Word & Spirit by R.T. Kendall

Word and Spirit: Truth, Power, and the Next Great Move of God by R.T. Kendall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Kendall, the former pastor of Westminster Chapel, brings to the page the necessity of a marriage of both Word (Bible-believing and centered) and Spirit (believing in the continued gifting of the Holy Spirit.) It is setting the environment for an awakening in the global church according to Kendall and would be something greater than the “Charismatic” movement of the last thirty years.

I agreed with much of what is in this little book, however unfortunate it is to have the forward by Mark Driscoll. Yet with Kendall’s presentation, I am still left hungry for something more. While I long for the day he describes, perhaps a clearer picture of what healthy Word & Spirit churches look like would be helpful.

Kendall is clear in his writing but an annoying feature of this book is that barely a page goes by without the author referencing another book he has written. The refrain, “as I wrote in such and such a book” is so prevalent it is annoying. I get that he has written many books, some on my list to read, but there must be a better way to cite his previous thinking if at all.



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Exhausted on Purpose

I don’t think I have interacted recently with anyone that expresses that they are rested up. Everyone, friends, family, neighbors, all talk of how tired they are, how exhausting life is.

Right? This is our experience, everyone we know and we ourselves are beat down. Now it might be a huge indication that something is off. We are taking in too much or stress has our system wrecked. Children are demanding too much energy, there is never enough juice to match the hours we have to be “on.”

We think diet might help, exercise will do something, or maybe a binge of Netflix and a bottle of wine. But usually we end up in the same place. Exhausted. It certainly might be an indicator of needed change in our lifestyle or circumstance and I think we should pursue that.

But what if you are a Christian? What is exhaustion doing in us, those that claim faith in Christ?

I submit that exhaustion is positioning us to be desperate for something beyond physical energy or a new routine. Exhaustion is leading us to recognize our need for the very presence and power of God himself.

In Christ there is the promise and provision of power that is meant to deal a deathblow to our exhaustion – seriously. Think of Jesus’ words before ascending to heaven after the resurrection. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8). Energy for the mission of life, all of life. Witnessing of Jesus.

Then Paul gives us a picture of our lives, and not just the churchy mission type life but all of it in Christ, Paul said he toiled preaching Christ, “struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Colossians 1:29) That is not just for an apostle long ago, that’s for you.

Believer, your exhaustion is bringing you to the need for the Spirit to work in you, to free you, to empower you, to enliven you. Run to him, ask, cry out for strength. For the presence of God in your life. That you would work with all of his energy powerfully working in you.

May it be so.

A Persistent Boy and the Faithfulness of God

I found myself emotional while I preached Sunday recounting a gentle reminder from the Lord of continued pursuit of him and I thought I would share it here to encourage you as well.

This last week I have been reading Terry Virgo’s No Well-Worn Paths which tells the story of New Frontiers International and the early days of charismatic renewal in the UK that merged with grace-centered doctrine in the church. As I have been reading of the some of the moves of God, the filling of the Spirit and healings, prophetic words, and boldness in his people, I have been wondering, why not now?

God is the same as he was decades ago. Of course he could pour out his Spirit for his glory and the good of the church (and he has in a number of ways). But hearing the stories I found myself wrestling with God desiring the same gifting and power spiritually as told in the book.

I took my lament into the desert as our family scheduled a day away to rest and reboot. Then Saturday on an early morning hike with my seven-year-old son Ewen, God showed me his kindness.

The night before we had been hiking on the same trail but dinner was approaching and my oldest who was hiking with us wanted to turn back, so halfway through the trail we cut the hike short and returned to camp. Saturday morning though, Ewen could not be stopped. He wanted to press on and arrive at the Palm Oasis promised on the map.

It was such a joy to make the journey with him, talking about life, the groaning of creation for redemption, and how fun it is to grow up together. As we progressed on the trail we turned a corner into a valley surrounded by hills/mountains and beautiful rock formations.

Ewen was ecstatic. “This is so beautiful! If we had turned back we would have never seen this!”

His statement struck me. “If we had turned back we would have never seen this.” As I paused to think about it I knew this was the Lord urging me to keep going. Here I was crying out for the Spirit to move in the church, in my own life, and he was saying, keep coming, don’t stop.

If a small church pastor needs to hear anything often it is this! So with a thankful heart I got back to hiking. We reached the Oasis and had a wonderful time, father and son. Ewen is already planning our next hiking trip.

And I settle back into the routine of discipleship, study, and prayer aching for a move of God, knowing he will, knowing we will keep pursuing him, we will keep going.

God at Work

Last week David Platt hosted a simulcast to promote the launch of his new book and communicate the urgent need for gospel-spreading ministry to happen in our day.

I haven’t watched the whole video yet, but there was one key story with a brother in a restricted country a buddy shared with me. It is so stirring and leaves me praying “do it again Lord!”

The story begins at 1:02:53 of the video if the link doesn’t play from there.