intentions of your heart, from sadistic and sinful, to glorious and Godly. He literally changes who you are and what you want in this life – all without any sort of force or control, but through the intentionality of deep and meaningful relationship. It’s so strange you’d never make it up.
If it sounds too good to be true – it is – and yet the evidence for its reality is OVERWHELMING. For centuries and throughout generations, the Holy Spirit of God has been impacting and improving the hearts of once battered and broken people – and leading them as they become those who do miraculous things.
Ghost stories are supposed to be scary, but the tales about this One are anything but. I could personally tell you about the guy who I saw give up an addiction to cigarettes one morning on the spot, and never go back. I could tell you about a friend from my church who after high school saw the dangers of alcohol and how it could negatively affect his life in the future, and hasn’t touched the stuff since. Or I could regale you with stories about people I know who have been led by a ‘sense’ towards; incredibly important conversations, future jobs, or even the love of their lives. I have seen the affects of the Holy Spirit in the lives of many people I know, love, and trust – and it has been a beautiful thing. But those aren’t the best story I know.
You see, at some point, I’m not exactly sure when, this ‘Ghost,’ started speaking to me. Not metaphorically or magically, and it’s anything but make believe. He started reminding me in times when I desperately needed to hear it, that I am a child of God. That I belong to Him. I am desired by Him. That I am loved by Him. That He is WITH me and WITHIN me when I feel afraid and alone. Over time, and through A LOT of hard stuff, my heart has been changed in areas that matter the most. My willingness to sacrifice. My ability to think about others over myself. I have been able to forgive those who hurt me, and be for those who are against me. Of one thing I am sure, I have known me my entire life, and the things I have heard, seen and felt are certainly not – ‘from me’ – this guy is not capable of those things. Only the Ghost of God is.
Just like musical and lyrical genius David Crowder, I know a Ghost. He’s not spooky or scary – just supernatural. He’s much nicer than Casper, and way, way friendlier. He speaks to me, He comforts me, He heals me, and He brings me hope. He doesn’t haunt my house or darken a dungeon – but rather He lives in me. There is nothing in this world that brings me more joy, than the very Spirit of God, alive in me, for all the world to see.