How Springfield, Ohio, Quenches the Spirit

1 Thessalonians 5:19:

Do not quench the Spirit!  ESV

Never restrain or put out the fire of the Holy Spirit!  TPT

The Apostle Paul’s warning of “don’t quench the Spirit” applies to all Christians, all churches, and all communities. The Bible teaches that God has something unique – a calling – for all Christians, all churches, and all cities.

Though the title of this Interruption is about Springfield, Ohio, this message is for everyone since we all tend (easier and more guilty than we want to admit) to quench the Spirit.

We compromise, listen to false teachers, and decide to not follow God. Our actions become attitudes that entrench in our communities.

Satan knows all of this. He seeks to deceive, hinder, and destroy God’s calling! He entices, causes confusion, detracts, and his favored weapon – blaming and criticizing others. When you mention another’s faults, get negative about yourself, say “Springfield is terrible,” or any variation of the theme, you quench God’s Spirit.

His calling is wonderful. But it takes courage!

I heard a community leader say, “Springfield was the Silicon Valley of the world in the early 1900s.” National Public Radio commented on Springfield in 2016:

Median incomes fell an astounding 27 percent in Springfield between 1999 and 2014, more than any metropolitan area in the country, according to the Pew Research Center!

In other words, from Silicon Valley to the worst economy in the country between 1999 and 2014. What quenched the Spirit?

From a community where the National Road once ended and literally became the place from which the west was settled, to a community where about 2,000 worn-out houses now need to be torn down. From a community where more patents were filed in agriculture (the leading industry in the world in the early 1900s and thus the comparison to Silicon Valley), to a place where fields of empty factories remain.

Something was quenched more than any other community in the country. What happened? I have lived in Springfield, Ohio, my entire life. I have been the pastor of one church for 49 years.

I have an opinion.

When Newsweek wrote its 50th-year anniversary issue about Springfield, they described the Springfield-urban-legend about a man coming to Springfield to build a factory. He was refused by the city powers because those “fathers of the city” did not want to match wages with the man who came to Springfield.

The man was Henry Ford.

Could it be that self-serving interest, or fear of the new, caused our community to lose its entrepreneurial “silicon valley” spirit ensuring a 100-year slide into a spirit of poverty?

A city with fear and too much criticism.

I have sensed this defeated attitude throughout my 49 years of ministry. I tend to have big ideas. When I speak those ideas, I see what I call “the anti-vision” smirk. I know the person is thinking, “There goes Grant with his big ideas again.”

With this attitude in our community, no wonder the young, with their big ideas, want to move. Too many times, I have heard a teenager say, “I can’t wait to leave Springfield.”

I can’t give up on Springfield. I love this community. I recently moved my office to the COhatch in downtown Springfield. In the last few weeks, I have met entrepreneurs in business startups, 501c3 help organizations, and a new church ministry.

Personally, I’m building a Zoom studio through which I want to train the world in Great Commission discipleship.

I can’t help myself. Yes, there goes Grant again. But I am not seeing people with “the smirk” anymore. Something new and great is making the ‘field come alive again.

Ohio, U.S.A., World, Silicon Valley!?

Watch Springfield in the next few years!

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