God is with us, He is for us, and He is in us. God is in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us power, direction, and guidance to accomplish what He wants through each of us.
Equipped: God Is In Me – Holy Spirit
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday January 22, 2017
Theme – God is with us, He is for us, and He is in us. God is in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us power, direction, and guidance to accomplish what He wants through each of us.
God is with us
- We can have conversation with God by our prayers. God is with us when we talk to Him in prayer.
- We should find a quiet, private place to have conversations with God.
- One of the most important components of prayer is the expression of our thankfulness.
- In response to our expressions of thankfulness, God will give us a peace that even surpasses the understanding we receive in prayer.
- Philippians 4: 4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
- God knows our needs even before we pray them. Matthew 6: 8b - “ . . . For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
- We should not complain when we pray. When we pray, we should ask God to bless others – even those we perceive as our enemies. In doing this, we trust God to deal appropriately with those we like and those we dislike. Genesis 12:3 – “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God is for us
- Throughout the entirety of Scripture God consistently and abundantly declares how He is for us.
- God’s actions in life do not always make sense to us. Jesus’ actions did not always seem logical or consistent. However, God always knows what He is doing, and He always considers our best interests. Romans 8:31 – “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
God is in us
- Jesus knew the Holy Spirit was needed by us; that we would accomplish more with the Holy Spirit than we would with just Jesus by himself.
- John 16: 5-13 – “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 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 depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot hear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
- Acts 1:8 – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
- We need to have faith that the Holy Spirit’s work is active in our lives and is to our advantage.
- Mark 4:35–41 tells the story of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee. During this story, Jesus asked the disciples why – during their panic – they didn’t exhibit faith. Verse 40 is, “But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
- We, also, should not be fearful during trials. Rather, we should have faith that Jesus is with us and will say, “Peace, be still!” (verse 39) to our storms.
The Holy Spirit is active
- The Holy Spirit is the power and direction and guidance to accomplish what He intends through us.
- We, at any time, are able to ask God for new - or a renewed - infilling of the Holy Spirit’s presence, and His peace that surpasses all understanding.
Reflective Questions for Equipped: God Is In Me – Holy Spirit
- In the first part of this message Pastor Stephen reviewed some of the ideas from his previous messages about “God is with us” and “God is for us.” What was revealed to you for the first time by this review of those ideas?
- Why are we individually able to accomplish more with the Holy Spirit, than we would if we relied solely on Jesus?
- Why are we corporately (collectively) able to accomplish more with the Holy Spirit, than we would if we relied solely on Jesus?
- How often do you feel you need a new infilling of the Spirit? What do you do when those times come along?
God is on your side in life. Even though things are difficult, He is for you. Regularly reading the Bible will reveal this to you, and will inspire you in the knowledge of what it means that God is for you.
Equipped: God is For You - Scripture
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday January 15, 2017
Theme – God is on your side in life. Even though things are difficult, He is for you. Regularly reading the Bible will reveal this to you, and will inspire you in the knowledge of what it means that God is for you.
The Bible convinces us that God is for us
- The Bible reveals to us, and inspires us in the knowledge, that He is on our side. Romans 8: 31-33 states this in terms that are very clear: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”
- The Bible was written through 40 human beings over a 1500 - 1600 year period of time. Yet, the themes and teachings are consistent throughout because God inspired each contributor to write the message.
- The fact that God is for us is a common theme in the Bible.
Because God is for us, He also wants to bless us
- When we read the Bible, we learn about God and His will.
- From reading the Bible we develop a desire to do what He wants.
- When we are in alignment with God’s will, the Bible tells us He will give us what we ask.
- John 14: 12-14 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
It is important to know what we don’t know
- Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
- People die because of a lack of knowledge about things.
- If we don’t read the Word of God we will get in trouble. Proverbs 5:22 “An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.” (NLT)
- The Bible will guide us: Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
God is for us because He adopted us
- From the very beginning God intended to adopt us to Himself.
- Ephesians 1:3-6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
- Paul was using the word “adoption” in the context of life during the Roman Empire. Roman law forbade someone from disinheriting an adopted child. In adoption, all the old obligations were removed and the adoptee received a new identity.
- Likewise, God will never unadopt you. He will never be against you.
- As God’s adoptees, we do not need to wait for someone to die to receive our inheritance. We already have it. He gave us our inheritance before Creation.
Scripture speaks clearly and unequivocally on how God is for us
- Romans 8: 38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height or depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Throughout Scripture there are a multiplicity of verses that declare our adopted place with God.
- God is for you in ways that are marvelous and praiseworthy.
Reflective Questions for Equipped: God is For You - Scripture
- Review the Scripture verses Pastor Stephen quoted in this lesson. Which one is most meaningful to you? Why?
- At any point in time bookstores sell books that give advice about life. What value do these books offer? How would you describe their wisdom compared to what the Bible offers?
- How could the concept of adoption – as presented in this sermon message - help you explain to someone how God is for him or her, regardless of what s/he has done?
One of the best ways to become equipped to accomplish meaningful things with God is through communication with Him in prayer. Prayer enables us to talk with God, to hear back from God, and to witness His response to our needs.
Equipped: God is With You - Prayer
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday January 8, 2017
Theme – One of the best ways to become equipped to accomplish meaningful things with God is through communication with Him in prayer. Prayer enables us to talk with God, to hear back from God, and to witness His response to our needs.
- Most of us want to accomplish meaningful things.
- Accomplishing things requires submission to a process. Life requires us to go through many processes by which we become capable of doing things.
- God has a plan for us - through numerous processes - to be equipped.
Proverbs 16:9 – “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
God is with us during the process
- God is with us during each step of the processes we go through.
- Not only is He with us where we are at every point in time, but – simultaneously - He is going ahead of us to where we are about to go.
- Deut 31:6 (NKJ) – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
- Deut 31:6 (Message) - Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.
- Revelation 22:13 – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.
During a process we can communicate with God through prayer
- Prayer is talking to God. It is a simple conversation between us and our creator.
The Lord’s Prayer
- Matthew 6: 5-15 contains Jesus’ instructions on how to pray.
- In Verse 5 Jesus tells us to avoid being hypocritical when we pray. In other words, we are not to make a big public display of our conversations with God.
- Verses 6-7 teach us that, when we go to God in private, He will visibly reward us.
- Verse 8 says that God knows our needs even before we ask.
The model of the Lord’s Prayer
- Jesus gave us a strategic approach to prayer that will help us effectively communicate with God.
The first strategic step in prayer is to select the proper place
- Before Jesus taught us how to pray, He taught us where to pray.
- We can pray to God at any time and in any place. However, to hear back from Him, it is best to be in private.
- Matthew 6: 5-7 tells us to pray in private.
- Privacy is necessary to avoid distractions. When we are not distracted we are better able to hear back from God.
- We should become comfortable being alone with God. If we regularly initiate private conversations with God, we will be at ease when crises put us face-to-face with Him.
Jesus doesn’t condemn short prayers, but He does condemn long ones
- Matthew 6: 7-8 tells us that God doesn’t appreciate vain repetitions during prayer because He knows our needs before we even state them.
Begin your prayer with worship
- The first clause of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9) instructs us to acknowledge who God is at the beginning of our prayers. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” is our recognition that God exists and He is above everything. This recognition is a form of worship.
- Pray hard or pray soft, pray long or pray short. It’s not you, it’s who you’re praying to.
Preventative faith and resurrection faith
- John 11: 1-44 recounts the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
- Even though Lazarus had died, Jesus still had plans for him. No one knew these plans except Jesus (verses 4, 32, 37).
- Preventative faith is when we pray for God to someway intervene to help us. This is the type of faith we often demonstrate through our prayers.
- Resurrection faith is when we realize God’s glory in a life-changing way (verses 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 40-42.)
Becoming expert at prayer
- It’s easy to become expert at prayer. Simply go to Him and He will be with you.
- It’s not difficult to find a private place to regularly talk with God, and to have Him powerfully and intimately interact with you.
Reflective Questions for Equipped: God is With You - Prayer
- How would you describe your conversations with God? Do you have a regular process you use to talk with Him through prayer? If so, briefly describe it.
- In Matthew 6:5 Jesus said those who pray hypocritically have their reward. What did He mean? Why is this encouraging to us?
- What are the benefits that come from keeping our prayer requests short, rather than long and involved?
- It is easy to quickly become “expert” at prayer. What would you say to someone who said s/he didn’t know how to pray?
At the beginning of each new year most of us have good intentions to improve certain areas of our lives. To be successful in those intentions we need to associate with others who can keep us inspired.
Hello From the Other Side
Sunday January 1, 2017
Theme – At the beginning of each new year most of us have good intentions to improve certain areas of our lives. To be successful in those intentions we need to associate with others who can keep us inspired.
New Year intentions
- Mark 4: 35-36 – “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.”
- Most of us have good intentions and hopes as we begin another new year.
- We all have: physical, relational, financial, career, and spiritual goals.
- However, many of us fail to accomplish what we hope.
- The events of life intervene to compromise our ability to achieve our hopes and intentions. We often become distracted, so that what we feel takes precedence over what we were meant to do.
We are not alone in dealing with life’s storms and challenges
- Mark 4: 36-37 – “Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.”
- You are not the only one dealing with the challenges you are experiencing. Others are experiencing the same thing.
- The bridge between information and transformation is inspiration.
- There are people who can show you new ways to accomplish your transformation.
- We need help from others to remain inspired so that we can realize a desired transformation.
- We should form associations with others who will inspire us.
- Each of us needs someone to show us how to move forward. Who is helping you?
- Each of us also needs to be showing someone else how to move forward. Whom are you helping?
Be doers and not hearers only
- James 1: 22-25 – “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
- Use the resources available to you to make connections with those who have the know-how to get you where you want to be.
- Read your Bible regularly, but also do what the Bible teaches. Our lives should be congruent with what we believe.
Jesus associated with all kinds of people
- Luke 19: 1-9 tells the story of how Jesus visited the house of Zacchaeus, a man known for his corrupt behavior.
- Our own bad behavior is not an excuse to not welcome Jesus into our lives.
- Jesus himself will be with you each step of the way toward your transformation.
- Mark 4: 38-41 – “But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
- Jesus never leaves you, whether you are experiencing the “ups” or the “downs” of life.
Reflective Questions for Hello From the Other Side
- Ryan Leak used the familiar story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4: 35-41. What did you notice about this story that you hadn’t before seen?
- Ryan said the bridge between information and transformation is inspiration. What did he mean, and why is this necessary?
- Is there any particular improvement you would like to make in your life this coming year? Where can you go, and with whom can you associate, to remain inspired to work toward your transformation?
Myrrh was the third of three gifts given to Jesus by the magi. Myrrh was very valuable as a healing & pain-killing agent at that time. During the crucifixion Jesus refused myrrh when it was offered so that He could fully experience the pain and suffering necessary for us to be spared the same agony.
Gifted: The Gift Our King Refused
Pastor Mike Hayes
Sunday December 18, 2016
Theme – Myrrh was the third of three gifts given to Jesus by the magi. Myrrh was very valuable as a healing & pain-killing agent at that time. During the crucifixion Jesus refused myrrh when it was offered so that He could fully experience the pain and suffering necessary for us to be spared the same agony.
- Myrrh was a resin from an African tree used for medicinal purposes.
- It dulled pain and promoted healing of wounds.
- It had a pleasant scent.
- It was a gift given to kings to make their lives more comfortable.
- Poor people did not have access to myrrh.
Myrrh in the Bible
- Matthew 2: 11 identifies it as one of the three gifts given to Jesus by the magi.
- Exodus 30: 23-25 names it as one of the ingredients of holy anointing oil in the Old Testament.
- Myrrh had both practical and symbolic significance.
- In Exodus 30: 31-33 God forbade holy anointing oil to be used on common people and outsiders.
- Mark 15: 22-24 tells us that Jesus refused a concoction of wine and myrrh during the crucifixion.
What Jesus accomplished during His crucifixion
- Isaiah 53: 1-7 prophetically predicted and explained the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice.
- If Jesus had allowed himself to be medicated during the crucifixion He would not have experienced the full suffering required to pay for our sins.
- Verse 5 lists four things that were accomplished by the crucifixion.
#1 - Jesus’ wounds forgave our transgressions
- Transgressions are visible misdeeds others can see.
- We receive external wounds from mistakes we make in life.
- Wounds happen when we overstep boundaries.
#2 – Jesus’ bruises removed our iniquities
- Iniquities are tendencies we have toward certain bad behaviors.
- Like bruises, iniquities are internal wounds that may not be evident to others.
- Iniquities and bruises are not always obvious on the surface of things.
- Through Jesus we are able to end the cycle of iniquities in our lives.
#3 – Jesus’ chastisement (torture) restored our lost peace
#4 – Jesus stripes (injuries from the scourging) heal our broken health
The reason Jesus refused the myrrh during His crucifixion
- In the Old Testament, anointing oil with myrrh was not to be given to commoners and outsiders (see Exodus 30: 31-33.) Jesus died, in our place, as a commoner and outsider.
- Jesus did not want his pain dulled by medication, so that He could fully accomplish His purpose of suffering in our place.
He died as a commoner but was buried as a king
- John 19: 38-40 explains how Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus prepared Jesus’ body for burial, as one would the body of a king, with a great amount of myrrh and aloes.
- By the presence of myrrh Jesus was recognized, at His birth and at His burial, as a king.
- In between, he lived and died representing us as a commoner.
We must resist the dulling of our senses
- We cannot medicate ourselves in life – attempting to dull our senses to our own painful situations.
- Anything that hurts us can be given over to Jesus. He will deal with it.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”)
- In order to be saved, we must truthfully recognize our circumstances and our need to be changed.
- When we die to our past desires the Holy Spirit comes to us with an abundance of healing, so that we can move into a better life of joy and fulfillment.
Reflective Questions for The Gift Our King Refused
- Use the Bible verses Pastor Mike cited to explain how myrrh had both practical and symbolic significance.
- Why did Jesus reject the wine & myrrh offered during His crucifixion?
- How does this compare to how people today sometimes attempt to medicate their internal pain? Why is this usually not a good idea?
- Jesus was recognized at his birth and burial as a king. In between, why was it necessary he live and die as a commoner?