Life in the Spirit – Inner Circle – Fellowship 3

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Matthew 17:1-3 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. (NIV)
Mark 14:32-34 They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter and James and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (NLT)
The inner circle of three is the most intensive form of covenant community in our lives. Jesus had this in Peter, James, and John. At the transfiguration, and again in Gethsemane, as well as numerous other times, Jesus focuses on these three to teach and share with, and so modeling how we should life as well. This type of close friendship, sharing successes and failures, hopes and fears, confidence and doubt, is one of the ways God speaks into our lives, and speaks through us into the lives of others.

Life in the Spirit – Relational Dynamics – Fellowship 2

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Ephesians 4:15-16 [S]peaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (ESV)
Our ability to grow and help others to grow is dependent upon the type of relationship they (and we) are open to. Is someone willing to engage in conversation at all? Is he willing to engage in spiritual conversation? Is she committed to covenant community? Am I being mentored so as to be able to develop the ability to lead others in spiritual growth as well? Think about some of your relationships, and let these questions inform your next step to grow those relationships.

Life in the Spirit – Discernment – Fellowship 1

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Galatians 6:1-5 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. (NLT)
When Biblical fellowship is really working well, it looks like this: spiritual Christians who see other Christians sinning will lovingly confront them to turn them back to God’s will. But this requires discernment as to the likelihood that the person confronted will respond positively, as well as humility in the confronter so as not to become merely critical.

Life in the Spirit – The Heart of Worship – Worship 4

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Life in the Spirit – The Heart of Worship
Luke 6:43-45 [Jesus speaking] “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
Dependence on God is the good seed that produces good fruit. True worship counts the cost, and goes ahead anyway. And Jesus commends those who worship Him “all-out” in this way.

Life in the Spirit – Ready to Obey – Worship 3

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Life in the Spirit – Ready to Obey
Matthew 14: 24-33
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. (NLT)

When we see God do miraculous things, it reminds us that He is God and we are not, and it moves us to worship Him. Peter knows that he can only walk on water if Jesus wills it. He also knows the key to this dynamic is being ready to obey.
As God enables us to do powerful and miraculous things, it is essential that we remember that God is doing the work, and that we trust Him to give us the strength to carry out His will.
Willingness to obey comes before actual obedience. Each day ask yourself “What is my willingness to obey?” Then prepare your mind, your heart, your will to obey God’s leading.

Life in the Spirit – In Awe of God – Worship 2

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Life in the Spirit – In Awe of God
Matthew 17:1-9 But even as [Peter] spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. (NLT)
What helps you remember your awe of God? Is it time with other believers? Is it taking a walk in nature? Is it getting deeply into the Word of God? Is it serving the poor? Whatever it is that encourages you to live a life of worship, make it a regular practice in your life.

Life in the Spirit – Submission – Worship 1

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Life in the Spirit – Submission
Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” …
Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” …
“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” (NLT)

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (NIV)

Real worship is submission to God—submission is the essence of worship. The Holy Spirit enables us to submit to God. Let’s allow God to transform us into real worshipers. Let’s trust the Biblical pathway to trusting the Lord more than we trust ourselves.

Life in the Spirit – Relationships – Teaching 4

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Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Jesus taught by the way He lived His life; we can do the same thing. If we manage our lives according to God’s wisdom, it is entirely appropriate to share that wisdom with those with whom we interact, especially when their way is not working. The way we relate to others is one way we witness to the truth of God’s design for healthy relationships.

Life in the Spirit – Ready to Hear – Teaching 3

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Luke 4:16 [Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.
Acts 17:2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, (NIV)
Jesus first went to the local synagogues (and Paul followed his example), giving those who should have been most ready the first chance to be taught by him. The custom was that visitors were given a chance to speak.
Is your custom to regularly gather with God’s people? Are you ready to hear from God there? God can use anyone in your world to present His truth. When you go into the house of God, be ready to hear from Him through whomever God may choose to use.

Life in the Spirit – Surprised by God – Teaching 2

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Life in the Spirit – Surprised by God
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied. Matthew 5:3-6 (NLT)
God’s ways are not our ways; they are infinitely higher, infinitely better, they truly lead to the abundant life. As we approach God’s Word humbly, as followers, as learners who need much instruction, the Holy Spirit can purify our minds and hearts so that we can understand His ways and walk in them.