Connecting Point – September 13, 2023

Hey Church Family,

We've had a great start to our CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE Spiritual Growth Emphasis. Our Worship Services this past Sunday were filled with excitement and the presence and power of the Lord. All of our CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE books were taken by Worship Service attendees (more have been ordered for this Sunday). Life Groups have flourished in the first part of the week, as people have really dived down into God's Word in their pursuit of becoming a "Spiritual Person" rather than a "Carnal Christian." A number of people have indicated to our Pastors and I about how much they're benefitting from viewing, listening to, or reading our CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE daily devotions.

In our CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE Worship services, Life Groups, and daily devotions we're learning some powerful principles and practices that will help us to deal with the difficulties and dysfunctions in our lives; and then make choices that will help us to overcome them. Be sure to join us in upcoming weeks as we learn about how "The Struggle Is Real" and how we can "Clean Up Our Act." Ask some friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors to come with you - because they, like you and me, need to experience some positive and powerful changes in their lives, circumstances, and relationships.

  WHAT TYPE OF CHRISTIAN DO YOU WANT TO BE?

One focus of this week's study is understanding that there are three kinds of people in the world - Natural Worldly People, Spiritual Christians, and Carnal Christians. Natural worldly people are those who don't have a real relationship with the Lord. They may be nice or not-so-nice. They may be good or not-so-good. They may be religious or irreligious. But they don't have any real relationship with the Lord. They live to "eat, drink, be merry, and prosper in life." And as Paul said in Ephesians 2:12, they are "Christ-less, Church-less, Promise-less, Godless, and Hopeless." And unless they turn to the Lord they will wind up missing heaven and spending eternity apart from the presence, peace, and promises of God.

A spiritual Christian is someone who knows the Lord and walks with the Lord. They are strengthened, guided, and empowered by God's Spirit on an ongoing basis. Regardless of their circumstances, they regularly demonstrate the fruit of God's Spirit - love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). But the truth is, probably less than 20% of all Christians are Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered, Spiritual Christians.

The vast majority of Christians are what the Apostle Paul calls "Carnal Christians" (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). Those Christians have the Holy Spirit in them, but they live on the "milk" of God's Word rather than the "meat" of God's Word. They live by their sinful desires and emotions, rather than being empowered and guided by God's Spirit. And they constantly find themselves in conflict with the Lord and other people.

The question is, which kind of person do you want to be - a Natural Worldly Person, a Carnal Christian, or a Spiritual Christian? All who want to be a Spiritual Christian will want to join us this week in our daily devotions and Life Groups and next Sunday in our worship services as we continue our CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE emphasis. I hope that you're one of the ones who want to be a Spiritual Christian for the rest of your life. By the way, if you missed our Worship services this past Sunday, you can catch the message HERE. And you can access our daily devotions at celebrationchurch.org/change/.

 Our God is a "people-loving,
prayer-answering, miracle-working God."

Several weeks ago when I was down in Florida helping my Mother and Others impacted by Hurricane Idalia, I was reminded that our God is a "people-loving, prayer-answering, miracle-working God." The hurricane came to the area where my family lives on Wednesday, so the next day Vicki and I caught a 5:30 a.m. flight to Tampa, rented a car, and drove to my Mother's house 2.5 hours away. We picked up a generator and portable air conditioner along the way, so my 86-year-old mother who is on a walker could have air conditioning in her home. After setting up the generator and air conditioner, I began to think that I would probably have to stay with my Mother until power was restored to her home. The last time she went through a similar ordeal, it took two weeks for her power to come back on.

I prayed about the situation, praying that power would be restored to my Mother's home. I felt like the Lord told me that I needed to get in touch with the Director of the Utility Company in that part of Florida. I actually drove to the Utility Company's office to see if I could talk with someone, but they had closed down the offices because so many had come there requesting help. The Deputy guarding the facility there happened to be a high school friend of mine, and he encouraged me to contact some people who could perhaps help me get in contact with the Director of the Utility Company. I began to text Pastors in the area, asking them if they knew the Utility Company Director. One Pastor responded and said that he did know him, and sent me his mobile phone number. I composed a text to send to the man but sent it instead to the Pastor. I said to him, "The Director doesn't know who I am since I've lived in New Orleans for the past 40 years. But he knows who you are. Would you please send this text on my behalf, and on behalf of my Mother?" The Pastor agreed to do so, and within 10 minutes the Director of the Utility Company had messaged him back, telling him that he would send out some employees to look into my Mother's situation that day. By the end of the day, my Mother had electricity in her home, and Vicki and I were able to begin to make plans to return to New Orleans.

All of that reminded me that the Lord cares about us and that He is willing and able to meet our needs if we will call out to Him and entrust Him with our burdens and concerns. If you have concerns and challenges in your life, lift them up to the Lord in prayer today. And as you do remember He's still in the "people-loving, prayer-answering, life-changing, need-meeting, business."

CLICK HERE TO GIVE TO DISASTER RELIEF

Thanks for praying for the people on the Big Bend Coast of Florida, whose lives, homes and businesses were devastated last week by Hurricane Idalia. The Big Bend Coast of Florida is where I'm from, and where many of my family members and friends still live (including my mother and several brothers).

As we typically do when disasters occur, Celebration is sending relief supplies (food, water, fuel, tools, tarps, etc.) to the devastated area. If you would like to donate those types of items, bring them to your Campus this week or on Sunday. You can also give financially. If you want to help those who are being impacted by this storm at www.celebrationchurch.org/disasterrelief. Thanks for always being a Church that cares about others.

Our Pastors and I look forward to seeing you and the friends and family members you bring with you this Sunday as we continue, CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE. I'm a sports fan, but I'm telling you that joining us this Sunday will be more encouraging and beneficial for you than going to or watching a football game. Make the choice this Sunday to move forward in your spiritual progress so you can live like the Lord wants you to live, do all He wants you to do, and become all that He wants you to be in the days ahead.

One upcoming event that you most certainly want to "save the date for" is our DIFFERENCE-MAKERS CONFERENCE that's scheduled for Saturday, October 7. On that date, we will be hosting the event at our Airline Drive Campus Celebration leaders, future leaders, and members from all of our New Orleans Region Conferences for a great morning of worship, encouragement, equipping, and empowerment.

Our special guests on that day will be Pastors Robert Barriger (from Peru), Steve Kern (from El Salvador), and Moses Odhiambo (from Kenya). Those great Christian leaders will be challenging us and training us to be great leaders in God's Kingdom. We will also have an interactive Missions Fair between two of the Conference sessions. Breakfast and snacks will be provided, as well as a great fellowship from our Celebration members. To register for the DIIFERENCE-MAKERS CONFERENCE on October 7, go to www.celebrationchurch.org. Don't miss this great day of teaching and training.
Remember, Jesus Changes Everything,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96
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