Monday, October 31, 2011

FRUITFUL LIVING - PEACE: by Robbie Sedgeman


Peace is Possible
  • As we continue our study in the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23) – this week we will focus on peace.  Peace is a frequent topic in Sarah Young’s devotional entitled ‘Jesus Calling.’  Here is the October 13th devotional (it is written as if Jesus is speaking directly to you):
Take time to be still in My Presence.  The more hassled you feel, the more you need this sacred space of communion with Me.  Breathe slowly and deeply.  Relax in My holy Presence while My Face shines upon you.  This is how you receive My Peace, which I always offer to you.

Imagine the pain I feel when My children tie themselves up in anxious knots, ignoring My gift of Peace.  I died a criminal’s death to secure this blessing for you.  Receive it gratefully; hide it in your heart.  My Peace is an inner treasure, growing within you as you trust in Me.  Therefore, circumstances cannot touch it.  Be still, enjoying Peace in My Presence.
  • Doesn’t that sound wonderful?  And the Bible tells us that it is possible!  One of the titles given to Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 is Prince of Peace.  Where ever he is, there is peace.  So, if we follow him, peace is available to us!

Peace Defined
  • The Greek word for peace means ‘peace of mind, tranquility.’  It is more than a lack of strife or anxiety or fear; it is being filled with the contentment and tranquility of God.
  • Some people have simply numbed their emotions in order to avoid the painfulness of fear or worry.  But that is not peace - it is not feeling.  God created our emotions for our benefit and for us to feel them to their fullest.  Beth Moore says it this way, “Peace means the absence of fear and turmoil, but not the absence of pain and grief.  We can be filled with sadness and still possess a wonderful sense of God’s peace.  God is not a proponent of emotional annihilation.”

Signs that you are Lacking Peace
  • Since we are designed by God to live peaceful lives, whenever we are experiencing turmoil or chaos in some area of our life, peace is missing.  In Job 3:26, Job said, ‘I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.’
  • Beth Moore says it this way, “Without doubt, God’s peace is paramount to spiritual, mental and emotional wholeness.”  I would add physical wellness to that statement.  Proverbs 14:30 says, ‘A heart at peace gives life to the body.’
  • A lack of peace can emerge in a multitude of ways and it is important for each of us to identify how our thoughts, emotions and bodies react when there is turmoil within us.  Here are a few ways turmoil exhibits itself:
    • Sleepless nights filled with tossing and turning
    • Fear
    • Worry & anxiety
    • Tasks seems difficult, burdensome – no motivation or being overwhelmed
    • Mind and/or body in perpetual motion – you don’t want to stop and simply be still
    • Memories that imprison you and that you can’t stop thinking about
    • Life circumstances that have never-ending strife and chaos
    • Hopelessness
    • Sense of being out of control
    • Physical ailments such as headaches and digestive issues

The Source of Peace
  • An important component in understanding and embracing peace is knowing whose it is.  Most of us believe it is ours – that it is something we can attain of our own accord.  We strive to create peace in our lives.  We try to manipulate and control the circumstances of our lives and the behavior of others in an effort to make our lives go in a predictable, steady order.  Then, we believe, turmoil will be gone and peace will enter our hearts.  Or we may try to control our minds and emotions directly through meditation and peaceful music or by telling ourselves over and over again, ‘Let it go.’ Some of us use distraction techniques, such as focusing on food, shopping, work or ministry to block out the turmoil.
  • We may be quite adept at some of these techniques and even have a measure of success.  But ultimately we will run into a brick wall.  A circumstance will be beyond our manipulation or a person will not go along with our agenda or we find anxiety creeping into the middle of our meditation.
  • That is when we are in the best position to realize that peace is not ours to acquire – it is God’s to give to us.  God owns peace and he is the only one with the ability to impart it to us.  The good news is that he has already said that it is available to us!  In John 14:27, Jesus said, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.'  Ephesians 2:14a says, ‘For he himself is our peace.’
  • It can be a challenge for those who are followers of Christ to stay in his peace, but how impossible it is for those who do not have Jesus as their Lord to maintain any measure of true peace.  Isaiah said, ‘the way of peace they do not know’ (Isaiah 59:8).  How grateful I am to have God in my life!

Abiding in Peace
  • We play an active role in our peace.  It is a gift we have already been given, but it’s up to us to unwrap it.  As Beth Moore states, ‘The key to being filled with the Holy Spirit, so that God’s peace may be released within, is a mind focused on him.’  Romans 8:6 says, ‘The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.’
  • We naturally focus on the circumstances of our everyday lives.  We are busy and things need to get done.  And God does call us to be productive and active in our lives.  In the process, we often make the tasks of our day our primary focus.  All the while, God is longing to be our main focus.  Matthew 6:33 says, ‘Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.’
    • I realized recently how often I am not ‘in the present moment.’  Preparing for this study, I found myself in a state of turmoil at one point because I felt I should be further along than I was.  I was calculating the time I had left to prepare the study compared to how much more I had to do and it took my peace completely away.  It seemed ironic, and very frustrating, that my peace would vanish while preparing a talk on peace.  But with the help of Godly counsel, I realized that it is exactly like God to use this opportunity to teach me more about my peace journey.  I was not seeking him first above all – I was seeking to ‘get it done.’   But above all, he wants an active ongoing relationship with us.  He doesn’t need me to do this study; he is giving me the opportunity to create this study with him.  In all we do, he wants to do it with us.  He is not as concerned about what we do as much as he has a desire to do it with us!
  • Isaiah 16:3, Isaiah says, ‘You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.’  Trust is vital to keeping our minds focused on God and filled with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus says, ‘Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.’  (Matthew 6:27, 34).  He calls us to focus on and live in each day, embracing whatever joys or sorrows it brings, letting the next day work itself out.
    • This is equally applicable to our worries about our own lives as it is our worries about the lives of those we love.  In describing how Jesus feed 5,000 with a few fish and some small loaves of bread, Beth Moore said, “Jesus was perfectly at peace with the needs of his followers because he had perfect confidence in his Father’s provision.”  We can leave our needs and the needs of others at his feet, because God is capable.
  • Philippines 4:6-7 has always been one of my favorite verses:  ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’  But I was struck recently with something I had missed all these years – the peace which transcends understanding comes to us simply by talking to God!  It does not say, ‘present your requests, be thankful and then God will resolve your troubles and then you will have peace.’  It says, ‘present your requests to God and the peace of God’ will come upon you.  It is so simple – Jesus is the Prince of Peace, so we cannot help but be in a measure of his peace when we are talking with him!

The Glorious Outcome of Peace
  • One glorious outcome of God’s peace is that it is reveals his power and ability.  Philippines 4:7 says that God’s peace is beyond understanding.  In Matthew 11:30, Jesus says, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ You can be in the midst of the most difficult circumstances, yet have contentment as you walk through the dark valley.  That unnatural response to difficult circumstances shines a light in your life that proves to both you and others that God is capable of doing things that no one else can do.
  • Another glorious outcome of God’s peace is that it will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippines 4:7).  My study bible says that guarding your hearts and minds is “a military concept depicting a sentry standing guard.  God’s ‘protective custody’ of those who are in Christ Jesus extends to the core of their beings and to their deepest intentions.”  1 Peter 1:5a says we are those ‘who through faith are shielded by God’s power.’

In her study on the fruits of the Spirit, Beth Moore states, “Jesus has greeted us with the most liberating words known to spiritual humanity:  ‘Peace be with you!’  Praise his holy name.  My heart pounds within me, ‘Lord, I want your peace!’  I want peace in aloneness, peace in provision, peace in the storm, peace in the wait, peace in the tears, peace in your plan – and even peace in my death.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 15:13)


1.   How do you define peace?  Have you ever mistaken numbness for peace?
2.   Review the signs indicating a lack of peace.  Are you experiencing any of those signs?
3.   How are you doing at keeping your focus on God and his kingdom?  Can you identify a circumstance when the task at hand became the all-important focus and communion with God became secondary?  What was your level of peace during that circumstance?
4.   Are you being challenged to trust God in a particular area of your life?  Explain.
5.   Share a time when you or someone you know experienced one of the glorious outcomes of God’s peace:  peace beyond understanding which displayed his glory and power or protection of your heart and mind.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Listen to Audio for complete teaching.
Review fruit of the Spirit – SONG
Lesson 3 – we are going to investigate the fruit of JOY!  The joy of the Lord is our strength…

Joy is the second characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit.  We skipped over love but will get back to it and spend a couple of weeks on it.  Love melts the heart of stone and Joy touches the deepest part of the heart.  We NEED joy!  And.. our world needs believers who evidence the fruit of joy!  Would you agree?
The Greek word for joy means ‘rejoicing, gladness, enjoyment, bliss’ – in many ways, it simply means ‘to celebrate’.

There are six key sources of joy:
1.       In Ps 43: 3-4  we find the primary reason for joy: Send me your light and your faithful care,
   let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
   to the place where you dwell.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
   to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
   O God, my God.
God Himself He is our joy and our delight! What do you enjoy most about God?
2.       Luke 10:20 shows us the second: do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Why be joyful? Our names are written in heaven/ in the Lambs book of life (Rev 13:8).  Rejoice in our salvation Ps 51:12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation
   and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. .  As we consider the Greek interpretation of JOY – we find that Joy is an absolute assumption in grace. Joy is literally written into grace. In other words, “if we fully understood what grace means and what we have because of it, we would never cease to rejoice” – have JOY! In order to have the fullness of JOY – we must stay aware of what and from what we have been saved. We need to consistently focus on our great salvation so that our joy might be full. Remember where you came from.. share it.. talk about it as often as you can. From what have we been saved in the future? Rev 20:11-15 tells us we are saved from:
Being cast into the lake of fire, the second death, judgment according to our works… we have been saved from these penalties. Also.. ‘what’ are we saved of: our sins, transgressions, iniquities…”a life without Christ & His salvation is a wasted life”. God never wastes a hurt. 

 3. The third reason for joy is very interesting… It is all about hidden treasure/ the joy we find in the hidden things of God/ the surprises.  Matt 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field., Luke 10:21. At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to the joy comes in the discovery/ the excitement of the revelation.  The women discovered an empty tomb, John the Baptist discovered the Messiah, the shepherds discovered the good news, etc… These are not random discoveries – they are supernatural discoveries of our Lord & Savior in circumstances of life.  Have you ever found Him in the difficulties of your life?   SONG Blessings
by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise
Oftentimes the hidden treasure/ blessing comes disguised. it comes in our pain and hardships.

4. Joy is not only what we have discussed but is also a response to restoration!  There are three different circumstances through which God seeks to bring restoration that brings wonderful joy!   Let’s read Ps 71:20,23
20 Though you have made me see troubles,
   many and bitter,
   you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
   you will again bring me up. 23 My lips will shout for joy
   when I sing praise to you—
   I whom you have delivered.  

YOU have made me see troubles.. OUCH!  Well… I am convinced and learned from experience that we cannot fully know Christ until we learn to fellowship with Him in His sufferings.  The closest friends I have are those whom I have ‘suffered’ with.  How about you?  Let’s read Phil 3:10… “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”

The second circumstance through which God seeks to bring restoration is found in 2 Cor 1:3-7..comforting those with the comfort we have received.   Bottom line question: are we making ministry out of our miseries?  We must always remember… If God has ordained difficulty for us, He has also ordained restoration for us – we can count on it!  1 Peter 5:10 confirms it:  10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Thirdly, God always desires to bring restoration through discipline. God does not like separation from us.  He wants us in true close intimacy with Him. Discipline basically means ‘teach’.. we teach our children and we use various means to teach. God does the same…The Lord will discipline those He loves.. He must in order to restore the relationship.  If we are separated from God, if we are in sin, our relationship/ our joy will not be restored until there is repentance and sometimes that does not come about apart from discipline.

5. Let’s talk now about Abiding JOY!  John 15:1-17 shows us how we can abide in Him.. which is abiding in Joy!  The fruit of the Spirit originates in the heart and personality of God.  John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
God is the possessor and giver of true joy.  Fleeting moments of happiness come our way all the time – happiness is based upon circumstance.  Inner joy flows only from Christ.  How do we tap into that joy? – these verses in John 15 teach us:  remain in ME Jesus says.  The Greek word for remain means to ‘abide, dwell, live’. To remain with Christ means to cling to Him, refuse to budge under pressure, and to never allow loss or any other painful experience to cause us to leave.

Finally…6.  our joy is the result of relating God’s way to God’s people. We are joy for one another!  God wants us to bring joy to each other! If you cannot honestly say you are enjoying fellow believers – those in the Body of Christ, there is a reason and you must deal with that reason.  Whether it is fear – you’ve had some painful, hurtful experiences with others in the past, you are an introvert and don’t allow yourself opportunities to connect, you are isolating because you don’t like yourself, whatever the reason.. your joy will never be complete apart of the enjoyment you find in the community of God.
If we are those enjoying community.. it is our responsibility to draw others in.  Look around you.. pay attention.. do you see the loneliness in someone’s eyes? Perhaps you are the one that can make a difference for them… let’s reach out.. bring joy to others!

How do we lose our joy?  Here are some possible reasons:
1.    our out-pour is exceeding our intake
2.    our talk exceeds our walk
3.    we become ‘wonders junkies’
4.    we are exhausted
5.    when we feel all alone

If you’ve lost your joy, it’s right where you left it… in His presence!
Let’s review….
-        Joy is GOD Himself!
-        Joy comes in realizing and remembering our salvation
-    Joy comes as a result of discovering God in all our circumstances – the hidden things of God/ His treasure
-        …is the result of restoration
-        …is the result of remaining/ abiding in Christ
-        …is the result of relating God’s way to God’s people



Monday, October 17, 2011

FRUITFUL LIVING - Lesson 2 by Robbie Sedgeman - THE HOLY SPIRIT

Holy Spirit

(Listen to Audio)
  • This is session two in Fruitful Living, where we will explore the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Lillian and I are team teaching this study, which is based on Beth Moore’s study, but we will also include other information we’ve acquired through our own study.
  • The name of Beth Moore’s study is Living Beyond Yourself, which is exactly what God calls us to do - not to live in our own power or ability but in his care and power.    
    • That is certainly what I desire.  I’ve tried living in my wisdom and it hasn’t served me well.  How about you?  Has living your way given you the peace, contentedness, belonging you desire? 
    • Only in living a life in the Holy Spirit can we experience true freedom.  The goal is to experience genuine freedom – which is a life overflowing with the Holy Spirit.
    • 1 John 4:19 says ‘We love God because He loved us first.’  That is so true of all good things.  They all come from God.  So for us to experience freedom, peace, and joy, we need God first and foremost because all good flows from Him.
    • Matthew 6: 33 says ‘Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Receiving and experiencing His love and full live is a result of the Holy Spirit being in us.  Then we can live life at its fullest.
  • What does a full, righteous life look like?  God has given us a blueprint.  He has laid out his plan for our lives in His Word, the Bible.  But Galatians 5:22-23 provides a good summary: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”  A life submitted to God will be a life that has an increasing measure of the fruit of the Spirit.

  • We’ll explore each fruit in detail, but first we need to lay a foundation.  Lillian laid the first part of the foundation last week.
    • We need to understand why Jesus died for us:
      • To rescue us from sin - it is the Father’s will - to restore relationship with the Father - and because he loves us
    • Become aware if you are an easy target for false teaching.  You are an easy target if you:
      • Don’t know the truth/don’t explore the Bible for yourself – get bored/are complacent – seek the approval of others rather than the approval of God
    • Be assured that you have Jesus’ righteousness credited to you
      • Have faith in God and receive his grace
    • Knowing God as Abba Father
  • Next week we’ll start looking at the specific fruit of the Spirit, but today I am going to lay the second part of our foundation, an exploration of the Holy Spirit.  This is definitely an essential foundation in order to embrace the Bible’s teaching on the fruits of the Spirit.  We will talk about the following:
    • Who is the Holy Spirit?
    • What is the Holy Spirit’s role in Creation?
    • What is the Holy Spirit’s Relationship to us?

Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • I have heard about a lot of different teaching in churches on the Holy Spirit, about who he is and our relationship to him.  There is some controversy and my intent is not to address that controversy, but to touch on the basics of what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit.
  • Simply put, the Holy Spirit is God.  It is definitely a mystery.  God is three-in-one, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
    • It is beyond our understanding.  There are specific references to each throughout the Bible, while at the same time making it clear that God is one.
    • Jesus spoke of the Father and of the Spirit separately.
    • In Genesis 1:26a God says, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness”.
    • Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
      • The Hebrew word for God in that verse is Elohim, which is plural.  But the verb used is singular, implying God is multiple yet one.
    • Genesis 1:2 continues, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
      • I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit is the first one of the three that is specifically mentioned in the Bible.
      • Throughout my study and preparation, I was surprised to see how many times the Holy Spirit is specifically mentioned.  There were many verses where my vague memory assumed the verse mentioned God or Jesus, when it actually specifically references the Holy Spirit.
  • He is a person with a personality, not an ‘it.’  Here are a few examples.
    • We can grieve the Holy Spirit, just like we can grieve a person.
      • Ephesians 4:31a says “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”
      • We grieve him when we act in an ungodly way.
    • He is our counselor, as in John 14:16, when Jesus says “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.”
      • I often think of Jesus counseling me, giving me advice, but the Holy Spirit is also our counselor.
    • We can limit the Spirit’s work in our lives, as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.”
      • I have experienced times when I have been excited about something in my life and I’ve shared it with someone that was completely negative.  It dampened me, limited my enthusiasm.  Similarly, we can dampened or crush the Spirit’s good work in us by being negative, such as disobeying or doubting or being fearful.

What is the Holy Spirit’s role in Creation?
  • The Holy Spirit is the energizer, applying the power and energy of God into creation.
    • Earlier we looked at Genesis 1:2 “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
    • ‘Hovering’ means to flutter, move or shake.
    • All three were involved in creation and continue to uphold creation.  Different commentators describe each one’s role differently.  Beth Moore describes it this way, “The Father willed it, the Son spoke it, and the Holy Spirit energized it into being.”
  • The Holy Spirit regenerates creation, including us.
    • John 3:5-6  “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
  • The Holy Spirit lives in us.  This is why the Holy Spirit has been precious to me.  Since the beginning of my regeneration, I have had hope in the Holy Spirit being with me.  God the Father has seemed distant in Heaven, Jesus is more approachable to me but He is no longer on earth.  When I so badly have felt I needed God here in physical form, the presence of the Holy Spirit in me has been the closest I could get to God’s physical presence.
    • Colossians 1:26b “Christ in me, the hope of glory”
    • 1 Corinthians 2:16b “ We have the mind of Christ”
  • The Holy Spirit seals us.  We can be assured of our salvation.
    • Ephesians 4:30 “with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption”
    • To seal means to close up and make secure.  Satan cannot indwell us when the Holy Spirit has sealed us.
    • It also means to mark something as authentic and approved.  God the Father sees the seal of the Holy Spirit upon us and knows we are his.

What is the Holy Spirit’s Relationship to us?
  • Speak truth into our lives
    • In ourselves, we are deceived by Satan and our own harmful desires and can’t see truth
    • Jeremiah  17:9  “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?”
    • Thankfully, God understands our hearts and know how to present truth to us at a time when we need it and are open to it, and the Holy Spirit reminds us of truth.
    • John 16:12-13a “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”
  • Enables us to resist sin and bad choices
    • Galatians 5:16 “So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature”
    • On our own we are not able to resist sin and make good choices.  Beth Moore says it this way, “Have you noticed that you never have to make the conscious choice to sin?  Left to what comes naturally, regrettably, we all will sin.  That’s what the carnal man is all about.  He just does what comes naturally from his old nature.  If we are going to live as a spiritual man, it will result from a deliberate, conscious surrender to the Holy Spirit of God.  Surrender is a daily choice.  We can be spiritual one day and not the next.  We can be spiritual one morning and not that night.  We re spiritual when we are out of control and the Holy Spirit is in control.’
  • The Holy Spirit fills us with righteousness
    • Ephesians 5:18  “be filled with the Spirit”
    • My brother was an alcoholic and I appointed myself as his caretaker.  When I made the choice to stop, it felt extremely uncomfortable.  I had peace and confidence in my decision, but much of my life revolved around him.  With that responsibility gone, what was I think about, to do, to focus my attention on?
    • Have you experienced a void in your life?  Perhaps it’s an area of sin or a bad habit that you conquered with the help of the Holy Spirit, but you have not yet transitioned to the next phase of your life.  You are in that grey realm of transition where you need the Holy Spirit to guide you in the way of righteousness.  He has taken you out of the realm of darkness and you are glad to be doe with it.  But now you need him to teach you his ways.
    • Matthew 11:24-26    “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’  When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.  And the final condition of the man is worse than the first.’
    • Boundaries are a good example.  Perhaps you have learned to say no to the things that have turned your life into chaos; you no longer feel obligated to participate in every church function that occurs.  You have said ‘No!”.  Good job. That’s a great start.  But the next question comes quickly upon the heels of your ‘No!’:  What do I do with my free time?  Is it OK to sit and read a book or take a walk?  Is there another area of ministry God wants me to pursue?  Do I spend those two hours that I have free with my spouse, my children, my friends?  Those unanswered questions can lead us right back into poor choices if we don’t cry out to the Holy Spirit, not only to help us stop harmful behavior, but to show us what beneficial behavior looks like.
  • Enables us to shine God’s light into the world
    • Gives us the ability to follow God’s commands and grow up into Godlier living, which will overflow into others’ lives
    • Michael Youseff, Leading the Way – story of a man who asked a friend which was the best Bible translation.  The NIV, King James, the Message, English Standard version?  His friend answered ‘No’ to each one.  After his friend went through all of the versions he could think of, he was very interested to learn which His friend thought was best.  He was anxious to hear of a new translation that would help him understand the Word.  So he anxiously asks, ‘Which one?  What is this new translation that I have not heard of?’   His friend replied, ‘It is not new, I have had it all my life.  My father.  My Dad showed me what was in the Bible – he was loving and honest and kind and generous, and quick to forgive, always willing to listen.  Yes, my Dad was the best Bible translation I have ever seen.’
    • We are Christ’s ambassadors.  2 Corinthians 5:20  “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though Christ were making his appeal through us.”  When we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, we are revealing Christ to a spiritually and emotionally hungry world.  How refreshing it is to me when I make a mistake and instead of receiving a response of frustration or anger, I receive gentleness, mercy, forgiveness from the person I negatively impacted.  That is revealing God to a weary world.
  • Helps us evaluate our spiritual health
    • When we are in Christ and seeking Him to follow Him, the Holy Spirit will work within us and change us and enable us to grow.
    • If we don’t see the fruit increasing in some way, that is a good indication to pause and evaluate your spiritual condition.
    • Conversely, there is great comfort in seeing the fruit of the Spirit increase in our lives.  When we doubt God’s presence in our lives or are frustrated with what we perceive as a lacking in Godliness or a slowness, we can look at the fruit in our lives and we will most likely see an increase, however small in one of the fruits – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control – and we can be assured that God is in us and we are growing up into what He calls us to be.

  • God wants us to live a life of freedom.  That life can only be found by giving up our ways and choosing to let God run our lives by filling us with the Holy Spirit.
    • Let the Holy Spirit teach you the truth and enable you to live it out.
    • Open yourself to the Spirit in all areas of your life so that you are overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit.  This is not only to for our own delight, but it also allows us to benefit those we encounter.
    • 2 Corinthians 3:17-18   “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  That is hope.


1.     What were you taught about the Holy Spirit when you were younger?  How did your family, friends or church react to the Holy Spirit?  What is your view of Him today?
2.     Have you experienced a void left by the relinquishing of a bad habit or sin?  Did you fill the void with God’s guidance or did you leave the space void, and what was the result?
3.     Have you had a great Bible translator in your life?  Who?  Can you identify the fruits of the Spirit in that person?
4.     Are you surrendering your life to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis?  Is there an area you are still holding onto and controlling in your own strength?
5.     As we prepare our hearts for studying the specific fruits of the Spirit, contemplate the following questions:
a.      Is there a fruit you are lacking?  Which one or ones?
b.     Have you seen an increase in a fruit of the Spirit?  Which one or ones?

Friday, October 7, 2011


WELCOME TO FRUITFUL LIVING – LESSON 1 (listen to audio to get complete teaching)


This week we will begin our journey together.  The goal of the trip is genuine freedom – freedom that comes only thru a life filled with the Holy Spirit! Such a life displays the character traits the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit that I just mentioned.
Some of the material Robbie and I (we are team teaching this class) will be using comes from a study that Beth Moore put together quite a few years ago as well as our own personal study and resources.
So… in order to start this journey and get to a place of fruitfulness, we have to start at the beginning.  We must build a firm foundation.

The first of several ingredients to build our foundation is….

1. KNOWING WHY CHRIST DIED FOR US:  let’s look at what God’s word says:
 Galatians 1:4  4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
1 Pet 3:18  8 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
John 3:16  16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Rom. 5:8     8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

4 Major Reasons Christ died for Us:
1.  He died to RESCUE us.  Remember what that was like?  Even now there may be times where you needed a Rescuer?
2.  It was HIS FATHER’S WILL, an act of obedience
3.  RESTORE us to relationship with the Father – like 1 Peter 3:18 says.. to bring us to God
4.  Because He LOVES US – think about it .. the God of the universe is madly in love with YOU!

The second ingredient to building our firm foundation is understanding/

2. KNOWING WE ARE EASY TARGETS & doing something about it – HOW? WHY are we easy targets?

§        We do not know the TRUTH – there are many dusty Bibles on Christian’s shelves.  We must study and know the truth so we can identify the counterfeit – just like the dollar bill.. they study/ memorize every facet of the bill so they clearly see a false / counterfeit bill.  We cannot recognize a lie if we don’t know the truth. Ignorance of God’s word will always make us an easy target for false teaching.
§        Possibly BOREDOM – if you are, you must find a way to fan the flame!  Do you ever feel bored of the Christian life?  If so.. there could be something else at the root – thrill seeker, addicted to excitement?
§        Galatians 1:10 reveals another major characteristic that makes us targets:  10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. - APPROVAL SEEKING:  Few things on earth cause as much unhappiness as trying to win the approval and affirmation of people. The Greek word for please here means: to fit, to gratify, to accommodate oneself to, or to be acceptable to. Honestly, some of the worst mistakes I have made and I bet you have made were a result of seeking someone’s approval and acceptance … a desire to fit in.  Can you think of a time when seeking someone’s approval ultimately proved to be a very negative influence in your life?

Interesting that this verse has seeking approval at the beginning and ends with being a servant of Christ as the opposite. The truth is: we become slaves to the person(s) from whom we seek approval. How can we be a servant of Christ if I am a slave to someone else?  I can’t. My attention and allegiance is not fully on the Lord.. it is on others.
Let’s talk for a moment about legitimate needs – especially emotional needs (List/ handout)  What we have to understand is that when these needs are not met growing up, we will find any way possible to get them met – this is oftentimes where approval seeking is born.  If our past does not get addressed, we often stay stuck in the ways we developed to get our needs met and never ‘out grow them’ or realize they really don’t work or…they are not healthy.

The third ingredient to building our firm foundation is:

Gal. 3:6 “Consider Abraham: He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness”.
The 2 crucial building blocks for our foundation are faith and grace. Abraham ‘believed’ God, that’s faith.. we ‘believe’ and let us not grow casual or take for granted the salvation we received by faith and grace.
There will be a definition of the Greek word grace on the screen.. as we read this together, jot down the words that specifically speak to your heart – you’ll have an opportunity to share those in your discussion group time tonight.
Greek word grace means:
That which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance, for a kindness granted or desired, a benefit, thanks, gratitude. A favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor. Grace stands in direct antithesis to works, the two being mutually exclusive. God’s grace affects man’s sinfulness and not only forgives the repentant sinner, but brings joy and thankfulness to him. It changes the individual to a new creature without destroying his individuality.

The final ingredient to building our foundation is:
Gal 4:6  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[a] Father.”
Have you ever wondered where the doctrinal basis for ‘inviting Jesus into your heart’ came from?  Now you know…  Gal 4:6… we ask and invite the Spirit of God’s son, Jesus Christ, to come into our hearts, live/ reside in us and His Spirit enables us to cry out in intimate, loving relationship to our Abba… we have been adopted into God’s holy family.. entered into the kingdom of light out of the kingdom of darkness.   Now that’s something to get excited about!!!  Let’s thank Him and praise Him!!!


1.    Of the four major reasons Christ died for us, which resonates the most with you personally?
2.    Based upon what we learned tonight, do you consider yourself an easy target for buying into false teachings?  Discuss each together as a group: - don’t know the truth, - boredom, - approval addiction
3.    Discuss the emotional needs list – any surprises?  How have you made attempts in the past to get these needs met?
4.    Share the words you wrote down from the Greek definition of grace.
5.    Are you currently experiencing the kind of relationship with God where you feel free to call him your Abba?  If not, why?  Discuss some ways we might become more relationally close to God in this way.