Book Review: Forgotten God

I bought Forgotten God: Reversing the Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan a few months ago.  I picked it up and started it and didn’t really dig in.  I knew that I wanted to read it, but wanted to wait for a chance to read it slowly and contemplate the role of the Holy Spirit in my life.  This past week provided that opportunity and I am so glad I waited until I could really digest this awesome book.  It was incredibly convicting, encouraging, and thought-provoking all at the same time.

I talked about this book in our faculty devotions this past week at NCCS.  I shared about my own personal struggle to focus on the role of the Holy Spirit.  I can think of God the Father and desire to live a life imitating the Son of God.  It’s the idea of the Spirit that I struggle most with.  This book has been an incredible tool in helping me understand the Spirit and the role he plays my life.

Here are some things I highlighted while reading Forgotten God…
(Just a quick word about these notes.  These are copied word for word from the book.  When I read, I use a highlighter.  When I write a book review, I type out the notes.  This is a great way for me to read, analyze, and synthesize the material that I am reading.  I hope that this might be of some benefit to you as well.)

  • The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit.
  • If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purpose, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit.
  • We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God.
  • When I read Scripture, I see the truth and necessity of a life wholly surrendered to and dependent upon the Holy Spirit.
  • The bottom line is that we can easily pursue just about any lifestyle we desire, then find Scriptures to show everyone it’s all right to live that way. But what would it look like to live exegetically? If we were to start with Scripture and allow it to dictate our actions, how would we live?
  • “We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone…[We] have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.”-A.W. Tozer
  • The Epistles tell us of the Holy Spirit’s amazing power at work in us, our Spirit-enabled ability to put our sin to death through Him, and the supernatural gifts He gives us.
  • And this is the question I just can’t get around: If it’s true that the Spirit of God dwells in us and that our bodies are the Holy Spirit’s temple, then shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?
  • Churchgoers all across the nation say the Holy Spirit has entered them. They claim that God has given them a supernatural ability to follow Christ, put their sin to death, and serve the church. Christians talk about being born again and say that they were dead but now have come to life. We have become hardened to those words, but they are powerful words that have significant meaning. Yet when those outside the church see no difference in our lives, they begin to question our integrity, our sanity, or even worse, our God. And can you blame them?
  • There is much more to God and following in the Way of Jesus than getting a bunch of talented people together to hold a church service.
  • Those of us who believe in Jesus would never deny the truth that we have the Spirit of the living God, the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead, living inside of us. I’m just not convinced we’ve internalized this truth and enjoyed His blessing as He intends.
  • Take a moment and ask yourself this question: When was the last time I undeniably saw the Spirit at work in or around me?
  • Are you willing to pursue truth in your journey to know and be known by the Holy Spirit?
  • Rather than guarding your perspective, consider taking a fresh look at familiar passages to make sure you haven’t missed something.
  • There is a huge difference between believing what God has promised and praying for things you’d like to be true.
  • Sometimes the sin we take on becomes such a part of us that it requires this same kind of ripping and tearing to free us. The Holy Spirit does not seek to hurt us, but He does seek to make us Christlike, and this can be painful.
  • God is not like anything. He is incomprehensible, incomporable, and unlike any other being. He is outside our realm of existence, and thus, outside our ability to categorize Him. While analogies may be helpful in understanding certain aspects of Him, let’s be careful not to think that our analogies in any way encapsulate His nature.
  • The Holy Spirit is a Person.  The Holy Spirit is God.  The Holy Spirit is eternal and holy.  The Holy Spirit has His own mind, and He prays for us.  The Holy Spirit has emotions.  The Holy Spirit has His own desires and will.  The Holy Spirit is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.
  • The Spirit is intentional as He apportions spiritual gifts to each person, according to His will and purposes.  The most obvious and stated purpose of these manifestations is for the good an edification of the church.  The Spirit desires to use us when our hearts are aligned with this vision, when we are filled with genuine love for the church, and when we desire to see the church grow in love for God and others.
  • Desiring the Holy Spirit means we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.  By definition, it’s ridiculous to desire the Holy Spirit for our own purposes.
  • The Holy Spirit is the one who fills believers with God’s love and the one who enables us to love one another.
  • Our lack of intimacy often is due to our refusal to unplug and shut off communication from all others so we can be alone with Him.
  • The God of the universe is not something we can just add to our lives and keep on as we did before.  The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is not someone we can just call on when we want a little extra power in our lives.  Jesus Christ did not die in order to follow us.  He died and rose again so that we could forget everything else and follow Him to the cross, to true Life.
  • Being filled with the Spirit is not limited to the day we first meet Christ.  Instead, throughout Scripture we read of a relationship that calls us into an active pursuit of the Spirit.
  • Living by the Spirit implies a habitual, continual, and active interaction with the Holy Spirit.  While this sounds exhausting, it really isn’t because all of this living and action is done in the power of the Spirit.  It is not by your own strength.

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