The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit). It’s important to note that he’s a person….not an atmosphere. In Matthew 3:16, he’s likened to the dove. This is no coincidence since the dove is amongst the purest of birds, only dwelling where they feel welcomed. This is like the Holy Spirit. He’s not interested in an occasional visitation but rather in habitation. His desire is to make his home in our hearts. That’s the essence of what we mean when we talk about being ‘filled with the Spirit’.

And what is the Holy Spirit’s purpose? To empower us. To guide us. To lead us. Ultimately, his mission is to equip us to carry the love of Christ into our world. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

When we experience the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, this should never lead to an insular or self indulgent experience. This would be to completely miss the point. Everything the Holy Spirit does is not so much about getting us to look inward – but rather helping us see outward.

The evidence of a truly Spirit filled church is a compelling, passionate and loving commitment to reaching out to those who don’t yet know Jesus. In his first letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul the apostle had to strongly rebuke a church which had the appearance of being Spirit filled but in reality was selfish, insular & deeply divided. They didn’t really care about reaching out to those who had not yet experienced Jesus. As far as Paul was concerned, this was a travesty – as far removed from the purpose of the Holy Spirit as it was possible to get.

It’s always wise to remember the Holy Spirit’s purpose and to keep this as our focus. Nothing dishonours him more than when we trivialise him and make it all about ourselves. The only reason why the Spirit fills us up is to send us out.

My heart for the Junction Church in Leicester and Loughborough is that we would be a truly Spirit filled church. Not weird. Not wacky. Not flag waving. Not giving place to embarrassing ‘spiritual’ freak shows that draw in weird loving Christians but which drive away non-believers. No way. Our heart is to be a community where the Holy Spirit feels welcome – and where we can catch the essence of his heart – a heart which longs for people to know Jesus. That’s the kind of church the Holy Spirit loves to work through. That’s what we want.