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May 11, 2017

The Life-Giving Spirit

By Daniel Im

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Breathe In, Breathe Out

Generally, we don’t give much thought to our breathing. We go about our business of each day with little thought to the miracle that is the breath which enters and leaves our lungs over 23,000 times. Truthfully, the only time we tend to recognize that it is even happening is when something is present that makes it difficult to breathe.

Recently, I chatted with Todd Korpi, church planter and lead pastor of The Cathedral in Flint, Michigan, and author of the new book The Life-Giving Spirit: The Victor of Christ in Missional Perspective. During our conversation, Todd discussed how breath was more than just a biological function for the ancient Jews and early Christians. Instead, they believed breath to be given and sustained by God Himself.

In our fast-paced world it’s easy to overlook the fact, as Todd says, that “every inhalation of breath is from God, therefore every exhalation of breath should be for God.” Yet when we take ownership of the fact that the same Spirit, which is breathing life into us, also desires to breathe life from us into our communities, God is able to do great things in our lives, our churches, and our cities.

Creating a life-giving culture around us requires intentionality, but it isn’t as insurmountable of a task as we might think. In Todd’s book (for which I wrote the foreword), he speaks of three ways in which both individual Christians as well as churches should “breathe life” into their communities

First, we need to change the way we treat the reality of death.

I love what Todd said in our interview, that the early church often referred to Christian death as having “fallen asleep.” The hope of the final resurrection should therefore embolden us as Christians in the reality that the worst this world can inflict upon us is death, but death is nothing more than a “cosmic nap” with glorious resurrection on the other side. When the Bible says that we don’t grieve like the world does at the loss of a loved one, it is because we grieve like one whose loved one has moved away but is expected to return, not as though we’ll never see them again.

To read the remainder of this article, and to listen to the entire Behind-the-Scenes segment with Todd Korpi, click here for the full video and post.

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Tweetables:

  • “When you exhale, think about this: if your inhaled breath was from God, shouldn’t your exhaled breath be for God?” @ToddKorpi
  • “Life has less to do with my vitals on a chart and more to do with being connected in relationship to God.” @ToddKorpi
  • “There should be a thunderous expectation of the return of Christ echoed in the laying to rest of a Christian body.” @ToddKorpi
  • “We should consistently and regularly ask ourselves what would I do for Christ if I knew I couldn’t die? Then we should go and do it.” @ToddKorpi
  • “What if we treated persecution and death as the vanquished foes they really are?” @ToddKorpi
  • “How can I love my neighbor as I love myself when I don’t even know my neighbor?” @ToddKorpi
  • “Active listening has nearly as much evangelistic power as active speaking.” @ToddKorpi

Additional Resources:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Founder of NewChurches.com and the Director of Church Multiplication for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.

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