AUSTIN—Nathan Lino, SBTC president and pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church, describes the early years of planting his church as some of the hardest years for him and his wife Nicole.
On the verge of leaving the ministry altogether, Lino recalls getting alone with the Holy Spirit of God and waiting to be filled.
“It was still really hard, but I woke up each day and said ‘let’s do this,’ not because of me but because something inside me had miraculously changed.”
The filling of the Holy Spirit served as the cornerstone of Lino’s message to pastors and church leaders on the opening night of the SBTC annual meeting at Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Nov. 14.
The second of six messages based on Romans 8, Lino described the radical transition for Christians from life in the flesh to life in the Spirit.
“Imagine with me for a moment that you could switch bodies with someone,” he told messengers.
“Here’s the truth about you: Two completely different people have lived inside of your body. … The old person that used to live inside your body was God’s enemy, but the new person living inside your body is God’s son or daughter, heir to the divine fortune.”
According to Romans 8:9, which says “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you,” there is a guarantee of having the Holy Spirit for followers of Jesus, Lino said.
Just as every animal is designed for a specific habitat, Lino said the Scripture is clear that each person is also wired for a specific kingdom and is either bound by the nature of the flesh or by the nature of God.
In the same way a fish would need to be rewired to survive outside of water, Lino said the Holy Spirit rewires the heart of a believer.
“When you believed in Jesus with the kind of belief that saves you, God took you out of the kingdom of man and put you into the habitat of the kingdom of God.”
Lino urged the pastors, their wives and other church leaders in the meeting to remember that “as your relationship with the Holy Spirit goes, so will go your life.”
“Maybe you’ve been doing a bunch of stuff for the Spirit, but you have not been communing with the Spirit,” he suggested.
While the temptation might be to flee ministry or move to a different context when ministry grows difficult, Lino encouraged weary church leaders in the room to first wait on the Holy Spirit.
“For some of us the answer is not a change of context. The answer is to go and get alone with the Holy Spirit of God and stay there until he comes and until he fills you. … If you do that, you will get up and leave that moment, but you will not be leaving the Spirit, and you will walk through your day in the power of the living God.”