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“Be aglow with the Spirit.”  Romans 12:11, RSV

That may or may not be the most accurate translation.  The ESV prefers “Be fervent in spirit,” which is different but not incompatible with the RSV.  “Be aglow with the Spirit” is certainly a biblical thought.  “Those who look to him are radiant” (Psalm 34:5).

My dad was aglow with the Spirit.  Look at him there, sometime in the 1970s, preaching at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena.  A glad sense of God is pouring out of him.  And this was not a professional persona he adopted for public display.  It was real.

Not everyone has the privilege of growing up with a dad like that.  I did.  I didn’t deserve him.  But God gave him to me.  I feel honored and humbled.  I saw up close what it looked like to lead a church not by punishing them with the law but by attracting them with the magnetism of Jesus.  It was New Covenant pastoral ministry.  It was powerful.

When younger pastors ask me about the ministry, I don’t think of formulas, systems or strategies.  I think of my dad.  Radiant men, not angry men, not men determined to set others straight — radiant men draw people to Jesus with a power they themselves may be unaware of, because it isn’t a calculation.  It’s just who they are in the Spirit.

May God give us pastors today the high privilege of being aglow with the Spirit.  As we preach, may we put away all thoughts of church problems, think only of Christ, and be lifted up.

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