Author: Olivia Andrade

The Power of Jesus on the Cross

Written by Sean Jones

Why did there have to be a sacrifice?

When our kids were young, I remember a day that I gave them a pep talk before going into the grocery store. Among other things, I made it clear that they weren’t to touch anything. I also shared what the consequence would be if they didn’t obey. As we were getting ready to check out, I watched one of my daughters eye the candy and look at me, again and again. I reminded her not to touch, but a few minutes later I saw her little hand touch a candy bar out of the corner of my eye. When she realized that I saw her, her eyes filled with tears. Every part of me wanted to forego the consequence, and yet I knew I had to keep my word.

It’s the same with God.

In the beginning, when God created man and woman, He gave them instructions about how to live. He also gave them free will to make their own choices. He created them, and all of mankind, for relationship. Knowing that love isn’t something that can be demanded, He set it up that they could choose to follow Him by keeping His instructions or not follow by going their own way.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:15-17 (NIV)

God doesn’t go back on His word. Man and woman chose to not obey, and the result was death. The consequence was clear, and from that moment of disobedience sin entered the picture and death was set in motion. The weight of sin is death, which is separation from God caused by our wrongdoing.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your wrongdoings have caused a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2 (NASB)

Because of God’s unfathomable love for us, He sent Jesus to step into His creation and die for all of mankind’s disobedience. This sacrifice demonstrates the great lengths He was willing to go to in making a way for us.

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way, death came to all people, because all sinned—” Romans 5:12 (NIV)

“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20-21 (NIV)

Jesus came to earth to do many things, but the most important thing He did was to take our place and die on the cross. He bridged the gap of separation for all of mankind so that anyone who believes in Him can have eternal life and be connected to Him the way He intended from the beginning.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)

How amazing is it that Jesus made it possible for us to have a path back to intimacy with God when we sin?

Kingdom Culture Resource Guide

KINGDOM CULTURE RESOURCE GUIDE


We believe the Bible is the ultimate source of truth and the first priority for guiding the lives and practice of people. While many of the listed resources have Christian authors and present race-related topics from a Christian perspective, none of them should be viewed as equal to or above scripture. These resources are intended to be studied in harmony with the Word of God with input from the Body of Christ to determine practical life application.

VISION FOR THIS RESOURCE

Antioch Community Church endeavors to be a Kingdom Culture congregation. This means we desire all people who attend the church to develop and maintain healthy cross cultural relationships. This is a challenging goal in a society that is highly polarized along political, socioeconomic and racial lines. However, a broad variety of resources can help everyone in the church to understand, have compassion for and develop community with others. The resources in this guide are intended to help each member of the congregation gain a greater understanding of a race or culture different from their own.

Every idea in every non-Antioch resource is not endorsed by the church but is simply provided to give insight and understanding to individuals with differing perspectives.

ANTIOCH WACO RESOURCES ON RACE RELATIONS:

• Antioch Movement Position Paper – Race and the Glory of God, May 2020

• Sermon by Clarence Hill – Without a King: Race and the Glory of God, Oct 2020

• Sermon by Vincent Carpenter – God’s Heart for Relationships, Part 2, May 2020

• Antioch Waco Discipleship School Teaching Video by Vincent Carpenter – Race and the Bible, April 2020

• Sermon by Carl Gulley – All Peoples, Part 1, June 2019

• Sermon by Carl Gulley – All Peoples, Part 2, June 2019

• Sermon by Carl Gulley – The Life of Martin Luther King Jr., January 2019

• Sermon by Vincent Carpenter – Come Together/Encounter, January 2019

• Sermon by Jimmy Seibert – Culture of Heaven: A Biblical Perspective of Diversity, Part 1, 2017

• Sermon by Vincent Carpenter – Culture of Heaven: A Biblical Perspective of Diversity, Part 2, 2017

• Sermon by Susan Peters – Culture of Heaven: A Biblical Perspective of Diversity, Part 3, 2017

• Sermon by Vincent Carpenter – Culture of Heaven: A Biblical Perspective of Diversity, Part 4, 2017

BODY OF CHRIST SERMONS AND TEACHINGS ON RACE:

• Tony Evans – A Biblical Response On Race

• Tony Evans – Kingdom Race Theology Part 1

• Tony Evans – Kingdom Race Theology Part 2

• John Piper – Critical Race Theory, Part 1

• John Piper – Critical Race Theory, Part 2

• Miles McPhearson – The Third Option

• Voddie Baucham – Racial Reconciliation – Ephesians 2:10-11

• Voddie Baucham – One Blood

• Brenda Salter McNeil – Journey to Reconciliation and Racial Healing

Part One

Part Two

• Christine Caine & Dr. Anita Phillips – Body Language: A Conversation on Race and Restoration

• Brian Loritz – Right Color: Wrong Culture: Pursuing Multi-Ethnic Cultural Engagement

• Acts 29 Panel Discussion – Understanding Race and Reconciliation in the USA

• Sandals Church – A Real Conversation About Race and the Church

• The Front Porch – Conversations about biblical faithfulness in African-American churches and beyond

• ERLC Leadership Summit – White Guilt, Black Church and The Gospel

• Sarah Jakes Roberts & Christine Caine – Navigating Race & Friendship

BOOKS:

The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tibsy (moderate)

“The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don’t know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church.”

Be the Bridge by LaTasha Morrison (conservative)

“In this perspective-shifting book, founder Latasha Morrison shows how you can participate in this incredible work and replicate it in your own community. With conviction and grace, she examines the historical complexities of racism. She expertly applies biblical principles, such as lamentation, confession, and forgiveness, to lay the framework for restoration.”

So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo (progressive)

“In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.”

White Awake by Daniel Hill (conservative)

“In this compelling and timely book, Hill shows you the seven stages to expect on your own path to cultural awakening. It’s crucial to understand both personal and social realities in the areas of race, culture, and identity. This book will give you a new perspective on being white and also empower you to be an agent of reconciliation in our increasingly diverse and divided world.”

Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion by Darrow Miller (conservative)

“In an era where the doing of ‘justice’ is more and more popular, the challenge for the church is now less about the activity of doing social justice and more about doing it well and doing it in the name of Jesus. Rethinking Social Justice is an important addition to the conversation about the effective definition and practice of social justice for the church.”

The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change by Brenda Salter McNeil (conservative)

“Racial and ethnic hostility is one of the most pervasive problems the church faces. It hinders our effectiveness as one body of believers. It damages our ability to witness to and serve seekers. Why won’t this problem just go away? Because it is a spiritual battle. What should our response be in a world torn apart by prejudice, hatred and fear? We must employ spiritual weapons–prayer, repentance, forgiveness. In this book Brenda Salter McNeil and Rick Richardson reveal a new model of racial reconciliation, social justice and spiritual healing that creates both individual and community transformation.”

The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass (progressive)

“Former slave, impassioned abolitionist, brilliant writer, newspaper editor and eloquent orator whose speeches fired the abolitionist cause, Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) led an astounding life. Physical abuse, deprivation and tragedy plagued his early years, yet through sheer force of character he was able to overcome these obstacles to become a leading spokesman for his people.”

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (progressive)

“Stevenson’s story is one of working to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society–the poor, the wrongly convicted, and those whose lives have been marked by discrimination and marginalization. Through this adaptation, young people of today will find themselves called to action and compassion in the pursuit of justice.”

Gracism by David Anderson (conservative)

“The parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” (I Corinthians 12:23) When people deal with color, class or culture in a negative way,              that’s racism. But the answer is not to ignore these as if they don’t matter. Instead, we can look at color, class and culture in a positive way. That’s gracism.                  Pastor David Anderson presents a biblical model for showing grace to others. He offers seven sayings of the gracist with practical examples for building                        bridges and connecting with others. Anderson offers a Christian alternative to secular models of affirmative action or colorblindness.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible by Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner

ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us by Dorena Williamson

God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell

Love Made: A Story of God’s Overflowing, Creative Heart by Quina Aragon

FILMS/DOCUMENTARIES:

• Just Mercy

• Hidden Figures

• The Help

• Selma

• Freedom Writers

• Created Equal: Clarence Thomas

PODCASTS:

Be the Bridge

What About Us? Epicenter Church LA

Lift Every Voice

For The Love: Doing Nothing is No Longer and Option (season 25)

VIDEOS:

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Series

Life of Privilege Explained in $100 Race

Systemic Racism Explained

Paying Privilege Forward

Let’s get to the root of racial injustice | Megan Ming Francis

SELF REFLECTION TOOL:

Reconciliation Devotional by Kristin Pulipati

 

5 Things to Prepare to Vote

Today is Election Day, and we are praying God’s grace, peace and wisdom over you. Below are five things for you to consider and remember as you participate today.

1. Pray for God’s will to be done.

  • The Lord’s Prayer… “Your kingdom come, Your will be done”
  • Colossians 1:9-10 9, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…”
  • Jeremiah 29: 7, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.”

2. Know the info on a candidate’s platforms & values.

  • Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”
  • Google search the issues that are important to you & the Kingdom.

3. Vote for who will represent what you believe before God is best for you, your family, and the people you feel responsible to serve.

  • Matthew 20:28, “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

4. Pray for the Church and you personally to respond through prayer, serving & standing for Truth in the face of culture.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

5. Pray that we as a church would remain unified & respectful after the elections to keep Jesus & His Kingdom first.

  • Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV), “…Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Anchored In // Week One

Our Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert kicked off our new series, Anchored In. As the world around us is rapidly changing, he called us to remain committed to three areas:

  1. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
  2. We are called to walk in community and to carry one another’s burdens – not to isolate ourselves out of fear.
  3. We are called to extend Grace for All who are hopeless, hurting and apart from God.

 

Before we even look to extend grace to others, we have to be able to receive the grace of God for ourselves. Check out this great resource, Alone With God, that dives into spending time with God to anchor us in His presence. Whether you have spent time with God for years or this is a brand new to you, this packet will give you new ideas and insight, communicating not just the why but also the how. Also, check out a Spotify playlist our worship staff made to help keep our minds centered on Jesus.

 

Be sure to check out the following resources:

ALONE WITH GOD PACKET

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

 

Stay up-to-date and get resources through our links below: 

Super Natural // Fruit of the Holy Spirit

This resource page is designed to supplement your study of the Holy Spirit throughout our 4-week Super Natural series. Each Sunday, you’ll have access to additional resources that accompany that week’s sermon topic. You can study and complete these materials in one sitting, or spread them out through the week, whichever is most helpful for you. We hope you enjoy taking a closer look at who the Holy Spirit is, what He offers us, and how He moves in our lives.

Devotional

If you were to plant apple seeds in the ground, what would you expect to grow? An apple tree, right? In the same way, God puts His Holy Spirit in us, planted in the soil of our hearts, and expects that to bear fruit – fruit of the Holy Spirit – in our lives. If you’ve ever gardened, you know that producing a crop of any kind depends not on the seed, but on the soil…the soil must be carefully tended and overseen from start to finish by the gardener.

Jesus teaches His disciples about this kind of tending as “abiding” in John 15:4-5.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

As we abide in Jesus through the Holy Spirit who lives in us and leads us, prompts us, and helps us, we bear fruit – in thought, word and deed. Holy fruit. Fruit that remains. Instead of giving in to and being led by our fleshly desires, we can choose to demonstrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit, as we stay connected to Him throughout the day.

Sermon Recap

The baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit can happen and manifest in a single moment. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, however, develops more slowly and methodically over time.

Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

It’s not a list of nine qualities you have to master. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is produced inside of you, as natural fruit is produced by a tree or vine. You already have the fruit of the Spirit because you have the Holy Spirit – but you can choose to cultivate the soil for that seed and let the Holy Spirit lead with the fruit of the Spirit in your life, or you can choose your own fleshly behavior.

We cultivate our lives through what the Bible calls “sowing into the Spirit.”

Cultivating the soil of our lives, sowing through faith, includes praying and meditating on the Word of God, thinking about the character and ways of God and His Kingdom, and expressing thankfulness towards God.

The trials, particular pressures in life, can be an opportunity to cultivate the spiritual ground in our lives as well. These challenges are an opportunity to deliver the good fruit that is inside of us by the Holy Spirit.

Scriptures from the Sermon

Study the Fruit

Click HERE for a deeper study the fruit of the Spirit.

Challenge

Our Supernatural series spans 28 days (February 16 – March 16). One great way for you to study the Holy Spirit throughout this series is to read one chapter from Acts each day (there are 28 chapters). As you read, circle or highlight any place that the Holy Spirit is mentioned – make notes in each place about what happens (how does the Holy Spirit appear and what is the result).

 

By Meredith Zuercher

Super Natural // Gifts of the Holy Spirit

This resource page is designed to supplement your study of the Holy Spirit throughout our 4-week Super Natural series. Each Sunday, you’ll have access to additional resources that accompany that week’s sermon topic. You can study and complete these materials in one sitting, or spread them out through the week, whichever is most helpful for you. We hope you enjoy taking a closer look at who the Holy Spirit is, what He offers us, and how He moves in our lives.

Devotional

Rebecca started the morning just as she usually did: in her time with God, she remembered to ask Him to fill her with the Holy Spirit so that she had power to face whatever came her way. When she got to work, she grabbed a coffee mug and engaged with her coworkers in the breakroom. Jill, a woman who worked closely with Rebecca, mentioned that she had been in a minor car accident over the weekend, and was experiencing pain in her neck and back. Rebecca felt a prompting in her heart, “Offer to pray for Jill.” Rebecca had read in her Bible that morning the story in Acts 3, when Peter and John had encountered a man who could not walk…she recalled how they had spoken to him in the name of Jesus Christ, and he was healed. She knew God was prompting her by the Holy Spirit to pray for Jill’s pain to be taken away so that she could be healed.

“I’m so sorry you’re in pain, Jill. This might sound crazy, but I believe God can heal you and help you. Would you mind if I pray for you right now, that your neck and back pain would be taken away?”

Jill was hesitant – she didn’t really know much about God or go to church – but she trusted Rebecca as a friend, so she agreed. Rebecca prayed right there in the breakroom a simple prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to come and heal Jill, remove her pain, and allow her to work that day without any discomfort. She thanked God because she knew He saw Jill and loved her and wanted to restore her. “…in Jesus’ name, amen,” she ended.

Jill’s eyes opened wide. She moved her head from side to side and bent down towards her toes…she had no pain! “I don’t know what to say! Just a minute ago, I couldn’t move like this without hurting…but now, it doesn’t hurt! Rebecca, how did you do that?”

Again, the Holy Spirit reminded Rebecca of the story she had read that morning: those who witnessed the lame man’s healing “were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him,” so Peter began sharing of the great power of God and story of Jesus. God had given Rebecca this same opportunity to share the Gospel today!

Rebecca told Jill that God had healed her because He loves her and wants a relationship with her. She shared the Gospel, how Jesus had been killed, buried and resurrected so that Jill could have eternal life. Rebecca recalled how her own life had been changed by surrendering to Jesus, and how she had witnessed other powerful things by the Holy Spirit, just like Jill’s healing. She asked Jill if she wanted to learn more about a relationship with God – and Jill said, “Yes!” They agreed to meet up at lunchtime to talk more. Rebecca felt so encouraged that God had spoken to her and used her to touch her coworker. And though Jill was still shocked, she wondered about this God who had seen her in her pain and reached down from heaven to touch her…what happened just now in the breakroom had to mean He is real.

Rebecca’s consistent hunger for the Holy Spirit started everything…and her obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit opened a door for someone who didn’t know Jesus. The gift of healing she had received by faith was now working to produce fruit in her life – and salvation for her friend, Jill!

Are you hungry for the Holy Spirit today? Are you earnestly desiring the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1)? What might the Holy Spirit do through you today, as you yield to Him – something to strengthen you, or to empower another believer, or to open a door for someone who is doesn’t know God?

Sermon Recap

Gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to each person for the common good.

Living a supernatural life is supposed to be extremely normal…so much so that you’d EARNESTLY DESIRE the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit differ according to the grace of God: you get different gifts based on your God-given makeup – the capacity, personality, and identity God has placed within you because of that which He has designed you to do.

Motivation Gifts (Romans 12:3-8)

Manifestation Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-8)

The goal is for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be used in such a way that YOU come alive, the CHURCH comes alive, and the LOST come alive.

Prophesy guidelines:

  1. No dates
  2. No mates
  3. No direction
  4. No correction

Tongues:

John Piper defines tongues as: “an ecstatic utterance where your heart is full of the Holy Spirit and He looses your tongue to utter syllables that are of spiritual value to you. And if someone has an interpretation, they become valuable to others.”

The reason we need spiritual gifts is because we are in a spiritual war. And our weapons aren’t things that make sense to the human mind, but they make sense to the Spirit of God!

Scriptures from the Sermon

Different Kinds of Gifts

Click HERE to see the “motivation gifts” and the “manifestation gifts” in Scripture.

Gifts Assessment

Click HERE to take a spiritual gifts assessment and click HERE to read detailed descriptions of each gift. (This gifts assessment and the definitions are not an Antioch-Waco publication, but are administered through spiritualgiftstest.com.)

Challenge

Our Supernatural series spans 28 days (February 16 – March 16). One great way for you to study the Holy Spirit throughout this series is to read one chapter from Acts each day (there are 28 chapters). As you read, circle or highlight any place that the Holy Spirit is mentioned – make notes in each place about what happens (how does the Holy Spirit appear and what is the result).

 

By Meredith Zuercher

Super Natural // Baptism Of The Holy Spirit

This resource page is designed to supplement your study of the Holy Spirit throughout our 4-week Super Natural series. Each Sunday, you’ll have access to additional resources that accompany that week’s sermon topic. You can study and complete these materials in one sitting, or spread them out through the week, whichever is most helpful for you. We hope you enjoy taking a closer look at who the Holy Spirit is, what He offers us and how He moves in our lives.

Devotional

Mike had never owned a motorbike before, but had always dreamed of having one. So, when he had saved enough money to buy one for himself, he was so proud and excited to show it off to his friends. The first day he rode it to work, everyone was in awe and happy for Mike. As he was showing it off, his friends thought to themselves, Something doesn’t sound right, but they didn’t want to ruin the moment for Mike, so they didn’t say anything. Mike rode his bike to and from work each day that week, and his friends continued to notice that something seemed off with the engine, which they found odd for a brand-new bike. By Friday, one of Mike’s friends, who was fairly familiar with bikes, approached him: “Mike, this bike is awesome, I’m so happy for you. Tell me more about it – like, how do the gears work? Is it 3-up, 1-down? How do you switch them? Have you gotten used to that yet?”

Mike looked kind of strangely at his friend and replied, “What do you mean, gears?”

Indeed, Mike had been riding his bike around everywhere in first gear all week long. You don’t have to know much about engines to know that this was not the way the bike was intended to be ridden. If you were to ride around with your car in first gear, you would experience two things: 1) you won’t get anywhere very fast, and 2) you’re going to burn your engine out.

The truth is, it’s possible to live our lives as Christians in first gear. The baptism – the continual filling – of the Holy Spirit is what keeps our spiritual engines from burning out, and can launch us into the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit in a way we’ve never experienced before.

Throughout the New Testament, we see the Holy Spirit come upon the disciples and empower them to live and minister just as Jesus had commanded. They needed this filling each and every time – and so do we. If we are to experience greater intimacy with God, we need the Holy Spirit to draw us close. If we are to do the things God has called us to do, we need the Holy Spirit to give us power. We just have to ask Him daily to pour out the Holy Spirit, to come upon us and to fill us. Luke 11:13 says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Are there areas of your life that you feel are “burning out”? Are there areas of your life that need a breakthrough? Ask for a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit today!

Biblical and Historical Study

Click HERE for further examples of the baptism of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture and church history.

Challenge

Our Super Natural series spans 28 days (February 16th – March 16th). One great way for you to study the Holy Spirit throughout this series is to read one chapter from Acts each day (there are 28 chapters). As you read, circle or highlight any place that the Holy Spirit is mentioned – make notes in each place about what happens (how does the Holy Spirit appear and what is the result).

Sermon Recap

Baptism – immersed in, plunged under, soaked, drenched

Baptism of the Holy Spirit – a gateway into a new dimension of supernatural power that draws you (and subsequently others) to Jesus

We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit because we are in a spiritual war that requires supernatural weapons and supernatural power!

Scriptures from the Sermon

 

By Meredith Zuercher

Super Natural // Who Is The Holy Spirit?

This resource page is designed to supplement your study of the Holy Spirit throughout our 4-week Supernatural series. Each Sunday, you’ll have access to additional resources that accompany that week’s sermon topic. You can study and complete these materials in one sitting or spread them out through the week, whichever is most helpful for you. We hope you enjoy taking a closer look at who the Holy Spirit is, what He offers us, and how He moves in our lives.

Sermon Recap

Super: of an extreme or excessive degree; very; extremely or excessively

Natural: as is normal or to be expected; ordinary or logical

SUPERNATURAL = EXTREMELY NORMAL

The Holy Spirit is a PERSON, not a thing.

John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

As I allow the functions of the Holy Spirit to increase in my life, my friendship with God is increased as well.

Scriptures from the Sermon

Additional Scriptures

Click HERE for a list of other Scriptures that describe who the Holy Spirit is.

Devotional

John 16:7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

Can you imagine what the disciples were thinking when Jesus said this? They did not want Jesus to go away; they needed Him to stay and continue teaching them. How could Jesus leaving be better than Jesus being with them in person? They wanted more of His stories, more of His touch, more of His encouragement, more of His correction, more of His joy, more of His deeds…

But Jesus knew…He knew that the disciples would receive the Holy Spirit – this Helper – and have everything they needed. All that they were afraid of losing would be available to them, to each one of them, at all times, through the Holy Spirit. And not just to them…but to everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord. He knew the Holy Spirit would continue to teach them, to touch them, to encourage them, to correct them, to fill them, to work in them and through them – all to the glory of the Father, just as He had.

Jesus’ words in John 16 were confusing to many of his disciples, but when He appeared to them again in John 20, after His resurrection, they experienced that promise. John 20:22, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”’ The Book of Acts continues the story of the disciples as they learn to walk with the Holy Spirit, as they did with Jesus.

And Jesus intends for all of us to walk in this same power by the Holy Spirit – but we can only do that if we seek to know who the Holy Spirit is, to ask for Him and receive Him into our lives daily. What is it that you need specifically for today? Do you need to know God’s character? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you. Do you need boldness to share in your workplace? Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you. Do you need wisdom for a complex situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Do you need courage to forgive? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Remember, it is to your advantage that Jesus went away after His resurrection so that you could receive the Holy Spirit. He is your Helper today.

Challenge

Our Supernatural series spans 28 days (February 16th – March 16th). One great way for you to study the Holy Spirit throughout this series is to read one chapter from Acts each day (there are 28 chapters). As you read, circle or highlight any place that the Holy Spirit is mentioned – make notes in each place about what happens (how does the Holy Spirit appear and what is the result).

Bonus Resource

If you want even more – or are curious about how God speaks through the Holy Spirit – click HERE for a discipleship lesson on Hearing God’s Voice.

Hark! // How We Listen

“Silence is how we start to listen to the small, still voice of Jesus.” Luke Whyte //

Perhaps because it is Christmas, your doubts are put aside. You’re able to listen in the silence and ignore the questions and fears that have been clamoring in your ears, coming against your faith. Or maybe, because it is Christmas, it has been the exact opposite for you. Because we are celebrating Jesus’ birth, even more doubts could have come up, whether about what you believe as a whole or perhaps a seemingly impossible situation you may be facing.

Regardless of where you fall this advent season, seeking silence is most likely not on the top of your priority list. In fact, silence may even seem like a bad thing, because it allows more space for the doubts. However, if we never take time to be silent and listen, we will not hear the voice of the only One who can answer our doubts.

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will not receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8

Doubt inhibits our expectations of what we think we can receive from God, making us unstable in what we believe. For example, if I doubt that He is a Good Father, then it is unlikely that I will trust Him in sharing my heart. God already knows my thoughts, feelings and emotions, but if I doubt that He cares or even wants to listen, I won’t want to talk with Him which means that I will feel alone and distant. It isn’t about not feeling doubt. It is about choosing to press in and listen even when it is uncomfortable and maybe not our first choice. Going back to that example, I can acknowledge that doubts are coming up but, instead of listening to the doubt, I can choose instead to quiet any other voice around me and listen to what God has to say, letting Him communicate His Father’s heart for me in ways that He knows I need it.

Silence gives space for us to hear what God is speaking. If I am never silent, then I’m actually not really listening. And if I’m not listening, then I am missing what God is saying.

So how can you increase the silence in your life? How can we savor, lingering on what God has spoken to us? How do we listen? Here are a few thoughts on how we can do that and questions to ask yourself and God:

Slow Down.

Where have you been rushing in your relationships with God? Or better yet, what makes you rush that time with Him? Maybe you know that you have to get a certain amount of sleep in order to wake up early enough so you don’t have to rush the time you spend with Jesus. That means being proactive the night before to go to bed earlier because taking time with Him in the morning is worth it. Where can you slow down in your relationships with people around you? What would it look like to be present today?

Adore.

Is Jesus truly the center of your attention and does He have all of your affection? If someone were to look at how you spend your energy, time and resources, would they see it reflected there? It’s not about doing it to be seen or making people notice, but if we really love Jesus and are focused on Him, it is going to make a difference in our lives.

Value the Voice.

No matter my situation or experiences, I can still believe the best about the One who has spoken. I can remind myself of ways that He has been faithful and provided and healed before. I can testify to others, and even myself, of who God is and value what He has to speak to me. This can be through the Bible, community and my personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. Do you value what the Holy Spirit speaks to you? What does it look like to steward what has been spoken?

Offer Him Your Doubts.

Isn’t it so kind that God does not just ask us for blind obedience, compelling us to suppress feelings and questions? I can have doubts, but it doesn’t stay there. I give them to Him, trusting that whether or not I get the answer I’m looking for or whether I get any answer at all, God is still good and it is all worth it. What are the doubts that are at the forefront of your mind? Have you given them to God? As you give them to Him, what encouragement or promise does He have for you in exchange?

Rejoice.

It all begins and ends with rejoicing. Rejoice always. Even when it seems like worshipping and praising God is the hardest thing to do at the moment, we are still called to rejoice in the Lord always, and a lot of times thanking God can bring us into alignment to see Him, ourselves and the situation more according to how He sees it. How can you rejoice in God right now? Take time to read and put into practice Philippians 4:4-7. Pray through what is bringing you worry and then thank Him in advance.

Hark! // When God Whispers

“We like it when things are loud and clear. This is how we like God to communicate with us, and although He does sometimes, He does not all of the time.” Vincent Carpenter //

This Christmas season, we are centering our attention on listening to God. There is so much noise, both external and internal. Not only are there all of the festive sounds of the holiday season, but marketing and ad campaigns are coming at us from every angle, trying to get us to believe that we need to buy more to be happier. There are the voices of extended family and potentially strained relationships. And on top of that, it is so easy to start the comparison game and allow negative voices to captivate our attention just by watching everyone’s highlight reel on social media.

That is why it is so vital that you pause and take time to listen. Give God space to speak into your life, and recognize His voice. Sometimes this can be through a loud and bold declaration like the shepherds experienced when they were told of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:9). However, we also need to pay attention to the soft and subtle suggestions from God, as demonstrated in Elijah’s story (1 Kings 19:12).

“And He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.” 1 Kings 19:11-13

God can definitely be in the wind, the earthquake, the fire, but He chose in that moment to speak in a still, small voice. If we are expecting Him to be loud, then we may miss the very whispers that are supposed to draw us in. When I am close, there is less need to shout.

Right now, take time to ask yourself, who are you listening to today? In this season? What is the primary voice you are hearing? Is it your own voice, telling yourself all that you need to get done? Is it something else, like fear? Or is it the voice of your loving heavenly Father? The easiest path would be for us to assume that we are hearing from God or believe that He is silent when really we may be listening to something we shouldn’t, and He actually is speaking but it may be in a whisper.

It is important to remember that when God whispers, it’s not only for us but for those around us who will be impacted by what we have heard. As you remember to focus on God’s whispers in this season, who is someone around you that could receive encouragement? Listen again, asking the Holy Spirit to put someone on your heart, bringing them to your mind to text or call and share the love that you have just received. Because when God whispers, we want to listen and respond.