Pastor Scott Ritz visits us this week from Dayton, OH. He urges us not to try carving out time to practice the fruit of the Spirit, but to walk in step with the Spirit in all of life.
Pastor Jeremy Hayworth joins us this week from Troy, Ohio and asks us this question: “You’ve sacrificed every moment of your life to be who you are today. Was it worth it?”
All three pastor’s share a Father’s Day message with us.
After God raised Jesus from the dead and he later ascended into heaven, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples to empower them. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have this same Holy Spirit today. But what does it look like to be filled with the Holy Spirit? The book of Acts gives us four things to look for:
Growth in maturity
Growth in unity
Growth in favor
Growth in number of conversions
To apply this, ask yourself: What can I do in the next 48 hours to let my enthusiasm show in one of the above areas?
The mission of the church, given to us by our Lord, is to go into all the world and make disciples of others. Three key points in this mission, typically called the great commission, are:
It is authorized by nothing less than the power of Christ
It is accomplished by nothing less than the plan of Christ
It is assured by nothing less than the presence of Christ
Peter was not just one of Jesus’ Disciples, he’s a central character in the Jesus story. He’s every man and every woman. He’s a picture of humanity in which we see good and bad, belief and disbelief, giving and taking, humility and arrogance, loyalty and disloyalty, victories and failures, death and resurrection.
We can do 3 things with our failures:
1) We can try to ignore them and act like nothing ever happened.
2) We can be honest about them, and with God’s help find healing and resolution.
3) Or, we can let our failures defeat us and define our lives.
The devil will always push you towards choices 1 or 3. He will always try to lure you away from choice #2.
Failure is not final unless YOU decide it’s final. God has taken some of history’s greatest failures and turned them into enduring monuments of his redemptive grace.
Jesus had been indescribably devoted to this flawed band of followers, and because of this, they were still together, leaning on each other, caring for each other, and waiting to see what God would do next. Despite the fear, the chaos, and the uncertainty, this was a beautiful picture. Jesus had chosen the right people — no matter how inadequate they may seem to us. This group had learned many things from Jesus, but they had especially learned the value of being together and being devoted to one another.
Abiding in God’s love means that He will work in us to strengthen our faith toward Him and He will work through us to show fervent love toward our brothers and sisters. When we love each other, we will experience the joy of God. When we love one another, we also allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and grow in us.
Our God is a sending God, as shown when Jesus gives the great commission. When we send, we are reflecting the heart of the Father. When we obey by going, we reflect the obedience of the Son. However, not everyone is called to go to a foreign country, plant a church, or share the gospel with random strangers. We are all in the world and are called to reflect God’s glory by completing the work God has given us to do as an act of worship.
Psalm 23 is extremely significant because it was written by a king. - King David was only another sheep in God’s fold. No matter who we are, we’re all profiled in the same way; we are sheep and God is the Shepherd. David was just another imperfect human being who had to learn to rely upon God. Just like every other person, he struggled with sin, insecurity, weakness, discouragement, and failure. He became tired, fearful, and empty. And, some of his greatest failures happened when he was over-confident, and self reliant.
It’s generally the rebellious, over-confident, careless lamb that leaves the fold and gets devoured by the wolf or caught in the thicket.