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From the ascended and glorified Lord Jesus Christ—who sent the promised Holy Spirit, that out of your innermost being shall flow streams of living water for the sake of the world. I know your century-long praiseworthy acts. Even when most of the world and some of the church believed that I merely spun this world into existence like a child's top and then walked away, you faithfully and passionately embraced the visible, mysterious work of the Spirit. You demonstrated that I still have a daily, real relationship with Christians through the Holy Spirit. By welcoming my presence you have demonstrated to those who have eyes to see that confidence in my loving deeds—of healing, releasing the oppressed and demonized, proclaiming the favor of my kingdom, and humbly practicing the gracious gifts of the Spirit—produces vibrant, worldwide, disciple-making churches.

Yet, I hold this against you: You pit preaching and "ministry in the Spirit" against each other as if they are opposed. But the Bible is the Spirit's book. God always works in agreement with his Word. The Spirit inspires it, he shines God's light on it, he speaks through it, and he gives us the power to obey it.

So, preach the Word! Test the spirits. Don't fear thinking. These three produce discernment, which counteracts gullibility and faddishness. Having done these you will make disciples that are well-nourished and properly fed, able to be salt and light and my "good seed" sown in the soil of the world.

Therefore, don't say, as if proud of it, "The move of God in the service was so powerful today that I didn't even get to preach!" When that happens too often, my followers develop habits of living that leave me at church and out of the routine of their ...

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October 25, 1999

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