Jonathan Dodson: Knowing the Spirit Who Creates, Sustains, and Transforms Everything
Here in Spirit
Knowing the Spirit Who Creates, Sustains, and Transforms Everything (IVP, 2018)
WHO: Jonathan K. Dodson, founding pastor of City Life Church in Austin, Texas.
HE SAYS: “Even after the Spirit has transformed all things, we will continue to live here, in a renewed heavens and earth, because of his sustaining, life-generating presence..”
THE BIG IDEA: By knowing and understanding the Holy Spirit better, we can live a more meaningful life in the here and now.
The chapters in this book follow a general arc from creation to new creation, looking at how he influences everyday stuff like culture, work, prayer, sin and more. At the end of each chapter are questions for personal reflection or group discussion.
“The most meaningful, creative, satisfying life possible is one lived here in Spirit. And the Spirit accomplishes this not by transporting us away from this life, but by transforming us in it.”
A CONVERSATION WITH JONATHAN DODSON
Why did you decide to write Here in Spirit?
I have several motivations in writing the book: pastoral, cultural, relational. This book was inspired by a formative encounter with the person of the Holy Spirit in my twenties, during which I repented for ignoring the third person of the Trinity my whole life. Afterward, I began to search the Scriptures to reacquaint myself with the Spirit, which has led to a transformative, though up and down, relationship with the Spirit. Thus, the book carries a pastoral burden—to acquaint or reacquaint people with the Spirit.
The more I have come to know and understand the Spirit, the bigger and smaller he gets. He’s as big as the cosmos and as small as you and me. My hope is that readers will be inspired by the cosmic and creation-perfecting work of the Holy Spirit, and that this inspiration will lead them to create great culture, redeem social ill, and share a whole gospel with the whole world. He moves me to write about great ideas, form sentences, love my wife, serve my kids, pastor my church, and renew my city.
A third motivation is to help people realize that they are often dislocated from the present. How often are we absent when talking with others, due to a preoccupation with what they think of us, the pull of social media, or the desire to find something more entertaining? The Holy Spirit relocates us in the present by indwelling us and prompting us to be fully human, to engage others as we walk in step with him. The Spirit eagerly reproduces the image of Christ, which was present-tense and pastoral, engaged with those in front of him.
What do you want people to grasp about the Spirit?
The most meaningful, creative, satisfying life is the one lived here in Spirit. This is distinct because the Spirit is typically associated with bland inspiration of the Bible or explosive spiritual gifts. While he certainly is involved in those, he’s up to much more.