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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