YOLO - You Only Live Once. This seems to be our modern day take on life. For a Christian, though, it is entirely inaccurate. We know that there is more than just this life, that we have the gift of eternal life to look forward to. Yet so many of us are still living with the YOLO mentality.
Today Pastor Doss asks us to consider life as if we were already "over there", living the promise. When we gather around the campfire what are we really going to be focused on? The vacation we took? The job that was better than everyone else's? Or will it be on the things we could have done to impact the lives of those around us, and didn't? Join us for 5 action steps we can take now to break free from teh YOLO life and move into a Kingdom minded life.
If manliness is an art, it is a lost art today. Modern, secular psychologists (ex. Dr. Philip Zimbardo) research shows the foundation for the male role in America has crumbled; their performance has declined, largely due to video games and internet pornography, as well as a loss of motivation and direction in society and life. The result is no confidence that they can make a difference, no clear definition of what is expected of them or who they are expected to be, no motivation to accomplish anything, no desire or respect or care for anyone else, no appreciation for anything done on their behalf, they don’t see family, children or women in healthy, desirous ways and they have become weak, passive and apathetic. The way of the man in a society establishes the way of that society (DHHR, Bureau of Census, CDC, Criminal Justice & Behavior, DOJ, etc.)—all agree that the absence of male leadership is a primary contributor to this Nation’s increase in: behavioral and emotional disorders, suicide, run aways, murder, rape, theft, high school dropouts, alcohol and drug use, promiscuous sex, dropping church attendance… Men: you are the single biggest cause of this Nation falling apart and turning away from God and destroying families. And men are being taught that being ‘manly’ is chauvinistic or politically incorrect. This isn’t to sound anti-woman—we are equal, but different in so many ways. We should celebrate, envelop and be consumed in everything God called you to be as a man—unapologetically.
As a Christian, in spite of all the attacks, propaganda and prejudices against male roles, you have no excuse for being affected by them. Why should your image, role, calling change because of society’s opinion? You have your instructions spelled out for you by God through His Word. So many times men resist becoming a Christian because they are viewed as soft or effeminate—but just the opposite is true—that’s why so few want to take on the role of man as defined by Christ. If you want to step into the manhood for which God created—the first step is this is to man up. Isaiah 6:8, 1 Corinthians 16:13. 1) If you have been deserted by a father, with no one to follow—don’t use a lack of Godly leadership and knowledge as a crutch—God’s man will not stop just because he wasn’t shown: Proverbs 15:22: God’s man will follow his Heavenly Father; he will study, ask, watch, learn—then he will lead others in love and strength. 2) If you are in a troubled marriage—realize there is more at stake than your temporary unhappiness—realize your actions massively affect the emotional, social, spiritual, mental and physical future of your children. Stay where you are if possible; if not—realize that your responsibility to that child(ren) does not change. 3) If you are a ‘guardian’ of children not yours—all in need of a man’s love, guidance and direction—it is your responsibility to help the helpless; love the widow and orphans. Don’t replace the father in their lives, but make it clear that this is your home, and you are the man of your home—be their direction, authority, love and acceptance when they are there. *Women and biological fathers: if that man is a good man—let him be the man in his home. Don’t handicap and diminish a man in his own home—you’re teaching your children to disrespect authority.
Young Men: Men have missed where they are supposed to step out of adolescence and into manhood. You are the warriors God chose to defend this world—not spend all your free time playing video games, social media, watching pornography, partying, living at home with your parents for the rest of your life. This selfish, disrespectful binge in sex and pornography has destroyed how the average guy sees any woman. There is such a rich intimacy in getting to know and appreciate all the mysteries of a woman, discovering every step of intimacy in time, as you see and feel the worth they have; you should be the one to guard her sexually because she is too special. You have been called to be the protectors, servants, leaders and encouragers of your families and friends. You don’t get away with as little as possible; you don’t wait to be told, asked or begged to step in and help; you realize your calling is so much bigger and more noble than where you are now. You should be looking for ways to help those around you, wherever you live—serve. You should be thoughtful in spending and respectful in conduct. No one owes you anything. God promises to use you as men—ask Him how He wants to use you and follow; decide your life is going to count for more. You leave adolescence when you choose to stop consuming spiritually, emotionally and materially and become a producer in others.
Aged Men: God didn’t call you to get away with as little as possible either! He called you to teach your children about Him (not just have your wife and church do it). He called you to make the hard calls about what is acceptable in your home (TV, dress, conduct, respect, habits). He called you to be the disciplinarian, the encourager (your words mean the most). He called you to give up your pleasure, rest and pride to be sure others are taken care of first. He called you to put family above your hobbies, sports, friends and excessive work. He called you to respect, love and care for your wife (deserving or not) because you are to be for her what Christ is for the church. Leaving is never an option. He called you to protect her from anyone and anything (physical or verbal)—she should always know she is secure with you. Stop worrying about whether your wife will want you to or let you be the leader in your family—if you will lead because you consider her and your family precious and cherished, with their best in mind (even when it costs you every time), as a humble, serving leader (like Christ), she will follow you, help you, desire you more than anything. And if she doesn’t—keep on doing it anyway; let God work on her heart.
Stop letting the world be your excuse to shirk your calling and responsibilities. Stop being ashamed, or feeling guilty for just being a man—for thinking it is your responsibility to love, provide, protect and lead—you have a role, a place, a mission. Scripture and secular studies say men are the only hope this Nation has, of making a recovery from where we are. There is no greater joy for a man, than to shed the useless, weak, uncertain, impotent existence the world has groomed us for, and choose to step into the ranks of manhood as God intended. Ezekiel 22:30.
Manliness seems to be a dying "art" in today's culture. Modern psychologists have recognized that there is a dramatic shift in the behavior of young men today, and it isn't a shift for the better, rather it indicates a lack of motivation. Surveys of young men confirm this. Our society sends mixed signals as to what it is to be a man, and it doesn't celebrate "manliness" anymore. And yet this was never God's plan.
Join us for this Father's Day message in which Pastor Doss points us to God's word and explains that men and women are indeed different and have different roles in this world. One is not better, than the other; both are necessary. Today's message is an urge to rediscover the art of manliness and to take back the role and live it as God defined it. Click the sermon button below to listen....
We need the Spirit working through us desperately; if we let Him work here, more miracles, more healing, more excitement, and more proof of Jesus Christ will be shown to the world than in any other way. Paul spent an entire chapter telling the church at Corinth about the most powerful, miraculous Gifts the Spirit could bring to them, but he ended the talk about these Gifts with these most important words: 1 Corinthians 12:31, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
Paul said we need to focus on the only thing that will last forever in this world—love. In a world that fallen, with people this damaged and dark all around us, walking in the right love and attitude towards others is the hardest thing to do in life, without the Spirit to lead. We often read stats which say Christians and Non-Christians are the same—this is why. Our failure to walk differently, is the biggest indicator of our need for the Spirit at a deeper level in all of our lives.
Paul tells the church in Galatia how God wants to touch others through us; these are the things that are important in this life: Galatians 5:16-25. Many of us find our minds more focused in these areas than we want to admit; there is no way you can keep these mindsets if you are walking in the Spirit because you will have a different focus; an, “Others" focus, in in the Spirit. Does this alone, show how often we are not Spirit led? Take a deep, practical look at what it means to live these traits out in our lives.
1) Peace: Most of us, in our normal state, depend on life having the perfect circumstances before we can have peace in life, thus the reason many never find it all their lives. There will unceasingly be reasons in your life to be sad, hurt, offended, victimized, accomplish more; peace will never come with the right circumstances. Peace will only come through our mindset towards those circumstances; use the circumstance as a means to show love and faith (to God and others), and to always remember all the wonderful blessing you still have at this moment in the midst of the trial. That thankfulness, that purpose above our momentary comfort will bring us the peace of the Spirit in our trials.
2) Patience: Patience is not being provoked in your trials, because you have faith that God is in control and working through your discomfort but is also, having the selfless strength to hold out without shifting all of the focus towards your pain in the midst; keeping a good heart and attitude as you wait and not complaining.
3) Kindness: is about unwarranted, even unexpected consideration and grace. As Christians we should look for opportunities to do unexpected, undeserved, sacrificial good for those around us. It's not about whether they deserve it; it's not about money or time; it's about showing people their worth; it's about relationships.
4) Faithfulness: We all have spurts of, "spiritual excitement" in our lives, where we try to live more righteously, love and forgive, be nicer, pray harder, etc., but we often end up failing when we try to do this in our own strength; we have to draw from the Spirit of God to be consistently faithful in our walk. Our normal mindset lets our decision to keep doing right or good, parallel our level of emotion (happy, frustrated, exasperated). Decide that no one else can be responsible for your actions; stop using others as your excuse to do what you wanted all along. When we walk with the Spirit, we see the need to put what is right above how we feel, and we continue to choose righteousness, to show mercy, forgiveness, loyalty, and love, far beyond what the world would expect, or has deserved, through their actions. Faithfulness is never even debating in your mind whether they have gone too far, whether you will stay, whether they are deserving.
5) Goodness: To really be able to do this, you have to see and love the Nature of God; you have to so appreciate His love and mercy, that you want to be Him for others; that depth of understanding and appreciation only comes from the Spirit.
6) Gentleness: Not weak, but controlled in your authority and power. Placing a person before yourself, any person; respecting them just because they are loved by God, no other credentials. God shows you respect, (not because you’ve deserved it); but because He sees what you can be, not what you are in your sins. Show respect, trust, worth and honor to God's people may just bring something out of them, even they never knew they had. We are usually so worried about being taken advantage of, or looking bad (pride), that we cannot bring ourselves to respect anyone or do anything. The worth you show, against logic may let them glimpse at their worth to God.
7) Self-Control: Luke 6:27-28, 31-33, 35-36. When we are done wrong for no reason—if we are walking in the Spirit rather than in our normal mindset—we will actually be thankful because this person will have given us a big opportunity to draw closer to God, and to reap His rewards in Heaven (these trouble makers are literally putting rewards in your hands when they do you wrong—only if you respond in love and self-control). Continue to treat them well every chance you get, in real care, not in sarcasm or for attention; this is the best possible way to ever show the true love of God, when undeserved; they are so often just hurting, damaged, and scared people, who need real love, when not deserved.
8) Joy: letting the Holy Spirit show you who you really are in Him and finding how things really look, according to His Kingdom; trusting that He is in control, this is for a reason, and we can Glorify Him right where we are.
9) Love: every attribute that we have spoken about in these verses comes only as a direct result of this kind of love, which can only originate from the spirit of God; it's almost as if the other Fruits were simply an expansion of this love. It is Spirit of God showing you the main focus of what is happening in each moment. If you don't happen to agree with someone on an issue, or action, what is most important in God's eyes is the relationship continuing in unity, and that person feeling loved and valued. It is non-negotiable love—knowing all the unfair, ridiculous, even hurtful things done to you, and choosing to love others no matter the cost to you, because you know their worth, and you are committed to them. It doesn't matter if they know better; it doesn't matter if they've done it before. Do you know better than to do what you do sometimes? Have you done it before? Does God still love you and show mercy? Whatever happens, let the Spirit keep your main commitment in focus always; people, relationships, love; over issues—always.
Fruits of the Spirit are so much more powerful than Gifts of the Spirit; they are the real miracle, because we have to go against our very nature to let them work through us. Gifts of the Spirit may enable you to express the Power of God—which may or may not impress others, and can just be explained away if the heart doesn't want to believe; but, the Fruit of the Spirit enables you to express the very Person of God—His real nature of love, forgiveness, care, long suffering—the core of all He is—this is what will turn hearts, break down walls, and show them who they really are in Him. Anything the enemy can throw against us, if we are walking in the Spirit, rather than the natural self, we can still have peace and purpose, and others get to see a real picture of Christ in the trial. The enemy just can't fight the Fruit of the Spirit.
Often, you will see that God is developing one particular Fruit in your life, over others; life situations will directly or indirectly develop certain Fruits; God knows the difficult people/circumstances in your life. No matter who you meet, how they act, what they've been through, there is one primary, God-given need in us all, to know we are treasured, loved, valued, and needed; to know we matter; to know that we are everything to someone. The Fruit of the Spirit allows you to be these things to others; some of whom, may never have felt these things in their lives. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
The Holy Spirit, part 4
If you have been following the series, you now know who He is, what He offers, and what He asks in return. Today Pastor Doss explains what it looks like to truly "walk in the Spirit." Here is a hint, you aren't going to look or act "normal"! Click the sermon link below to listen.
The Spirit works in our lives in so many ways, that our Christian walk cannot possibly be successful without Him; He works through the giving of Spiritual Gifts; in helping us see God's Word, God's world view, God's love for others; in teaching us how to pray, in praying for us Himself.
One of the biggest and most natural questions, that has caused much strife within theological, and denominational circles:
“Does God still move and work in supernatural ways today, or has the time for these works passed away?"
This question greatly affects the way we see God moving and working in our lives today—our expectations, prayers, hopes, and faith. Romans 12:3-8: Gifts that God gives to each believer, not so much supernatural works, as the way God gifted each of us to feel driven to serve Him and others. They represent the way each of us is to see and respond to needs within the Body of Christ. They are ‘The Motivational Gifts’, and each of us has at least one (in seven). These gifts are never questioned by anyone, and we see them working in the church daily.
1 Corinthians 12:1, 7-13: Gifts given by the Spirit, as supernatural strengths and knowledge in time of need and/or prayer. They have nothing to do with the ability of the believer, but in the manifestation of God’s Power alone: The Manifestation Gifts.’ These gifts are often challenged, doubted and criticized; they are also the most controversial, divisive, abused and misrepresented of all. Many try to ‘force’ these gifts for power, proof or self-glory; ‘fake’ them for attention or profit, or simply say they no longer exist in the church today because they were a specific time in history (which has passed).
To start—the biggest questions is: "Are these Gifts still being used by the Spirit in the church today?" Because if their time is truly passed on, we must establish this fact, so false expectations won’t bring disappointment and lost faith, and so God won’t be ridiculed and questioned. But if they are still present today, to leave them unused because of fear or indecision would be to miss a big part of God’s Power and Intimacy and cripple His Body. Galatians 1:10
1) We do not often see these Gifts in the life of a believer today, so they must not exist anymore—but is that a rational indication of whether they are available? We do not often see a life set apart and sanctified for Christ as it should be today either—does that mean God isn't still desiring and expecting it? We do not often see the model which God designed for the home being followed today—does that mean God isn't desiring and expecting it? We do not often see believers giving time & material goods as the NT describes and commands—does that mean God isn't desiring & expecting it? We have already established that our focus and desire have turned so far from God today that the, "norm" for us, is to walk without the Spirit; so would these Gifts, which are totally reliant upon the power of the Spirit, be presently active today the way we are walking and living? This reason, just based on the absence of the Gifts alone, is not only an empty argument, it actually gives us one more sign that the world is as God predicted it would be in the last days.
2) 1 Corinthians 13:8-11: There are many (called Cessationists), who believe this text is saying the Gifts of the Spirit ceased to function, when the Word of God was completed (v10); the justification being, that the Gifts of the Spirit were solely for the purpose of authenticating prophecies and words taught through revelation, and that, once the revelation was completed (The Bible), no more signs were needed. If you read these verses in context, with an open mind to what is being said, it is clear this passage is not describing, they would end at the completion of Scripture writing—it is clear the passage is not even describing a time on this earth. (1 Corinthians 13:12) There is only one time in the future when we will see God face to face (and it definitely wasn't when the Scriptures were finished). Exodus 33:20, John 1:18, 1 John 3:2-3, 1 John 4:12, Revelation 1:7.
1 Corinthians 1:4-7: We see some of the best evidence that the Spirit will continue to work through us until the end of our time on earth. There were others who used Gifts from the Spirit for no reason other than to benefit others in the Love of God (Elijah and Elisha, Stephen and Philip) (Acts 11:28-29, Acts 21:4, Galatians 3:5). James 5:14-16, Acts 2:16-18, 1 Corinthians 12:7: each individual will have Gifts for the serving of the body, they are part of, not just for the proving of Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 14:12. God is the same God that loved and cared for the people of the Old AND New Testaments—how many times do we read about Jesus healing people, and trying to completely avoid publicity and recognition simply out of love and compassion? Has He changed? Does He still have this love and compassion? Does He still want to give individual direction, warning, and healing to His people? (see David Guzik)
Does God still work amongst His people through these Gifts of the Spirit today? Absolutely!
The problem today, is the same problem faced from the first day God blessed His church with these Gifts—people become infatuated with the Gifts, the power, the attention, and completely lose the love and focus on why they even exist; they lose the hunger and infatuation with the gift giver. In that respect, Paul tells them, what we all need to hear today as well: 1 Corinthians 12:31, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. God still touches and communicates with His people in wonderful and intimate ways today, and it is a shame when we do not look for the Hand and the Voice of our Creator, and Beloved, in amazing ways—still.
When we can't look for a personal direction from our Guide; can't hope for miraculous works, when we are in His will; can't see His love and hope, sometimes shown in healing; but if we ever allow the Holy Spirit to truly guide and empower us; we will clearly see one thing—everything He does through us will be with one single passion—to Love God, love People, and see His will done on earth—period.
The Holy Spirit part 3
We continue our study of the Holy Spirit by examining the gifts of the Spirit. What are they? Are they still gifted today, or are they a thing of the past? Find out by clicking the sermon button below.
Did you miss the previous lessons? You can find part 1 here, and part 2 here.
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