Dr. Pete Deison and Keith discuss what it means to be led by the Spirit and what His activity looks like in the daily life of a believer.
Intro (Keith): Welcome to the Kanakuk Institute Podcast, where we continue to equip leaders with biblical skills for a lifetime of ministry.
Chad (00:14): And welcome back into the Kanakuk Institute Podcast. I am Chad Hampsch and with me, as always, is Keith Chancey. And Keith, we’re in for a great treat today. A great friend of yours, lots and lots of years. Introduce who we have in studio with us today.
Keith (00:28): Well you guys are in for a treat like Chad said. Pete Deison. Oh my goodness, I’ve known Pete for a long time, watched his kids come through kamp, watched Pete, you know, be a part of planting churches and being a part of ministry, and being a leader of just equipping men with biblical skills and just have seen his life be such a light for Jesus. Pete I would love for you today just to really encourage us, because you did such a great job today of talking to the students about the Holy Spirit. You know, and as you think about that, tell us a little bit of why this topic is so interesting to you.
Pete (01:02): You know, I grew up in a pastor’s home, so I had a base for, I mean you know, kind of, knowing about God. But it wasn’t til I got to college and I got challenged with the concept of: What does it really mean to know Jesus as a person? And, you know, really that’s one of the main works of the Holy Spirit. Is that he makes the person of Christ come alive for us. You might say if you had a church and a cross was on the front, that represents Christ, and you had a big floodlight on the cross, that’s the Holy Spirit. And so the Holy Spirit was bringing that to life. And it was a ministry I was involved in that actually had an emphasis on learning to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So I kind of backed into it just because of that, and that was helpful. That helped me. But it was a very simple, you know, understanding. You know, that the Holy Spirit gives us power for life. But I never forgot that. And that was really, really very helpful for me. So I worked with a Christian ministry for a number of years, then went to seminary; went to Dallas Seminary. Then was asked to be a pastor in Tennessee; I was up there for about ten years. It was right, kind of before, right at the end of that time that I met Keith. And then Dallas Seminary asked me to come back and teach, and so I did. And I was in the area of leadership and Keith was actually in one of my classes.
Keith (02:39): Yeah I was.
Pete (02:39): And so those were great years. Then, I went to work in a church, and we were teaching a men’s study, and the men kept saying, “We don’t know anything about the Holy Spirit. Nobody’s ever taught us anything on the Holy Spirit.” So, I took a summer and just, I went to the theology library and I pulled off about 30 books on the Holy Spirit, and I just went through their table of contents. What are the things all of them say? What are the things that they feel is mainly important? And then, you know, some of the side things that some of them pick up, but I went through all of those and then I said, “Ok.” I developed 26 weeks of lessons, because that’s how many we had, you know, every Wednesday morning at the church for the men. I taught them through it, and that’s when I grew in understanding the Holy Spirit, by forcing my way to get.. by thinking about it deeper, asking questions and what have you. And discovered as many of these guys said, it’s the most misunderstood part of the Christian life.
Chad (03:50): Pete, why do you think it’s so misunderstood? It seems like for most people, and I might be summarizing here, but it seems like for a lot of people, their church experiences either, they go to a church that talks about the Holy Spirit all the time.
Pete (04:04): Right
Chad (04:05): Maybe to an extreme. And then other churches where people are in a situation where maybe they’ve ever heard about the Holy Spirit. How do you think we got to that place where there seems to be two extremes?
Pete (04:17): Well, I think one would be is that everybody knows, specifically, if you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit’s in the Bible. So it’s something we should know. But the problem is, when I was chatting with Jason over here a minute ago, he was saying that his, the course he had was just so academic. And one reason I think that we do get taught in that way is because it’s hard to get your hands around all the aspects of the Holy Spirit. Because there’s the objective biblical truth, but then there’s all the objective biblical experiences, and experience is not easy to control. You know, so what all of that is true today? What isn’t true today? Is it still going on today? And all this type of stuff. So, I think you had churches that would teach it from a standpoint of, here’s what the Bible tells us the Holy Spirit. Then you had churches saying, “Yeah, but how do we experience the Holy Spirit?” And one of the good and hard things about experience is experience can oftentimes trump truth because you feel it. You know, it’s feelings oriented. But when you start letting feelings run your truth, you’re in a dangerous realm. And yet that’s a very easy thing to do, especially when people are saying, “You have to have this experience or you don’t know the Holy Spirit.” But you see, that’s not true. The Bible doesn’t say that. So people go off on one string or the other. We’re always, you know, what was it our friend Hendricks used to say? That life is like a pendulum, and we’re just swinging from one extreme to another all the time. So, that’s part of it.
Chad (06:08): That’s good. That’s really good. Keith, you’ve been, now, doing ministry for 40+ years. Do you remember, kind of, the people that influenced you in regards to the understanding of the Spirit and what that, much like Pete, what was that process like for you, starting to really dig in and understand the work of the Holy Spirit in your life?
Keith (06:29): You know, that’s a great question because, you know, I’ll take it back, I was listening to Pete this morning just kind of talking about his conversion experience. And as he was talking about his conversion experience, I remembered mine. And I remembered that the conversion experience was: I couldn’t help but respond to the Holy Spirit because of what the Holy Spirit was beckoning upon my heart. And when I think about that I go… Chad that’s a great question because I had nothing to do with my conversion experience. It was the Holy Spirit that began to touch my heart and I couldn’t help but respond. And I’m going, “There must be a God.” And he died for me, and it’s called grace. I did nothing to receive it, and as I began to understand that I thought, “How did that happen?” But it had to be the Holy Spirit. And so, that began my journey. And from there I began to ask God, you know, I would pray, and I didn’t know that I was speaking, you know, to God and that the Holy Spirit was hearing my prayers and taking that and I’m going, “How does all this work together?” I mean, it’s amazing. And I’m praying very specifically for someone to disciple me. And it was not long after that, maybe two weeks later after I’m praying for someone to disciple me, that this guy walks up to me and says, “Keith Chancey, my name is Coy and God told me to come disciple you.” And I’m going, “Are you kidding me?” You can’t make this up! And not only did I get converted, but now I’m being discipled, and the Holy Spirit was tying all this together, and just helping me as a brand new believer to go, “Wow, God is so incredibly real.” And now, as I can just connect a whole lot more to that, and just saying, “Every single thing that’s ever happened in my life has been a result of the Holy Spirit’s guidance there.”
Chad (08:19): That’s really good. So, really soft toss right into the next thing I wanted to talk about with you guys, and I would love for you both to weigh in on this. Clearly, we see the work of the Spirit in conversion and the sealing of the Spirit in Ephesians, but we talk in the Christian world a lot about what it means to be led by the Spirit. But the reality is that feels a little bit ambiguous. It feels a little bit like, I can’t really put my arms around that. Would y’all just, from what you’ve studied in the Word, what you’ve seen in ministry, what does it mean to actually be led by the Spirit of God?
Pete (08:52): Well, I think one of the misconceptions that we have is, when we use a world like “led.” I mean, somebody’s grabbing me by the hand and pulling me along. Whereas in the spiritual realm, the Holy Spirit is constantly seeking to motivate us and encourage us because we’re not robots. We’re not being forced at all to live the Christian life. But we are being motivated to live the Christian life. And that motivation, in one sense, is leading us for more. Because what the Holy Spirit does is he makes us hungry, you see. The old statement that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. And then, but you can rub salt in their mouth. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. He’s constantly rubbing salt, you might say, in our mouths to make us hungry for more of Christ, and more grace. So his leading, probably two key passages, in 1 Corinthians 2, where it says that the Holy Spirit brings about spiritual thoughts as we read the spiritual word. That he’s actually putting thoughts into our minds to think about things. And then another one is Philippians 2:13 where it says God is at work within us to give us our want to and then help us do what we want. So that’s that motivation. God is prompting those things to do. Because, scripture again says we’ve been created for good works, which he prepared beforehand. So he’s constantly leading us toward those things. Now I do like J.R. Packer’s book on Guard Us Guide Us. He uses this out of the 23rd Psalm, and he says He’s always leading us, as the 23rd Psalm says, He leads us in paths of righteousness. So he’s always moving us in that way.
Chad (10:57): That’s really good. Really good, Keith, what would you add to that particular question?
Keith (11:01): Oh boy, that’s so good because, you know, the add there is really just as I surrender myself under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as I allow myself to go, “I believe in God. I know who he is, I believe in what he’s done, in the cross, the blood, the resurrection, I believe that and I want to surrender myself under that.” It’s amazing how I began to walk by the Spirit. And as I walk by the Spirit, I don’t carry out the desires of the flesh as I once was. In fact, it’s so unbelievable. I’ll never forget, Chad. Becoming a Christian, and Pete, I’m sure you can say this very thing. My friends that saw me said there was a physical difference to even the way I looked. And they said, “And we absolutely know there’s a difference in the way you talk.” Well, I can’t take any credit for that. That was a result of the Spirit working in my life that was doing a transformational change within me that was allowing me to go, “Oh my goodness. Look what God did.” And he was giving me this joy and this peace and this… all these fruits of the Spirit that were given to me by the Spirit to walk in the Spirit. And I’m going, “Oh my goodness. This is an amazing thing.” It’s not as complicated as when we surrender ourselves under the guidance of the Lord. And so, I saw it physically make a difference, I saw it in everything that I did make a difference, the way I wanted to study, the way I wanted to play sports. It changed my attitude at everything.
Chad (12:34): Really good. So, as we kind of wind down on this particular episode, probably my last question for you guys to chew on is: the gospel of John talks about this relationship between the Spirit and truth, right? And that the Spirit will always lead us into truth. What wisdom would you have, just practically speaking for our listening audience that goes: I don’t feel the Spirit, or you know, all those kinds of things, and what is that tension between walking in the Spirit and surrendering ourselves to truth? How do I practically grow and apply in that relationship of Spirit and truth?
Pete (13:05): Well Paul give us, you know, a command, which he says, “Be filled with the Spirit.” And the verbiage there is “continue to be filled with the Spirit”; To keep doing it. So it’s like Keith’s word. It is the word that I’m submitting myself, you see, to that. Lord, fill me with your Spirit today. And then simply say, “Thank you.” Alright? In other words, when we ask according to his will, we know we have the request which we’ve asked, John says. So if he’s telling me to be filled with the Spirit and I ask him to do it, I can be assured he will. So that submission is, once I’m submitted, then as I go to the scripture, the truth, and I see something there that I need to practice, I need to put into place, forgiveness for someone, patience with someone, sharing the gospel with someone, or that I see I’ve been omitting my giving to someone, or whatever, then, because I am submitted to the Spirit, He’s going to prompt me to do things to fulfill that obedience. And it’s going to be out of love, because Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey me.” So really, walking in the Spirit is simply expressing love for God.
Chad (14:28): That’s good. Keith, same question: relationship between Spirit and Truth in the believer’s life.
Keith (14:35): You know, Pete just said it so good, and you know, for me as I walk in the Spirit, you know, what I do know, is that the more I walk in the Spirit, it changes my thoughts, it changes my words, it changes my actions, it changes everything that I do. And when I don’t walk in the Spirit, I realize that, because there’s no longer that joy, that peace, there’s an anxiety, so to speak. And it’s like, I always like to use the illustration if I walk out and I’m watering my plants and I kink the hose, the water’s still there, but I must unkink the hose in order for the water to flow freely to water the plants. What I will do is I will sin, that kinks the hose. The Spirit is still there, he never was gone. I have walked away. I have kinked the hose through my sin, but God is always there, and I have always loved that thought that I can’t walk away from God. He is always there, the Spirit is always leading me, if I will allow. But, it’s once again me being obedient to God, and walking in that fruitful Spirit, which I don’t… I’ll make decisions and I will feel it in my Spirit, and I go, “I’m miserable.” And we’ve all been there. And then you go, “What must I do?” Confess, repent, and God’s always there.
Chad (15:51): What a wonderful word picture, that kinking of the hose is, is that, we never cease to have access to the work of the Spirit in our life, but man we sure can suppress the truth, we can push away, we can run from, but I’m thankful for those of us that have trusted Christ that we have the Spirit indwelling in us, and seat’s taken. We have been sealed and that never goes away. So, hope you guys are encouraged in our time. Pete, Keith, thank you guys so much for your time on this episode of the podcast. Thank you guys for joining us on the Kanakuk Institute Podcast, and we’ll see you next time.