The Conlectio Newsletter
If You Don't “Get” The Holy Spirit… You're Not Alone
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Hi friend,
When I was a kid the Holy Spirit was that dispensable, confusing, and honestly, boring member of the Trinity who none of us really understood. God made sense. Jesus seemed nice. But the Spirit? We didn't know what to do with Him.
When I look at church culture today, not much has changed.
In the few years I've been in ministry, most of what is wrong with Christianity and its formation in real lives comes down to pneumatology: our theology of the Holy Spirit. I have realized that most Christians grow up with a withered pneumatology. Either He was never mentioned at all, or He was mentioned only in the context of the dramatic and sensational.
It's the difference between “Holy Spirit? Who's He?” and “If you don't speak in tongues, you don't have the Spirit.” The church culture you were raised in (or the one you entered when you became a believer) is responsible for shaping your view of this very essential, not-boring-at-all member of the Trinity.
Without going into a full treatise on the Spirit (I have a chapter on Him in my theology book coming in February!) let me summarize a little about Him here:
  • Jesus said the Spirit is our Helper and Advocate, sent by Christ to help us become like Him.
  • The Spirit is not “new”. He was active in the Old Testament era, empowering the saints to holiness and ministry. Now He dwells with us always and comes upon us in power for specific tasks.
  • The Spirit is not impersonal; He is very personal! He is not a force. He is not the universe. He is equal with God, not a lesser being, and proceeds from the Father and Son.
  • The Spirit speaks to us and guides us specifically by bringing to mind the Word and guiding us specifically in ways that line up with what Scripture teaches.
When I became a Christian in my teens I read a quote by D.L. Moody that said something to the effect of, “I would rather lose my right arm than lose the Holy Spirit.” For some reason it stuck with me - probably because I was thinking: I definitely don't feel that way. I'll keep my arm, thanks. What good has the Spirit done me??
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I spent most of my early Christian life memorizing Scriptures about Christian virtue and trying to “do” them. It was insanely frustrating, but I thought that's how Christianity was done! I was even more frustrated when my dad tried to explain the Spirit-led life: “It's not this hard, Phy.” He told me. “You don't have to strive at it. You just let Him lead you.”
Ugh. Boring. Weird! Also, kind of lazy??!
What my dad knew and I didn't was what Jesus taught plainly in those very passages on the Holy Spirit (John 15-17):
“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:3-4
If we can't bear fruit unless we remain/abide in Jesus… we have to ask: what does it mean to remain? To remain means to stay in one place or to stay in constant connection with, to live in, and reside with Christ. This is not “memorize ten bible verses then white knuckle it”. That's a spiritual scarcity mindset ("I have to get this information down so I can go out and live it, because I won't have enough otherwise"). No; abiding is a lifestyle of listening to the Holy Spirit, living in His presence, and walking by His lead.
And this is why I spend so much time teaching our kids the law of God (Ten Commandments, overarching story) while also teaching them to listen for God (recognizing the Spirit's voice). Law alone creates legalists and white-knucklers, and those who only listen are in danger of apathy or a faith that is all experience and no obedience. We need both because the Spirit speaks - but He never contradicts Himself. He inspired the Word of God. He's not going to tell us something principally different.
So if you're the person who doesn't “get” the Spirit… I've been there. I've found Him weird/vague and I've seen Him represented poorly. But those extremes don't get to define Him when he has clearly defined Himself in Scripture! And Jesus said: I am sending you a Helper.  He is here to help you become like Christ. Practically, His part is to do the sanctification and your part is to listen and cooperate. What that looks like for me:
  • Spending time in prayer daily, both writing out requests and listening for Him.
  • Letting Him remind me of Scripture throughout the day and listening for the check in my soul/spirit when I need to obey in an area.
  • When I feel anxiety creeping in, remind myself that my ONLY JOB is to abide in Christ. He will then give me specific leading in that area. I can wait on Him for instructions. This removes my need for control and gives me the calm I need to refocus on prayer and the things I am responsible for.
  • If someone gives me a “word” from the Lord or has a dream and shares it with me, I bring that to the Lord and pray about it. Is this true? Does this align with your leading on my life? Does it align with your Word?
My encouragement to you this week: Try listening to the Lord. Ask for Him to lead you, and take the time to follow. Remain in Him - through the Word, prayer, and obedience - and you will bear much fruit, because he's in the fruit business.

 Thanks for Shopping EWAT!
Thank you so much for making the launch of the Fall Collection so wonderful! We are shipping out over a thousand orders this week and you should have them in your hands soon. All new books remain in stock and everything else is available until it sells out (books are restocked, but exclusive launch products are not)!
In the Know
  • This week's social media schedule:
    • Monday: Ask Anything on FB/IG
    • Tuesday: The Conlectio + how to read hard Bible passages
    • Wednesday: Verity Episode: Five Christian Creeds and Why They Matter
    • Thursday: Day in the Life
    • Friday: Book and product recs (IG)
  • Your free guide to mealtime discipleship: our complete PDF
What I'm Reading
  • The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny: I am working on the next Louise Penny novel on audio. Kind of taking this one chapter by chapter in case I think I need to stop listening - it's a more sensitive topic.
  • The Reluctant Dragon: This is our current read aloud with the girls.
  • The Temperament God Gave Your Kids: I grabbed this Catholic parenting book on a whim and read it in ONE day. It is so good. Josh and I discussed it together and gleaned so much help for parenting our kids - just from the super practical, biblical insights into different temperaments! It's a little older (ten years) but still readily applicable to today.
  • The Secret of the Old Clock: This is the first Nancy Drew mystery and it was such a trip down memory lane reading it again! I liked it for a quick, easy nighttime read.
  • Organic Ministry to Women by Sue Edwards: Reading this for ideas both locally and online.
What I'm Loving
  • Loop Earplugs: I am very overstimulated by noise. In fact, a lot of noise, decisions, and/or caffeine can trigger anxiety/anger for me like nothing else. I believe in dealing with this spiritually and holistically, so avoiding caffeine helps me - and so do these earplugs. They bring down the noise just enough to where I can hear but not feel so overstimulated.
  • My no-coffee-out goal: I am a sucker for to-go lattes. I can't make them as yummy at home so I'm always sucked in and before the month is out, my spending budget is gone! I made a goal this month with a little daily checklist to make my coffee AT HOME. I check off every day I don't succumb to temptation. I also grabbed some of the ingredients for making my at-home cafe miel almost as good as the ones at North Perk!
  • Lindywell Pilates: My favorite workout program changed it's name from The Balanced Life to Lindywell - but it's just as good! I use the app and love it. Every day a workout is scheduled for you, or you can pick your own. This has been the most sustainable program for me since breaking my leg in 2019 + recovering from Ivan's pregnancy. You can get a discount using my link. 
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Around the Christian World
In Our Homeschool
  • BIG NEWS! All my homeschool content is being moved to my farm Instagram account: @willowsbendhomeschool! This account used to be my nontoxic living, oils, and farm account, and I will still share those things as well. But after talking with my mom (homeschool veteran of 26 years) I realized our joint experience as 1st and 2nd generation homeschoolers brings a lot of great ideas we could share online! We have some plans… so keep an eye out!
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On the Farm
  • In true farm fashion, Perpetua (our cat) got an abscess the DAY the shop launched. In between marketing emails and posting on social media, we had to drain it (no vets could get her in) and figure out how to treat her so it didn't get worse. It was gross. But she's better, and the shop is over, PRAISES!
  • I'm shamelessly behind on the garden work and I'm sure my beans are enormous - consequences of quarterly EWAT shops! - but I am excited to see how the radishes are doing, and the mulch was delivered to finish the path between our raised beds.
  • Our kitchen is in for a BIG facelift! We are painting the cabinets and I am sooo excited for the results. We should have pictures in next week's newsletter!
for the awakening, 

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