Are You Creative?

God is very creative! We see this in the first scripture of the Bible where Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (NIV)

In Acts chapters one and two, we see the Holy Spirit come upon the disciples and they go out into the world. People who witnessed this were shocked and amazed (see Acts 2:12). This is because the power of the Holy Spirit was residing in the disciples. The actual Greek word is “Dynamis (G1410),” which means, “power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.” We have that same power residing in us because, as Christians, the Holy Spirit resides in us (see Romans 8:11).

In a more practical way, we see God enable His people in Exodus 35 to be artistic in designing and building things. Maybe you have a talent or ability and God wants to use you to bless others with that!

All this month, I want to encourage you to pray for God’s power to guide you and for you to try using your talents for God. If you don’t practice using your talents, you’ll never know what you can or cannot do! I believe that, when others see us doing it, they will be inspired too. It’s easy to be used by God because He wants it more than we do!

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Witnessing should be easy!

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells His disciples the parable of the sower. In this story, He talks largely about making sure that the soil is prepared to receive the seed. If we are going to reach our friends and family for Jesus, we must pray beforehand that God prepares their heart. There are many simple ways to start a spiritual discussion without being pushy or offensive. Here are some things to remember:

 

HOW TO BE A WITNESS FOR JESUS

  • It starts with awareness (is not simply incidental)
  • Good conversation starts with good questions (and good listening). (Remember what they say and bring that up in the next conversation to show you’re listening.)
  • Do not lecture, label, or manipulate
  • ANY positive conversation is a “link in the chain” (Witnessing does not have to always be a conversation about Jesus.)
  • Be cautious of “silence or violence” (This means that they are shutting us out or getting overly upset.)
  • Sometimes we have to agree to disagree
  • Ask “Can I pray with you?” (You can always ask this question as it’s not offensive but we have to be ok with them saying no.)
  • The Bible is your source book! SOAK IT UP

 

 

 

David S

Downtown Chaplain

Cell: 403-462-0704

Interoffice ext: 434

 

The Mustard Seed

102 11 Ave SE Calgary, AB T2G 0X5

Web: www.theseed.ca

 

The Sovereignty of God

I believe God is sovereign in all things. This means He supremely rules over everything that happens in our universe. Isaiah 46:9-10 says, “…I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” (NIV)

There are many other places in the Bible where we see the same kind of language. However, it is important to remember that He is not Lording over us waiting to punish us for failure. Instead, He is lovingly watching us with a plan in mind to bless us and redeem us. If we truly believe that He is sovereign, we would not want to step outside of His will for our lives.

It takes work to enter in and live a lifestyle of participation with His blessing. Many of you are doing the work. However, many stand on the outside and scoff, thinking that nothing will ever change. They are the ones missing out; who will slide down a slippery slope and continue to miss out, they will not see God do anything, they will become angry with God…and the whole time, He is waiting right there for you to return to Him.

The Holy Spirit (part three of three)

After Christ’s resurrection, He visited the disciples and said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)”

The Greek word used here is “Exousia” which literally means delegated authority. When Jesus did this for His disciples, He was delegating the Holy Spirit’s gifts and power onto all Christians from that time on!

Fast forward to Acts chapter 2 and we read about transformational power falling on the disciples through nothing other than prayer and unity.

Paul writes a lot about the “gifts of the Spirit” and includes 9 specific gifts in 1 Corinthians. However, he also writes about gifts in Romans 12 and uses the same Greek word which is “Charisma.” To me, this means that the list in 1 Corinthians is not an exclusive list. I also believe that all these gifts are available to all Christians as long as we earnestly seek God’s wisdom.

The reason I believe this is because in 1 Corinthians 14, we read that we should “eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit” and 2 Timothy 1:6 says to “fan into flame the gift of God.”

I believe it is up to us to seek out the gifts that God has in store through the Holy Spirit. These gifts are for the edification of the believers and I fear that many Christians are failing because they do not recognize the power that is within them (Romans 8:11)! I believe your natural passions, abilities, and desires are great clues as to which gifts God wants to use in your life. Seek God for wisdom and He will reveal His gifts to you (James 1:5)!

The Holy Spirit (part two of three)

Romans 8:12+13

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

The above scripture seems to make a good case that we have a CHOICE in how we live. Most of us know about the “fruit of the Spirit” listed in Galatians 5.

LOVE-love is a verb, when we choose to love others, we won’t be envious, we wouldn’t commit adultery or the other previous sins

JOY-joy is a choice, it is not situational

PEACE-peace is a state of mind, trust God for peace amidst your storms

FORBEARANCE (longsuffering or patience)-sometimes we just stand!

KINDNESS-a warm heart, a listening ear

GOODNESS-being generous

FAITHFULNESS-being reliable

GENTLENESS-teachable, not being superior

SELF-CONTROL-not falling into temptation easily

It is rare that we hear the rest of the chapter which states, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:24+25)

Have you crucified your flesh? Are you regularly CHOOSING to keep in step (walk in line with) the Spirit?

The Holy Spirit (part one of three)

I began a mini-series yesterday about the Holy Spirit. This week, I spoke about His jobs. It’s important that we don’t let the Easter story end just because Easter day has passed. After spending three and a half years with them, Jesus told His disciples in John 14:28, “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” Later, He said, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)

So the disciples were supposed to be glad that He was going away? The reason is because that was the only way that the Holy Spirit could be released upon all people. After the resurrection, we read the following: “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 19:21+22)

At that moment, our Parakletos (a Greek word meaning one who pleads another’s cause before a judge as an advocate) who we know as the Holy Spirit was given to all mankind. Yes, as a believer, you have access to Him at all times! This is important because His jobs include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Conviction (John 16:8)
  2. Comforting us (Advocating for)
  3. Reminding us of God’s word (John 14:26)
  4. Interceding for us (Romans 8:26)

When Jesus was on the earth in the flesh, He was only one man who could only be accessed through a face-to-face encounter. Now, we are not limited to a specific time or location to access our God!!! Take comfort in the fact that, as a Christ-filled believer, you have 24-hour access to this helper! We could not have that if Jesus did not resurrect and ascend into heaven! Next week, I’ll talk about the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5)!!

Fear vs. Trust

This past Sunday, we finished the series “Your Brain is Playing Games on You.”
In light of Halloween, I spoke about fear. Fear generally comes from a place of a lack of understanding. In Joshua chapter one, we see a story about Joshua taking on the task of finishing the job of Moses (who had recently died). In God’s opening statement (1:9), He says to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I can only imagine walking beside Moses all that time and watching God doing those amazing miracles through him. I cannot imagine what Joshua felt like knowing that God is now going to be doing those things through him. Talk about big shoes to fill!! We must remember God’s promise and learn to trust Him.
The video we watched (Brain Games, season 3, Trust) reminded us that our brains are actually hardwired to trust. Our amygdala is constantly working to evaluate if we should fear or trust a situation. Due to the way our brain works, there is a constant conflict in us between trust and logic.
Isaiah 26:4 encourages us to, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”
It is important for us to know God’s word well enough that the logic side of our brain is encouraged by the trust side and we learn that we can trust our perfect God even in an imperfect situation. This will give us strength in those times where we are fearful.