home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 > April 8th > THE WIND BLOWS WHERE IT WISHES – SO IT IS WITH THE SPIRIT

The Wind Blows Where it Wishes - so it is with the Spirit
This week I have heard of yet more stories of people who had no knowledge of Christianity as they grew up, yet had an almost sudden conversion to Christ. This has included the stories of several Muslims (now ‘former Muslims’) who knew nothing to very little about Christianity, and had always been taught that Islam was the one true religion, who then heard a Christian explain the gospel and were then supernaturally converted. (Several of these Islamic converts to Christ also had supernatural dreams where they claimed that Jesus appeared to them!) I also heard of an atheist scientist who been taught that science could explain away the need for a God/god, who then heard the gospel and was resoundingly converted. The other story I heard this week was closer to home and involved a young lady who had grown up in an ‘atheist home’ where her parents were actually hostile to religion and particularly forbad her from anything to do with Christianity. Years later, her growing curiosity led her into a church one Sunday morning. She heard the gospel and was converted to Christ. Each of these stories confirm what Jesus taught about the power of the gospel and the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit in unlikely people being like the invisible force of the ‘wind’.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8

 

THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT
BRINGS UNLIKELY CONVERSIONS

When Jesus spoke these words about the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in a person being like the wind, He was talking to the Teacher of Israel, Nicodemus.

¶ Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you
are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do
unless God is with him.”
John 3:1-2

Num. 21:5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Num. 21:6 Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. Num. 21:7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. Num. 21:8 And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” Num. 21:9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.Nicodemus was used to viewing God as the Law-Giver, and religion as a matter of keeping God’s Laws. But Jesus talked to him about God as a Father who gave His only Son, with whom anyone who simply looked (KJV, Isa. 45:22, ESV “turned”) to Him could be spiritually healed. Just as Moses had lifted the bronze serpent in the wilderness and all the poisoned people had to do was to look to this bronze serpent on the pole, so, anyone who would look to the lifted Saviour who would be lifted up on a cross of wood could also be healed from the serpent’s (Rev. 12:9) poison of sin (Jn. 3:14-15). 

¶“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
John 3:16-17 (note 1Cor. 10:9)

As a result of his encounter with Jesus, the religious leader of Israel (John 3:1) was transformed spiritually. Nicodemus remained faithful to Christ from that point on and attended to the dead body of the crucified Saviour (John 7:50-52; 19:39). His conversion to Christ had the obstacle of religious pride that only a work of the Holy Spirit could heal. Nicodemus was an unlikely convert.

 

THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT BRINGS
UNLIKELY ANSWERS TO PRAYER

At the age of 30, when Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, John saw the Holy Spirit come down upon Jesus as a dove would (John 1:32). This was the point when Christ’s public ministry began. After His baptism, and a 40-day fast in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). As a result, Christ performed signs, wonders, and miracles (Acts 10:38). With such an intimacy with the Holy Spirit and consistent demonstrations of the Spirit’s miraculous power, the thing that actually impressed those closest to Him was how He prayed. At times He spent all night in prayer while His disciples slept (Luke 6:12). It seemed to His disciples that Jesus prayed from His heart to God as if God was His Father. This led His disciples to ask Him, “Teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1). Jesus not only taught them how to pray, but He also taught them what to pray.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few;
therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”
Matthew 9:37-38

It seems to me that if the most Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered, Spirit-anointed, Spirit-filled, man spent more time praying than sleeping and then taught people how and what to pray, we should probably take note. What we note is two profound truths: (i) pray; and, (ii) pray for people to accept the gospel and for people to have preached that gospel. The result of implementing these two truths is that the wind of the Spirit often brings unlikely answers to our prayers leading to unlikely people encountering Christ. Saul of Tarsus was an unlikely convert that almost certainly resulted from the Christians he was persecuting praying for his conversion (Acts 9:1-18).

 

UNLIKELY MOMENTS

The wind of the Spirit leads to unlikely moments. Sometimes the Christ-follower finds him or herself in situations where sharing their conversion story leads to someone beginning their journey to Christ. These moments can be quite unlikely. They can occur in a supermarket aisle. They can occur while walking your dog. They can occur at a football match. The Spirit’s wind blows He wishes in the most unlikely moments. For Nicodemus it happened in the dark of night in a secret meeting with Jesus. 

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
John 3:3-7

 

UNLIKELY WELCOMES

The wind of the Spirit also results in the most unlikely welcomes. The most dramatic example of this in the four Gospels would have to have occurred at the most unlikely moment. When Christ was crucified between two criminals He was ridiculed repeatedly by both criminals for hours on end. But then something happened in the soul of one of them. The wind of the Spirit had blown on his soul. He stopped mocking and ridiculing and asked Christ for forgiveness. Christ pardoned him and assured him that he would enter into Paradise and be with Christ for eternity. 

But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”
Luke 23:40-43

Within three hours all three crucified men were dead.

¶ It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, because the sun’s light failed.
The temple curtain was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!
And after He said this He breathed His last.
¶ Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent!”
Luke 23:44-47 NET

Physical death is not the end of a person’s life. Can you imagine the scene when the crucified criminal who had just been forgiven three hours earlier turned up at the entrance of Paradise? I doubt that there was a need for security at Paradise’s doors, but if there was, I could imagine, with a little inspiration from Alistair Begg, that they might have wanted to quiz this unlikely convert before granting him entrance into Paradise.

“Can you explain justification by faith?” they might have asked.

“No, I don’t even know what that means” he might have replied.

“Were you baptised?”

“Baptised? I’ve never heard of it.”

“Then how in the world did you come to be here?”

“The man on the middle cross said I come here!”

“Oh! Then come right in. Welcome!”

As we prepare for the upcoming Tasmania Celebration with evangelist Will Graham, I suspect that the result will be hundreds and hundreds of people who will also experience an unlikely welcome into that heavenly Paradise because the wind of the Spirit blew on their soul awakening them to their need to turn to the Saviour. And some of these unlikely welcomes will be result of the Spirit’s wind blowing on their soul in their final moments in this life. But for the majority of these unlikely welcomes given to unlikely converts who experienced the Holy Spirit’s unlikely breeze upon them in unlikely moments, their welcomes will be given at the doors of hundreds of churches where they had previously thought they would never have been made welcome! May the Spirit of God blow across our State and bring more and more unlikely converts into the Kingdom of God’s Son!

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

5 Comments

  1. LYDIA

    Amen to all of the above Andrew.
    Its not the wheelbarrow, or the ticket that allows a person into heaven. Its the Spirit Who calls, the Spirit Who passes unseen and transforms a person via which ever means and at what ever time.
    As I have heard so often these last few years, ‘it is not what you have done, who you have done it with or how often you have done it’. Jesus paid it all!
    Years past I said to a young man, “If Jesus had not died for your sins, why bother to die in the first place, what a waste of time for Jesus to have died, if His death wasn’t enough for your sins?” But He has and He rose, the only Prophet to have ever done that, so that the Spirit could come to stay, and He moves where no one can stop Him.

    Reply
    • Wendy Williams

      Well said Lydia.👍

      Reply
  2. Archibald Norman Macdonald

    Thankyou Andrew it is always good to have confirmation ,that our destiny is tied up with the sovereign move of the Spirit. It gives hope and encouragement particularly as we pray for our families.

    Reply
  3. Wendy Williams

    In addition to sudden conversions to non believers, our day to day lives are overseen by the Holy Spirit.💕 Some Christians are sadly unable to grasp this knowledge and misinterpret the most beautiful Spirit filled earthly interactions as “luck” or “the amazing thing happened the other day.”, without recognising or acknowledging the Holy Spirit’s supernatural intervention in the circumstances of the event.
    April’s baptism statement is the quintessential witness of how Jesus and the Holy Spirit, supernaturally, bring His loved ones together to help keep each other safe in this physical world. The Spirit knew of April’s great distress and intentions. He arranged for a Christ centred man, Pete Dingemanse, to be just where April would be, at the exact place and time April would be, to give her God’s loving words, direct from Jesus. The world is suddenly changed for so many people, who love April, will come to know April as she grows, and be guided into God’s love by April’s firsthand encounter with the Spirit, through Pete. Praise and thank you Jesus, for April and her beautiful gifts of singing, love and witness.

    Reply
  4. LYDIA

    I am SO glad I checked out this eNews again just now! Ah yes – April. Wow what a testimony! There would have been few dry eyes yesterday morning and a lot of prayers of gratitude. A testimony to the working of the Spirit, God’s immeasurable grace and the love of our heavenly Father. God is SO good…Thank you April! Thank you Wendy…

    Reply

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Follow Me AS I FOLLOW JESUS

We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.

A CERTAIN GOD

We can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.

LOW COST LIVING

Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE AMAZING BUTS

I know of several people with amazing buts. There’s Jo’, Mo’, Sam, Esther, Jerry, and others. Each of these people were gifted by God with an amazing but that changed there life and the course of human history. Sometimes these gifts came with a …then, or …God, or …the LORD. When it comes to the size of things, a but is a relatively small thing (in Greek it can be just two letters: de) but it can have huge implications and enormously great blessings for multitudes. I hope to show you how this was the case with each of the people I have chosen as samples, and then show you how God is your God of buts.

OPEN

What does the word ‘open’ mean to you? Like language itself, it is like any word in which the meaning only comes from the context in which it is used. I can think of at least 12 different understandings of this word, some of which I will point out, most I will not, and one that I focus on because it is prophetically important for where we are at as a church at this crucial time.

ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY

​I’m always amazed at the really cool events I’d organised for my kids to experience, so that they might have happy memories – but now they don’t remember it except the random comment someone made in the car trip on the way there or what snack was eaten. Conversely, if you make a mistake, well that one is remembered! Once I drove Andrew’s car and just lightly hit something so it ended up with an annoying 2cm scratch. The mistake is (still) there in full view to anyone who looks. Is Andrew going to remember this above the years of my devotion to him? (Not likely, but some people do remember the wrong for way too long!) If you had the choice, what one thing would you want to be remembered for? What one thing would you want your family to remember? It’s not often going to be the thing you have in mind.

‘Famous last words’ comes from the hope that you’ll be remembered for them. If you were given the privilege of being able to articulate as the important thing to say, to be remembered by all, what would it be? Would it be a reflection on your love toward someone? Would it be a directive on how to have the best life? Would it be that you wished you had done something? Someone once mused, ‘would your dying words be that you’d wished you’d spent just one more day in the office’? (Not likely.)

AT THE END OF THIS YEAR I WILL RECOUNT 12 WONDERFUL THINGS (An Explication of Psalm 9)

This is my last end-of-year Pastor’s Desk post. When the head of our Live-stream ministry, Sari, asked me what I was thankful for this year, my immediate answer was obvious and predictable. But since then, I have considered that I also have eleven other things for which I am grateful to GOD for. In this last ever end-of-year Pastor’s Desk please indulge as I share my heartfelt thanks to God and for those God has used to bless me this year.

HE WAS BORN A KING

The king who reigned over Judea when Jesus was born was Herod the Great. Herod had no legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. He was from an Idumean noble family who supported the Roman occupation of Palestine. As a reward he was appointed by the Roman Senate as the King of Judea. Despite his attempts to curry favour with the Jews, including several major public works programs (including completing the temple reconstruction) he was still largely unpopular among the Jews. Little wonder then that when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem with their large retinue and requested to view the birth of the prophesied King of the Jews, Herod was emotionally threatened by this revelation. Herod immediately ordered an enquiry from the chief priests and religious scribes.