Los Alamos Church of Christ

2016… Connections

Enthusiast upsides and downsides




One of my favorite bloggers is Richard Beck.  He just invented a new word which fits perfectly into our study of the Enthusiast Temperament. 


Before I tell you the new word… let’s update where we are.  Throughout this year we are connecting with the nine historical temperaments.  Each of these temperaments is a different way of connecting to our LORD. 


The Nine Temperaments

--The Intellectual connects through knowing God; there is joy in learning about God.  – Knowing nod.

--The Caregiver connects in serving Jesus.  There is joy in serving the needy.  - Give yourself a hug.

--The Traditionalist connects through the symbols of faith.  There is joy in the traditional rituals.  – Hand of God sign

--The Enthusiast connects in the praise of mystery.  There is enthusiastic joy in celebration.  – Whoop whoop.

--The Sensate connects in creating beauty. – Start sensate next week.

--The Contemplative connects in dwelling in the presence of God.

--The Ascetic connects in the discipline of solitude.

--The Naturalist connects through the beauty of nature.

--The Activist connects in the confrontation of wrong.


Currently, we are exploring the Enthusiast.  This is our 5th and last Sunday in the enthusiast temperament.  Our goal of the year is to learn how to improve our connections to God.  In the process we should learn that everyone does not connect in the same way we do.  We are learning to be supportive of others… giving them space to connect while perhaps, maybe, there is an outside chance, that we might expand our own ways to connect to God. 


Congregationally we have been keeping a record of our scores on the Temperament Test.

--The Intellectual - 27

--The Caregiver – 12 – subcategories of specific caregiving - 30

--The Traditionalist - 8

--The Enthusiast - 26

I am excited to discover who we are as a congregation in the next 5 temperaments. 


Anyway, back to Richard Beck and the new word he invented…




The English word enthusiast comes from the Greek word… entheos; literally en “in” + theos “God”.  The word Enthusiast means they have God in them.  An enthusiastic Christian is a Christian who has God in them… and He needs to get out… in praise.  When an enthusiast says he is enthusiastic he means he is filled with the Holy Spirit.  The mystery of the workings of the Spirit fills the enthusiast… causing celebration… entheos is the old word.  God is in them, wanting to get out. 


The new word comes from Ephesians 5:18…


Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,


You would expect “filled with the Spirit” to be entheos, but it is not.  It is pleroo pneuma. Play-roo is to make full.  Pneuma is Spirit. Instead of being filled up with wine… be filled up with the Spirit.   Pleroo pneuma


Pleroo pneuma…  the new word is… Pleroopneumatic! Pronounced "play-roo-new-matic."


Spirit-filled Christians, enthusiasts could be called pleroopneumatics! 


Use that in a sentence… The pleroopneumatics enjoyed a lively worship.  Pleroopneumatics… those full of the Spirit in mystery of wonder. 




For each of the nine temperaments we are looking at what they different temperaments offer to the body.  All the temperaments are valuable to the body.  We need to get this.  All of us, with our unique gifts bring a fuller connection to God.  Wow… my vision for this church is rich with connections.  These are not exclusive to each other, but rather complimentary of each other.  A fully connected theology of rich rituals pleroopnematially serving others would be… (Fill in the blank).


So, we need to know what gifts the pleroopneumatics bring to our party. 



Here are the gifts enthusiasts offer the body…


--Enthusiasts point us toward faith within mystery.  While Intellectuals need answers for their faith to connect, enthusiasts embrace a God who is much bigger than my brain.  The arrogance that knows all the answers cannot rejoice in how big God really is.  The mysteries of who God is; the mysteries of how God connects with us; the mysteries of grace… draw us deeper into God!   The joy of knowing my God is bigger than my understanding of him… is cause for… praise!  Pleroopneumatics bring a big God to the party.   


--Enthusiasts remind us the supernatural happens.  Because God is big and mysterious the big mysterious can happen.  I loved Travis’s sermon two weeks ago… Anyone remember his point… “Coincidence… I think not.”  The enthusiasts open our eyes to miracles.  They add the musical score behind the miracle.  Open your eyes.  Pray big prayers. God is big and mysterious… perhaps he will bring a miracle.  What a wonderful party favor. 


Because of this…


--Enthusiasts bring expectancy.  They expect the big mysterious God to move.  They bring hope to our lives.  Hope is as a wonderful gift.  This expectancy of God moving is hope.  Hope is a valuable gift to bring to our party.     


Because of a big mysterious God who does big mysterious stuff when we live in hope…


--Enthusiasts lead us to worship.  This may be the most precious gift.  This is the gift we need. To look bored in the presence of our big mysterious God is… sad… is wrong… is inappropriate.  Either fall on your knees as Isaiah did… I am a sinful man amongst a sinful people… OR praise our LORD in worship… Bored expressions in the presence of God is incongruous.  Pleroopneumatics bring the gift of connection in worship.


One more gift at our party. 


--Enthusiasts help us get our eyes off ourselves and onto Jesus.  All of us tend toward self.  We, me, mine, I,  Woe is me.  What about me?  Me... Me… Me…  No the enthusiast say… Not me… Look up to God.  Praise God.  The solution is not asking about me… but enjoying Him. 


This is quite the party with all these gifts spread before us.  Let’s all give a whoop, whoop in appreciation for our enthusiasts!




Because of who the pleroopneumatics are, they can be misunderstood…


--Enthusiasts might appear naïve.  “They don’t understand the real world.  Their head is in the sky. Get Real”.  Those of us who are intellectuals tend to look down on enthusiasts as a little adolescent.


--Enthusiasts can seem obnoxious.  “You are just showing off.  You are just making me feel uncomfortable. Back off a bit.  Nobody is that bouncy.” 


--Enthusiasts can appear childish.  Perhaps, because they are… The childlike faith of trust it our big mysterious God can look childish.  


The rest of us, who are not pleroopneumatics, need to see past these misunderstands in appreciation of the wonderful gifts they bring.  We need to understand them.  We need to give them place to praise the big God of wonder. 




But Enthusiast, like all the rest of the temperaments come with its own dangers.  Every temperament carries with it some inherent seductions. Let’s look at the dangers pleroopneumatics face. 



--Enthusiasts can be easily discouraged.  When not in an energetic environment… they can wonder off.  The persistence of faith is not their strength.  Deep theological wrestling can be hard.  They can feel imprisoned by the rest of our expectations.  Most churches frown on their… antics.  This can be discouraging.  When confined by the rest of us… they can be discouraged.  They may seek excitement in other places… that is sad. 


--Enthusiasts equate “good feelings” with “good theology.”  If it feels good it must be right.  If it is exciting it has to be spiritual.  They may ignore scripture for a feeling based theology.  Excitement replaces Scripture as authority.  Enthusiasts need to work harder on their theology. 



--Enthusiasts want something new and spectacular.  Almost the opposite of the Traditionalist, the routine ritual is rather redundant.  Give me something exciting. Like adrenalin junkies, Enthusiasts need more and bigger and louder.  Worship needs to be hyper-er everything.  This can be a problem. Always wanting more… craving the next high... They are in danger of seeking experience over solid relationship. 


--Enthusiasts have problems when the mystery leads to a silent God.  Sometimes God appears indifferent, callused, aloof and worst of all silent. But, mystery is mystery.  God is not the genie in Aladdin… at our beck and call; ready to grant our three wishes. The mystery is often exhilarating.  But it can be frustrating.  We can’t expect one without the other.  The necessity of maturity will probably lead virtually every enthusiast through this canyon of unanswered prayer, where expectancy runs dry and the only mystery seems to be where God is hiding.  God is big but also… mysterious.



--Enthusiasts are tempted to hyperbolize.  All Enthusiasts exaggerate every time.   Amongst Enthusiasts there can be a competition on who is doing the biggest, coolest, most God-thing.  Exaggeration of their experiences is a temptation.  Retelling the stories can sometimes make them bigger and better, with every retelling.  Truth can get lost in the creating of a great story.  There is danger in telling great stories. 


Enough of that… Let’s look at how to cultivate the enthusiast temperament.  Let’s be better pleroopneumatics.  This is the part of the sermon for the rest of us.  Let’s crank up our pleroopneumaticness!




Three suggestions…


--Cultivate Expectancy.  To cultivate the mystery, we would do well to wake up each morning and pray a prayer of expectancy; asking God to bring someone in their path to whom they can minister.  This sense of watching, whether it presents an opportunity to speak life to the lost or a chance to encourage a downhearted believer, or minister to the marginalized or share some solid theology can energize our faith.  When we are looking for Travis’s “Coincidence, I think not!” we see God moving in visible ways. By cooperating with God we can move in mysterious ways.  Cultivate expectancy. 


--Cultivate Worship. I am thinking more individually than our time together.  Have that time with just you and God to sing and praise and listen and finding your spot of praise.  Make it about God, not you.  Leave your requests to some other time… open up your heart in adoration of our big mysterious God!  Cultivate your admiration! 


--Cultivate Relationships.  It is in the connecting with real people that we love the LORD our God with all our heart and soul and mind.  Listen to the TIM version of the Shema…


TIM Mark 12:28-31 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"  Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'  This is done by… loving your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than this."




When we love the loved of God we love God.  Say that again…  The mystery of God is celebrated in the life of his people.  Everyone has a story.  Everyone has a “Coincidence, I think not.”  In sharing a cup of coffee with your sibling in Christ we learn to rejoice in the mysteries of God.  In our wasted time spent with the people of God… we learn to praise God! 


The challenge for this week… Be a pleroopneumatic this week.

--Pray the Prayer of Expectancy first thing every morning.

--Listen to a pleroopneumatic song… sing it out loud

--Make a coffee date with someone who the Spirit suggests you to. 

--Recite the TIM version of the Shema.


Which we can start now by doing…




TIM Mark 12:28-31 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"  Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'  This is done by… loving your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than this."


My temperament is God’s gift to me.

My temperament is my gift to God.

My temperament is my gift to the body.

My temperament is my gift to the world.


Tim Stidham

May 22, 2016

Los Alamos Church of Christ