Uncharted Series Devotional

Following the Holy Spirit should be an adventure! 

Somewhere along the way, many Christians have gotten the false impression that the Christian life should be safe. Following the Spirit should involve risk over routine.  Too often we as Christians live a backwards spiritual life - inviting the Spirit to follow as we go about our day rather than inviting the Spirit to lead us.


In this series, we are learning to listen to and follow the Spirit with boldness and courage in our daily lives. 


Follow along as we adventure through this series with a weekly devotional written by Kami Schwartz. Come back each week and share these powerful words with a friend. 


Let's adventure into uncharted waters with the Holy Spirit! 

Part One

When I was in high school I had a dream one night that my father led me to a white horse and asked me to ride it. Even though I had absolutely no talent and little experience riding, I hopped on and immediately bonded with the horse.


The connection was so deep that we were able to jump over any hurdle and we could run incredibly fast. I found myself experiencing heaps of joy as we rode. At the pinnacle of it all and to my overwhelming enjoyment, the horse and I did a full on, slow-motion backflip through the air. It was the kind of thing you can only dream about and it was unlike anything I had ever seen in real life.


I've had a lot of weird dreams but what made this one different from any other is that it was accompanied by the most amazing, supernatural feeling of passion, purpose, and total fulfillment.


When I think of Jesus giving us “a rich and satisfying life” like He promised us in John 10:10, I think about that dream.


I understood then that the Horse in my dream represented the Holy Spirit and I felt the impression that life with the Holy Spirit would be an incredible adventure. Looking back now, I can see how that dream shaped so much of my outlook on what life would be like.


I used to be so excited to fall asleep at night just for the small chance that I might be able to feel that way again. When I went to bed, I would pray and plead and beg God for another dream in which I felt that deep and complete fulfillment.


It was unlike anything I have ever felt when awake.


I think that thrilling contentment is something we all deeply long for. It is the quest of our souls to feel like what we're doing in the present is exactly what we were made for long ago. It is the longing of our hearts to know that how we spend our days has a genuine impact far beyond us.


Over the years, this pursuit became one of my favorite things to pray for over people. “Oh God, would you give them a sense of exhilarating joy as they find the work that they were designed for?”


Much like the way I felt at night before bed, this longing for rich satisfaction can quickly become a painful ache when it’s not realized. But after tasting just a bit of it, I wanted everyone to know just how fulfilling life could truly be.


I fully believe that this adventure is in reach for each us because Jesus literally sums up His entire purpose in coming to Earth by declaring that we shall “have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10.) And when we say “yes” to what Jesus wants for us, nothing can stop Him.

So today as we start to process what adventures with the Holy Spirit may look like, my question to you is this: Have you ever rode on a back-flipping horse that took you sailing exuberantly through the air?


More specifically, can you identify an adventure you’ve had with the Holy Spirit where you knew you were partnering with God himself? Is it something you are still experiencing today or has it begun to feel like a distant dream?


If this fulfillment isn’t part of your present life, can you connect with the longing for it somewhere deep down? I dare you to ask yourself this question: “What type of experience with the Holy Spirit would bring me to this place of abundance?”


Lastly, consider Ephesians 2:10. ”For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.“


If all things were possible, what do you think are the good things He planned specifically for YOU to do?


Devotional written by Kami Schwartz 

Part Two

Last week I shared about a dream I had in which I rode a wild Horse who symbolized the Holy Spirit and I tasted “life to the full” as Jesus promised us in John 10:10.


I was a teenager then and in the daytime I was busy planning my future so that it would reflect that God given dream. I wanted my everyday life to feel like I was riding a Horse that would do invigorating backflips. I hoped to rely fully on the Holy Spirit and follow Him down whatever crazy path He may lead.


At that time in my life I anticipated skipping college, spending my nights awake at the International House of Prayer, and living in the dangerous part of town.


If you would have asked me then, I would have told you that I’d love to get married but I probably would not want kids. I wouldn't have time for children because I would be busy sharing the Gospel and making disciples and doing all kinds of awesome things for Christ. It'd feel like I was riding that Horse everyday, wild and crazy, but so very alive.


I couldn't wait.


As life would have it however, I ultimately did end up going to college and in some ways, it felt like I had put my Horse in His stable in exchange for a continued academic pursuit.


I didn’t really understand it at the time, and sometimes I still look back and wonder why, but now, even as I write this, I can start to see the upside down path the Holy Spirit led me on.


In week one of this series, I said that I used to beg God to let me have the Horse dream and feel that supernatural sense of deep fulfillment once again.


Well it turns out that around the time I was in college He did give me one more dream like that but this time, there was no horse.


Instead of a wild, leaping, back-flipping horseback ride, this dream was a quiet, peaceful, precious dream in which I was breastfeeding a newborn.


In a stage of my life where I wasn’t even sure that I wanted children, I had this dream and once again felt that indescribable, all consuming, powerful sense that I was doing exactly what I was meant to do and that it was the most important thing I could be doing at that time.


My desires for the future began to dramatically shift and by the time I turned 22, I had a bachelor's degree, a husband, a mortgage, and a sweet baby in my womb.


Eight years and 3 daughters later, I’m still spending a large portion of my days playing endless rounds of peek-a-boo, doing endless loads of laundry and dishes, and trying desperately to help my daughter get a good nap in every day. I rarely actually get dressed and I am constantly breastfeeding.


And I absolutely love my life.


I find it ironic, but so telling, that I had that same amazing feeling of Holy Fulfillment in two very different dreams. One dream made me hope for a life that was too busy, wild, and dangerous for kids and the other made my heart yearn for a baby.


Yet, both dreams felt like I was living life, and life to the full.


I think it’s so important to realize that following the adventures of the Holy Spirit won’t always look like the Kentucky Derby or an inner-city ministry or spending 12-6 am in a prayer room.


Sometimes, following the Holy Spirit looks like watching your toddler on her rocking horse, raising a girl-gang, and being disciplined about bedtime.


For you, the adventure might be working your 9-5, faithfully finishing school, or loyally caring for your aging parents.


But for all of us, it looks like yielding to what the Holy Spirit is doing underneath the surface. Wherever you’re at, it is inside of the hearts and of the minds and of the emotions of the people around us that the Holy Spirit is trotting.


Within our very own spirits, He may be working to bring forth healing from past trauma, freedom from current addictions, and spiritual fruit from His abundant riches. He may be organizing new ministries, softening someone’s resistance to Jesus, or setting up a miracle.


All in the middle of the mundane.


So this week, I invite you to think about the most boring pieces of your day and ask the Holy Spirit what He would like to do with those things. Is there a hidden task or more abundance or a deeper fulfillment to be found there?


What would it look like to invite Him into your everyday moments? How would your view of the mundane change if you recognized how much depth our Creator has woven into the everyday, human experiences we all are familiar with?


Lastly, do you find yourself feeling like you’re missing out on a “more adventurous” life? Rather than talking yourself out of feeling that way, try to see if you can lean into it, recognizing that just maybe that desire is an invitation from the Holy Spirit to something more.


I’ll leave you with this verse today, that was plastered onto the ceiling of my bedroom around the time I had my original Horse dream. It always invited me into an Adventure with the Spirit and I pray it spurs you toward Him as well.


Psalm 27:8 “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’”


Whether you’ll ride a horse today, or breastfeed a child, or go to work or school again, the adventure lies in the pursuit of Him. Have fun with it!


Devotional written by Kami Schwartz 

Part Three

Two weeks ago, I told the story of a dream I had in which I was riding a horse who, to my incredible fulfillment, galloped and leapt over hurdles and ultimately pulled off a wild back flip through the air.


I knew waking up from that dream that the Horse represented the Holy Spirit and that the course we were riding on represented the adventurous life it would be to follow Him.


As I have continued to reflect on that dream now, 12+ years later, one notable aspect of it comes to mind: I was not guiding that Horse. I knew then that I didn’t have the skill or the knowledge to tell the Horse what to do.


I was simply along for the ride.


Yet, the connection and the trust and the comfort I felt with the Horse leading the way was tangible. Even though He traveled much faster, leapt much higher, and attempted tasks that I would never dare ask Him to do, He did it with ease.


And I was able to thoroughly enjoy it.


As I’ve pondered all of this, I’ve found it begs the question: When you ride a horse, who is leading who?


Technically, a horse is much stronger than we are and it would have the capability and the power to go wherever it wanted, as fast as it wanted, as recklessly as it wanted.


But trained horses don’t do this. They yield to the rider.


This means that if you want your horse to take a safe, gentle stroll, it will.

And it will stay faithful and present with you all along.


Even further, a well-trained horse does not actually need a rider at all, but instead could be led, simply following its human wherever the reins insist.


I think this is similar to how the Holy Spirit exists in our lives. He is the one with the authority and the power. When we say yes to Jesus, at the moment of our salvation we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and identified as His (Ephesians 1:13). Technically, at that point He could take us on wild reckless rides that are outside of our comfort zone, submitting us fully to the will of God.


But He doesn’t.


Day in and day out, we make choices and He yields to us, waiting for our “yes” like a well trained horse. He will never leave us (John 14:16) and He is ever present, going with us throughout our day, wherever our schedules insist.


Yet, I have to wonder if, when we choose to play it safe, our Horse is stifled and we miss out on the thrill and the abundance and the fulfillment He has for us.


This heartbreaking thought spurs us to examine our lives. If you are currently living in a season where deep, exhilarating satisfaction is lacking, ask yourself this question: Are you leading the Horse or is the Horse carrying you?


Have you said YES to the Holy Spirit’s adventure for your life? Or are you simply walking alongside the Horse as you go about your day?


If uncharted waters are calling to you now, know that when you say yes, the Holy Spirit may take you faster or higher than you imagined or He may flip you upside down through the obstacles that lay ahead, much like the Horse in my dream.


But I promise His comforting presence will be there as well. You can trust Him to work out “God’s own will” (Romans 8:27) in your life which is “good, and pleasing, and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) 


So as you go about your week, imagine yourself saddling up, settling in, and starting off on a new adventure with the Holy Spirit. Be willing to veer off course and be open to the way He will carry you through.


Remember the prayer Pastor Jay encouraged us to pray each day.
“Spirit of God, lead me today, help me to hear your voice, and give me the courage to follow where You guide.”


As you ride, I’m praying for an incredible sense of fulfillment and joy to accompany you everywhere you go. Have an amazing time!


Devotional written by Kami Schwartz 

If you loved this week's devotional, come back next week for another! 

Also, Check out our Uncharted Series on YouTube by clicking the button below!

Part Four

Over the last 4 weeks we have been discussing and dreaming about what it might look like to live adventurously with the Holy Spirit.


I’ve been writing here about a dream I had over a decade ago in which I, a completely inexperienced horseback rider, was invited to ride a beautiful horse. This horse ultimately took me on an incredible ride, running quickly, sailing over hurdles, and even doing a supernatural back flip through the air.


One detail I just briefly glossed over in Week 1 was who introduced me to this Horse in the first place. It was my dad who led me to the horse and asked me to get on. Even though I would pay big money to see it, he hasn’t ridden a horse since long before I was born.


Yet, neither his unfamiliarity with horses nor mine could deter me from jumping on. Instead, I was spurred on by the trust I have in my father to move forward.


In that dream, I knew that my dad loved me and that if he was asking this of me, it would be something I would want to try. You may never catch Lowell Bender and I riding horses on this earth, but if I had rejected his offer that night due to fear or doubt in myself or in him, I would have suffered an immense loss.


Waking up from that dream I knew my earthly father represented my Heavenly Father. Leading me gently to not just a temporary and risky thrill but an actual lifelong calling, I was deeply compelled to ride.


And I felt that even if these God-designed tasks seemed completely outside of my normal realm or comfort zone, I could trust that my Father has something amazing in mind for me.


If you haven’t yet jumped into an adventure with the Holy Spirit these last few weeks, could it be that the Horse simply feels too big, too scary, or too unfamiliar?


Are you standing before the ride of your life with new dreams and callings rising up around you, yet you are doubting your own ability to take them on?


Or, if we’re being really honest as we dive a bit deeper, could it be that you’re having trouble trusting the One who is calling you to the adventure in the first place?


Switch gears with me for a second.


Recently I was watching Disney’s new movie “Wish” in which citizens of the Kingdom of Rosas can give one of their biggest, deepest wishes to their king when they turn 18. He then keeps each wish safe and each month he is able to make one of their wishes come true. Some wait years or decades or forever to be granted their wish but the anticipation produces commitment and they wait in eager expectation.


The catch, however, is this: When an 18 year old dreamer gives their wish to the king, they no longer remember what the wish was.


While this is portrayed as a merciful way to take the longing ache from them, teenagers begin to notice how their friends appear to lose their motivation, joy, and sense of abundant living after they give their wish away.


As I watched this movie and I now continue to journal through it before your eyes, I’ve realized that when 18 year old me chose to go to college I felt I was putting my Horse in the stable and losing the sense of adventure I had wished for (read about that in Part 3).


In the years that followed, I can see that though the Horse has never once left me, I have spent time strutting about on my own two feet afraid that if I once again came to God with a wish or a prayer I might lose that piece of myself forever. 


Phrases like “lay it on the altar” or “give God your heart” became a trigger for me and I felt hesitant to fully engage with the Holy Spirit for fear of needing to sacrifice the things I loved the most.


Forget standing beside the white Horse with nervous expectation; instead, I was no longer sure about letting my Father lead me anywhere near the Horse.


As you reflect on your own experiences, there may be multiple different fears you are wrestling through as you imagine living your life fully alive with the Holy Spirit in control. It may be related to your own abilities or it may be the fear that the Father does not actually have your best in mind.


Let me speak to both of these issues at once by reminding you that it is your Father God who designed you and it is He who filled you with passions and desires. Just like in my dream, the Father is the one who initiated your journey in the first place. It is He who gently led you to your Horse, knowing the thrill ahead.


When He asks for your heart on the altar, it is not to ask you to live without it. This would be a task He himself ordained impossible.


Our Father is not like the King of Rosas, demanding you live in numb amnesia until he finally decides it’s your turn.


No, church. Instead, you “are God’s masterpiece” and you have been created “anew in Christ Jesus” all because He has a specific riveting calling set apart for you (Ephesians 2:10). His wish is for you to come out of that emotional coma and live an abundant life TODAY. 


When you allow yourself to become present to your wishes and dreams and then be vulnerable enough to take them to the altar, imagine Him taking you by the hand and leading you to your horse. On the walk over, it is true that He will help you “strip off every weight that slows [you] down” but it’s only so that the Holy Spirit can more freely carry you through the jumps and turns and backflips as you “run with endurance the race God has set before [you]” (Hebrews 12:1).


The adventure is God’s gift to you, not a wish He aims to take away.

The Horse is God’s promised Holy Spirit, given to fully equip you for the obstacle course ahead.

And God himself is your loving Father who you can absolutely trust to lead you on the exciting path marked out for you.


So go ahead and dream like the 18-year-old inside of you once did. Let your imagination run wild as the Holy Spirit paints a fresh picture of your life.


As you do, I am praying for God’s specific design for you to be unveiled and for you to let your fears hold less weight. Be it in mundane tasks or a brand new enterprise, I pray that you will trust your Father, hop onto your Horse, and unleash the Holy Spirit.


I can’t wait to watch you navigate the uncharted adventures ahead.


Now let’s go and be the church.

Devotional written by Kami Schwartz

If you loved this series' devotional, check out our Uncharted Series on YouTube by clicking the button below!


Uncharted: Adventures with the Holy Spirit