Many Christians feel like they have a grasp of who God is, and who Jesus is. However, they are confused about the Holy Spirit. The fact of the matter is, the Holy Spirit is God. He is one of the three persons of the Godhead – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a servant and continually points us to our Savior! And in the same way, we are to be servants in the body of Christ.
One of the main ways we live that out daily is by using our spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit. Based on the various scriptures in the New Testament regarding our spiritual gifts (Romans 12, 1st Cor. 12, Ephesians 4, and 1st Peter 4), we can focus on 4 main questions:
1.) What is a spiritual gift?
2.) How many spiritual gifts are there from the Holy Spirit?
3.) Does every believer have spiritual gifts?
4.) Why are spiritual gifts given?
Praise God, we are cared for, protected, and given a vital role assigned by the Holy Spirit. Each and every one of us is important to God and we each have a mission to accomplish here on earth.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints… Ephesians 6:18 (NASB)
What does it mean for us to pray in the Spirit? That’s what we went digging for on our journey through Ephesians on Sunday. At its core, I think it means that we’re connected and directed by Christ, praying out of His strength and power, which shakes the heavens. But in order to embrace that there are some core truths that must be adopted.
Paul starts Ephesians talking about our Spiritual Position. He says that Christ has conquered death, has been seated at the right hand of the Father, and has been given all authority over EVERYTHING. As Christians we’ve been given a new position as well, we have been raised up and seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). On the Spiritual plane we are untouchable. If we get that it will also change how we walk in this world. Ephesians 5 tells us that we should imitate God and walk in love, as light, and full of the Spirit. We’re not meant to walk in fear, sin, or our own strength.
To the degree that we forget our place, is the degree that we begin to live in fear and fear will always bring sin and sin brings suffering. But perfect love casts out fear. You have nothing to fear because Christs love is perfect. You just have to remember where you sit. When you forget, stop and remember…realign…repent.
When we live in our position, and walk in His power, then we’re invited to pray in the Spirit, which if you look at Ephesians 6 you see that it’s about war. Pray in the Spirit is the way we make war. You have everything you need. Every piece of equipment is given by God. You sit beside the King of Kings, you walk with His life flowing out of you, we can stop being a victim and start kicking some BUTT!!!
Apart from Christ, you can do nothing. In Christ you are already more than a conqueror. The lions in your life may roar even louder, seeking whom they can devour, but they have no teeth and you have nothing to fear.
“Trying to live the Christian life is not difficult, it is impossible!!!
…without the power of the Holy Spirit.”
This Sunday we kicked off our “Spirited Life” series with a message about the arrival of Holy Spirit at Pentecost and how being filled by the Holy Spirit was considered essential to the Christian life moving forward. The reality however is that the Holy Spirit is also all over the Old Testament as well, bringing life and power to overcome. The big shift in the New Testament is that instead of a temporary indwelling, we’re offered a permanent indwelling of the Spirit. When studied in scripture there are some pretty amazing claims that result from the Spirit of God indwelling us.
q You can have living water flow from your heart. – John 7:38
q You can have revelations & recall whatever you need. – John 14:26
q You can discern the truth so you’re never deceived. – John 16:13
q You can have the power & courage to proclaim the Gospel. – Acts 1:8
q Your heart can be filled with the love of God. – Rom 5:5
q You can have power over sin. – Rom 8:13
q You can have peace and joy. Rom 14:17
q You can be hope-filled, even when things look hopeless. – Rom 15:13
q You can be constantly more like Christ. – 1 Peter 1:2
q You can be one with God. – 1 John 3:24, I John 4:13
Upon salvation we receive the Holy Spirit, but what can happened is that we lose sight of this precious gift or we start operating in the flesh again. Prompting Paul’s remark to the Corinthian church, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you?” Did you forget!?! Maybe we’ve forgotten as well.
As this series unfolds we’re going to look at walking in the Spirit, praying in the Spirit, unity in the Spirit and much more. I hope you’ll make it a priority to join us for the rest of our “Spirited Life” series over the next 4 weeks.
Our message on Sunday was focused on the theme of repentance. The word used for repent in the Greek is META-NOE-O. It comes from two Greek words Meta meaning WITH and Noeo meaning UNDERSTANDING.
In other words repentance is a change of direction, but more clearly it means a change in understanding. If that’s true then repentance isn’t something we say to God, but us seeking new understanding from Him. It is us aligning ourselves with Christ and His Kingdom.
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 (NASB)
Jesus is imploring them to open their eyes to see a different way has come.
A way of love and grace, not law.
A way of freedom, not bondage.
A way of Spirit not flesh.
I know it was hard to keep up with the scriptures we looked at since we weren’t throwing them up on a screen, but the passaged we explored included: Matthew 4:17, Matthew 11:20-21, Mark 6:12-13, John 4:35, Matthew 13:10-17, Ephesians 2:4-10, and Revelation 3:3.
It seems that much of the Christian life is a remembering and forgetting what we’re to be about, and who we are in Christ. That makes the practice of repentance important so that we keep realigning ourselves…this is a big part of how we abide in Christ. We need to walk with understanding and we can do that as we continually pray, “Your Kingdome come, Your will be done.”
Repentance is the way we seek God’s perspective on everything in our lives.
Dana Meyers wrapped up our Summer Survival Series with a message about “Schedules”. Most of us try to pack way more into our schedules than we can adequately handle and quite frequently our busyness comes at a great cost. We don’t always do the best job of deciding what is truly important.
While we do need to make room for Jesus and spend quality time with Him through worship, prayer and His Word, there is also the reality that He doesn’t really belong jammed in at all. A relationship with Christ isn’t meant to be a to-do list, but something that permeating all that we do. Dana challenged us to really consider the example we’re giving our children when it comes to our own schedule and priorities. Are we building our lives on the Rock of Christ Jesus or the shifting sand of achievement?
This Summer Survival Series has raised provided us with some interesting topics that we might not typically talk about in Church, but we should invited Jesus into all aspects of our lives and that includes vacation, sports, and our Media habits.
I’m someone who thoroughly enjoys the benefits of technology, but there are some inherent dangers here. Even with the benefits of tech too much of even a good thing can become a bad thing.
Psychology recognizes that all people have 5 core needs. These are needs that God created us to have and His provision for those needs should draw us closer to Him. However, media and technology are gradually becoming a substitute for God in our lives as we seek to answer the important questions in illegitimate ways.
Those 5 core needs include:
1. Security – Who can I trust?
2. Identity – Who am I?
3. Belonging – Who wants me?
4. Purpose – Why am I alive?
5. Competence – What do I do well?
Not only do we need to be careful, but we need to understand these issues so that we can wisely lead our families. These are important subjects and we need to take an honest look at them so that we can talk these things through.
ummer is full of challenges for us and our families. So we decided to tackle some of that everyday stuff in our Summer Survival Series.
The second topic we hit out of the park was “Sports”. We appreciate Will McKinney sharing insight with us on a subject that just about all of us have encountered. Many have struggled to handle this issue in purely healthy ways. While the Bible certainly uses some sports metaphors, that isn’t a full out endorsement of what we see in sports today. In fact it can be very tempting to pursue our significance through success in this arena. Will shared that the problem all has to do with finding our identity. When we’re looking to receive worth through our accomplishments on the field (or anywhere) things can get ugly…and even parents can fall into this trap. If our child isn’t performing well, we can be tempted to push them harder or shame them for their mistakes in order to help them have more value…and make us look good.
As Christians we’re not defined by our sin or by our success, but by our Savior. Win or lose, we’re still incredibly valuable to Christ who died for us.
The key is finding the proper place for sports in our lives. Sports are more than just a game, less than a god and when surrendered to Christ, they can be a great tool.
Summer is full of challenges for us and our families. So we decided to tackle some of that normal summer stuff in our Summer Survival Series.
The first topic we tackled was “Vacation”. While you can’t find the word vacation in scripture, the things we’re pursuing with vacation: rest and time with family, are topics that God’s Word certainly speaks to. In fact, we find both family and rest established in the first 2 chapters of genesis.
We all know that we need rest but find it can prove difficult. Is it just getting sleep? Is it about stepping away from something that is draining us? Is it found if we can just resolve some problems we’re facing? Is there rest if we can step out of our normal routine?
We’ve probably all had vacations that were anything but restful. Sometimes we try to escape through things that ultimately just end up causing us more problems.
In Mark 6:30-32 we see that Jesus encourages his disciples to step away from their work and rest, but in Matthew 11:28 we see that rest isn’t found in a destination, but in a person…the person of Jesus Christ. He says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
In Psalm 37 David shows us that we can find rest in Christ regardless of our situation or location. So one of the biggest mistakes we can make as Christians is to try and take a vacation where we’re seeking rest, but we don’t seek Jesus.
In this message we share some suggestions on how we can bring Jesus on vacation and how we can better connect with our family as well. The good news is that vacation isn’t really necessary for either one, but it is an opportunity we can capitalize on if we are intentional.
n Sunday the focus of our message was “The Growth Process.” In this message we examined how things grow and applied those steps to the church as well.
Growth starts with a seed and much preparation of the soil. For a church to launch we have to pray for:
1. God’s presence in the work.
2. The calling of a Sr. Pastor.
3. Ministry Partners to serve in the ministry.
4. The community we’re called to serve.
5. A place to gather and call home.
Next comes germination – Growing roots and shoots. Roots provide a foundation for ministry and include bylaws, identifying leaders and determining the mission/vision of the ministry. Shoots of various ministries begin to branch out and will eventually produce fruit.
As a plant fully emerges there is a public presentation. The community begins to feel the impact of a local church.
Next we see growth & pruning. Growth should result in fruit but if a plant produces too much fruit it can break the tree, so pruning must occur. We tend to think of God pruning us as a bad thing, but it actually leads to a healthier plant.
When we’re fully mature there should be multiplication. The seed begins to reproduce. Healthy plants reproduce and the same should be true of healthy Christians and healthy ministries.
As we move into reproduction… Here’s how you can be a part:
Pray for us as a church.
Help us watch for a planting location (somewhere within a 20 mile radius).
Help us multiply leaders, by serving alongside someone else.
Give – we know that there will be a financial cost to plant a church, so if God calls you to sacrificially give toward that, it will help us prepare.
As we learn more, ask God if you’re called to go.