Connecting Point – October 11, 2023

This week's news has been about Hamas' attack on Israel, which reminds us that we can always expect attacks from devilish people or the Devil himself. Hamas' attack against Israel caught everyone by surprise. Just one week ago President Biden's National Security Advisor said, "The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades. Then came Hamas' attack on Israel that, according to the Atlantic magazine, "could represent a paradigm-shifting moment as big as 9/11." And tragically, so far more than 1500 people have been killed in the conflict, with hundreds of others being captured and taken to Gaza as hostages.

So, how was the Hamas organization able to pull off such a successful surprise attack against a nation that is known as having the best intelligence and defense system in the world? There are many answers to that question. But the bottom line is that the attack followed two years of trickery that kept Hamas' military plans under wraps while convincing Israel that it wanted economic incentives for Gazan workers rather than conflict with Israel. All the while, Hamas' fighters were being trained and drilled, often in plain sight of Israel's most of the time watchful eyes.

What's happened in Israel reminds me of how the Devil is always trying to deceive God's people and always planning to launch his next attack against us. The Bible tells us that the Devil (sometimes called Lucifer or Satan) is the enemy of God and humankind, who is, according to Jesus, looking to "steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10). The Apostle Paul wrote, "Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). And the Apostle Peter wrote, "Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). So, how do we protect ourselves against and overcome the Devil's attack? I actually addressed that question this past Saturday in the Breakout Session that I led in our DIFFERENCE-MAKERS Conference.

In that Breakout Session titled, "How To Beat The Devil Out Of The Devil" I led a large group of people to look at Jesus' encounter with the Devil as He began His earthly ministry, a story that's found in Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-14. In that passage of Scripture we learned that Jesus overcame the Devil's temptations and attack because: 1) He was Led by God's Spirit (Luke 4:1), 2) He was Prepared for Spiritual Battle (Luke 4:1), and 3) He was Armed for Spiritual Attack (Luke 4:3-12). And at the end of Jesus' encounter with the Devil, the Devil left defeated and "Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit's power" (Luke 4:14). The good news is that since Jesus lives in us in the person of the Holy Spirit, we too can "beat the devil out of the Devil" on a daily basis when we are led by God's Spirit, prepared for Spiritual Battle, and armed for Spiritual attack. If you would like to listen to the message, "How To Beat The Devil Out Of The Devil," you can do so by clicking on this link. And if you would like to learn more about how to WIN THE BATTLE against Satan and the forces of evil, you can catch in-person or online Here a midweek series that I'm teaching (beginning October 11).

In this time when people are being attacked by the Devil and devilish people, we need to be prepared and empowered to overcome those attacks. We want to help you learn how to do that at Celebration Church, so you can live a vibrant and victorious life rather than a defeated, discouraged life.

By the way, we had a powerful DIFFERENCE-MAKERS Conference this past Saturday, as leaders and future leaders from our NOLA region Campuses came together for a morning of encouragement and training. The Lord really used our Worship times, General Sessions and Breakout sessions to equip and empower our people, and our Missions Fair to help people understand the opportunities we have for engagement in missions both locally and around the world.
 We're grateful for Pastor John Frady and the incredible Pastors, Staff, and Lay Leaders and Volunteers who worked with him in putting together such an incredible Conference.
We're also grateful for our Campus Pastors and Ministry Staff we have at Celebration Church, and want you to take the time to express your love and appreciation for them during the month of October (which has been deemed Pastor Appreciation Month). There are all kinds of ways that you can express your appreciation for your Pastors and Staff - writing them notes, sending them encouraging emails or texts, giving them gift cards, or even just being faithful in showing up to serve or participate in our worship services.
Romans 13:7 says that we are to "give honor to those who deserve to be honored." So find some way to show honor and appreciation to our Campus Pastor and/or Campus Staff during Pastor Appreciation Month.
In June of 2024 we will be hosting the LIVING PROOF Conference with world renowned speaker and teacher Beth Moore. Tickets will be $90 for that Friday/Saturday Conference, but they can be purchased October 12-15 for a discounted price of $70. If you would like to go ahead and acquire your tickets, you can do so by going clicking HERE.
Click here to purchase tickets
This Sunday we will continue our CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE Spiritual Growth emphasis with a message titled, GOTTA HAVE FAITH. Invite your friends and family members to come with you as we learn another principle that helps us to move toward living vibrant, victorious lives in the Kingdom of God.

Keep praying for Israel and for innocent Palestinians, Pray for a stoppage of the conflict, return of the hostages, comfort for those who have lost loved ones and homes, and recovery for those who have been injured. And keep praying for Celebration Church as we move forward to bring help, hope, and healing to our region and world.

Jesus changes everything!

Remember, Jesus Changes Everything,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96
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