Spirit and Life Series Recap

It has been fifty-six days, eight weeks, since we celebrated Easter. If we take a few minutes to stop and look around, we have seen a radical transformation in the world around us throughout this time. There has been tremendous growth in the length of sunshine and the warmth of days. These things combined with timely rainfall has produced foliage on the trees and flowers in our gardens and nearby fields. For many of us this outside growth of the flowers, shrubs, and tress may have increased the daily occurrence of sternutations we experience. For the non-medical reader, of which I am included, a sternutation is a medical term for a sneeze. From the online source of knowledge, Wikipedia, a sneeze is defined as a semi-autonomous, convulsive expulsion of air from the lungs through the nose and mouth, usually caused by foreign particles irritating the nasal mucosa.

The past five weeks we have focused on a spring sermon series entitled, Spirit and Life. A quick listing of the titles of those sermons is noted below:

  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. The Communion of the Spirit
  3. The Preparation of the Spirit
  4. The Power of the Spirit
  5. The Witness of the Spirit

Throughout this series we have learned more about the Holy Spirit and its active role in our lives and world today. The Holy Spirit testifies of the Son, Jesus Christ, much in the way that Jesus always pointed the disciples, the religious leaders of the day, and anyone to whom He came in contact with to the Father. He was faithful in that calling—even to death on the cross. At any point during the turmoil of the crucifixion He could have summoned a legion of angels to rescue Him, out of His immense love for each one of us He chose sacrifice of His perfect blood to be our recompense.

Three days later, on that glorious resurrection morning, Peter & John came to the tomb to find the linen strips that had bound the Saviour’s body and the cloth that covered his eyes & head. In John 20 we read that this cloth was folded and placed aside, by itself. What does this folded face cloth tell us?

Have you ever made a meal perhaps utilizing a new recipe, that just didn’t turn out as expected? According to Jewish tradition if you were invited over for a meal and you disapproved of the food that you had eaten, instead of speaking verbally against the host & hostess you would fold your napkin in a certain manner as if to say, “I will never eat of this meal again.” In a similar way, Christ was declaring through this folded face cloth that He would never taste and see of death again. This promise holds true for all who believe in His name as the one way, the narrow road, to be reconciled with the Father to receive forgiveness of all sin. While we will all experience a physical death—the promise of eternal life in Heaven of our soul accompanied with a new body awaits those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

In reflecting upon this series and the joy of springtime growth & renewal I was challenged by the trees, shrubs & flowers. It is challenge to glorify God. The living limb on a tree brings forth leaves, fruit, solely through the process of abiding in the trunk of the tree that provides nutrients for growth. While not 100% certain, I expect that the tree or flower does not seek to reproduce the same fruit as last year. Rather they seek new growth to display honor and glory to God. In 2 Chronicles 20 we read a story about King Jehoshaphat that exemplifies this illustration. In this chapter you will read that a great multitude of people across different nations had rose up against Judah. In verse three from the ESV version it reads that King Jehosophat, “…was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord…”. He set his face toward the Father; this provided a new perspective and hope. He later commanded the nation to fast and led them in a prayer that reflected upon the promises of God in the past—His faithfulness for the people in the steps that they had already trod and for the steps they had to take. These steps of preparation, rooted in seeking out God, led to a new victory and testimony of God’s faithfulness in the tapestry of their lives.

As we reflect on the example of God’s glorious creation that may cause us to physically sneeze during this time of year, I pray that we also experience spiritual convulsions that mature and deepen our relationship with the Father so that we can be an effective witness to point others to the hope found in a relationship with Jesus.

In closing I leave you with the first verse, chorus, and bridge from a song by Josh Baldwin entitled, “Get Your Hopes Up”.

Verse 1

I see the sun waking up the morning, reviving dreams

I feel the wind on my back with promise, reminding me

There’s a garment of praise for heaviness

There’s a new song burning inside my chest

I’m living in the goodness that He brings

Chorus

Get your hopes up

Lift your head up

Let your faith arise

Get your hopes up

Our God is for us

He’s brought us back to life

Bridge

Christ before me

Christ behind me

I am firmly held

In His mercy never ending

I’ll remind myself

Christ before me

Christ behind me

I am firmly held

In His mercy never ending

I’ll remind myself
 
 
Shawn Moshier


Communion of the Holy Spirit – A Reflection

On Sunday, April 22nd Pastor Matt shared with us the second sermon in our themed spring series ‘Spirit and Life’. The sermon was entitled, Communion of the Holy Spirit.

Communion requires partnership. Effective earthly communion with someone requires a partnership of two or more parties; it cannot be one-sided. Perhaps one of the most amazing but often hard to grasp concept of the heavenly kingdom is that we cannot attain it on our own. We must accept the free gift of grace, by becoming undone within and of ourselves. We must submit our will and accept the gift of eternal life through the perfect sacrifice through Jesus; believing that He went to a place that we could not go ourselves. Jesus, out of his love for us, also carried a burden that we cannot and should not carry. Out of the realization of what Jesus did for each of us should create within us a submissive spirit. He only seeks a ‘Yes’ from us to unlock all of what He has in store for us. A submissive spirit creates opportunity for the Holy Spirit to abide with us.

The personality of the Holy Spirit. We often perceive the Holy Spirit as an abstract aspect of the Trinity. Jacob Sullivan shared with Pastor Matt that he had a great realization and personalization of the Holy Spirit as a friend. This is affirmed in John 15:13-16 where the Holy Spirit can be attributed to each of us as a friend through characteristics displayed by the life of Jesus. Our focus should be on the person of the Holy Spirit, not the effect of the Holy Spirit to cause certain actions. Let’s be sure to cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit with full assurance that the attributes of the Holy Spirit will be available to us. Take note of and review John 14-16 to become more familiar with the promises of the Holy Spirit.

The entanglement of the Holy Spirit. Pastor Matt provided an overview of a complex physical phenomenon, quantum entanglement, that describes a physics principle where a pair of particles that could be spread out across large distances simultaneously counter balance each other when one particle moves. This is a great parallel to a life in direct and constant communion of the Holy Spirit. It portrays a picture of complete harmony and balance. Let’s become animated to be in tune with the flow of the Spirit so that when we sense Him moving, we move in tandem in the shadow-step of the Father.

Lastly, we must become obedient to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit seeks to reveal truth to us so that we can glorify Christ. It is imperative for us to be connected to the source of truth so that we can naturally bear fruit through a connection with the Spirit. We must become empty of ourselves to obey the leading and direction of the Spirit to reflect & display the glory of God. The Holy Spirit as a counsellor and guide sparks and sustains our lives. He seeks the best for us in our unique voice. We must find that unique voice, develop, and sustain it through a personal walk with the Holy Spirit. John 16:14 eludes to this promise when we submit to the Spirit to work in and through us. As we go forward this week let’s develop a heart to wait in preparation for a fresh download of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
 
Shawn Moshier


Spirit and Life

The first message that Pastor Matt felt led to share with us regarding the Holy Spirit began to lay the groundwork for the next five weeks.  Clearly, entire books, university courses, and innumerable sermons have sought to teach on the topic of the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.  Although the next 5 weeks will no doubt be informative, it is our prayer that your life will be radically transformed by, and infused with, the power of the Holy Spirit.

God is a God of order.  Just as the moment of creation took place exactly, and precisely under the complete control of an All-Powerful Creator (Hebrews 11:3), so too was the moment the Holy Spirit descended upon the 12 disciples.  This order of revelation begins with a period marked by the promise of the Holy Spirit.  From John the Baptist, to the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples were taught by Jesus (John 6: 63, 14: 15 – 26).  Next, the period of the preparation, a rather short time period, takes place from the resurrection of Jesus to His ascension.  It is a fairly short time period, one in which the disciple’s heads must have been reeling with a wide range of emotions.  The last phase of the order of revelation was the period of realization, Pentecost.  The first few verses of Acts 2 describe a scene that is nothing short of awesome!!  The arrival of the Holy Spirit prophesied in the Old Testament (Malachi 2:15 and Psalm 104:30) was at hand.

Life begins with a spark, literally.  The flash occurs when sperm enters an egg.  This interaction leads to a surge of calcium which triggers the release of zinc from the egg. As the zinc shoots out, it binds to small molecules which emit a detectable fluorescent light.  Stunning, right?  If a spark takes place when our physical existence begins, how much more incredible and necessary is the initial spark to our spiritual existence brought about by the Holy Spirit?  This isn’t an emotional, self-generated enthusiasm.  This is God, as the Person of the Holy Spirit, beginning eternal life in us. 

Once life begins, both physically and spiritually, it must be sustained.  You can read these words by nothing less than the overwhelming grace of God.  Every heartbeat, blink of the eye, every time you inhale, every synapse that passes information throughout your body takes place because God allows it to happen.  He is in control.  Equally true, our spiritual life was ignited by and sustained solely within the boundaries of the Holy Spirit (John 6:63, Galatians 6:8).  If Jesus was led and sustained by the Holy Spirit (Luke 4: 1-2), how much more should we be earnestly seeking a complete filling of the Holy Spirit in our spiritual lives?

Look at the next 5 weeks as a unique period in your life.  Set apart any pre-conceived notions pertaining to the Holy Spirit and ask God to reveal Himself to you in a way that only He knows best.  God made you.  He loves you.  He sent the Holy Spirit so that we can know Him in ways too profound for words.
 
Curtis Kilburn


The Shadow Proves the Sunshine

Today’s date, as I write these words, is March 11th . I don’t know about you, but the
winter blues hit me especially hard this past week. The previous week we had great
glimpses of spring with temperatures in the high 40s and 50s for much of the early to
middle days of that week. However, as I looked out the front window of our house on
Saturday morning it looked more like Christmas than springtime. Hey now don’t beat me
up! I love Christmas, but there is a time for that and there is a time for the warm sun to
shine again—I am ready and waiting for that season.
 
Isaiah 55:9-10 states, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my
ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways
higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The Father was trying to
teach me something through this passage the past few weeks. In the good times when
the sun is shining, my ways are higher than your ways. When you walk through the
rougher patches of life, when life seems gray, I am still here for you and my ways are
good.
 
In the 4th chapter of the gospel of John we read of the story where Jesus encountered
the woman at the well. As Jesus and the woman conversed, her thoughts were
centered on the physical and Jesus, through His replies, was seeking to raise her
eyesight to the spiritual. Before a word was spoken Jesus knew her story, her
reputation, her past, and the gap in her life she had tried to fill through earthly means.
 
Ultimately, Jesus understood the need of a Savior to extend grace and mercy to
overcome the shadow of sin in her life. Jesus was here to display that His ways were
higher than her thoughts of who she was and to display the goodness of the Father.
Jesus revealed Himself and the light of His love for her overcame her shadow of sin and
replaced it with an eternal hope and destiny that sprung up inside of her. I expect her
reaction may have been similar to the below verse from the song, “First and Only” by
Elevation Worship.
“I will abide
Be still and know that you are God
For you are mine
And in your presence I am alive
Here in this place
Within your shadow I am safe
Every mistake
Fading into the light of grace”
 
This same Jesus that met the woman at the well leans toward us and desires a
personal relationship with us. As we approach this Easter season let’s become
animated afresh by the love of Father to send His one and only son, Jesus to sacrifice
His life for our sins and to overcome the death of the cross. The shadow of the cross
proves the love-light of the Father.
 
Shawn Moshier


Multiplication through Humility

In Philippians 1:6 the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

For those who participated in the Reset prayer book to kickoff 2018 you may recall the focus on Day 10 to #PrayRead the scriptures. There is power in approaching the scriptures in this way to pray promises from the Word of God over our each of our families, the church family, and those that live within our community. The author, Bob Sorge, noted the following verses from Colossians as a great example to use for prayer for specific people in our lives. “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
 

Pastor Matt has led us deeper into the Word this year and directed our focus within the Gospels. Within these books of the Bible, Jesus taught His disciples through the use of parables. One parable that recently spoke to me was the Parable of the Mustard seed as mentioned in Mark 4. The disciples have asked Jesus to what they should compare the kingdom of God to. Jesus replies that it is like a mustard seed. What is Jesus trying to tell us here? The kingdom of God grows through the selfless decision when a person chooses Jesus Christ. A mustard seed could be depicted as each one of us–rather small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. One just needs to look up in the night sky on a clear evening for a few minutes to get a larger perspective; to have a renewed sense of awe & wonder of the glorious power of the Father, and with humility, bow before Him. How amazing it is that God chooses to work through us to bring forth His Kingdom here on earth! The Father leans into us at all times. The apostle Paul eluded to this while standing in the midst of Mars’ Hill in Acts 17, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being...”
 

Who is Jesus, and what will I do with Him? is a question that all of us will face. The apostle Paul, at the time named Saul, faced this question on the road to Damascus. Through the story of Paul and those around us today, we can see the waves that are created when one man or one woman makes the conscious decision to set aside the things of this world to focus on those things that are above when they choose Jesus. It is an act of multiplication through humility. Just as the mustard seed knows what it is, so can we come to know who we are in Christ, blossom as the Spirit pours into us, and display His glory and power to those around us.
 

I pray that each of us will become animated in the spirit and experience an acceleration in our desire to walk intimately with the Father, where we allow Him to mold and fashion us to display His glory.
 
Shawn Moshier


One Generation shall praise your works to another…

 

Psalms 145:4a says, “One Generation shall praise your works to another…”.

What a challenge this is for us today:

  • A challenge to lean into the Father as Christ exemplified
  • A challenge to grow in the knowledge of the Father and to be in tune with His heartbeat for our lives

Colossians 1:9b states, “to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”. Pastor Matt stated during the message on Sunday that to be in tune with the Father requires an intimate relationship where we can grow in agreement with Him. This behooves us to become aware of the path and velocity of His will for our lives. At times the Father may ask that we walk with Him, other times to crawl through a difficult time with Him, and at times, to run with Him. In each circumstance the will of the Father follows through. Scripture promises that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

On a recent walk with Primrose, our nearly two-year-old golden retriever, I was going over the bridge on State Route 126 in Beaver Falls and noticed the remnants of the rapid thaw we had in early January. The temperatures increased over a short period of time, aided with some warm winds, this melted a lot of snow and the local streams and rivers began to swell and overflow. The thaw lasted short period of time and was soon followed by a sharp cold front that dropped temperatures as quick as they had risen. If you recall, we had temps one day of about 60 degrees and the next day were back to near zero with plenty of fresh snow on the ground.

The impact of the thaw and associated river swell near the river banks created rings of ice that stuck to the tree trunks. As I was walking with Prim I noticed these rings of ice that clung to the trunks of trees that display the depth of the water that had clung to them. My mind was drawn back to the fall 2017 series, The Consecrated Church, where we were challenged to be planted by the river of the Holy Spirit where we can be transformed by hope unleashed by the Father. While earthly rivers get shallower the further you move from its source; the river of the Holy Spirit deepens as it moves. Let us pray that this can be the testimony for the generations present in our community today.

I stand on many testimonies of faithfulness of previous family generations that lived in faithfulness to the heartbeat of the Heavenly Father. When he said run, they ran, when He said slow down and walk with me, they did that too. They had a heart of obedience—even when there was no immediate gratification.

Our 2018 focus on the Word and our recent Reset prayer devotional calls on us to Obey. Out of a heart of obedience to the Father, we can be called into deeper spiritual waters that previous generations may have prayed over our lives. Let us live worthy of the calling that we have received in Christ as mentioned in Colossians 1:10, “that you may walk worthy of the Lord…”. Let this Scripture verse challenge us to grow in the knowledge of the will that the Father has for us and for a heart of obedience to walk faithfully, so that we can talk and sing of the works of God in our lives to the next generation.
 
Shawn Moshier


Stop guarding the stone

 I believe the Lord would say to us.

Remember the stone that was rolled away in the garden to reveal an empty tomb.  No one could get in but it did not stop me from getting out.You have areas in your lives where you have rolled “stones” in front of places in your life that were met to keep ME out and they have. These stones have stopped up streams of living water from flowing into your life from ME. These stones can only be removed by ME but you need to give ME permission to do so. Springs of living water will flow into these dry areas of your life to people in need of water around you daily.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Stop guarding the stone.

Lawson Lehman



They move on tracks of never ending light

The announcement of a search for a generations pastor should unite us a church body as we see the vision of the church unfolding.

This announcement calls attention to the growing body of children, youth, and young men & women who consider ALCCL their home church. We should devote ourselves to prayers of thankfulness for this blessing and specific prayer for the couple that God has targeted to serve in this capacity. He has been working throughout the tapestry of their lives and has equipped them to serve in this capacity for such a time as this.

We should commend the effective stewardship of the elders and leadership team for positioning the church to be in a strong financial position to make this targeted investment in the future church. The youth of this nation, our local community, and church will have a profound spiritual impact on future generations.

We can all be thankful for the Godly examples that selflessly poured into our lives, perhaps without our knowledge. It is now our time to pay it forward by actively investing in these young lives. Perhaps some are seeking to set a new example for their family and stepping out in faith to be set apart—for Christ. Let’s join with them on the journey of a lifetime! Each of us has a role to play in the spiritual development of these young men and women.

Let us collectively as parents, relatives, friends, mentors, or fellow members at church seek to do our part to display Christ and speak life into the next generation. As they seek to mature in an understanding of the knowledge of God’s will for their lives, let’s be sure to lay down Christ empowered railroad so that they can move forward on tracks of never ending light.
 
Shawn Moshier


They move on tracks of never ending light

The announcement of a search for a generations pastor should unite us a church body as we see the vision of the church unfolding.

This announcement calls attention to the growing body of children, youth, and young men & women who consider ALCCL their home church. We should devote ourselves to prayers of thankfulness for this blessing and specific prayer for the couple that God has targeted to serve in this capacity. He has been working throughout the tapestry of their lives and has equipped them to serve in this capacity for such a time as this.

We should commend the effective stewardship of the elders and leadership team for positioning the church to be in a strong financial position to make this targeted investment in the future church. The youth of this nation, our local community, and church will have a profound spiritual impact on future generations.

We can all be thankful for the Godly examples that selflessly poured into our lives, perhaps without our knowledge. It is now our time to pay it forward by actively investing in these young lives. Perhaps some are seeking to set a new example for their family and stepping out in faith to be set apart—for Christ. Let’s join with them on the journey of a lifetime! Each of us has a role to play in the spiritual development of these young men and women.

Let us collectively as parents, relatives, friends, mentors, or fellow members at church seek to do our part to display Christ and speak life into the next generation. As they seek to mature in an understanding of the knowledge of God’s will for their lives, let’s be sure to lay down Christ empowered railroad so that they can move forward on tracks of never ending light.
 
Shawn Moshier


Where are you planted?

In the days of the early church a greek philosopher, Aristides, was tasked by Caesar Hadrian to get to the bottom of the cult called the way.  Here is a brief summary of his report back to Caesar,

“they love one another, he who has given to him who has not without boasting, and when they see a stranger, they take them into their own homes and rejoice over them as a very brother, and if there is among them any that are poor and needy and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food. Such, O King is their manner of life, verily this is a new people and there is something divine in the midst of them.”

As we near the end of the fall series, The Consecrated Church, let it continue to challenge us to become planted by the river in the midst of the transforming hope unleashed by the Father.  Through Spirit-led transformation and maturation processes, let us become united as one body so that we can influence the river to deepen as it flows and spread hope throughout our 99%.

Shawn Moshier



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