PE Conversations: The Spirit-Empowered Life
In recognition of National Men’s Ministries Day on Sunday, PE News is running the following interview with Mike Clarensau, author of A Spirit-Empowered Life. (My Healthy Church).
PE NEWS: Why is a book like this important in today’s culture?
CLARENSAU: There are really two sides — a need and a desire — to such a question. First, if God’s people are going to effectively impact this culture, we absolutely need the power of His Spirit flowing through our lives. The job is simply too big for our efforts alone. Sadly, even some of our once-strong, Spirit-led churches have lately been settling for something less than the full pursuit of the Holy Spirit’s availability to transform their people into the world-changers God desires them to become.
Couple that with the “want” side of this question. That’s where we discover how desperate many are for a journey of faith that makes a real difference. People, myself included, don’t just read Bible stories with fascination for their historical impact. We want to live like that too! We want to see God’s power flowing around and through our lives in ways that really change both us and those we love.
PE NEWS: How does a Spirit-empowered life begin?
CLARENSAU: Everything with God begins with our recognition of “want and need.” For those early disciples, they had been given a commission that they truly wanted to fulfill. They had been given a place in God’s eternal strategy and they genuinely wanted to meet His expectation. We see that in how they were committed even in the face of death.
But, they also realized that the job was too great for them. Jesus knew that too, that’s why He insisted that they wait in Jerusalem until God’s power was poured into their lives. So, that’s where a Spirit-empowered life begins — with a want that’s bigger than our ability, that drives us to our need for God. And, like He did for them on the Day of Pentecost, He will give the power of the Holy Spirit to us, too. That’s when this amazing life begins.
PE NEWS: How can living a Spirit-empowered life affect leadership?
CLARENSAU: We only have to look as far as the apostle Simon Peter to answer that. Look at the difference in this fisherman before and after the Day of Pentecost. Before, his desire to serve Jesus is really strong, but he melts in fear before a simple servant girl, denying Jesus multiple times in one night. But, once full of the Holy Spirit, Peter steps up on the day of Pentecost, unafraid to speak to the crowds, even confronting them strongly for their rejection of Jesus. He’s now a world-changer, full of boldness and power. Now God uses him to heal a lame man, raise a dead woman, and a lifetime of so much more. As a leader, if you want to lead in God’s power, you need what that fisherman found.
PE NEWS: How can living Spirit-empowered life affect our homes and families?
CLARENSAU: I can’t think of an arena of life that needs Spirit-empowered men more than our homes. To be led by God’s Spirit as a husband, dad, even grandfather, can’t really be narrowed into a single explanation. But just imagine such a man daily living in God’s wisdom and direction. To be a great leader, you must first be a follower and that’s what the Spirit-empowered man becomes. He follows fully after God and finds God shaping him into something he could never be on his own. Every kid needs a dad like that!
PE NEWS: Which of the five functions from Acts 2 found in the book (connect, grow, serve, go, and worship) do you feel are difficult for men to capture?
CLARENSAU: There are reasons why every one of these can be difficult for men. We’re not naturally too good at admitting our need for help, so depending on God doesn’t come very easily to us. Maybe it’s “Go” that helps us see our need for God’s help most quickly. But frankly, none of the five is truly within our capacity. We need the power of God’s Spirit to equip us for all. If we try to do any of these in our own strength, there will always be something missing. The Spirit-empowered life isn’t something we do. Instead, it’s something we desperately want God to do in us — and as He does, we find a new capacity to demonstrate that power in each of these critical ways.