Stepping with the Holy Spirit

“If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)

This has been a transformative journey together exploring what it truly looks like to pray the petition, “God, Your Will be done”. On the surface it appears we are ‘giving permission’ for God to move in this world. As sense of letting go and giving space for God to lead us.

As we have dug deeper we have learned that God is already moving. His Will is being accomplished, even if we do not see it with our own eyes. What we are asking in this prayer is for us to be used by God to achieve His Will.

How God responds to us in by sending the Holy Spirit to guide along God’s path. Those times we may grow tired the Holy Spirit is there to give us rest and then pick us up when it’s time to serve. When we are discouraged the Holy Spirit sends us reminders showing us some of the fruits of ministry.

Paul, the writer of the letter to the Galatian people teaches them, and us, the importance of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit because the Spirit transforms us from the inside out. We are no longer burdened with the things of this world. Instead, we live freely in God’s grace.

So how do we keep in step with the Holy Spirit?

First, we listen to the Holy Spirit by reading the Bible. We recognize God’s Voice with more ease when we routinely hear it.

Next we look to see what God is doing around us. We note what doors of ministry open. We see who God places in our lives to become friends and serve.

Keeping in step with the Holy Spirit is a daily discipline which requires our humble hearts to follow and obey.

Be not afraid fellow disciple (student) of Jesus Christ. Be excited to see the awesome things God is including you in.

Each day take one step with the Holy Spirit. Walk into the opportunities God presents you. If you get nervous remember God is in control. He’s got it covered. You have nothing to worry about.

Go out, disciple of Jesus. Step in the footsteps of the Holy Spirit. Serve where God places you. See all the great things being accomplished according to His Will.

This Week’s Challenge

In your devotional time not where the footsteps of the Holy Spirit are leading you. What ministry opportunities is God giving you today?

How to Grow Closer to God

Praying the petition, “God, Your Will be done” has profound impact on us individually and corporately as the children of God. It is all encompassing, transforming each of us from the inside out. We are certainly not the same people after earnestly praying this prayer.

While we have seen in this series that God’s Will is being accomplished here on Earth we are truly asking God to show us His Will and to include us in it. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes and hearts in seeing how God is already moving. We surrender to His Will so that we participate in it.

The key learning in this petition is the undeniable fact that God draws us closer to Him. Our hardened hearts are soften. Our eyes are open to truly see Him. Our ears come unclogged to hear the Will of the Lord. We journey more closely with the Father as a result.

The 3rd Petition (aka section) of the Lord’s Prayer helps us to pursue humility and be reminded that we are not in charge, God the Creator is.  We take our rightly place in submission to follow obediently and serve faithfully. We think not of ourselves but rather of what God has for the world. 

While left to our own vices we become self-centered, neglectful of the needs of others. We seek after our selfish desires ignoring the wider community. It is only by God’s grace are we able to break free and fix our eyes on Jesus. We begin our humble submission by praying this petition.

As this year is drawing to a close it is a natural time to stop and reflect on how we can be better servants of the Lord.

So what areas of your life need to be submitted to the Lord? How might you be selfish and thinking only of yourself? What is God teaching you about His Will?

Take time this week to pray this petition earnestly and hear how God answers it. Be receptive. Put aside whatever expectations you personally may have and hear what the Lord has for you. See how God brings you into community to serve and grow.

Spend time with fellow disciples and pray together how God is calling all of you to step out in faith to humbly serve. Receive what the Holy Spirit gives to you.

Don’t be afraid at how God will transform you. There will be growing pains but hang in there to see the beautiful growth God does in you.

Through it all note how you do draw closer to God. It is a natural outcome to humble prayers to the Lord Almighty. When we all pray “God, Your Will be done” we become steadfast in the Lord able to withstand all attacks from the adversary. With God all things are possible.

This Week’s Challenge

Begin each day this week praying this petition and see throughout the day how He draws you closer to Him.  When you meet with friends or your small group or Bible Study do the same and see how as a community brings you closer to Him.

Did You Catch that Glimpse of Heaven?

As we have seen in previous posts in this series seeking God’s Will changes who we are and brings us closer to community with one another. It is a journey that may begin at various times for each individual but does continue for a lifetime for everyone. It is a journey which draws us home to Heaven.

See, this world is not how God originally designed it. Rebellion set in with humanity and leaving this world to be broken. Things are not how they should be as God created it. Instead of walking away, God set into action His Plan to redeem the world through the life, death, and resurrection of His Only Son Jesus Christ. God’s Will is to bring all of humanity back to the perfect union we once had before rebellion entered.

We do not seek God’s Will on our own. If we attempt to do so we, at best, will only see a small portion of it. In community with others do we begin to see the full picture. With this authentic community we also get a glimpse of Heaven. We get to see how intricately woven together we are by the Holy Spirit.

God is continually restoring and healing the world in preparation for the new Heaven and the new Earth where there is no mourning, no loss, no pain. Perfect union between God and creation is restored. We pray for God’s Will to be done for this end.

Each time we pray the petition, “God, Your Will be done” we are praying to see what God is doing and how we are called to help fulfill it. As an united community seeking God’s Will we get a glimpse of Heaven, a small taste of what it will be like in Heaven when all things are restored.

This glimpse of Heaven is found in the relationships we share with one another. One sees Heaven wherever 2 or more people come together from varying backgrounds and experiences to not grapple for political power but rather utilize their differences to be stronger together in service to the Lord.

The glimpses we do receive from the Holy Spirit helps us to not be discouraged. They serve as a motivator for those times the adversary attempts to derail us.

These glimpses also remind us who we are. They whisper in our hearts the plans God has for us. We are able to keep seeking God’s Will because while we may not see the finish line right now we do know where it is and how wonderful it will be in Heaven.

So as you go about your day and your week look for those glimpses of Heaven that God sends you. Be encouraged that this journey is not in vain. Stand firm in the Lord and together in community. Give praise to God for His unending love for all of us.

This Week’s Challenge — As you serve this week in community debrief together how you got a glimpse of Heaven.

It’s More Fun With Friends

Seeking after God’s Will is a fun adventure. And it’s definitely more fun with a friends. We are not meant to go through this journey alone. God designed us to journey together, striving after Him as a united body.

See, God lives in community. God the Father is in perfect community with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. They dwell in perfect harmony and serve together as one body. Now if the Almighty Creator is in community shouldn’t we, the created, be in community with one another?

The beauty of community is that where one may be weak, another is strong. If you do not have experience someone else has that experience. Or you may be skilled in an area that someone else may not be as skilled.  It is only in community together that we truly see God’s Will.

We are not able to see perfectly as God sees.  So God then puts us together with one another so that as a united body we can see what God’s Will is for the world. When we stop to listen together we are able to put the puzzle pieces together and see the beauty of God’s Will.

When we try to go it alone we lose the full beauty of God’s Will.  We may know clearly what God has for us to do but we miss the pieces that God gives to others. Without them we have a partial picture, only part of the story.

Imagine trying to complete a puzzle with only the edge pieces.  Sure, you may have the complete frame but do you see the full picture? Imagine now if you worked with others who had the inside pieces to help complete the full picture. This is the beauty of seeking God’s Will in community with others. We get to see more fully the beauty of God’s Perfect Plan.

Here’s the question before each of us how do I seek God’s Will in the community with fellow believers?

Do I insist on being on my own and not intentionally be in community with fellow disciples?

When do I listen to what God is telling another disciple to learn from him/her?

How do I pray with disciples humbly seeking God’s Will for us?

Each of these questions are vital to being in authentic relationships with fellow disciples seeking God’s Will.  We cannot do this alone. God created us to be in community with one another as He is in community with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. When we are in united community together we begin to see the beauty of God’s Plan.

This Week’s Challenge

Meet with a friend or two this week to share how each of you see God leading you in ministry.  Pray together to hear God’s Will and see how your puzzle piece fits in.

Seeing the World with God’s Lenses

Did you ever get a new pair of glasses? Before them the world appeared clear, in focus. Then presto, change-o wearing the new glasses everything is brighter, crisper. Who knew all these colors even existed before? it’s like a whole new world before your very eyes.

As you wear these new lenses you do see things differently and therefore you begin to act differently. The information being received is processed in a new way. You are not able to act the same, old way. You are changed. You are new doing new things.

Along our faith journeys the Holy Spirit works within us changing us from the inside out. This transformation is necessary as we authentically pray for God’s Will to be done. As a result we begin to see the world as God sees it. We view it with new lenses on. Now we see through the lenses of love and grace. As we have experienced God’s love and grace so we can share it with others.

It is incredible seeing the world from a new perspective. It is seeing it as if for the first time. You learn about what you did not already know. Passion is renewed as it was in the beginning of your own faith journey.

The curious thing is we don’t know what we don’t know. By stepping out and trying new things, gaining new perspectives we learn to see through the new lenses God gives us. It requires a step of faith to leave the “safety of our comfort zone.”

So what does it look like? It is going to a new place where you are the minority and being humble to learn from a new culture.

It is seeing a person in need and asking, “How can I help?”

It is listening to someone on the opposite side of a political issue and learning from him/her.  Remember to listen to learn, not to argue.

Wearing new lenses helps us to see our faith community through the eyes of a guest. How inclusive are we to the guest?

As you go about your week serving Jesus ask Him to see the world through His eyes. What is different?  What do you learn? Do you see people more clearly?

This Week’s Challenge

Have a conversation this week with someone who has an opposing political view from you. Learn from their perspective.  How do you see the issue differently now?

Keep Looking at Jesus

Last post we talked about the importance of being changed by the Holy Spirit. In order to be a part of God’s Will we must be transformed from the inside out.

As we are being transformed so much of life can feel like it is in complete chaos. Anxiety may build up. In turn it is important to have a focal point that we can turn to in these moments. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, our focal point, the chaos becomes white noise and the anxiety is replaced with peace. 

Jesus stands with us through all the changes. When temptations arise to return to our old selves we look to Jesus to remind us where we are going. We are able to take that next step God has for us.

Any journey a person embarks on the final destination remains in the forefront. Decisions of what route to take are made based on where one is going. You remember where you are going as you are getting there. Destinations arise but fall to the wayside because we remain focused on Jesus. So we may see a roadside attraction and want to stop at it for a little while.  But when we get back on the road we remember our ultimate destination and focus on it exclusively. 

It is possible to become self-absorbed as we are being transformed from the inside out. We can stop and look back and be proud of how far we have come. A sense of “Look at me. Aren’t I great?” This temptation causes us to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we continue to pursue humility.  We are not detoured from becoming aligned with God’s Will. 

To avoid the distractions and temptations we keep looking to Jesus. As Peter kept his eyes on Jesus and walked on water so too we ‘glide’ while keeping our eyes on Him. Storms still arise but we do not need to worry. Jesus calms our fears as we ride out the storm together.

As we keep looking at Jesus we see how God is moving in the world. We see His Word going out and returning fruitful. We watch the Holy Spirit working through others to spread the Gospel. We get a glimpse of how God is using us as well to make disciples.

Here’s another way to visualize it.  A figure skater finds a focal point before going into a spin.  This is to help cut down on feeling dizzy coming out of the spin. As s/he rotates they turn their head quickly around to focus on the point. We keep Jesus as our focal point to cut out the noise of this world so we can continue to be transformed by Him.

It’s all part of the wonderful journey with God as we grow closer to Him. As we grow closer to God we become more a part of God’s Will in the world. 

This Week’s Challenge

This week decide on a phrase/sentence you will say to yourself to bring your eyes back to Jesus. Note how it helps you in those times of distractions.

But, We’ve Never Done It That Way Before….

The Joyous Adventure of Change

Change is hard. Change is fun. Change is necessary.

Change can indicate growth. Change shows the Holy Spirit working in us transforming our hearts to be in align with His Will. This change is an integral part of following God’s Will.

See for us to be aligned with God’s Will we must first change. It is not a change we can accomplish on our own. It is the Holy Spirit coming to us to work this change in us from the inside out. Our job is to be open to the change and daily surrender to God.

As God is working in the world we are invited into it. He does not need us but chooses to use us to accomplish His Will. We are forever changed by this invitation.

But let’s admit it, change is scary.

One does not always know where change will lead us. Changing requires leaving our comfort zone and actually trusting God. Isn’t it easier to say we trust God and stay warm and snuggly in our comfort zone?  We haven’t done it before so why try it now?

But if we stay right where we are how will we begin to see the breath-taking experiences God has to show us? How will we become more aligned with God’s Will if we remain the same?

Yes change is difficult … at times. Yes, change is scary … at times. And yes, change is breath-taking.

As Jesus’ followers we get to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. We get to see God change us from the inside out. We are invited on this adventure of all of eternity.

So, how is God changing you? What are areas you sense the nudging of the Holy Spirit to step out of your comfort zone to explore? Are there areas of life you don’t want to change but deep down you know you need to?

Be not afraid, fellow disciple. Take that first step out of your comfort zone and begin to see what God has planned.

Change is necessary so that we get to participate in God’s Will.  It is why we daily surrender to Him. As we are tempted to go back to how things used to be God reminds us why He is transforming us. It is for His glory, not our comfort.

Keep note of how God is changing you from the inside out. Seek in prayer why this change and what to do now as a result of it.

Enjoy the adventure, disciple. It is thrilling and scary at times but more importantly, it is awesome.

This Week’s Challenge
Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Do something today that you have not done before for the Lord. How was it?
AND
Journal how you are different now from who you were 10 years ago. How is God using you as a result of this change?

We are Included in God’s Will

The thing is whatever we do God’s Will is being done here on earth. Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet, teaches us that God’s Word does not return to Heaven empty (Isaiah 55:11). It does accomplish what God has willed it to do.

See, God accomplishes what He wills. He does not need us BUT He chooses to be a part of His plan. While we may be rebellious against God, He freely forgives us and graciously incorporates us to His plan.

Being a part of God’s plan is AWESOME! God has great plans to transform the world and us. It is beyond our own comprehension. The longer we journey with the Holy Spirit the more we begin to understand what God is doing.

We get to be included in God’s Will. As God is moving we come alongside and go for the ride. The Holy Spirit acts as our guide teaching us God is already doing.

It is an honor to to be included in God’s Will. It does not need to be scary though. As God invites us in He also gives us all the abilities and resources to accomplish what He has for us to do. He also gives us the courage to face any fears or attacks from the enemy.

Have courage fellow disciple of Jesus Christ. Be filled with joy as you anticipate the amazing things God will show you. Serve with gladness as God uses you to accomplish His Will in the world.

As you serve invite another to serve alongside you so s/he may see first-hand what God is doing. Pray that the Holy Spirit works in them so s/he may humbly surrender his/her whole self to God. Then with joy the two of you will see what God is doing.

We get to be included in God’s Will. This is reason enough to celebrate and give thanks to God for His unconditional love. 

This Week’s Challenge

In your prayers today thank God for including you in His plan. Share the joy you have with Him and what He shows you.

You are a Brand Ambassador for Jesus!

Brand Ambassadors are individuals who represent a company, showing the message embodying the core values. They are the human representation for the company.

They generally go out to meet people who have not heard of the brand introducing them to it. In the course of the interaction an invitation is given by the ambassador to the individual to “join” be a part of the community.

Sound a little familiar? Kinda like a missionary?

Well, you’re not wrong. Brand Ambassadors work similarly to missionaries. Both go to places that have not heard yet. Both embody the values of the community they represent. Each serve to invite people to join the community.

“But missionaries go to foreign countries. I can’t leave my life here.”

True some missionaries are led by God to serve in other countries. But each follower of Jesus is called to be a brand ambassador for Him.

For God’s Will to be done here on the earth. He chooses to use us, His disciples, to accomplish His Will. In order for us to do that we must recognize that all of our actions and words represent Him to the world. We are His brand ambassadors going out into the world inviting others into the Kingdom of Heaven.

What do we do as God’s ambassadors?

First we remember that we represent God where’ve we go, whomever we are with at the moment. We can recognize this in the safety of our home and still be scared to live it out in the world. When we are scared we pray for the Spirit to strengthen us to persevere.

Also we act as Jesus would act. We will not be perfect. We will make mistakes. But we do our best and keep showing love to others. We serve humbly not for our glory but to care for another. We do not let differences separate us but rather we use our difference to learn how God created us uniquely.

Brand Ambassadors for Jesus are resolved to get the Gospel out into the world. They know God’s Will is being done here on earth. They surrender themselves to the Creator God being faithful servants. They draw nearer to God as they are transformed by the Holy Spirit. They do not remain the same. They are new people with the help of the Holy Spirit.

As you go about your day to day ask God to show you how to represent Him in the world. Seek the message the He has for you to share. Once He tells go and do it. Be excited to share and invite others. Watch how the Holy Spirit uses you to expand God’s Will here on earth.

This Week’s Challenge

Write down the message you want people to know about Jesus. Then decide what you will do today to show that message with your life.

What Does the Daily Life of a Disciple Look Like?

In seeking God’s Will to be done we learn how to live the life of a disciple. In order to be a part of God’s movement in the world we must first know how to walk with God.

So what does the daily walk of a follower of Jesus look like anyway? Does one have to shave his/her head and move to the wilderness to live a solitary life?

No. You don’t need to become a monk/nun to follow Jesus. If God calls you to this life then I say openly embrace the incredible adventure God has planned for you.

For the rest of us, daily discipleship is learning from the Holy Spirit. We spend time hearing from God by reading the Bible. We talk with God in prayer sharing our deepest fears while listening to Him and all He has for us. We walk with God living our lives as Jesus lived His life.

How did Jesus lived His life?

He loved all people, believers and noon-believers. He invited everyone to their new life in God. He pointed back to God the Father to give Him all the glory.

Jesus lived His life so we had an example of how to be disciples in our own lives. We are to love everyone, those in the church and those not yet believers. We demonstrate what a new life in Jesus looks like by how we act at work, with friends, running errands, on our own.

In this daily walk we learn from the Holy Spirit God’s Will in this world. Our minds are transformed little by little each day. We are able to see more clearly because God teachers every day.

Being a disciple of Jesus is not something we do one day a week or only with a certain group of friends. It is who you are. It impacts every aspect of you, what you do.

Each day as you go about your day ask yourself how you are learning from the Holy Spirit? Are you humble to learn and grow? Do you listen to God or only speak at Him?

As you pray ask God to teach you that day a new lesson in being a disciple. How love another who is different from you. Or how to draw closer to Him. Walk each day with Jesus and learn from Him how to be disciple.

This Week’s Challenge

Read one of the Gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and note in your journal how Jesus lived His life.  What can you emulate in your life this week that Jesus did in His?