The God I Never Knew: How Real Friendship with the Holy Spirit Can Change Your Life

The God I Never Knew: How Real Friendship with the Holy Spirit Can Change Your Life

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by Robert Morris
     
 

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Who is the Holy Spirit, and exactly what does He do?

Many people find the Holy Spirit mysterious and confounding.  Why is the third person in the Godhead—the one Jesus said would be the believer’s ultimate source of truth and comfort—the source of such confusion?
 
In The God I Never Knew, Robert Morris clearly

Overview

Who is the Holy Spirit, and exactly what does He do?

Many people find the Holy Spirit mysterious and confounding.  Why is the third person in the Godhead—the one Jesus said would be the believer’s ultimate source of truth and comfort—the source of such confusion?
 
In The God I Never Knew, Robert Morris clearly explains that the Holy Spirit’s chief desire is for relationship – to offer us the encouragement and guidance of a trusted friend. This insightful and biblically-based book moves beyond theological jargon, religious tradition, and cultural misconceptions to clarify what the Holy Spirit promises to do in your life:  

·       Dwell within you
·       Be your helper
·       Guide you into all truth
·       Comfort you
·       Pray for you
·       Show you things to come
·       Never leave you

It’s time to experience the Holy Spirit in a fresh, new way—to meet the God you may have never known.  
 
“You will find no better person [than Robert Morris] to introduce you to friendship with the Holy Spirit of the living God.”
—Jack W. Hayford, founder and president of The King’s University
 
This is one of the most balanced approaches to the role of the Holy Spirit that I’ve ever seen.”
—Perry Noble, founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church and author of Unleash!
 
INCLUDES A SMALL - GROUP STUDY GUIDE

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The God I Never Knew
 
“In an hour when spiritual hunger is increasing and practical clarity is needed to avoid the confusion to which too many are vulnerable, it is a delight to affirm the wisdom, truth, and integrity with which Robert Morris speaks, teaches, and lives. I know no leader today who exceeds the trustworthiness and genuine love for people than Robert, and you will find no better person to introduce you to friendship with the Holy Spirit of the living God.” —Jack W. Hayford, founder and president of The King’s University
 
“I have learned more about the Holy Spirit from Robert Morris than any other pastor. His insight into this very important topic will motivate, teach, and equip us to embrace the third person of the Trinity, as well as launch all of us into a fresh new season of worship.” —Brady Boyd, senior pastor of New Life Church and author of Fear No Evil
 
“So much controversy and confusion has surrounded the topic of the Holy Spirit. In fact, most people don’t understand who He is at all. In The God I Never Knew, Robert Morris brilliantly clears up the misconceptions and introduces the Holy Spirit as someone you will want to be your best friend.” —Chris Hodges, senior pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama
 
The God I Never Knew gives life-changing insight into the mystery of the Holy Spirit. If you have questions about the Holy Spirit, Morris’s book will put you at ease and lead you to know and love our comforter, helper, and friend.” —Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv and author of Weird
 
“In The God I Never Knew, my friend Robert Morris captures the magnificent power, friendship, and treasure that God has given us in the person of the Holy Spirit. He effectively demystifies the common misperceptions associated with this part of the Godhead and will evoke a deeper passion and love for God within every reader. No matter where you are in your walk with God, this book will intensify your relationship with Him.” —Stovall Weems, lead pastor of Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, and author of Awakening

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307729729
Publisher:
The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/06/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
90,582
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

The God I Never Knew, Chapter 1
 
The knock at the door startled Irene Adkins. The seventy-nine-year-old great-grandmother wasn’t expecting any visitors. A cautious peek through the peephole revealed a well-dressed silver-haired gentleman with a kind face that struck her as vaguely familiar. It was something about the eyes and nose. As she opened the door, her certainty grew—the stranger definitely reminded her of someone. But who?
It would take her a while to realize that the man’s face indeed bore an uncanny resemblance to one she knew better than any other—her own. Irene’s seventy-three-year-old brother, Terry, had come for a surprise visit. It was quite surprising because Irene never knew she had a brother. Back in 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, a desperate and confused young English couple unhitched their tattered camper trailer on the side of the road and drove away. Police later found three small, hungry children inside. Irene, at ten months of age, was the youngest. The three were placed in separate foster homes and grew up unaware of the others’ existence. Meanwhile, the young couple eventually achieved some stability a few years later and had another child—their son, Terry.
When Terry was fourteen, his parents revealed their shameful secret. They told him of the desperate straits in which they’d found themselves and of the wrenching decision to abandon the trio of hungry mouths they could not feed. Shortly thereafter Terry began a lifelong quest to find his siblings, especially the sister his parents had named Irene. He searched in vain for almost sixty years. Then came a breakthrough. He learned the name of the agency that had placed Irene and her siblings in foster homes.
Not long thereafter came the day—April 3, 2010—when Irene Adkins discovered the wonderful brother she never knew. In the discovery the rootless orphan found a source of answers to questions she had carried around in her heart all her life.
I believe I know how Irene felt. Several decades ago, after many years of struggling to live the Christian life and even working “successfully” in fulltime ministry, I finally discovered the God I never knew. And in the discovery I found not only the source of answers to every question I’ve ever had but a dear friend as well. One who has made my life richer, fuller, and more exciting than I ever dreamed possible. I am referring, of course, to God—the Holy Spirit.
 
An Amazing Relationship
 
I grew up in church. However, this church was part of a denomination that avoided mentioning the Holy Spirit whenever possible. Our denominational leaders treated Him a bit like the crazy uncle who shows up at Thanksgiving once every few years and horrifies everyone with his inappropriate behavior. You can’t help being related to this uncle, but you hope that if you don’t mention his name or send him a Christmas card, he will stay away.
In fact, many years ago when I prepared to leave home to attend Bible college, my pastor had just one parting word of counsel for me. I had recently given my life to Christ, and I was burning with desire to serve Him. So I eagerly waited to hear what encouragement my pastor would deliver as I entered this season of learning and preparation for ministry. His only advice to me was, “Watch out for people who talk about the Holy Spirit.”
At the time I didn’t know any better. So I simply nodded and filed his warning away in my mind. Now—after twenty-five years of discovering what a wonderful, kind, helpful, gentle, and wise person the Holy Spirit is; after developing an intimate friendship with Him that has made my life better and more fulfilling in countless ways; after watching the Holy Spirit help and bless people—I am grieved to think back on my pastor’s advice. To be honest, it offends me. Of course, most of us feel offended when someone thinks badly of a person we love and respect, especially when the opinion is based on lies or misunderstandings. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of hearing bad things about someone through a third party and forming a negative impression, only to meet that individual later and discover that he isn’t the bad person you envisioned at all. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been misinformed about the Holy Spirit to some degree. After more than twenty-five years of experience in ministry, I’ve seen firsthand that most Christians hold a distorted, inaccurate, or incomplete view of the third member of the Trinity. In fact, many frustrated believers are just as Irene Adkins was for most of her life—utterly unaware that a loving and amazing person desires to know them and to fill their empty lives with good things. Too many have resigned themselves to perpetual defeat in their battles with temptation or to stumbling through life, making decisions with nothing more than their own flawed reason to guide them. Others live a dull, powerless brand of Christianity, completely at odds with the picture of the vibrant, overcoming, advancing church of the book of Acts.
The dynamic, full life Jesus promised to believers is a natural outgrowth of intimate friendship with God, the Holy Spirit. Today I have an amazing relationship with the Holy Spirit, though that wasn’t always true. By the time we’re finished exploring this topic, you’ll realize what an amazing relationship you can have with Him too.
 
 
Chapter 2: Who Is This Person?
 
Helper
 
Like a lot of newly married couples, Debbie and I didn’t have much at first. Even the possessions we could call our own were mostly hand-me-downs from our parents. Our financial situation improved after a couple of years of marriage, and one day Debbie asked if I was okay with her buying a new comforter. Our current bedcover was so faded and threadbare that you could practically read the newspaper through it. Being a typical guy, I thought we’d buy a plain bedspread. So when we went shopping, I was shocked to learn that the comforter Debbie had in mind might require taking out a second mortgage on the house. Of course, I’m exaggerating. But the big and soft and puffy and colorful comforter we purchased was much fancier and more beautiful than I could have imagined.
Despite its cost, I was excited about our new acquisition. On the day we bought it, several times I caught myself imagining what it would feel like to slip beneath that soft comforter and be all toasty warm. At bedtime I walked into our room and, to my horror, the beautiful new comforter was gone. With my best exasperated yet perplexed voice, I asked Debbie, “Sweetie, where’s the new comforter?” She gave me that look. You know the one—the “you can’t seriously be that dense” look. The truth is, yes, we husbands really can be that dense!
Realizing the level of my denseness in this moment, Debbie explained, “That new comforter isn’t for use. It’s for looks.” In the years since that night, we’ve accumulated many household items that I’ve discovered are for looks, not use. We have plates I’m not allowed to eat on and fancy goblets I can’t drink from. We have beautiful towels that you can use if you stay at our house, but I can’t. In fact, there are towels hanging in my bathroom right now that I’m not allowed to use.
In the same way, millions of Christians have been given a comforter, but they treat Him as if He’s just for looks. If we think that way, we’re wrong. The wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit is meant to be so much more than an ornamental feature in our lives.
 
Introducing a Helper
 
Just who is the Holy Spirit? That’s a big question—one as big as God Himself. When you want to get to know someone new, often the first step is to be introduced by someone who already knows that person well. During His years of ministry on earth, Jesus knew the Holy Spirit better than any human ever had or has since. So perhaps the best place to learn about the Holy Spirit begins with Jesus and the words He used to introduce the Spirit to the disciples, as recorded in John 14.
It’s helpful to know chapters 14–16 of John’s gospel contain a record of Jesus’s conversation with His disciples at the Last Supper. Jesus isn’t publicly teaching a large crowd of casual followers and curious gawkers on a Galilean hillside. He’s not debating the Pharisees or speaking cryptically in parables to the Sadducees. Instead, Jesus is in a small room, having dinner with His closest friends. He knows that in just twelve short hours, He will be put to death on the cross. In this unbelievably serious moment, a leader who knows He is about to be killed gives vital instructions and information to His followers.
Jesus begins with words of comfort: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. I’m going away, but I will come back” (paraphrased). Then, in John 14:16–17, Jesus gets to the core of what He wants these men to understand: And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. Don’t get hung up on the fact that Jesus says, “I will pray the Father.” Using the word pray this way sounds a little odd to our modern ears. But the Greek word translated “pray” here is translated “ask” in many other parts of the New Testament. Jesus is simply saying, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper.” Note the word “Helper.” The person the Father will send sounds mysterious, but Jesus tells the disciples that the role and nature of this person is to “help.” Jesus also assures them that the Helper won’t be a complete stranger. “But you know Him,” Jesus says.
How could they already know this coming helper? Jesus explains by saying, “For He dwells with you and will be in you.” The verb “dwells” is in the present tense, while the phrase “will be in you” is clearly future tense. At the moment Jesus was speaking, the disciples had experienced the Helper dwelling “with” them to a certain extent. But the Helper was about to be sent in a way that would make Him not only “with” them but “in” them.
Although Jesus spoke these words to a small group of His closest friends and followers, they are also meant for us. The truth of the Holy Spirit’s living with and in us assures us that we never have to feel alone.
 
How the Holy Spirit Helps
 
What kind of “help” will the Holy Spirit provide? Jesus gives part of the answer in John 14:25–26: These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
This is the second time Jesus chooses the word “Helper” to describe the One the Father is sending. Here Jesus lists two of the many ways this person will be of help.
First, “He will teach you all things.” What an incredible promise. There’s no subject in which God isn’t an expert. He has all the answers. The second way the Holy Spirit helps is by bringing “to your remembrance all things that I [Jesus] said to you.” This is one reason the Gospels are so detailed and in such agreement about the words of Jesus. The Holy Spirit helped the disciples remember everything Jesus said to them.
 
Jesus Must Leave
 
A little later in this conversation with the disciples, Jesus gives the third mention of the coming Helper being sent from the Father: But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. ( John 15:26)
Notice that Jesus calls Him “the Spirit of truth.” Jesus presents the Holy Spirit to us as the ultimate answer to overcoming and undoing the work of Satan, the great Deceiver and “the father of lies” ( John 8:44, NIV). For thousands of years, since the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind had stumbled in the darkness of the devil’s lies. Then Jesus, who declared Himself to be “the way, the truth, and the life” ( John 14:6), announced He would soon be sending a helper who would make it possible to live a life free from deception.
In John 16, Jesus gives the disciples His most thorough introduction to the Holy Spirit. “So wonderful is this One who will be sent,” Jesus tells them, “that it is a much better thing for you if I go away. Because if I don’t go, He can’t come!” That’s how I like to paraphrase it—here’s the actual translation: Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. ( John 16:7)
The first thing that always strikes me when I read this passage is that Jesus feels compelled to say, “Now, I’m telling you the truth here.” He knows that the next words He speaks will truly seem unbelievable to the disciples. The disciples were grief stricken at the idea that Jesus would be going away from them. They loved Him. They depended on Him. He was their miracle working leader. How could it possibly be good that He is about to leave them? Jesus immediately explains that only if He goes to the Father can the Helper be sent.
Jesus continues by explaining some more ways the Holy Spirit will provide help, and we’ll look at those in a moment. Right now, notice John 16:12–14. There, Jesus says,
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
These verses contain an amazing promise. Jesus wants to tell the disciples the whole amazing story of what lies ahead, but He knows that the truths He wants to deliver would just overwhelm and confuse them at this moment. But He has good news for them. Who better to deliver important truths than the Spirit of truth? “When He…has come, He will guide you into all truth,” Jesus says. “All truth.” That’s quite a benefit of friendship with the Holy Spirit. No wonder Jesus refers to Him as the Helper. But Jesus mentions yet another form of help the Spirit will provide: “He will tell you things to come.” Let me put it a little differently. Jesus is saying, “The Holy Spirit will tell you the future.” Would it occasionally be helpful to know what’s around the corner? Have you ever been blindsided by some event and thought to yourself, If only I’d known this was coming, I’d have been better prepared?
One of the elders at the church I pastor is a wonderful model for allowing the Holy Spirit to show us things to come. Steve built a large and successful business in the ultracompetitive construction industry, largely by regularly getting alone with God and allowing His Spirit to direct him where his business is concerned.
In addition to having daily quiet times of Bible study, private worship, and prayer, Steve makes it a point to go away two or three times each year for several days at a time. He rents a cabin or lake house and takes little more than his Bible and a notebook. His testimony is that he invariably receives instruction from the Holy Spirit in these sessions of private communion about what lies ahead and how to lead his business accordingly. Steve can share instance after instance in which a seemingly counterintuitive instruction from the Holy Spirit resulted in a profitable breakthrough. Or in which a warning enabled him to avoid unnecessary losses or bad hiring decisions. Yes, a key role of the Holy Spirit is to lead us supernaturally into truth and reveal what lies ahead. No wonder Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Helper four times in three consecutive chapters! The promises in these passages are absolutely incredible. In each of these four instances, the Greek word translated “helper” is parakletos. The Greek word appears only five times in the entire New Testament, and we’ve just looked at four of them.
When the typical first-century Greek speaker or writer used this word, he was talking about a person who pleads your case like a lawyer before a judge, or someone who goes before you to intercede with someone on your behalf. What an amazing way to think of who the Holy Spirit is and how He is our helper!
 
The Bottom Line
 
The key message about the Holy Spirit’s role is very simple: He helps me. He helps me know what to say when I’m speechless. He helps me know when to speak and when to keep my mouth closed. I’m sure you can think of situations where both kinds of help would be welcome. For example, a friend shares a serious problem and you have no idea what to say that will help or encourage her. Then a thought suddenly comes to mind, you speak it aloud, and the person says, “Wow, that’s exactly what I needed to hear!” That’s what the Holy Spirit can do—giving you the very words you need to say.
Sometimes He tells you what not to say. Have you ever had that happen? Maybe you’ve been involved in a conversation with someone who got a little emotional. Just as you are about to throw out a really clever comeback, you have a little cautionary thought: I shouldn’t say that. Of course, the problem is that most of us say what we’re thinking anyway. Invariably, we end up concluding, I shouldn’t have said that! This happens a lot in marriage. Maybe you come home from work, and although you don’t know it at that moment, your spouse has had a tough day. You start to say something, and the Holy Spirit nudges you and whispers, I wouldn’t go there if I were you, My friend. Sometimes He adds, As a matter of fact, if I were you, I’d take her out to dinner. If you’re smart, you’ll listen and choose wisely in that moment. If you’re not so smart—like me sometimes—you’ll ignore that advice and speak your mind. I’ve learned to listen to that voice. I’ve discovered how wonderful it is to have a helper.
You might be wondering if the Holy Spirit really speaks to us in such clear ways. The simple answer is yes. The truth is that most of us don’t have any trouble believing that God speaks to us. We just get frustrated because we don’t know exactly what He’s saying. Almost every one of us has a desire, even a desperation, to hear with confidence the voice of God. Who wants to stumble through life without the benefit of the clear direction and inward peace that comes from hearing God’s voice? The great news is that God doesn’t want that for us either.
Hearing God’s voice is vital to breaking out of old comfort zones and into exciting new levels of effectiveness. Hearing God and responding to Him can take us to new places of intimacy and purpose in Him. Hearing God’s voice begins by recognizing which member of the Trinity is tasked with speaking to us in this season of history. It is, of course, the Holy Spirit. The Father is on His throne. Jesus has been seated at His right hand and, according to Hebrews 10:12–13, will remain there “waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.” The Holy Spirit, however, is active and present and commissioned to interact with us on the earth today. As we’ve just seen, Jesus went away so the Spirit could come to us and live in us. He leads us into all truth, shows us things to come, reveals heavenly mysteries, and imparts vital direction.
The main reason many people aren’t sure if they can really hear the voice of God is because they have refused to engage and embrace the member of the Trinity whose job it is to speak to them.
 
Other Ways the Spirit Helps
 
Let’s look at John 16:8–11. In these four verses Jesus gives additional detail about how the Holy Spirit helps us. In fact, He mentions three more key aspects to the Helper’s ministry. Let’s look at the whole passage and then analyze it one piece at a time:
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
 
Conviction
 
Jesus names three areas in which the Holy Spirit will “convict” the world: sin, righteousness, and judgment. What does Jesus mean by the word convict? To our modern ears this word conjures up thoughts of a criminal prosecution. However, Jesus is talking about conviction in the sense of “belief ” or “persuasion.” Simply put, to convict means to convince. And in this role of helping, the Holy Spirit will convince the world of God’s truths concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. He will persuade people that certain things are true.
In verse 9, Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict the world “of sin, because they do not believe in Me.” We need to understand that when the Holy Spirit convicts lost people of sin—in other words, convinces them that sin is ruling their lives—that’s a good thing! This conviction is the only way people become aware that they need the Savior. The truth is that no one ever comes to believe in Jesus as Savior without first coming to the conviction that he or she needs the Savior. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.
I was saved in a shabby little motel room. Of course, you don’t have to be in church to be saved. After all, you’re probably not going to die in a funeral home. It’s convenient if you do, but it probably won’t happen. More than anything else, during that lifechanging moment in a run-down motel, I remember the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I’d been in church my whole life, but in that encounter I was completely and thoroughly convinced—to the very core of my being— that I was a sinner and needed Jesus. That conviction was the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and I am more grateful than words can express that He brought it to my life. Think about the hour you were saved. Do you remember the conviction, your overwhelming sense of need? That was the Holy Spirit leading you to Jesus! In fact, 1 Corinthians 12:3 says that “no one can declare that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”
 
Righteousness
 
The Holy Spirit also convicts us of righteousness. Before we explore this particular ministry of the Holy Spirit, we need to have a clear understanding of what the word righteousness means. Contrary to common belief, righteousness doesn’t mean “right behavior.” Perhaps you’ve even heard someone with high moral standards referred to as “a righteous person.” Of course, it’s good to have high moral standards, but that’s not righteousness. Instead, righteousness means having a “right standing” with God. Please note that this verse doesn’t say the Holy Spirit will convict us of the need for righteous living. While a right standing with God will indeed lead to righteous living, that’s not the message in John 16:8–11. Rather, Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict the world of righteousness because, “I go to My Father.” The reason we can have a “right standing” before God is because Jesus ascended to the Father and sits at His right hand as an eternal reminder that our sins have been paid for (see Hebrews 10:8–14).
When Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict us of righteousness, He is referring to the fact that we all need to be convinced that righteousness exists
—that it’s even possible to have a right standing with God. In addition, once we’re born again, the Holy Spirit’s role is to convince us that we have been made righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ. He helps by providing an inner confidence of the wonderful reality of 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For [God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Understanding that you have been made righteous is a wonderful gift. The Holy Spirit helps you become fully convinced that you have a right standing with God, and you can come to His throne with confidence and the full assurance that you are received, welcomed, and embraced by Him.
 
Judgment
 
Finally, the Holy Spirit was sent to convince the world of “judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” ( John 16:11). To understand this aspect of the Holy Spirit’s activity, we need to know who Jesus refers to as the “ruler of this world.” A number of Bible passages establish that He is talking about Satan. For example, in John 12:31, Jesus says, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” In John 14:30, Jesus says, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.”
This is clearly the enemy Jesus is talking about. Satan was the ruler of the world, but he was judged two thousand years ago through Jesus’s sacrifice and subsequent victory over death, hell, and the grave. The Holy Spirit convicts us of this truth by convincing us that the former ruler of this world, Satan, has been judged and kicked out. He no longer has any authority in our lives. He’s an outlaw.
 
A Proper Understanding
 
It can be easy to misread and misunderstand the Holy Spirit’s role. We’ve just looked at how the Holy Spirit comes to convince us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. But many people interpret these verses to mean the Holy Spirit’s basic message is, “You’re a horrible person. God is mad at you. And He’s going to get you.”
That’s not the Holy Spirit’s ministry at all! In fact, that is Satan’s role. The Bible calls him “the accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10). If you allow him, Satan will keep you feeling unworthy of God’s acceptance and unwelcome in His presence by reminding you of every time you’ve blown it. The Holy Spirit was sent to make us aware that we’re lost and in need of Jesus; to lead us to Him; then to persuade us that we are in right standing with God through Him; and, finally, to fill us with the conviction that Satan is a defeated enemy who no longer has any authority over us.
When you open yourself to this ministry of the Holy Spirit, you’ll find that He helps you in every area of your Christian life. That makes sense, because the Holy Spirit is our helper. But that’s not all He is. He is also our friend, which we will explore next.
 

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Meet the Author

ROBERT MORRIS is the founding senior pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX. Since it began in 2000, Gateway has grown to more than 26,000 active members.  He is the best-selling author of several books, including The Blessed Life, The Power of Your Words, and The Blessed Church. Robert and his wife, Debbie, have been married for more than thirty years and are the parents of three grown children.

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God I Never Knew 3.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 32 reviews.
mirandi More than 1 year ago
Not knowing anything about this author, I picked up this book and began to read. It was great right from the start! It was about how everyone knows God and Jesus but forgets the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit IS the part of God and Jesus that you and I CAN KNOW, can talk to, can pray for us, can help us. The Holy Spirit is the part of the trinity that can be CLOSEST TO US. I was so excited to be reading about a book encouraging me to work on building my friendship with the Holy Spirit. I had never really heard much emphasis on the Holy Spirit, yet as this book points out, the Holy Spirit is God WITH US NOW. God is in heaven. Jesus is on his right hand. But the Holy Spirit is WITH US NOW! The author goes into how the Holy Spirit can help us know what to say in difficult or uncomfortable times and also warn us not to say certain inappropriate things at times. The H.S. guides us through life and tells us to talk to so-and-so or take that job or go to that college or help that person or avoid that house, etc. The Holy Spirit is a super natural spirit guide. How can we know the WILL OF GOD? Through the Holy Spirit. Many Christians never fully let the H.S. into their lives. They might let one foot in, but that's it. When we keep control of our lives, we struggle with sins and make poor life choices. If we were t0 let the H.S. into our lives, we could become so much more as Christians. We are always praying for God to be in our lives and help us, but we don't let God/the Holy Spirit truly into our lives to make these changes. TONGUES: Author correctly interprets "tongues" as "languages". He explains the Greeks heard those speaking tongues as speaking Greek. Those who were from Crete, heard THE SAME PEOPLE speaking Cretan. (pg 72) "On the day of Pentecost, God removed language as a barrier from knowing Him." I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for this review but I did really give my honest opinion
ZKGormley More than 1 year ago
After reading The God I Never Knew by Robert Morris, I have gained a new understanding of who the Holy Spirit is. The author has been in the ministry 25+ years and has authored many books. It is obvious from reading this book that Morris has a deep and meaningful relationship with the Holy Spirit. But Morris doesn't make you feel bad or guilty if you don't have the same relationship - he simply encourages you to begin today to let the Holy Spirit change your life. This is the first book I have read devoted solely about the Holy Spirit. There is no question in my mind that the more Christians learn and gain understanding about the 3rd member of the trinity, it will only strengthen their walk with the Lord. Morris begins the book by acknowledging that there are people that might be hesitant or basically closed off with learning more about the Holy Spirit, but he addresses these feelings quickly. Morris recognizes that most people are uncomfortable with the mere idea of the Holy Spirit - especially if we believe what society believes. But if we take the time to learn more from the Bible about who He is, then hopefully those misgivings will disappear. I appreciated that Morris addresses the fact that most of society thinks that the Holy Spirit is "strange." That people who are "spirit-filled" are strange. Morris writes, "I am convinced that one of Satan's primary strategies for keeping people from experiencing all the amazing help and benefits that come from a relationship with the Holy Spirit is to convince us that doing so will make us weird - really weird!" (pg 20). This section was important to me because a part of me had some of these thoughts. I was willing to let the Holy Spirit in, but only on my terms. A real friendship with the Holy Spirit can change people's lives. Here are the big ideas that really spoke to me. First, the Holy Spirit is a person and fully God. This is vital to believe because we must develop a personal relationship with him. Only then can He work within us. And because He is fully God, He knows everything, all at once, all the time (pg 49). Second, He is our helper and we need Him. The Holy Spirit has gifts He wants to give us, but we have to receive those gifts. We have to be open to His power. Morris explains, "Yet His power only operates to the degree that we allow Him to change us.We have to yield. Our stubborn, prideful selves have to submit" (pg 122). Morris backs up everything he writes with scripture from the Bible. To me, providing the scriptures that say the truth about the Holy Spirit is overwhelming "evidence" that we must have the Holy Spirit in our lives. Not doing so only gives us a small glimpse of the life that God created us to live. And third, God created us to be in intimacy with the Holy Spirit. The bottom line is simple: The Holy Spirit wants us and we need Him. Author Robert Morris took a difficult and complex topic and made it easy for someone like me (one who doesn't have as much experience and knowledge about the Holy Spirit as I'd like to have) to fully appreciate the role the Holy Spirit would like to play in my life. When I'm reading a book that is truly teaching me something, I have a highlighter and a pen at the ready; this book is filled with many highlights. *FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
SUPATRUPA More than 1 year ago
"THE GOD I NEVER KNEW", by Robert Morris I requested a review copy of "The God I Never Knew" because I recognize I have long neglected the influence and presence of the Holy Spirit in my own life.  I was one of those who grew up in a denomination where I was given poor teaching and theology regarding the Holy Spirit, so I grew fearful and reserved about His role in my daily Christian life.  Over the course of years, I flip-flopped from one extreme of Holy Spirit theology to the opposite, and I don't believe either of them are/were biblically healthy. I read "The God I Never Knew" with an open mind; with a fresh set of lenses, as though I was discovering the Holy Spirit with the faith of a first-time reader of the Bible.  I was open to learning fresh what the Bible has to say about the Holy Spirit, and as a result, I'm pleased I read this book.  Maybe the Holy Spirit knew I was ready to receive something about Him from scratch; I certainly won't call it coincidence. The chapters in the book are divided into themes about who the Holy Spirit is, what His character is like, how He came "onto the scene", His gifts, the baptism & filling (although I'm not sure I see a difference theologically), and the controversies over speaking in tongues in public and the use of tongues as a spiritual prayer language. Morris approached the topics biblically and candidly from his vantage point.  His writing is simple to read and not too heady.  There were moments when I had to pause my reading to contemplate what was being conveyed, but all-in-all it was not a difficult one to read.  He breaks down 1 Corinthians 14 and other passages quite well, making good arguments for the role of the Spirit in believers today.  I'm sure he did not intend this book to be the final authority on all that is of the Holy Spirit, but he convinced me to trust the Spirit and look into His role further. DISLIKES: I have one major dislike, and that is the overuse of the word "amazing" (or a derivative thereof).  Sadly, Hollywood (via reality TV) has taken this word hostage and it seems to have lost its true meaning.  Morris used "amazing" (or amazed) no fewer than 28 times in the book's 198 pages.  That equates to one use per every 7 pages! I recognize this book is an "advance reading copy" and has not been finalized, but there are other corrections that need to be made by the editor prior to official release.  There were several misspelled or misused (correctly spelled but used in the wrong context) words.  Additionally, on page 60 there was a complete sentence repeated immediately one after the other.  Verbatim.  It was obviously not a literary technique, but a "copy and paste" error.  Minor errors, but never-the-less these are some of the mistakes I'd like to see corrected. RATING: All-in-all, I give "The God I Never Knew" 4 stars.  It was biblically sound, it was pretty well written, and it caused me to consider my position (right, wrong, or indifferent)...and isn't that all an author can hope to accomplish? I received this book free of charge in exchange for my unbiased opinion. I was not threatened or coerced to provide a positive review.
jatsold3 More than 1 year ago
The God I Never Knew by Robert Morris had one goal which was to show "how real friendship with the Holy Spirit can change your life." The author further explains that his ultimate goal is to "stimulate you hunger for God." Both of these goals were met and exceeded. Robert Morris explains the who, the what and the how of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the book he uses biblical references to show the promise of His coming and how He works through us once received. He also uses personal reflections and experiences regarding the Holy Spirit. The author makes a clear distinction between the two ways of receiving the Holy Spirit through baptism and confirmation. Most Christians regard baptism as a necessary sacrament to be received, however confirmation, baptism of the Holy Spirit, is disregarded. Robert Morris is thorough in his explanation about the importance and need for baptism of the Holy Spirit. At the end of each chapter he challenges the reader to reflect on his/her baptism of the Holy Spirit. Overall, Robert Morris is successful in inciting the curiosity of the reader to learn more about the Holy Spirit and His work. This book will definitely open the eyes of the reader while leaving him/her wanting more. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We always read about God and Jesus but no one ever talks about the Holy Spirit. So I was really looking forward to this book. However, I was a little disappointed because I didn't really learn anything all that new. We already know the HS is our comforter, our helper, our guide. We know that he prays for us. I wish this book showed a deeper connection and answered the hard questions. Like about his indwelling, how HS is different from God/Jesus, how HS relates to God/Jesus, how HS can be taken from you? You can lose the HS? Why does the NT talk about the HS only coming upon some people AFTER hands were laid on them? And whose hands must be laid? Not just anybody per the NT - so Peter and John had to travel to the city in which Paul was preaching to lay hands on people. What is this mysterious HS? What about tongues? Disclaimer: Received from publisher for this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never understood how close the Holy Spirit really is to a beluever. This book changed me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
awesome book! only if you had more available it would be a help. had to order more from amazon since there were none available through b&n
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MGQ51 More than 1 year ago
I cannot believe that I haven't been taught this at church. Paul considered this info an elementary part of the Christian faith, yet this is the first time I've heard it broken down. Should be mandatory teaching! Best ever book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book helped me to understand so much more about the gifts I have received from God!!! Thank you!!!!
deandeguara More than 1 year ago
Are you looking for a closer friend? Read The God I Never Knew. Pastor Robert Morris encourages and exhorts believers longing for intimacy in their relationship with God to become friends with the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. Being raised up in a conservative denomination, Robert Morris describes the mental blocks he had that prevented him from receiving the abundant life that the Holy Spirit brings to the life of the believer. He gracefully dismantles the misconceptions most people have regarding the Holy Spirit and bridges the gap between the mystical and the practical. Morris emphasizes that the Holy Spirit isn’t weird and leads the reader on a journey through the word that equips and prepares the believer to open their heart to receive the promise of the Father to endue us with the power to be more effective in what God has called us to do. Pastor Robert addresses everything that makes people nervous about the topic: Gifts of the Spirit, Manifestations, Speaking in Tongues and more. This book is the one of the best that I’ve read on the subject of the person of the Holy Spirit and is an invitation to benefit from the bountiful blessings that await all us who are ready to take a closer step to God. I’ve already purchased a copy for a friend and I am giving my free copy away to someone else who has feared this topic. I highly recommend you put this on your reading list for 2012. I received this book for free as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am experiencing a good understanding of Holy Spirit. The explanations and examples along with scripture references by Mr. Morris is so easily understood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Teacher01 More than 1 year ago
I have read this book and received great insight to questions I have had. I saw the author's interview on TV and was intrigued by what the I heard. The book is written in layman's terms and is easy to understand. He also gives evidence of what he has written. Don't miss out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kathy61TX More than 1 year ago
Once again Pastor Robert Morris brings indepth teaching that brings to light truths that can be understood by everyone from the novice to the scholar.
larry670 More than 1 year ago
I received a pre-release copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book, but chose it specifically because I wanted to investigate more about the Holy Spirit. Morris did not disappoint with his tackling of what can be a very difficult and controversial topic. He gives very detailed descriptions of how the Holy Spirit operated in scripture with plenty of scripture references. He then goes on to explain how he believes (and has seen acted out in his own life) that all of those things are still available to believers today. I believe that the book was very thorough and has left me with much to think about concerning the role of the Holy Spirit in my own life. My only disappointment was that I would have liked him to have a chapter discussing his opinions of the major arguments of cessationists. All in all, I recommend this book to all Christians, especially those who feel a tugging on their souls by the Holy Spirit to look for what they might be missing in their relationship with God.
kamebear More than 1 year ago
While this book probably won't totally blow you away, it will make enough of an impression that it could change your whole life - so it is worth the read. When I first read this book, I thought it was probably just written for Charismatics and Pentacostals. I didn't think I would like it. But being a Reformed/Conservative/Presbyterian/Calvinist, I wanted a life changing book, and I think God the Holy Spirit speaks to me through this book. The book covers why the Holy Spirit and Charistmatics have a bad name and explains away a lot of anti-Holy Spirit teachings that conservatives have grown up with. The best part of the book is that it explains the benefits of becoming FRIENDS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. We should know God The Holy Spirit. Not Just God and Jesus. It is through God the Holy Spirit that God the father and son are able to change us. This is how we will know God's will, becoming stronger, kinder, more loving - through the power of the Holy Spirit. I just finished the chapter on the Holy Spirit in John MacArthur's Fundamentals of Faith and this book supports the same teaching that it is GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT that gave Jesus and the Apostles all their power - the power to preach, do miracles, etc. After studying up on the Holy Spirit and reading these two books, I now feel like the Holy Spirit is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE TRINITY in our daily lives today. In Christianity, He is so neglected, but in truth, HE IS THE ONE THAT CHANGES YOUR SINNER LIFE INTO A CHRISTIAN GODLY LIFE. Without the Holy Spirit, how will we overcome all our problems? How will we preach if we don't have the power of the Holy Spirit? 5 stars because: Morris teaches that tongues and miracles are still relevant today and not done away with after the apostles like some conservative's teach. Morris has a good case and I'm going to have to re-research my position here. But he uses scripture fairly well to back up his belief and he does a pretty good job at that. So even if I don't agree 100% with his ideas, at least he's done a good job backing them up and this makes me go back to the drawing board and re-research my view to see who really is interpreting the bible correctly. I'm not sure I trust the last chapters 16-19 of this book - focused on tongues. Morris comes from a Charismatic perspective and some of his writing comes across as "selling" tongues to me. Is this a name-it-claim-it prosperity gospel teacher? I will have to YouTube Morris and find out more about him. I would want to know if Morris is another Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Andrew Wommack, Creflo Dollar, etc. The natural inclination for a conservative Christian is to agree with the reviewer, "I'm not sure the Holy Spirit really works this way" but I must say, even being an ultra conservative Christian, I know a friend who gets "promptings" that truly must be the Holy Spirit because they've proven accurate and guided my friend even though this friend is not Charismatic. The Holy Spirit is real and can and does talk to us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The God I Never Knew" by Robert Morris focuses on the third person of the Trinity - the Holy Spirit. The author covers several aspects of the Holy Spirit, including: 1. His relationship with us as friend, helper, and God. 2. Personality and Soul. 3. How He enters into our lives and gives us God's power. 4. Some of the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us. 5. Controversy over Pentecost and the speaking of tongues. Also, Morris mentions other points: 1. Making time to be alone with God needs to be the priority in our lives. 2. 4 benefits of your friendship with the Holy Spirit. 3. The Holy Spirit's role is to glorify Jesus Christ. While all may not agree with the book's thoughts on the Holy Spirit, the title will challenge you to reconsider your own thoughts of Him and Who He is. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rainbowsoffaith More than 1 year ago
I've previously read a few books on the subject of the Holy Spirit. One of my personal favorites is The Beauty Of Spiritual Language by Jack Hayford which was the first book I read on this topic back in 2002. This slim volume by Morris covers a lot of information regarding the Holy Spirit. Some topics covered are: His personality, the difference between being of and in the Holy Spirit, the three baptisms, the different gifts given by the Holy Spirit, different controversies, etc. Reading this book I learned some new things. Morris covers topics regarding the Holy Spirit that others don't. Depending on the denomination you grew up in you might learn a lot you didn't know, or you may be shaking your head in agreement. I grew up Presbyterian so I think my denomination believed in only two baptisms (coming to salvation and water baptism) and they believe that when you come to faith the Holy Spirit enters in you. For Morris this would be considered the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is what you get when you come to faith and accept Christ. I have yet to have the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is where Jesus baptizes me with the Holy Spirit. It sounds confusing. The only thing is I have not been properly dunked, but sprinkled, so I still need to get dunked before I can have the baptism in the Holy Spirit. If you are interested in learning more about the Holy Spirit I would recommend this book. It doesn't come out till August, but it's worth the wait. I think this book is a nice intro and covers a lot of ground for such a slim volume. I received my free ARC copy of The God I Never Knew by Robert Morris from Waterbrook/Multnomah Press for the strict purposes of posting a review. This is via their Blogging for Books program and my review is solely mine.
MissCara More than 1 year ago
I've been thinking about the Holy Spirit for a long time, in many contexts. I grew up in a church where we invited the Holy Spirit to come and move, was part of a group dedicated to getting to know the Spirit in college and have experienced many times of sleep and awakening to the power of this Third Person of the Trinity. Needless to say, I was interested in what Robert Morris would say. I cried within the first 10 pages. This is not a normal thing for me. I found that the book was written humbly, with much grace, and apparently, with much prayer. It's obviously a sticky topic for many people, and Robert acknowledges that, and quotes numerous Scriptures to back up his prose. I have rarely seen a book written about such controversial topics delivered in such a clear-headed, loving way. I think that this would be a wonderful introduction to the person of the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives, but I also found something to encourage and challenge me a little further down that road. I didn't agree with everything in this book. I doubt that there is a book (especially a work of theology) with which I completely agree, however, I found merit here and would recommend it, regardless of your previous involvement with the Holy Spirit. In this season of Ordinary Time, we focus on the early church as seen through the lens of Acts. We walk with them as they find their feet in a new world with new rules and new Help. What a wonderful thing to be reminded that we still have the ability to walk in those steps, should we allow God to work in us, today. This book will be published on August 16, 2011. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago