Growth in the Spirit

Growth in the Spirit

We should persistently pursue growth. Why? 

Ephesians 4:11-14 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 

Eph 4:11-12 AMP And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers. 12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church),


Established Again In The Truth

Established In the Truth

2 Peter 1:12 12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established {grounded and stabilized} in the present truth.

We must know and be settled {fixed} in God, Himself, and in the Word of God.

See what a fixed (set; established; grounded and stabilized) heart brings:

Psalms 112:1-10 1 Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments. 2His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. 3Wealth and riches will be in his house, and His righteousness endures forever.4Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.5 A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.6Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.7He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.8 His heart is established; he will not be afraid, Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.9 He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor. 10 The wicked will see it and be grieved; He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked shall perish.

God gave His Word to settle and establish you, to fix or set your heart.


Intergenerational Faith

God introduces Himself as the multigenerational God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – but men often ineffectively pass on their intimacy with God and the associated power. 

There was a generation that saw and experienced the move of God – Abraham. Then a generation that saw the move of God but didn’t experience it – Isaac.  Then a generation that neither saw nor experienced the move of God – Jacob.

Judges 2:7 So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.

Judges 2:10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.

The first generation knew the Lord of the work. The second generation knew the work of the Lord. The third generation knew neither the Lord of the work or the work of the Lord.

The Azusa Street revival was a hallmark for the Pentecostal church. Its greatest distinction was powerful encounters with God – manifest without restrictions. Converts found their purpose in knowing God in His power and in fellowship with Him.

They wanted God to be an active participant, not a mute observer.  They introduced the world to a real God but fell short in one crucial obligation- transitioning generations.

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren,

We must transfer our God-experience to the next generations. Consider Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the generational decline in relationship with God: 1900-1940; 1940-1980; and 1980-2020.


Celebrate Freedom in Christ

Celebrate Freedom In Christ

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 

What are these two laws? They are found in the physical man (body) and spiritual man (spirit) with the soul acting as servant to the leading law of the spirit.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

You are free to choose which law you live under.

Romans 8:5-14 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.


Be Filled With the Spirit . . . Speaking

Be Filled With The Spirit… Speaking

In the New Testament, God indwells His habitation.  The Holy Spirit who was with the OT disciples would be in the NT disciples.  Scripture consistently bears this out after Jesus was ascended: Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts shows the infilling.  The epistles teach the doctrine and command the activity:

Ephesians 5:17-19 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Continuous present tense indicates, “Be being filled.”  Notice it is “be filled with the Spirit, speaking.”  Let us look again, in this light, at the scriptures we already saw: Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


Taming The Tongue

Taming the Tongue

James 3:1–12 1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

James uses three different word pictures to describe the need for controlling the tongue – the bit, the rudder and animals being tamed. Each of these words in Greek gives an understanding of both restraint and direction.




The Sermon on the Mount in Mt. 5-7 follows 4:25 with “great crowds.”

Matthew 5:1-2 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them…

Jesus separated His disciples for a conference on why folks are blessed or not.  Halfway through Chapter 7, the masses return and Jesus goes back to teaching salvation.

Chapters 5 -7 are progressive: 5 – recognizing and isolating sin; 6 – doing good things with wrong motives; 7 – pride and judging others.

The progression is: Hearing the Word (intake) = knowledge but doing the Word (output) = wisdom

The beatitudes are also progressive, from taking in to doing outwardly:

Matthew 5:3-12 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

These are paradoxical statements on how the Kingdom of Heaven invades to turn the world upside down to make it right side up.




The Bible uses certain animals as metaphors to depict various kinds of people in the kingdom. Pastors and leaders of organizations need to discern at least three kinds to effectively lead. It is inevitable that every growing organization or church will attract all three of these kinds of people simultaneously. Following are some of the main characteristics of wolves, sheep, and horses.


Becoming A Reproductive Believer

Becoming A Christ-Centered, Reproductive Believer

A disciple is an obedient follower of Jesus Christ who is actively engaged in reproducing disciples by teaching obedience to everything Jesus commanded.  A disciple operates in self, family, congregation, neighborhood and every other sphere of influence given by God.

God gives each and every believer tools to make disciples. Here are ten for you to work on your sphere of influence in self, family, congregation, neighborhood, and beyond:

  1. Love.  It should be clear to every believer that love reigns supreme as a disciple-making tool. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.” 
  2. Prayer. We faithfully pray for the work of teaching obedience to our self, our family, our congregation, and our neighbor.  “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray.” 
  3. Truth.  We share biblical truth with our self, our family, our congregation, and our neighbor.  Jesus explained, “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
  4. Righteousness.  We identify the blatant and subtle sins in our lives and know that, while God loves us, He hates the sin barrier that blocks true communion between us. However, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Righteousness through confession and repentance increases our disciple-making effectiveness.  
  5. Faith.   “According to your faith it will be done,” Jesus promised.  Faith in the truth always calls for the work of putting its principles into practice.  
  6. Obedience.  “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.'”  To disciple our nation, we begin with teaching obedience in myself, my family, my congregation, and my neighborhood.  
  7. Wisdom.  The biblical definition of wisdom is knowing and doing what is right.  Knowledge by itself is a dusty, lifeless book on a mindless shelf.  Doing by itself is unfocused energy expended without direction or effective result.  The active expression of wisdom is knowing and doing what is right in the sight of God.  
  8. Work.  In prayer Jesus said to his heavenly Father.  “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4). The work Jesus had just completed was that of making 12 disciples.  Lovingly and patiently He had invested three years in the task of teaching His disciples to obey all His commandments.     
  9. Commitment.  I am only one, but I am one – I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  What I can do, I ought to do.  What I ought to do by the grace of God – I shall do!  
  10. Accountability.  “By their fruit you shall know them.”  (Mt. 7:20)  Our Heavenly Father is holding each believer accountable for making disciples of himself, family, congregation and neighborhood.  A disciple is an obedient follower of Jesus Christ who is actively engaged in making disciples by teaching obedience to everything Jesus commanded in self, family, congregation, neighborhood and beyond.


Parables an Overview pt.2 of 3

Parables – An Overview (Part 2 of 3)

We saw in Part 1 that the definition of parable is “to place beside; to cast alongside”. Vine’s: “signifies a placing of one thing beside another with a view to comparison”. It’s an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, a picture of life set in the mind for instant playback. The heavenly is revealed in the earthly, Divinity in humanity, the invisible in the visible, and the unknown in the known. 

And the purpose of the parables was: 1) to conceal from the hard of heart; 2) to reveal to disciples “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven”.  God will only reveal the secrets of His kingdom to humble and trusting persons who acknowledges the need for God and for his truth.

The parables will only enlighten us if we approach them with an open mind and heart, allowing them to challenge us. If we approach them with the conviction that we already know the answers, we, too, may look but not see, listen but not hear or understand. If we listen with faith and humility then each of us will understand what the Lord wants to speak to our hearts.

Jerome, an early church father and biblical scholar remarked: “The marrow of a parable is different from the promise of its surface, and like as gold is sought for in the earth, the kernel in a nut and the hidden fruit in the prickly covering of chestnuts, so in parables we must search more deeply after the divine meaning.”