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In the Beginning

Jacksonville is in a time of many new things. We have a new mayor and we are in a new season with schools starting for a new year, new expectations for the Jaguars, and a big victory for the Sharks (arena football).  But it wasn’t always that way. 500 years ago a band of pilgrims, the Huguenots, landed on the banks of a river they called the River May.  They called it that because the date of their landing was May 1st, 1564.

I can identify with the idea of being a newcomer, although my coming to Jacksonville was 500 years after the Huguenots.  Although we are separated by centuries I think there are some things which are strangely similar.  In Cape Town, South Africa, we also celebrate the coming of a band of pilgrims looking for religious freedom.  Yes, they were the Huguenots – Christians which fled from France to find a new life with freedom to worship God.  It is interesting then that I now find myself in Jacksonville, another city which owes its beginnings to the same group of pioneers.  As they came with a heart to worship God and share the gospel of Jesus Christ in a similar way, I too have come to Jacksonville to share that same gospel and bring about the same desire – a freedom to worship God and a passion to communicate the gospel.

For that reason, Suzanne and I formed First Coast Christian Outreach.  Our vision is to “Serve the community and transform lives.”

That river May is now The St. John’s River. Times have changed, but the dream remains.

An Anchor in a Changing World

In 1974 I was a speaker at the International Congress on World Evangelism in Lauzanne Switzerland. Based on the work I was doing in SA I was invited to speak on the use of media in reaching the masses. In South Africa God had given me the vision to use Christian Films to reach unreached people. Representing the BILLY GRAHAM film ministry “World Wide Pictures” and all the other Christian film producers in the USA, our mission GO-TELL COMMUNICATIONS reached countless numbers of people who came for the unusual opportunity to see “a movie”. With specially equipped vans, our workers travelled into the most remote regions of Southern Africa, gathered thousands to “SEE” the gospel and witnessed great numbers of people receiving Christ as Lord and Savior. That was “the dark ages” of media communication. Today, 40 years later, the science of electronics and communication have revolutionized the role of THE EVANGELIST. In December of 2010, I attended a Media Based Conference in Los Angeles and found that technology had advanced so exponentially I felt the revolution had passed me by! Today, with the help of a young generation, we are marching into a future that 40 years ago was unimagined.

The most graphic illustration I have of the changing times is the image of a rural African farmer in Kenya. A friend of mine witnessed the farmer plowing his small plot of ground with an oxen and an old fashioned wood frame plow and steel spike. What made the picture so memorable is the fact that as the man followed the plow, he held in his hand… a cell phone!

The Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit – Number 1.

This is a study I did on The Work of the Holy Spirit in The Life of a Believer. Interestingly, when I completed the study, it turned out the number of specific functions of The Holy Spirit in the life of the believer added up to 40, and the number 40 is a very significant numeral in the Bible. It is too extensive to explain fully now, but 40 is always associated with the victory or completion of a period of testing. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and the Israelites were in the desert 40 years.

The First Function of the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Believer is “REGENERATION“. It comes from two Greek words which, when combined, mean “new birth”. It is used in Titus 3:5; “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Spirit”. It is the communication of a new life. The life of God, the Holy Spirit, which replaces the “old life” and comes to live in us.  In the King James version, James 1:18 is translated, “Of His own will He begat us”. The Amplified Bible gives the modern rendering as, “It was of His own free will that He gave us birth…”. In John 3:3, Jesus says, “You must be born again”. Then in verse 5 He says, “..unless one is born of water and The Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”. The reference to water and washing speaks of the cleansing from sin, the forgiveness and the New Life which begins the moment we receive Christ, when we are “born again”. We will learn more about this as we progress in the work of The Holy Spirit in The Life of the Believer.

Thank you for your fellowship and friendship in the Gospel, Peter.

Holy Spirit No. 2



2. HE INDWELLS: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” I Corinthians 3:16.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you”.

Romans 8:11.

The experience of the new birth, regeneration, takes place when we believe on the Lord Jesus and invite Him to come into our heart, Acts 16:32. The experience is also called being saved. 1John 5:11,12 is the basis for our assurance because it says. “he who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life”. In the Old Testament, the people of God knew His presence was in the Temple because the Ark of the Covenant was there in the Holy of Holies. Our assurance of God’s presence is the promise, that when we believe, God the Holy Spirit comes to live in us and we become the living temple of God. This has many consequences and in verse 17 of 1 Cor. 3 Paul warns us to take care of ourselves because our bodies are the temple of God.

We will see in later studies, when we accept Christ by faith, the place in which the Holy Spirit comes to live is our heart. This is a critical truth because the heart is the governing principle of life. So when Christ, In the Person of the Holy Spirit, comes to dwell in the heart, He begins to change the seat of power. The bottom line of the Christian life is, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27. This makes the Christian faith different from any religious system; It is a living relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who live in our hearts by faith.


Holy Spirit No 3




3. HE ANOINTS; “God ANOINTED Jesus of Nazareth with The Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”. Acts 10:38

“You have an ANOINTING from the Holy One, and you know all things”. “The ANOINTING which you have received abides in you.” 1 John 2:20 and 27.

The Greek word used in these passages is “chrio”. It signifies the act of applying a special, or sacred, oil on a person for the purpose of setting that person apart for the Lord. It was used in the Old Testament to dedicate, set Priests apart, to God for the service of the Temple. Once a priest, or article in the Temple, was anointed with this sacred oil, they belonged to God. They were “set apart” The word for this is “sanctify”, or “holy”.

The 1John 2:2 and 27 passage  means that when we” Believe” the Holy Spirit not only comes to dwell in he Believer, but now the believer is set apart, belongs to God. In Ephesians 1:18 we are called, “the glory of His inheritance”, and 1 Peter 2:9 declares, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation…..”. The Holy Spirit comes to live in us, marks us and sets apart as God’s chosen people, and gives us the ability to “know and understand” all the mysteries of the things of God. So, because the Spirit of God is in us, and never leaves us, we read and study the Word of God and the Holy Spirit makes the words plain. Therefore, the word of God lives and endures forever.

In Luke 4:18 Jesus affirms the word of Isaiah61:1-2(and through vs.3). The word “Christ” means “The Anointed One”. He was the Promised One, was anointed by The Holy Spirit and set apart for the Divine Purpose of Redemption.

In order to fully understand the anointing of the Holy Spirit I make the following distinction: We are anointed, set apart as God’s children when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. I call this the HOLY SPIRIT IN US FOR SALVATION.

Then, when Jesus was ready to ascend, He told His disciples to “Tarry in Jerusalem until you are endued (clothed) with power from on high”. Then in Acts 1:8 He said, “You will receive power, after the Holy Spirit has come on you…”. So , going back to Acts 10:38, Jesus was anointed with power to accomplish His Father’s purposes. My second point is, THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES UPON US FOR SERVICE.

The great preacher A.W.Tozer said, “If the Holy Spirit were taken out of the church, 90% of the activities would continue on as though nothing happened. As we go further on in the study, all these truths will be explained and expanded.

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