Friday, September 28, 2012


Last week we studied the meaning of Scriptural kindness. Learning to operate in fruit of the Spirit kindness is a major factor in the success of spreading the Gospel. It doesn't take supernatural power to be kind to those "deserving" of kindness — those who are themselves kind. It is also the nature of most decent individuals to be kind to the downtrodden in life. We may not always excel in this area, but it is our natural desire.


We started in Colossians 3:5 and forward.  We are still being renewed and are always in the process.  This alone will help us to have more patience and kindness toward others.  Look on your own at Romans 12:2 (we are renewed by changing our way of thinking) and Hebrews 10:14 (we were already made perfect by the sacrifice but we are BEING made Holy).  It is important to note that God sees us the same, since He sees us all through Christ, and that we have to CLOTHE ourselves with patience and kindness…we don’t naturally have it.  Part of patience and kindness is forgiveness (remember God forgave us while we were yet sinners).  This means REALLY letting it go and letting God deal with the heart issue behind their sin (instead of waiting for God to “get even with them”).


God is concerned with the heart. He is not looking to punish our sins. He wants to help us overcome our sins. There are people who are "unredeemable" but God is the one who knows that — not you. We must find ways to look at people as God does — beyond the faults and into the heart. Most unkind people are acting that way because of heart issues that only God can fix.


In Luke 10 Jesus shares a parable about a man who had been robbed and beaten and left on the side of the road. A priest and a Levite (temple worker) walked right past him and did nothing. Contrary to what we expect, one who not only went and cared for the man, but also went above and beyond the call, was a Samaritan.  When Jesus chooses to make a Samaritan the hero of the story, He makes a profound point. The Samaritans were vehemently hated by the Jews based on a story that goes all the way back to the Old Testament in 2 Kings 17. They were seen as half-breeds and illegitimate children of God. In fact, Jesus had just had a run-in with them in the previous chapter — which makes His choice to use them in His parable all the more illustrative of Biblical kindness. Additionally in John 4, Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well.  Jesus used kindness by waiting for her to tell Him rather than calling her out on all the junk in her life.  This results in many people believing in Him.  She is also the first person Jesus told He was the Messiah.


In the end, we find that there is a deep need for the world to see kindness operating both within the church (because we can be so unkind to fellow believers simply because we have theological differences) and in the world. The sinners of the world (those who do not yet know Christ) need us to spend a little less time pointing out their sin (they already know what we think!) and more time showing kindness and extending grace.  This doesn’t mean we say sin is okay, but that we show the heart of Jesus about their sin.  God sees the reason behind the sin and wants to deal with that.


Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness — not overzealous Christians screaming "you're a sinner." Extend to others the same grace that God has extended to you. Let grace do its work. This is illustrated in Proverbs 3:3. We must bind both truth AND kindness around our necks. We seem to have no problem bringing the "truth" about sin, but we must also join it with kindness. We never want to approve of sin, but we do love people through it.  THEN we will have favor in the eyes of God and man.

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

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


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Are We There Yet?--Patience

Last week we studied the topic of patience. As one of the fruits of the Spirit, it is something we need to operate in to drive the enemies out of the Promised Land (which is our hearts).   We looked at the story of Abraham, since he is credited in Hebrews 6 as a man who, through faith and patience, obtained the promises.


Throughout Genesis, from the end of chapter 11 to chapter 21, we see the progress of a man from receiving a word from God to fully realizing the promise of that word. We found that God reaffirmed the word to him nine times in various different ways before it actually came to pass.  At various times, He followed God’s direction only partially and got delayed in realizing God’s promise while he continued to develop faith and patience.


God makes a Covenant with Abraham…He uses a method Abraham will understand.  He has Abraham use a list of animals that are never used anywhere else in scripture. Other people in Abraham’s day would use these animals when a covenant was made, and the people would walk a figure 8 around the halves (infinity sign) to show it would last forever.  A firepot with a torch goes between the pieces.


When God’s promise finally came to full fruition, it was because Abraham had truly connected in faith. Along the way he made MANY mistakes — some of them huge (disobedience, fear, lying, adultery, laughing at God—which results in their son being named Isaac which means laughter…).  He renames Abram and Sarai along the way to add the name of God to each of their names.  When we read Paul's words in Romans 4 we see this story of a many who, without wavering and without considering the impossibility of God's promise, obtained all that was promised. As we read what Paul said, we have to wonder if he had read the same story we read. In fact, he did. He read the story from God's point of view. In the end, God is not concerned with all the mistakes we make along the way. He focuses on the moment where we persevered and obtained the promise. 


What does this have to do with a lesson on patience? Well, Abraham obtained the promises through faith and patience. Certainly his own faith and patience were instrumental. But, what I see in his story is the power and the depth of God's patience with us. He did not move on to someone else to fulfill His will when Abraham blew it. As long as Abraham continued to get back up, it did not matter how many times he fell.  God is truly patient with us, just like God was with Abraham, allowing him to sometimes make the same mistake more than once.  Yet, God still fulfills His word to Abraham.


But then how does this relate to us displaying the fruit of patience? Remember that the fruit of the Spirit is just that — of the Spirit. YOU don't have that kind of patience with yourself, with others, or with the Word of God. However, if you are born again, HIS patience is inside of you waiting for you to give it permission to do its work in you.


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



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

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Give PEACE a chance


This week we talked about peace. It is among the "fruit of the Spirit" and something that has been given to us by God that we NEED in this life we live.


In John 14:27, Jesus tells us that, through the Holy Spirit, He would be leaving us HIS peace. He also says that He does not give like the world does — based on conditions of what is earned or deserved. The peace He gives us is a gift without condition. It is given by faith, through grace.


But what is peace? It is a lot more than a warm feeling. The Greek word for peace at is it used in the New Testament is eirene, which means security, safety, prosperity and felicity. It has the same meaning as the Old Testament, Hebrew word, shalom. The essence of the word shalom (health, wealth, peace, joy, highly favored) is "nothing missing and nothing broken."  This runs a lot deeper than an emotional good feeling. 


Romans 5:1 and following says we have peace with God because of what Jesus did.  We need to forgive ourselves because God forgave us.  We need to receive God’s grace in order to experience His forgiveness and the peace that comes with it.  We have access to peace because of Christ, not because of what we do or do not do. 


Psalm 119:165 tells us how we truly tap into this peace. It says that those who love the law will find great peace. Now, you are not earning peace by keeping the law. Firstly, it doesn't say that those who KEEP the law find this peace — but those who LOVE it. Loving the law means our heart’s desire is to follow God’s principles.  We are incapable of keeping all the law, but we can love it because of the fruit God’s principles can bring in our lives, and the ability we have from the Spirit to follow God’s principles despite our flesh. The more we know and understand about God's principles, the more we realize that they are designed to bring blessing to our lives. So, then our desire to obey Him is rooted in understanding His love for us and not religiousness.



When you learn to DESIRE to live by God's principles, you will make your own way prosperous. Obeying is not going to make God love you more, but it will cause you to experience more of the love He has for you.


Ephesians 6:14-16 talks about the armor of God.  The truth is the center.  Then the breastplate of Jesus’ righteousness is put on to cover our heart.  Our feet were fitted with the Gospel of peace.  Why does peace have to do with our feet?  Because the enemy is under our feet.   He is defeated because of  Jesus and the peace He gives us with God. 


Finally, like all of the fruit of the Spirit, you exercise it by making a choice to let it flow out of your heart (where it already is residing). Your flesh and your soul are not capable of having the "peace that goes beyond all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). Now peace can guard our hearts and minds through Christ (instead of us having to guard it like in the Old Testament).  Only the Spirit in you can bring that. It can allow you to have peace when it makes no sense that you would have peace.


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

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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog—JOY


This week we continued talking about how to defeat giants in the promised land using the fruit of the Spirit.  We should do our best to demonstrate these traits, but the real, authentic fruit can come only from the Spirit of God inside of us.  Last week we discussed love, the source of all the fruit of the Spirit. 


This week we talked about joy.  Joy is the fruit of the Spirit, though we neglect to tap into it because we mistake happiness for joy. We defined happiness as the flesh/soul counterfeit of joy.  It should be the fruit of joy.  Happiness is outside stimuli satisfying the soul, penetrating the heart and then cutting off the Spirit.  Seeking happiness will never go beyond gratifying he flesh. Therefore we tend to go to fleshly sources to gain happiness.


Ephesians 5:15 says that our days and time are a resource which if wasted are evil.  Ephesians 5:18 says that instead of getting drunk on wine (seeking joy from a fleshly  source), that we should seek the Spirit for that satisfaction and joy. Your eternity is connected to whether God knows you, but our life here on earth depends on whether we know God.   

Don't get me wrong, happiness is a good thing. But it is fleeting. When you tap into God's joy, you will find that happiness can be a common fruit. I'm not saying it always produces happiness, but it does produce true happiness. 

James 1:2-4 tells us that we should count it all joy when we find ourselves being tried and tested -- in other words, when junk happens. We find joy when we learn to look at things the way Jesus did... Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.

Thankfully, it is unlikely any of us will have to endure anything like Christ did, but the point is that He could do so because He could see the other side. He knew what it would produce. In James 1:4 it says that enduring will produce perseverance and leave us lacking nothing. This is because we truly learn to trust God.

Now, understand that God is not the one testing you. James 1:13-15 explains that to us. However, when junk comes in life (and it will), make your reaction to tap into His joy inside you. He knows that if you do that you will become stronger and more able to overcome anything the enemy brings your way.


This week, take the small opportunities before you to find joy.  Practice in small things so that when bigger things come up, joy will be your reaction. 

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

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