From the Pastor's Desk
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October 15, 2019, 11:00 AM

The Enabling Power of God - 10-13-19


If it had not been for the Lord on our side

10/13/19

The Enabling Power of God

Psalm 124:1-8 A Song of degrees of David.

If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; 2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: 3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: 4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: 5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. 6 Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. 7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

In reading this psalm, I get the feeling that David was thinking of the past, recognizing the grave danger he and the people of Israel were in. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in trying to survive that don’t know the horrific danger we are in. No doubt it was later as David was reflecting, he realized how very close to ravage, death and destruction he and the Israelites were. Then upon meditation on that reality, he recognized the terror that was almost their fate. This, in David’s mind was a “BUT GOD” moment.

Do you have your own story of a “BUT GOD” moment when you recognized the goodness of God in saving you from destruction or death? David has a heart that is running over with thankfulness that he wants to express to God!

Have you ever had a time when you were almost swept away? You escaped as a drowning man/woman who is pulled from a raging torrent of water? You were almost gone, almost dead, almost taken down, but not completely…

This is the expressions and feelings of David that is penned in this psalm. They almost went down. God’s people were near destruction from, MEN and their STRAGITIES OF DEVESTATION AND DEATH, WRATH DIRECTED WITH A PLOT TO ANNINALIATE, NATURAL CIRCIMSTANCES OF GREAT FLOODS AND RAGING TORRENTS OF WATER THAT ALMOST DROWNED THEM but the Lord had mercy and pulled them out in the nick of time. The waters were over their heads (too much for them).

Have you ever been in a place where you had no reserve, no help, no way out, no strategies, no strength; you knew it would take God and his divine intervention to pull you out or you would certainly be destroyed?

As I was planning this message, I received an alert on my phone of a car that was driven into James River with 3 people inside. The picture showed a car turned upside down in the river. If a person is injured badly, he/she may not be able to get himself out. This is true physically but it can also be true mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Can you look back and remember a time when the enemy had you so distraught, discouraged, depressed, disillusioned and desperate that you hardly cared or knew where you were? Yet, somehow, God came through and you were brought out?

The writer in this psalm is reminiscing on the good hand of the Lord.

Psalm 73:1-2 KJV Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped.

There have been times when our feet have almost slipped; we almost went down. Almost... Almost... Except for the Lord! We would have been gone; we have all been in slippery places.

Even Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil; yet, the grace of God and the power of God sustained Him through all temptations and trials. He did not fail, not for one millisecond.

We should look back and remember where God has brought us from. What He has kept us from. He has kept many of us from suicide and from sin that would have driven you to madness.

He has kept our feet from slipping. Some of us, if not all of us have been on the ledge, we know what it is like to stand on the edge of a great despair.

When you have been on the ledge yourself, almost slipping, it seems you barely have the strength to hold on to your faith. Yet God enables you and holds you keeping you from doing the “unthinkable”! It is then you learn to NOT rise up and condemn those who are fighting against the very powers of hell. You have learned that God is fighting for you, God is fighting with you.

Some here today —You feel like you are exerting every ounce of the weak strength you have, and yes you are; but I want you to know, God is holding you!

God is fighting for you!

God is not letting you go!

He has seen you in your pain!

He has seen you in your distress!

He is fighting for you and He will win as you hold to Him and with whatever strength He has given you.

You will triumph over all the fears!

You will triumph over all the blast of the enemy.

The destroyer cannot destroy the one who has their eyes focused on Him who was nailed to the wooden cross for our sins.

Isaiah 54:14-17 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. 15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. 16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. 17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

God is fighting for your destiny; for your life that is eternal.

You need to know, He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until that day!

You are not to be discouraged or dismayed regarding the fiery trial that has come against you.

You need to remember Jesus conquered death, hell and the grave.

He can, and will conquer your fears and He will conquer that which comes to devour and destroy you.

He has not left you alone. You feel alone but you are not alone.

He has proved himself faithful.

He promised, “I will never leave you I will never for sake you, I will go with you all the way to the end of the age.”

He says my grace is sufficient for you; in your weakness my strength is made perfect. It is when you have leaned on me with your entire might and faith that you learn my sustaining grace.

You may think it has been your willpower and your own strength that has brought you through past trials.

Do you not know that I have held you in the mist of the storm?

Do you not know that it is I who has allowed the winds and the waves to blow against you so that you will recognize that I can hold you even in the mist of the torrential rains and storm?

The storms did not come to devour you; they came to prove to you that I the Lord your God am greater than all the power that the enemy could wield against you.

Do not think Satan is stronger than I, he can only move as I allow him, and I have promised you that I will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able to bear. I will, even with the temptation make the way of your escape.

You are on the escape route and you are on the path to victory.

Have not I promised that I will never, never leave you.

I am faithful my name is Faithful and True and I am a God who cannot lie. I am faithful to every promise I have given.

Not one word of mine will fall to the ground for I watch over my word to keep it. Even in the mist of the horrible wind and the storm, even in the battle with the fiery darts of Satan, I am with you!

Those tactics of Satan cannot deter or alter my word, they cannot hinder my plans. I know the plans I have. I know the promises I have made. I know the person I have called you to be. You will rise up and you will fortify yourself and the place of your dwelling.

You will not be the tail, you will be the head.

I will strengthen you and I will satisfy you even as a newborn baby is satisfied upon the breast of her mother. You will be satisfied with me, you will drink of my milk, you will eat of my meat, and you will not spit it out because it is designed specifically for you. I know exactly what you need. I know my children and my children know me. My children drink of my milk, they eat at my table and they become strong, as warriors to fight with me for my purposes.

Even as I am a warrior, you will war with me, not against me.

There have been times you have warred against me, fighting my Word, fighting my plan, even fighting my love, but now, you are fighting with Me. I am fighting for you and you are regaining your strength and you will be satisfied in my peace.

Psalm 124:6-8 Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. 7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

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August 12, 2019, 11:25 AM

Life Doesn’t Make Sense, I just want a Break (Part I & 2) By Administrative Pastor Scott Cooper


By: Administrative Pastor, Scott Cooper

Today we are in the last day of this challenging, but we believe meeting you where you live - Life doesn’t make sense series; I hope the words of trading my sorrows have made it to your heart. And as we are ending this short series, I want to quickly remind of us of last week, where we considered the story of Jesus and the Disciples stuck in the sea storm on Galilee. That story helps us realize God sometimes directs us to go into what will be challenging times, and sometimes feels like he is sleeping or not involved in our moments of struggle during those times. This often causes us to feel like He is late, but as the story showed He comes through in His time.

Because we all struggle we mentioned some survival keys: 1. We must know what we last heard from God, trust His leadership and keep going on that, 2. we can’t rely on the crowd to help us understand our feelings, and 3. we have to be willing at times to roll with things and go just as we are. It’s important that we don’t forget in the moments when it feels like God is silent, that a waiting season isn’t a wasted one. And finally, when we are in times of asking God why, remember we don’t have to understand the plan to trust His purpose.

So today, is there anyone here that has ever said I just need a vacation or life is just too busy, why can’t things just slow down, I’m just exhausted and can’t go on. Maybe the craziness of your life and your struggles are currently keeping you up at night or cause you emotional and physical problems. As a result of our attempts to handle our struggling lives current statistics show over 70% of adults have drank alcohol in the last year, with over 15 million adults actually considered to have Alcohol Use Disorder, and approximately 88,000 people die yearly from alcohol related causes. Drug abuse costs our nation over $200 billion a year, with over 70,000 people dying yearly from overdoses – a number that has doubled in the last 10 years. The National Center for missing and exploited children estimates to receive over 26 million images and videos of sex abuse yearly. 40 million American people regularly visit porn sites, with 64% of young people, ages 13–24, actively seeking out pornography weekly or more. Porn sites receive more regular traffic than Netflix, Amazon, & Twitter combined each month. Last year alone, more than 5 billion hours of porn were consumed on the world’s largest porn site alone. We are all struggling, and most are not handling struggle well.

So today we pick up the rest of the story, what about when God seems uncooperative. In last week’s verses the storm stopped, and the Disciples are rescued, but now here Jesus and the disciples must follow through. Let’s consider God’s word today - Mark 4:39 - 5:1-21 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” 5:1 They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. 6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” 8 For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. 12 The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.

14 Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. 16 Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17 And they began to implore Him to leave their region. 18 As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. 19 And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. 21 When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore.

When God’s priorities and methods seem questionable, doing insignificant things verse other seemingly more important things. It makes Him seem at times uncooperative or confusing at best and obstinate or difficult at worst. How do we handle these things, how should we handle them? Today we want to offer 3 life keys and 3 prayer keys as we all know the struggle is all too real.

So again, visualize the moment. Jesus teaching all day, gets prompted to tell them to cross the lake and during that time the get into a storm, water filling the boat to sinking, he calms the storm and fills them full of fear and questions as they bail out the boat and continue. Now remember from the verses of them being terrified and afraid they are going to drown, it isn’t like me or you being in the boat these were professional fishermen, this couldn’t have been the first storm they had seen. But it could have been the worst, some Bible scholars state it could even have been a demonic attack on them. So, whether it was an attack directly from Hell or not it would have been mentally and physically exhausting. A crazy night leaving them all I’m sure exhausted. Ready for a much needed restful get away from crowds and pressure, at least some hours of uninterrupted sleep. If I was God, I don’t think it would take much understanding to give them some supernatural rest time.

Any one relate and agree, the struggles of life just leave you mentally and physically exhausted – you just need, want and deserve a break. I hope you can relate to them and me and I feel you today.

But look back at the passage, 5:1 They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him,

He steps out of the boat and met by demon possessed crazy man immediately. I looked that word immediately up in the Greek and you know it means immediately, without delay. So, remember, Jesus is all man, like you and I so here He is tired from the extreme last 24 hours and bam right into it again. And not just a simple guy needing help, look at these verses: 

3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. 6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him;

Catch the little word ANYMORE, couldn’t be bound anymore, in other words at one point he had been fine, then another point he was in trouble and could be controlled, then a point got to where he couldn’t be controlled. Things had been progressive as undealt with issues built up, he became more and more influenced by the demons. Let me speak to you today, One last time, fallacy. Others couldn’t help – even using extreme measures, he got to the point where the struggle of life overwhelmed him and the things he tried to cope with allowed entrance to the Devil, and worse and worse to the point where he is in so much struggle, he’s even trying to free self through more pain or attempted suicide.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds, time with God’s presence heals.

3 times it mentions tombs, he was in death’s dominion, consumed – a resident there. No matter how struggles come, when things don’t make sense and lead to confusion and pain; I assure you the enemy is out to destroy you mentally and even physically. It’s sad but no wonder that nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year, which is roughly one death every 40 seconds. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years. We must realize that without God, the enemy is trying to take people out; we must ask God for help and be willing to help each other in a God led way.

Prayer isn’t just asking it’s about trusting.

Pressing in, are you willing to run to Jesus with your issues today.

7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” 9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

For most situations in life there aren’t easy buttons.

Prayer reminds us we aren’t in control, keeps us closer to the one who is. There are times when we pray and act without no immediate change or obvious answer. We must persist, with the absolute authority with God.

After Jesus had been working on driving them out without success, he asks his name, Legion is approx. 6000. He says don’t hurt me, the enemy is no match for God. Jesus prevails. Not quick fix, God is about the process and time. They are not initially cast out. Is God strong enough – infinitely to reach to you and your problems. Jesus didn’t stop, Jesus could have been amazed leading to name question about the difficulty of getting the demons out.

Ask for Divine and Physical revelation: There are times when you need to ask the Spirit of God to reveal to you what is going on?

***Several times in my life I have had to ask God to reveal what was going on with in my children, my relationships, my daughter with her schooling and her learning. Asking God for discernment in certain situations in my life. There are times all you can do is pray for divine revelation from the Holy Spirit. He wants to reveal Himself to you and speak to you on a daily basis of life.

The biggest arrogance I think we can show is a trick by the enemy to think we are bigger than God. You may be here thinking Pastor I have heard about Jesus and maybe even believe in Him at some level, but I am in a mess too big he can’t help me. Jesus can’t help me is a lie, he consistently shows going out of his way to help others and has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with us for help with your life today.

A world of cares ....11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14 Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. 16 Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17 And they began to implore Him to leave their region. 18 As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. 19 And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. 21 When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore.

Pigs have no logic human thinking will, could have been susceptible to demon influence easily. Was Jesus an animal hater or against the guys raising the pigs, I don’t think the Bible shows God as anti-animal, but he clearly shows just one person is immeasurably more valuable. He is grieved by our struggles but has a plan that we may not often recognize until later if at all.

God’s Love is beyond our understanding.

Christ’s trip to the land of the Gerasenes was one of his rare visits to Gentile territory, which also explains the presence of the herd of pigs, which was forbidden to the Jews. God cared more about 1 crazy person than 2000 pigs $$$. We must see our struggles through the lens of a God who loves people more than we can even comprehend, willing to put his own son out to reach one man that others were at that point avoiding and leaving to die. The enemy wants to enslave and kill, by any means. And God wants total freedom, I know life and situations and sometimes it seems even God doesn’t make sense. But just as God sends Jesus out of his way to find the demon possessed crazy man and restore him, later sending Jesus to die for all the wrong we would do. Jesus would be raised from the dead to give us life, He has the same power today. We can end up fighting things that are bigger and stronger than us, impossible situations that will absolutely drain us of life and energy, the will to survive. But they are not bigger than God.

True prayer not about getting our way, it’s about surrendering our will. So much of the struggles in life are about getting but to submit to God in trust no matter what is not about getting. We often feel much like the girl wondering why our Father God isn’t just fixing everything, but I assure you today God is at work.

But just as this story shows, people aren’t the same, rather than celebrating with him; they are more afraid of what else might happen. There are some people who are more interested in their welfare or beliefs than you having freedom or rest. The whole town came out to see and then begged him to leave. If we are not careful, we can become so wrapped up in ourselves and our own challenges that we will literally become immune to or ignore those struggling around us that God sends us to, allowing potentially terrible things to happen. Martin Niemöller was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian born in Lippstadt, Germany, in 1892. Niemöller was an anti-Communist and supported Adolf Hitler's rise to power at first. But when Hitler insisted on the supremacy of the state over religion, Niemöller became disillusioned. He became the leader of a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 he was arrested and eventually confined in Dachau. He was released in 1945 by the Allies. And wrote this after being sorry that he never took part in helping then.

First they came for the Communists, And I did not object for I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists, And I did not object for I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Jews, And I did not object for I was not a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to object…

The enemy wants you so disillusioned and mentally tired, emotionally tired that you won’t have the strength, desire or passion to stand for others, the right thing, or just the promises and words of God that haven’t come to pass yet. So, wrapped up in your struggle that your trust and belief and willingness to trust Him no matter what erodes away over time to nothing.

Go back to your home – the man had at one time had a home that he could go back to.

Jesus has a plan for you, both for your freedom and mission. He wants to restore what the enemy may have destroyed even if we let it in slowly over time. God wants to show and do amazing things around you so that you can then be used more for him, but that comes as we struggle forward and give our struggles and coping methods over to him. Sometimes what we think we need and want is a break, but instead God wants to give us a mission.

At the end of the day we are still praying for Hope to be healed but trusting in the meantime.

Today there are many of us here today that aren’t “screaming among the tombs” but in your mind and life the struggle is just as real, we struggle to cope and see many of these coping mechanisms and issues just as much in the church as they are outside of it. Are you willing to bring all your struggles and unclean areas, stop saying “one more time” and run to God today, join us for prayer this morning?




July 23, 2019, 1:33 PM

You’ve Got To Know Where You Stand and Who Stands With You


 

As a Soldier of Christ You’ve Got To Know Where You Stand and Who Stands With You   Joshua 1:1-10

Introduction: A good soldier knows which side he represents and stands with. A good soldier cannot represent both the friend and the enemy. Some may try to stand in the middle of the road and be a friend to both sides but that is what “double mindedness” is called. Those who are double minded are unstable and unreliable in all their ways. A person cannot be a good soldier if he does not have a made up mind concerning what he believes and which side of the fence he is on. For example, one cannot be light and darkness at the same time. Neither can one hold to the devil and God at the same time. Jesus said,

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Apostle Paul said in 2 Cor. 6:14-16 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” .

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

Christians must quit trying to fit the worlds mold.

David said in Psalm 119:63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.

Be Strong, Know Who is For You and Who is Against You.

Joshua 5:13-14 Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?" 14 And he said, "No, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.

Joshua had gone out to investigate the city of Jericho to learn the strategy which the Lord would have them take; it was then that he saw the “Man” who was armed as a soldier.

There stood a man over against him—(the person mentioned here was no other than the Lord Jesus. He received worship from Joshua which no angel was allowed to receive.

Joshua, not knowing who this warrior was walked up to this armed person and immediately questions him, Art thou for us or for our adversaries?

God had already told Joshua that he would possess the land that He would be with him to do so. Miracles were God’s job and obedience, faith and courage would was Joshua’s job.

The whole history of Joshua shows him to have been a man who was faith filled and fearless with incredible courage. God makes his called ones bold as a lion.

Joshua’s past showed he had stood with God even when the other 10 leaders/spies did not.

"Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law … Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

Joshua saw a man standing with his sword drawn. Immediately he asked a logical question. Are you for us or for them? Basically, whose side are you on?

A good soldier needs to know who his allies and enemies are.

Why?  Amos 3:3 Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?

KJV Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

We live in a time where “ALL - INCLUSIVE” is touted to be the ultimate wisdom to be embraced. While I agree with some of the proponents of this notion…such as, “COLOR” should not determine whether a person is accepted for a job or opportunity, etc.

However when it comes to spiritual things, LIGHT AND DARKNESS do not mix. There must be a separation when it comes to Christian ministry, etc.

Peter & John were straightforward in speaking to this ideology! Light and darkness does not mix.

A New Testament Example of this: Acts 8:18-23 ...And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.  20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.  21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.  22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

Intimidation: The evil one wants to hinder us by his spirit of intimidation. He wants us to cower down and not speak out clearly. His strategy is to silence us from making our stand with God in his righteousness.

  1. We must speak clearly and boldly.
  2. We must know and seek who stands with God and who fights against Him. (We can know this by their life and speech) especially if you are called to yoke up with…
  3. We must not be in agreement or yoked up with people who advocate and walk in darkness.

We are to be a separated people:                                                                                                                                                            2 Corinthians 6:16-18   Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  17 "Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.  18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.

This Scripture does not teach all-inclusiveness:

As Christians, we must be in agreement with God and His Holy Word.

Let the wisdom of the world come to nothing; God’s Word is true and can keep us in alignment with wisdom and righteousness.

The points are these.

  1. You should know who is for you. Who is going in the same direction as you? Who is like-minded? (No we are not so small that we cannot hear different perspectives) however, when the perspective doesn’t align with the INFALLABLE Word of God, we will dismiss it as UNRELIABLE for doctrine, correction and instruction in righteousness.
  2. Don’t waver and be double-minded! Make up your mind on what you believe and stand up.
  3. Don’t back down on what is right.
  4. Recognize the intimidation from the devil/dark.
  5.  Understand, not all people who like what you are doing really like/love the God you serve.
  6. Not everyone belongs on your team. Not everyone who likes a portion of what you do loves your God.
  7. If you do not stand firm you will fall.

If you walk in the middle of the road you will get hit from both sides. We must be courageous, faith filled and obedient to God above all!

 




July 17, 2019, 12:37 PM

Who told you, you were naked?


Genesis 3:11

Genesis 3:1-12 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden '?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'" 4 And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die! 5 "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 And he said, "I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." 11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 And the man said, "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."

Adam and Eve were created perfectly in a very image of God. They have no flaws, no bruises, no emotional hang-ups, no feelings of rejection, no sickness and none of the negative things we experience and endure.

Can you and I even begin to imagine being in a world where there are no negatives to torment or discourage us?

Can we imagine a World perfectly groomed without the need for water hoses, weed pulling, lawnmowers, chainsaws, a world that is perfect and beautiful in every way?

Can we imagine a world without rescue squads, Band-Aids, doctors, nurses, and hospitals, into acid pills, crisis centers, and counselors for emotional pain or breakdowns?

Can we imagine a world where there is no need for court houses and judges to discern the faults and penalties of people who damage or hurt us?

Can we imagine a world where there are no accidents, no need for insurance and no lawsuits?

Can we imagine a world where there are no missing or abused children, no animal cruelty, no time crunches, no stresses, grudges, no unforgiveness, breathing problems, chest pain, back aches, too much fat, pesticides, toxins, fatigue, gossip, pride and/or arrogance?

Much, if not most of our careers and jobs are trying to resolve and help people with problems and irritations.

Because we live in a body and a world that is touched by Adam and Eve’s and yes even our own sin, we are all born spiritually naked and we all have problems.

We work and strive to get a remedy and be a remedy as we live, teach and preach it.

But the one in only final remedy that is that He, the Lord Jesus Christ, made it out of the tomb after we, his creation crucified him on a shameful cross at Calvary.

Imagine that! The only one who could, came to rescue humankind from the curse of sin and we in violence mocked, scorned, abused and yes even murdered him are very hope of life.

Yet when we were at our worst, God is in his perfection in Christ arose with victory and forgiveness, mercy and love for you and me!

What a Savior! Jesus Messiah, name above all names, blessed redeemer, Emmanuel! We all were meant for more! That’s why Jesus came! God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever would believe in him would have everlasting life. Life more abundantly is what He came to give us. He loved the world that He gave his own life.

We will not have everlasting life and perfection in this body and in this world that is touched the sin; however, when we ask God, because He gives his children everlasting life beyond the grave and if we are taking up in the rapture.

What a day, what a time that will be! When all Adam and Eve forfeited is reversed and God creates a new and perfect heaven and earth. Hebrews 2:8-9 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. 9 But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

The glories of heaven will be ours for all time and eternity. Then, we will not be found naked. We will be clothed with our new body, a body that does not know sin or disease.

God will make all things new again! There will be no more exposure, no shame, no blame, no sorrow, and no sickness. Because the former things are passed away!

God will shine in us even as the brilliance of the sun that shines on the earth. God‘s light will shine in and through us revealing who He is. In the finality of things, when we have our new glorified body, I believe we will returned to the perfection that Adam had in the garden.

Christians are God’s children, children of light. We do not yet bear his complete image, we are flawed and yes we sometimes show our butt and are found in shame.

Imagine this; God will wipe all tears from our eyes. All regrets will be gone! Feelings of failure, feelings of fear and troubled spirit will be gone. All intimidation and lack or any other negative will be gone.

God will clothe us in his perfection, hallelujah! No longer will we have nakedness in any form! We will be fulfilled, together and like him! We will have a perfect body and live in a perfect world for eternity!

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. 1 John 3:1-2

1. God has given us the great privilege of being called the CHILDREN OF GOD.

  1. This is a great love given to us by God Himself.
  2. This love is so great that the world nor carnal man can understand or describe it.

 

2. We have a great hope in God’s love. His love is a great mystery.

  1. We do not fully know what we will be like.
  2. We know we will be like Christ. Yet we do not yet know Him in his fullness.
  3. We have great incentive in God’s love to walk in purity. 1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

  1. We have a great need of deliverance of sin. We are all sinners by nature. All of us have broken God’s law. Only God can deliver us through Christ redemptive blood. 1 John 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
  2. He provides the way for us to take away our deliverance. We do not have to live in bondage to sin. 1 John 3:5-6 And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
  3. This is the proof of our deliverance.
  1. We do not continue in sin. Sin is not a lifestyle.
  2. If we continue in lifestyle of sin Scripture says we do not know Christ.
  3. It’s possible for us to become deceived. 1 John 3:6-8 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
  1. Jesus conquers and delivers.
  1. A person who abides/continues in sin is of the devil.
  2. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:7-8 Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

 

  1. The result of our deliverance can be seen. We are freed from the bondage of sin. We are not a slave to sin! 1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

 

  1. The test and mark of righteousness is the demonstration of Christ’s love within us.

1 John 3:10-17 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous. 13 Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

 

  1. Love and righteousness reveal a person’s true nature. These characteristic shows if one is of God or the devil.
  2. Love is the message that has been given from the beginning. Love is the earliest and strongest commandment. Love God, love others.
  3. Love does not persecute the righteous.
  4. Love is the proof that a person has passed from death to life.
  5. Love does not hate. Because he who hates is a murder. Hate exempts a person from eternal life.
  6. Love is the proof that a person understands the love of Christ.
  7. Love has compassion and gives to meet the needs of others.

 

  1. Next test of being in Christ is having a clean heart. 1 John 3:18-24 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him, 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

 

  1. A clean heart is revealed by loving actions not with words only.
  2. Love assures us that our heart is right and our conscience is clear.
  3. Obeying the commandments is like being washed by the water of the word. We are to be subject to Christ and allow him to wash us.. Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
  4. A clean heart is produced by believing in God’s Son Jesus.
  5. The indwelling of God’s Spirit assures us that God lives within us. 1 John 3:24 And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

 

We are not naked if we are clothed in God’s righteousness and walking in obedience to his Spirit and Word.




June 16, 2019, 7:00 PM

Follow The Cloud (BY: Rev. Scott Cooper, Administrative Pastor)


Today, to begin this journey, let me ask you a few questions:

To those that are parents, show me your hands, thank you, my prayers go that God will help you parent to the best of His abilities and with all the help the Holy Spirit can give you. As one parent to another, does it seem to anyone else that parenting can bring the most joy and most stress all in any given 5 min. Maybe you can relate, I have had some roller coaster moments these past couple months, a couple of weeks ago my son had his next belt testing in Taekwondo and he goes to class and works but then when it comes to the testing in front of 20 judges and with everyone watching it really challenges him and I sit there and watch him struggle and want so bad to rescue him and help and protect but deep down I know that as he fights through challenges he will become better for it, even as sometimes we have to push him forward or hold him in moments of struggle. And then we find out he passes and is going to be a senior green belt, we have the parental pride of the moment. Maybe you have had moments like that and can appreciate the challenge of my heart to try to do the right thing, when unsure exactly what the right thing in the moment always is – prayerfully I try to do my best.

Or for those that aren’t parents today, I can’t leave you out, let me see your hands today across this place. Regardless of your age have you ever just wanted your plans to work out like you expected or dreamed them to be, something you were excited to do or try or something you expected to take 20 min and 3 hours later, it’s not done, and your morning is gone. Can I just be real today, I think for the Cooper’s it seems like the plan happening flawlessly, is maybe 10% of the time and the other 90%, it seems like we are fighting through unexpected and amazingly thick fog that leave me running the wipers as my windshield fogs up and then I turn on the AC and the next minute we are freezing and switch to heat and just as the inside windshield clears up I realize it feels like 100 degrees in the vehicle and have to turn the heat off windows down and we get to repeat the process again 10 min later, and again – anyone feel me today. Like one of the t-shirts my wife has is “The Struggle is Real”.

And can I be blunt and honest today, as much as I would like to say that this is before I committed to God’s path and following him, but this is like – yesterday and I am following God, but it still seems like I get to spend a lot of quality time in quicksand. Anyone with me today, show me your hand, give me a little comfort this morning. Thank you, can I tell you I think as we look at God’s word today I think we are good company. Can you please turn with me to Acts 13:39-41 and stand to honor God’s word, as we consider a backdrop to the crazy journey we are a part of:           

“and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Therefore, take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you: ‘BEHOLD, YOU SCOFFERS, AND MARVEL, AND PERISH; FOR I AM ACCOMPLISHING A WORK IN YOUR DAYS, A WORK WHICH YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE, THOUGH SOMEONE SHOULD DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.’ ””           ACTS 13:39-41

Now with that passage in your mind lets go back further in history and consider a story from Exodus 13

“Now when Pharaoh had let the people go…             Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you.” Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” EXODUS 13:17-22 NASB

400-year-old promise to take bones of Joseph, leave and walk out into the unknown desert.

We read this journey like a bed time story, but they lived it out real people with real thoughts and fears.

He planned them into mystery and pulled them directly into mystery, but they are like us and when plans end up sideways even when sometimes we can see a clear and right cause, we end up shipwrecked and staring up at the ceiling, sleepless nights as thoughts rush on and on… Point 1 BELIEVE WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE   

But look at Paul Harvey’s rest of the story: EXODUS 14:9-21 NASB

“Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so, the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land…  The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.”

Look at this picture of where this happened and visualize it with me, on a large enclosed beach as Egyptian army is coming through the mountains. Panic from what they see, there are moments as a father, parent or really anyone, when the physical moment will reach out and grab everything you may believe or think about your self or God, and seem to shatter it on the rocks of raging sea, right in plain sight of you and others.

Moses – their spiritual father in that moment, don’t fear, stand and watch salvation. What you see here you aren’t going to see again. Can I speak to you father, mother, spiritual father or mother, leader, aspiring leader – there are moments when you have the same lurking questions the physical reality shows, but you must speak and stand on mystery faith and belief for those around you. Listening for God even more than believing your own eyes… God – tells them go forward, crazy mystery actions, angel moves, and God moves with Cloud behind them.

Consecrate yourself for the next moment, because He is here… The King is Among them. Maybe they don’t see the actual form of God, rather His Spirit - in the cloud, the fire, the wind across the water drying a path through the river, or the wind carrying a voice off the mountain.

If we are going to have an impact in this what some call the “new political or social challenged 21st century”, we are going to have to absolutely have more of the Holy Spirit, filled and evident in us, Know the King is Among us. We see here the first key to allowing that to happen:

Point 1: Believe what you can’t see.           We forget that we see revealed his hand after the fact for us but at the time this isn’t just mysterious, it’s crazy enough that they often borderline on rebellion. It takes the Holy Spirit filling you to take you beyond what you can touch feel and see in moments of challenge, right up the brink. There might just be more than you and your infinite wisdom can see and comprehend, there is a verse on that.

Again, our Heavenly Father gives His Spirit to help us through the mystery of this real world, can I speak to some fathers (and some mother’s or everyone) today, there are times when we must believe God is using His Spirit in the lives of our children or those we love, beyond things we can see positive or negative in the moment.

With bringing up the Holy Spirit, let me just take a Sunday drive side road through the country for a moment.

Consider: John 16:5-7

5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the [c]Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

When it comes to the Holy Spirit, as evangelicals we often fall into one of two extremes. Some seem obsessed, relating to him in strange, mystical ways. Their experiences with the Spirit always seem to coincide with an emotionally ecstatic moment created by the swell of music in a worship service or a weird confluence of events: “I was praying about whether to ask Rachel out, and suddenly I saw a billboard whose background was the same color as her eyes, and I got goose bumps—I knew it was the Holy Spirit!”

Other Christians neglect his ministry altogether. They believe in the Holy Spirit, but they relate to him the same way I relate to my pituitary gland: I’m grateful it’s in there; I know it’s essential for something; I would never want to lose it . . . but I don’t really interact with it. For these believers, the Holy Spirit is not a moving, dynamic person. He’s more of a theory.

Yet Jesus made his disciples this incredible promise about the Holy Spirit, one so astounding I think many of us do not really take it seriously: it was to their advantage, he said, that he returns to heaven if it meant they receive the Spirit. If you ask Christians whether they would rather have Jesus beside them or the Spirit inside them, which do you think most would choose, which would you choose? That shows how far apart we are from grasping what Jesus is really offering to us?

Point 2: Trust what you can’t see   

How do we then trust or embrace or experience the presence of the Holy Spirit? We certainly have seen this question greatly abused, but let me just break it down. It’s going to have to be more than a 10 second few words you don’t understand under your breath, more than just emotional flurries, irrational impressions, random events, more than giving a message or an interpretation of a message, more than a spiritual trophy experience; while none of those may be inherently wrong. I truly believe Scripture shows us that he wants to use the Holy Spirit to draw us further into His story of mystery and love, further into a powerful relationship. See this:

Romans 5:1-5. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Jesus gives access to grace by faith, acknowledging Him as savior makes us right with God. God shows His love through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We must build trust but that can be beyond mysterious, it can get downright scary: like me wanting to rescue my kids. I mentioned Jon-Paul and his testing but even as your kids get older you want to see them successful and safe and happy, etc. Makes me think of times with both of our girls and their involvement in soccer, we have had our share of challenges and heartbreaking, frustrating moments we can lead to constant question and second guessing but there are some things that are Kingdom principles, if we are trying to do our best raise our kids Godly, give them opportunities, then there are times when we will and do have to see the spiritual principle, trust the Spirit of God that He is doing things you can’t and may not see for a while, if ever. Not that I must push them into dangerous harmful situations, not at all; but I must trust God more than I trust my own parenting skills, those around me or even them. This same principle applies beyond family because it is a spiritual one. There are times when we must follow the Spirits guiding to push not just our children but others to become more than they can believe in themselves. 

Puritan Thomas Goodwin compared experiencing more of God’s Spirit to that of a toddler son when his father swoops him up into his arms, spins him around, and tells him, “You are my son and I love you!” In that moment, the boy has become no more his father’s son, legally speaking, than he was the moment before. But being caught up in his father’s arms he feels his sonship more intimately. The King is with you, His Presence Among us wanting to pick you up today, wanting to carry you today. The Spirit calls you to trust and even embrace the mystery that is believing God and His leading more than what I can work out and understand through the Spirit. As leaders, whether a father or not we are called by God in 1 Timothy 3:8-10 “… holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. These men must also first be tested…” He is working even when I don’t understand or haven’t seen the answer yet.

I truly know God can see our moments and things that we can’t understand, chaos, confusion or lack of control is challenging for most of us. But we struggle with the mysterious and rather we often want a God that we can control, I can keep him in the Sunday morning compartment, or the “with certain people” box, or the “around the pastor” words, but the Spirit want to mess with your compartments, so you can be free and bold for God. As we trust Him more we will encounter more of the Holy Spirit here at church, with others, and personally.

Point 3: Act on what you can’t see

For instance, Acts 13:2 records, “While [the church was] worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” God gave the church specific insight into what Saul and Barnabas were to do. Throughout his life Paul received instructions about where to go and what to do through members of the church, and he gave similar words of instruction to Timothy. But this should work directly with what the Spirit speaks within our hearts. Consider Acts 17:14-17.

Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left. 16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. 17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

Paul the key leader at that time to the Gentiles, or those not blessed to be in the “desired church crowd”, he allowed the Spirit to re-direct and change his course through his life. Today the Spirit calls Bible believing Spirit filled bold believers outside the church, into a world wrecked with failed plans, lost love, crushed dreams, fear and pain. Look around you, it is less about figuring all the spiritual things out, but rather listening to Him lead us into the unknown.

Back to our intro verse as we bring it all around:

“and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you: ‘BEHOLD, YOU SCOFFERS, AND MARVEL, AND PERISH; FOR I AM ACCOMPLISHING A WORK IN YOUR DAYS, A WORK WHICH YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE, THOUGH SOMEONE SHOULD DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.’ ””           ACTS 13:39-41

Stories from Fathers past – is he the God of yesterday or could these stories still happen, is the age of miracles and the Holy Spirit over or past? Thousands of years ago in the Upper Room, the Holy Spirit wind and fire fell on fathers, mothers, everyone in the room in the moment. We do see the Spirit show up through our circumstances, throughout Paul’s life we see him interpret open and closed doors as evidence of the Spirit’s leadership. In his first letter to the Corinthians he explains he will stay in Ephesus to preach because a “wide door for effective work” has been opened, which he evidently took as the Spirit’s leadership. No special prophetic word, no handwriting in the sky, no Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich—just an open door. But, this one can be tricky, because an open door doesn’t always mean something is God’s will. We see through Paul’s journey’s several times he follows the Spirit to change directions, like we just read where he was provoked into a different moment. More havoc has been wreaked in the church and world following the words “God just told me to ______” than perhaps any other phrase. So, we must hold our various senses of the Spirit’s movement, in tension with each other and always in submission to the Scriptures. A key with all of this it to hold our interpretations loosely, embracing the mystery and unknown sovereignty of a God that doesn’t have to explain Himself to us and make sense in every situation. Jesus said, after all, that experiencing the Spirit is something like a mysterious encounter with the wind (John 3:8).

So now we bring it all back around again, the Israelites trekking through the wilderness after years of struggle and hardship, we look in on the end of one journey and the start of another, Joshua 3:1-6:

Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the ark; do not go near it.” 5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”…

This was the end of the “cloud era” after they crossed the river into the next moment, God would lead them in other ways, but the cloud of His Spirit had taken them right to that day. Jesus left the disciples staring up into the sky and the Holy Spirit joined us but just like those fathers and others before us. They had a personal decision, a personal choice – consecrate yourself or not. Press in beyond what makes sense, embrace a God that can seem at times crazy, will you and I personally steward his mystery, embrace the wonder that is following God, take decisive steps to encounter more of the Spirit, get His help when we don’t know how to pray or even how to make sense of this crazy day to day life I live.

Today right now, the King our Savior the Holy Spirit is among us, he is looking for leaders and others who will consecrate yourself for amazing things, astonishing things, things you won’t believe even when you see them, are we willing to embrace a wonderful crazy God of mystery, he wants to give you freedom and joy, strong boldness and courage, Spirit directed Believing what we can’t always see, trusting God when things aren’t falling together. He is calling you today, I believe the Spirit is directing us to actions. 

Wherever today finds you on the journey, know if you are a father today or a parent at all, there are 936 weeks from birth to 18 and they are ticking off each day, will you teach and model for those around you that you love to embrace following the Spirit of God as He leads us to often uncharted waters in our minds?

Do you need personal revival, Webster says Revival - 1 : an act or instance of reviving or a renewed attention to or interest in something. While revive is: to restore to consciousness or life, 2: to restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state, to renew in the mind or memory

Can I tell you revival is not a tent or 3 special services but something that affects heart and action change? God breathes fresh live into dead people, through that renewed life we are changed and affected. Things that don’t make sense can build faith, can build trust, can show strength and desire. When we want to have everything filled out, plans made, everything easy and making sense, we can and will shut down the Spirit’s work in our lives, prevent encounters with Him, we can watch others while limiting ourselves.  

Are you willing to Personally follow the Holy spirit into God’s great mystery, Jesus died and rose for us? Choose to believe in him and give your self to Him today. I believe to close today God has given me 4 words for us as a body: Sow, Reap, heal, Build. The Spirit is quickening one of those in you for action, quickly we are going to respond and pray.

Sow - Reap - Heal – Build 

Don’t stand around and act like God never did anything for you, when you have a complete encounter with the filling of the Holy Spirit it will take you beyond yourself, your personality to a point in belief, praise and action that releases things in you. The King is Among Us today, will you acknowledge him?

Holy Spirit you are welcome here Jesus Culture 8:11


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