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Grow September 25, 2013

Church – Part Two

As we grow our understanding of the vision Jesus has for the Church, I hope we all get a fresh sense of his genius as a designer!

This should not surprise us – after all,  he does have Genesis 1 on his resume!

This week, let’s start by taking a look at Ephesians 4:1-16.

What does this say about the way the Church should work?

At first glance, it looks like Jesus has given the Church people (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) to get everyone else ready to do the ministry.  Right?

Well, what do these people look like? Are these jobs open to everyone?

Better yet, of these types of people, who am I most like? Well, take a few minutes and fill in this survey

Come ready Sunday with the understanding of what kind of work you may be most well designed to do, and let’s see how we can team up and train – to bring this text to life!

Living and Loving in Jesus with you,
Denis

Grow September 24, 2013

Zeke teaches on how the Church is not a building but a family. Our text is Matthew 12:46-50.

 

Grow September 18, 2013

The Church – Part One

Sunday we begin our next mini-series in The Story, by looking at the Church. I am glad for God’s order – because without the Lordship of Jesus, our adoption by the Father, and the Holy Spirit – we could never be the Church! :)

So, what do you think of when you hear the word “Church”?  Each of us has an experience of Church – good and bad. But what did Jesus and his apostles say about it? Let’s start with Matthew 12:46-50. What is Jesus saying? How might this radical family idea change your understanding of Church?

Let’s come ready to experience the Word of God together. Also, prepare your hearts for a special time of Communion!

Living and Loving in Jesus with you,
Denis

Grow September 18, 2013

Denis shares from Romans 8:1-13, exploring the Spirit’s key role in accomplishing God’s plan for each disciple.

Grow September 16, 2013

MID-WEEK

Holy Spirit – Part Three 

This week, I’m continuing to consider the question “How can I know I have the Holy Spirit?”

One way to know we have the Spirit is that we experience new supernatural abilities we did not have before. These abilities are often called the gifts of the Holy Spirit. New abilities may include praying in tongues, spontaneous praise, prophecy, passion to share the Gospel with non-believers, a word of wisdom, or words of knowledge only God could know about people. Joel also said that we would have dreams and visions. All these are gifts of the Spirit.

Another way is to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. It is described in Acts 1:8 and 1 Corinthians 4:20 by the same word from which we get the English word “dynamite”. Power to pray, power to be a witness for Jesus, power to defeat the sin patterns in our lives. Power to read and understand the Bible, power to teach clearly, lead well, and power to pray for others and watch them be healed.

Another reliable test is the transformation of our character over time. Jesus said you can tell the tree by its fruit. What kind of fruit is there in your life? Are you experiencing more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Are you overcoming sin patterns in your life? Are you growing in wisdom from above? If you are stuck in neutral, with little fruit or bad fruit, this is a sign that you may not have the Spirit in your life.

We believe that salvation (justification, sanctification, glorification) is a process and that God does not always work in the same way and with the same order of events for each person. People in the book of Acts experienced a wide variety of “on-boarding” experiences at the hands of a creative God. We can test and base our experiences against the standard of the Word of God.

Look at the story of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8. He believed the Gospel of Jesus presented by Philip and he was baptized. (8:13) yet he did not receive the Spirit. He was still full of bitterness and captive to sin (8:23). He had wrong motives. We don’t know what happened to him, but I hope he repented. In any case, the giving of the Spirit was not “automatic” – it requires pure motives and a heart changed from above.

Look at the story of Cornelius in Acts 10. he and his household were hungry for God and they received the Spirit before they were baptized in water. We can see God’s purpose in that event, but its not always clear. In Luke 11, Jesus simply says “keep on asking”!

If we follow Peter’s advice, we are to make our calling sure (2 Peter 1:3-11). Paul agrees and asks us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

By the way, one more test of the Spirit’s presence in your life is your appetite for God’s Word. As you consider the tests I have offered, you may have further questions. Any of our elders are available to counsel with you to help you to that place of assurance.

But in the meantime, know that God knows your heart and rewards those who earnestly seek him! May we always seek more of God’s Holy Spirit!

In Jesus, Denis

Grow September 10, 2013

Zak shares about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and various members share testimonies of the gifts in operation in their lives.

Grow September 04, 2013

Holy Spirit – Part Two

One of the most common questions I hear is “How can I know I have the Holy Spirit?”

This is a great question and very central to having strong assurance of our salvation. Romans 8:9 says this: “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”

There are many ways the Bible tells us we can know we have the Spirit in us. I will offer a few today and complete the list next week:

1. One of the first ways we can experience the Holy Spirit is in that very uncomfortable moment when we become aware of our sin and our lack of righteousness, and our heading towards the judgment of God. Jesus tells us about these activities of Holy Spirit in John 16:8-11. I remember when I first began to experience conviction of my sin, and it drove me to seek peace with God. If you are not experiencing regular conviction of sin and correction, you may not have the Holy Spirit or you may have quenched him.

2. In 1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul gives us another clue. If you regularly use the names of God in vain, you cannot be speaking by the Spirit. However, if you have realized in a clear and confident way that Jesus is the supreme Lord of the universe and the God of all creation to whom you are personally responsible, you have been led to that conclusion by Holy Spirit.

3. The disciples in the book of Acts were asked at times “Have you received the Holy Spirit”? They were able to respond yes or no. This was confirmed by a combination of teaching and personal experience. It is not surprising that when God moves into a person, that they would have some sense of that happening. However, we all know people who are less sensitive to their bodies, feelings, and emotions, and there are other ways to discern the Holy Spirit’s presence, so we will continue next week!

May you continue to seek and enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit as he enables you to see and experience the Father and the Son.

Love,
Denis