In the twenty-eight years I’ve been attending Northland, growing in my walk with Jesus while simultaneously noticing where the Holy Spirit is at work has been a true JOY in my life. In my understanding, for many years, I thought that I had to invite the Holy Spirit into what I was doing in order for Him to be able to do His work in it. And while there is a semblance of validity in that invitation, I know now that the Holy Spirit is already at work in all my experiences long before I would have considered inviting Him in. Because He is already at work ahead of me, it is my call to be focused on noticing His prompting and then willingly joining Him in whatever that means.
As a Connections Team Lead, many opportunities to notice how the Holy Spirit is at work come as I interact with the congregation walking inside the doors each weekend. My day always begins with a prayer like this: “Holy Spirit, only You have the wisdom and empathy I will need today. Help me be still enough in my soul to hear You calling me to whomever You put in front of me. Let me not be distracted with the priorities I think I should have and instead trust Your will for my to-do list.” And while I admit that I falter in this focus regularly, I can tell you that He is faithful and keeps discipling me by giving me glimpses of His providence.
An example of this came in early February. During Connections Weekend, I was scheduled to be at the Connections Team table in the foyer. Since two other volunteers were there, I decided to greet congregants at the door instead. In less than five minutes, a woman I knew from the past and hadn’t seen at Northland for well over a year came through the doors. When she saw me, she ran in, and we hugged. I asked how she and her family were doing, and she started by telling me her husband passed last year. She told me how rough it had been trying to grieve while navigating the huge changes in her life. She felt so very disconnected from people and isolated from a church family. As she had walked up the sidewalk that morning, she asked the Holy Spirit to show her one face she knew, and if that happened, she would know she would be able to reconnect with Him at Northland. And there I was. Through tears, we were able to share with each other how valuable connection with God’s people in a healthy church is for soul healing.
Another example of how I’ve watched the Holy Spirit at work at Northland would be inside the Seminole County Correctional Facility. For over twelve years, I have volunteered with others on the Jail and Prison Ministry team to bring Northland worship inside to women who are incarcerated. Worshiping with these women inside the jail is quite an impactful experience! The depth of their cries out for Jesus’ healing is truly humbling and inspiring to witness. The Holy Spirit is powerfully moving in their prayers, their worship, and their tears. I never had to invite Him there, He was already moving, and all I had to do was join Him in His work and be open to doing whatever He prompted. Over the years, that has included prayers of salvation, baptisms, kneeling on the floor beside the chapel cross with hurting souls, and looking into the eyes of women that needed to remember they are completely loved no matter their past.
The Holy Spirit is ALWAYS working, and these are perfect examples of how. Being a part of teams that welcome everyone to experience what the Holy Spirit is doing at Northland is life-changing! It is truly my JOY to serve others so I can delight in how the Holy Spirit continues to change me and the lives around me.