The Church is called to be a sacrificial people, and just as it was true in the first century, it is true today. Sacrifice is painful, but the results are powerful. Where and who can we sacrifice for so that the Kingdom of God is expressed through us as a people?
Worship is one of the most powerful tools we have. This forever purpose refocuses us and creates pathways to see God at work in our lives now. In the midst of hardship on the journey, giving God a sacrifice of praise has the power to transform those places of pain into places of purpose.
Being blessed is not primarily getting what you want from God – it’s seeing what you want from God’s perspective. If we have His perspective, we can see the beatitudes more than a list we’re striving for, but a demonstration of God’s character. Whoever you are, wherever you are and whatever the condition of the world you are in, know that you are blessed.
Pain and problems are unavoidable. So it seems the next best thing is to get through them as quickly as possible. But that is not the model Jesus set for us. He demonstrated what it meant to live a lifestyle of prayer, not praying His way out of problems but praying His way through.
What if every change we face could be an opportunity to respond to God? Instead of rejection, what if change allows for course correction? Vincent Carpenter continued our New Normal series, sharing from his own personal experience of the real struggle with change but also the incredible ways change can set us up, transform us and position us to see God move.
Family Pastor Vincent Carpenter continued our Better Together series, sharing what it means to be part of the Body of Christ and how we are all called to place honor upon each other. Every part of the human body is important, and the same goes for the church body. Without each other, we would miss the fullest picture God is revealing of Himself on the earth through the Church.
Family Pastor Vincent Carpenter wrapped up our Super Natural series with a sermon on the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The fruit has nothing to do with us but can only be produced by the power of the Holy Spirit at work inside us. While we can’t produce it, we can cultivate our lives in such a way that spiritual fruit can grow, sowing in the spirit in what we listen to, think about, talk about and how we respond in life.
Be sure to tune in next week as we kick off a new series.
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.
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.
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.
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
Family Pastor Vincent Carpenter shared how when we invest our lives into the lives of others, we multiply our kingdom potential beyond what we think is possible and that potential is unlocked by investing in someone else. Discipleship, at whatever stage, is how we fulfill the Great Commission in today’s age.
Be sure to tune in next week as we continue our series, These Things We Must Do.
“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.