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Riding the Thermals of The Holy Spirit

Pastor David Hansen writes of our need to rely on the Holy Spirit:

I live near a river. Fish live in it, and the willowy river bottom is home to mice and mountain lions. From my kitchen window I watch bald eagles, ospreys, golden eagles, and hawks. These birds of prey ride the wind. It doesn't take much energy on their part. However, when geese fly, they must (expend energy by) flapping their wings, but birds of prey soar by catching currents.

Birds of prey seek thermals; columns of warm air that rise from the earth filled with energy. The birds glide on the heated currents of air. A good thermal can lift them high into the sky without so much as a single flap of their wings. From their higher place they can see more ground and can fly longer and farther, and when the time comes to dive on their prey, they can plummet with great speed.

As I watch these birds, I think of pastoral ministry. I too seek thermals. The Spirit lifts, gives vision, direction, and power. Ministry is riding on the free winds of the Spirit that lift us to heights we cannot climb on our own. We can't stay in the air very long on our own strength, but we can seek thermals. Our soul-wings are made large that we might catch the Spirit.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Although this passage is written to pastors, the illustration itself can easily be directed toward our church members encouraging them to seek the filling of the Holy Spirit through prayer.


David J. Hansen, The Art of Pastoring: Ministry Without All the Answers, (IVP books, 2012), p. 51

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