Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Want to Believe Part 1

We began discussing the spiritual gift of faith. Before we can get into understanding the supernatural gift that comes through the Holy Spirit, we need to understand a little bit about faith in general and what it is NOT.


According to Hebrews 11:1-3, faith is the connection between the unseen promises of God and the "seen" world we live in. But operating and living by faith is much more than just confessing the Word or "naming it an claiming it." To understand what faith is, we need to understand what it isn't. We all speak and create based on what we believe and have faith in, but we need to speak and create what is in the Word.  Many people think they are living by faith, but are actually living in foolishness of presumption.


Foolishness would be belief that you can obtain the promises using your own method or that following God’s principles is unimportant.  The example we looked at was of King Saul in I Samuel 13. He set out to do the right thing, but got impatient waiting for Samuel (the man of God)  to do what he promised. So he took things into his own hands and did what he thought was good to do. But it was NOT what he was supposed to do. When Samuel arrives he rebukes Saul and tells him that he has acted foolishly.


Presumption is receiving the Word of God but stepping out beyond the faith that is in you (faith in your faith).   Many times it happens because we think we have earned the promises — I've prayed and confessed and I give my tithes and serve at the church, so God will do ________. This is not faith in God, but faith in our own faith.  We forget that the breakdown is not in God not doing things but things hindering us from receiving what has already been done.  We do not earn the promises of God. They HAVE been given. What we do is live by the principles that produce the promised results.


The example we looked at was with the Israelites in Joshua 7. They had just defeated Jericho by following God's instructions. God had told them that all of the plunder from Jericho belonged to Him (they would get all of the plunder from all the future victories), but, unbeknownst to Joshua, someone had taken some of the plunder for himself. Then,

Joshua sent a force onto Ai and they were defeated. We can look at that defeat and think that God punished them for withholding something that belonged to Him. However, God did not tell them to go to Ai. Joshua, in his overconfidence from defeating Jericho so easily, went out beyond what God told Him to do.  God does not set us up for defeat to teach us a lesson. He didn't tell the Israelites to go to Ai, but they decided to go. After Joshua dealt with the "sin in his camp," God then told him to go to Ai. This time they routed Ai. In fact, God used the mistake they made the first time to their advantage to bring victory. God uses our mistakes to our advantage if we will allow Him to.  That does not mean that God meant for them to be defeated in order to be victorious later, but instead God used their defeat to bring victory when they operated in and followed God’s direction.


So, we don’t want to operate in foolishness or presumption. We want to operate in faith. We began looking at Abraham's faith. He finally obtained the promise when, at 99 years old (and after making mistakes), he came to the conclusion that it was impossible for him to obtain the promise on his own. It was then that he knew that only God could make it come to pass. It was in that same year that he finally had the child God promised — Isaac.  The more impossible the promise became, the greater faith Abraham had to believe God would do it.  Often we do the opposite and let our faith wane when it goes beyond our ability.  When we know we have to do something we can't do on our own, we know God has to do it.



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

Monday, November 26, 2012

How Did You Know That?--Unwrapping the Gifts of the Spirit Part 2

We are continuing our series on the understanding of the gifts of the Spirit — specifically word of Knowledge.   This involves having supernatural knowledge for ourselves or to impart to someone else.  In 1 Corinthians 12:1 Paul exhorts us to not be ignorant of the gifts. Ignorance can be a lack of knowledge and it can also be misunderstanding. Misunderstanding can cause us to shy away from the gifts or it can cause us to misuse the gifts. We don't want to have either type of ignorance.


 First we need to understand the meaning of “word of knowledge.”  Word (Logos in Greek) means a word uttered by a human voice, not just a written word or thought.  Knowledge in the Greek means knowledge of the thing.  When we add the gift of the Spirit to it, we come up with this definition “received from the Holy Spirit in you, enabling you to more effectively minister to the needs of people; to know or understand situations, circumstances, and strategies of the enemy; it enables you to know how and what to speak with a knowledge that can surprise, baffle or disarm, bringing answers, healing or understanding.”


Keys to Operating in Word of Knowledge:

  1. Have a desire to do so--God will not make you do things He wants you to do, but if you are a willing vessel, He will use you.
  2. Recognize His voice (which comes by knowing His Word)--If a “Word” does not line up with the Word, it is not God.
  3. Understand timing (not all words are for right now but some are).--Pray and find out when to share it.
  4. Desire to edify the body through this gift.  Our desire and motivation should always be to edify, exhort, and comfort and never to tear down, embarrass, or condemn.
  5. Be open to fine-tuning, teaching and correction from those over you in the Lord (the Spirit is perfect, but we're not!  Sometimes we’ll make a mistake—just apologize, ask for forgiveness, and move on). 

A note, with Word of Knowledge, you usually will not know what you are talking about.  It is not wisdom into something you know about, but only God and the person will know what it is about.  We also can’t imitate others.  We need to be ourselves.  We can learn from what others do, but we have to let God flow uniquely through us. 

A major factor in effectively flowing in any Spiritual gift is doing so through love. 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14 both deal with operating in these gift. But chapter 13 is all about love and how, without it, the power of the gifts is totally useless.  1 John 4 is another good reference.


Remember also that your role in delivering a word of Knowledge is simply that of a postman. You have nothing to do with the message, understanding it, adding to it or taking away from it. You simply deliver it. I find that in almost every case, the deliverer of the message knows nothing about its significance or its meaning. You are simply delivering a message.  We can confuse or delay or cause misunderstanding if we add or take away from God’s clear message.  The errors I have made in this gift has either been not doing it or not telling the complete message I am given.


Ways We Receive a Word of Knowledge (not the ONLY ways — just some ways):

  1. In your own prayer time (a person or situation comes to mind)
  2. You may get a sudden witness in your spirit
  3. You are shown something as you study the Word
  4. Seeing or hearing something moves you (Jesus was moved by compassion to see a need in people that was not naturally perceivable in Matthew 9:36)
  5. In a vision (sometimes a complete picture and sometimes simply a single word)

We must learn to discern when we are receiving a word of knowledge and when it is something else. If you could have perceived it on your own, then it probably is not. Not every random thought or dream is a vision or word of knowledge. They may be, but they may not be.  


What to do when you believe you've received a word of knowledge:

  1. PRAY – ask God if it is a Word from Him
  2. PRAY — If it is, ask Him what He wants you to do with it

                                - is it a simply prompt for me to pray?

                                - is it something to be shared with an individual?

                                - is it something to be shared with the congregation?


Finally, what should you do if someone shares a word of knowledge with you — to ensure it truly IS a word from God:

  1. PRAY – ask God if it is from Him.  Remember, God, like in the Word will confirm more than once (two or three witnesses often).
  2. Does it line up with His Word and His character? (should not be condemning or exposing sin – it should edify)
  3. Does it confirm something God has told or shown me or has been trying to tell me? Does it confirm a question I had?
  4. Could the individual have known what the significance of what they told me was (were they simply stating something based on what they see) or was it clearly God-revealed knowledge?

Always confirm any word by 2 or 3 witnesses (your own spirit being one). Most times the word is confirming something God has already shown you. Very rarely is it something totally out of left field. If it is, then be very diligent to pray and confirm before acting on that word.


There are many great examples of how God uses this gift to do amazing things (John 4:4-42, Acts 9:10-18, Acts 10:1-8, Acts 10:9-17)


Understand the gift and allow yourself to be used to be powerful. Remember, Jesus wasn't weird or fruity. He was powerful!



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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Wise Man Once Said---Unwrapping the Gifts of the Spirit Part 1

Last week, we began a series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts are powerful tools given to us to be able to do extraordinary things. Many believers shun them because they view them as something weird or fruity.  We want to tap into the power Jesus used and which is available to us.  Certainly we have seen good-intentioned believers do strange things with the gifts, but we should not fault the gift or the giver when the gift is used in a way that is foreign to us or which may seem to be a misuse of the gift. Our example for what the gifts are supposed to look like is Jesus. He wasn't weird or fruity. He was powerful. People wanted to be around Jesus because He was powerful.  The enemy has used the strangeness of some uses of the gifts to generally reject the gifts that can allow us to have the power to do the supernatural things He wants us to do.


We all are familiar with the story of King Solomon in 2 Chronicles 1. He has the opportunity to ask anything of God. He uses "wisdom" in knowing to ask for wisdom. He knew that leading God's people would require God's wisdom.  Of course, God tells him that since he did not ask for riches or fame, he would get them. It was not as a reward for making the right choice. It was because making wise choices would naturally produce those things. You see, we do not seek God's wisdom so we can be wealthy. We seek His wisdom so we can successfully run our races — the wealth and abundance is a by-product of wisdom.  Romans 11:33 says that if we operate by God’s wisdom, riches are often a by-product….but it is, again, not WHY we do it. 



We began this study looking at the first of these gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12; the gift of wisdom. I believe this one is listed first because all of the others should operate through it (much like love being listed first in the fruit of the Spirit).  Wisdom is a very broad topic, but like all gifts from God, they are designed to help us run our race. Godly wisdom is needed in order to do the things He has called us to do. Wisdom helps us know whether a use of the gifts of the Spirit is from God or not.  Is it giving glory to God and bringing people closer to Him?  Then the answer is yes. 


My definition of wisdom is “seeing life from God’s perspective.”  The Greek definition of wisdom in the passage in Corinthians is sophia, which means “broad, full of intelligence, knowledge of very diverse matters.”  It also means “devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men who are not disciples of Christ; skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth.”  If we have the Holy Spirit gift of wisdom, we will be very effective in sharing the truth of the  Gospel with others.  Colossians 4:4-5 says that we start with love and grace and season (not overwhelm) with salt.  We receive righteousness when we are saved, but we grow in wisdom over time.  Luke 2:40 and 52 says this about Jesus as well, and indicates that His stature (influence) grew as His wisdom grew.  Again here, grace and wisdom are tied together.  Perhaps wisdom is knowing when to apply grace and when to season with salt.  A lot of what the church does fails because it is full of the truth of God's Word, but lacks His wisdom in how we present it.




Finally, in Proverbs 4:7 we are told that we should gain all the wisdom we can, but in all that gaining, get understanding. What does that mean? God, by the Holy Spirit, will give you supernatural wisdom. When we get it and apply it we succeed. We also set ourselves for even greater future success when we then seek God for the understanding of that wisdom. 


Colossians 2 says God hides wisdom, not to keep it from us, but because it is VERY powerful and can lead people in weird directions if they are not already in Christ.  It also says God reveals it to us by His Spirit.  His wisdom goes beyond our understanding but, if we ask, He will help us understand so that what was to you powerful, supernatural wisdom before can become natural and you can press in for even greater, supernatural wisdom.  Wisdom is knowing what to do (do not confuse this with the word of knowledge, which we will explore later).

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