Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Blessing Part 5

The blessing part 5

Today we’re talking about the way that we begin operating in the blessing.  We will be studying 2 Peter 1:3-4.  His divine power has given us everything we need.  We have to remember that by God’s grace we don’t have to earn God’s favor by doing or not doing certain things.  What has He given us these things for?  For life (John 10:10) and Godliness (this is righteousness).  Remember, we receive these through faith, because they are from God and not from us.  Both of these things are also a gift from God.  How did we get these?  Through our knowledge of God.  We were called by God because of His glory and goodness.  It’s not about us but about Him.  We can either “feel” blessed or we can know we’re blessed (which means it doesn’t matter whether we feel blessed or not). 

What is the reason we get the promises?  So we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world.  What is corruption?  What if we “corrupted” apple pie by adding curry or chili powder?   We miss out on what God really wants for us by doing what “sounds” right instead of God’s best.  Corruption is subtly different from what God has for us.  There are four basic needs we have:  food, sleep, physical intimacy, and the presence of God.   All of these are good desires, but they can be corrupted.  The desire for food can be corrupted by becoming the center or by being a desire for the wrong kind of food.  We want to be as effective as we can be for Him.  God’s perfect plan is what we want to stay in.  His blessing gives us what we need to choose that over the way the world does it, which is corrupted.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Blessing part 4

 We have been talking about the purposes of the blessing.  One is fruitful multiplication.  Today we are talking about how the blessing is there to help us inherit the promises. Psalm 37:22 is referring to the Israelites and how they were blessed and empowered to inherit the land God has promised them.  When they left there were 3 million people.  The Bible says not ONE of them was sick, and that they left with the wealth of Egypt.  How does that work for us?  We’re not headed for a physical promised land.  In Luke 2, Jesus says the promises of God will change from physical to spiritual.  The promised land is our heart.  It is what produces all the good things in our hearts.  The promised land contained and produced everything the Israelites needed.  That is what Jesus does in our hearts now.

 Just like the promised land the Israelites went to, we find the promises of God are not easily obtained.  Sometimes God shows us the picture of the promise, but He doesn’t show us right away the things between here and the promise.  Don’t we appreciate things we had to fight to obtain more than those there without any struggle?  Why didn’t God tell the Israelites about the struggles they would have to go through to get the promised land?  Of course He knew about them, but they don’t matter because He has already won.  That is all that matters to Him.  Numbers 13 tells the account of the men sent to explore the land.  Note the parenthetical note about Joshua’s name change.  Note that Hoshea, his old name, meant salvation, Joshua meant “the Lord saves,” also the Hebrew root of Jesus.  Note Moses’ command to the Israelites. 

God told him to have people explore the land, but Moses says to determine what the people are like, whether the land is good or bad (is that really a question?), whether the land is fertile or poor (really?), whether there are trees...  This is a reminder to be careful and not live in a “wait and see attitude” about the promises.  Not only did he seemingly have doubts, but he potentially instilled these doubts into the community.  They brought back a single cluster of grapes that had to be carried by two men on a pole.  They mention fear of the people.  Caleb speaks up and says they can do it, but others spread a bad report about the land among the people.  Joshua and Caleb alone were allowed to enter because of their faith. 

Here are some key points about Joshua and Caleb (see why church series for more on this).  The tabernacle was the place where the holy of holies was.  The temple, which was a tent, was always set up east to west (entrance on the east and holy of holies in the west).  In Genesis, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil were on the west side and that the garden was sealed off on the east side.  When they travel into the promised land, they go from the east side of the Jordan to the west side.  The twelve tribes of Israel would camp around the tabernacle in a set pattern.  Joshua (same name as Jesus) was part of the tribe of Ephraim (which means fruitful).  They camped on the west end of the tabernacle.  Caleb was part of the tribe of Judah (Jesus is also a descendant of this tribe).  They camped on the east side of the tabernacle.  Caleb is the one who eventually leads them to defeat the giants in the land.  Caleb means to bark or shout like a dog, or attack.

We have giants, things in our heart, that we have to overcome in order to experience the blessing—anger, depression, wrong thoughts, misperceptions, lack of understanding of grace, etc.  Sometimes we make deals with our giants instead of letting God defeat them.  We have to remember we have already won.  Jesus already beat the giants for us.  If you’re having trouble defeating a giant, figure out the purpose on the other side of that and focus on that.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Easter 2012

We are talking about the end of the story today, being Easter.  We started with Ephesians 3 starting in verse 12.  God’s love for us is the key to this.  Ephesians 1:17 and on is our prayer for our church on a daily basis.  We can enter into the authority of Jesus and the power of Jesus through what Jesus has done.  Genesis 2:8 shows us the power Jesus restored.  Note that there is Eden and within it a garden.  The two trees were in the center, the tree of life (direct connection with God) and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (knowledge as in knowing in the Biblical sense, an intimate knowledge of good and evil).

The problem here was faith.  They had direct and constant access to and communion with God.  The enemy was able to convince Adam and Eve that they should not believe what God said.  In Genesis 3, the enemy deceives Eve.  Eve mentions not touching the fruit, and the enemy sees that she does not understand what God says.  This is the opportunity he takes to deceive them.  Instead of running to God when they make the mistake, they run and hide.  This illustrates the lost of the power of grace.  The decision they made resulted in a curse because they essentially chose law over grace.  Adam had to be banished because in our sinful and fallen state, living forever would be punishment. 

This is why in the temple, the Holy of Holies, containing the ark of the covenant (representing the presence of God) was unable to be accessed by man directly.  In the tabernacle, only the high priest, after an extensive cleansing process, could enter God’s presence.  The veil that separated this area from the rest of the temple was 6 inches thick.  This veil was torn from top to bottom when Jesus died.    Jesus said “It is finished.”  Man can now live in grace again.  Romans 8:1 illustrates what has occurred with us because of Jesus. Note that some translations in Genesis use the word condemned to describe why Adam hid in the garden.  Remember that grace gives us forgiveness of sin and teaches us to say no to ungodliness.  We are now free to live in the Spirit and not be condemned.  Hebrews 4:14 sums up this change.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit