A little girl had just learned how to tie her shoes by herself for the first time. Her parents thought she would be thrilled, but instead, she started to cry. Her parents asked, "Why are you crying?" She said, "Because now I can tie my shoes all by myself." They said to her, "That's good that you can do that." And she quickly responded, "No that's bad. Because now I will have to tie my shoes all by myself for the rest of my life." The good news for Christians is that we don't have to do anything all by ourselves. We have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to lead us, help us, empower us, and enable us to live godly and powerful lives.
The good news for Christians is that we don't have to do anything all by ourselves.
In our March All Staff Meeting at Celebration, our Staff and I talked about how "Religious belief, behavior, and belonging are lower than they have ever been in American history," That's not good because Sociologists and Christian leaders know that beliefs determine people's behavior. In that March All-Staff Meeting, we also talked about 7 primary beliefs people need to have in order to really embrace Jesus and Christianity. We said that beliefs we must lead our people to embrace include:God Is All Powerful And He Really Cares About UsJesus Is The Only Son Of God And Savior Of The WorldThe Bible Is God's Word And Authority And Guide For Our Lives (which is an emphasis we're really making in our There's A "Script" For That sermon series
The fourth belief we must lead our people to embrace is that The Holy Spirit Lives In And Empowers Christ-Followers. As Christians we worship and serve one God - but our God manifests Himself as a triune being - He is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the person and presence of God who comes to live in our lives when we receive Jesus as our Savior. Sometimes we talk about Jesus being in our lives. But according to the Scriptures, Jesus is actually at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven, where He's praying for us continually (Hebrews 7:25). The Holy Spirit is the one who comes to help us live like God wants us to live and do all He wants us to do. The Bible teaches us that:Christians are Indwelled by God's Spirit at the moment of Salvation"Those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him (God) at all." (Romans 8:9)"Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?" (1 Corinthians 6:19)At the moment of salvation, real Christians are indwelled by God's Spirit and they are also: 1) Birthed by the Spirit into the Family of God (John 3:5), 2) Baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), 3) Guaranteed by the Spirit for the Purposes of God (2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:13, 4:30), and 4) Sealed by the Spirit for the Glory of God (Ephesians 1:14)Christians are Helped by God's Spirit as they seek His helpJesus - "When the Father sends the Advocate as My representative - that is, the Holy Spirit - He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you." (John 14:26)Christians are also Guided by God's Spirit as they listen to His voiceJesus - "When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13)Christians are Changed by God's Spirit as they respond to His conviction and direction in their lives"The Lord - who is the Spirit - makes us more and more like Him (Jesus) as we are changed into His glorious image." (2 Corinthians 3:18)Christians are Empowered by God's Spirit as they surrender control of their lives to Him.Jesus - "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere." (Acts 1:8)
The key to living a vibrant and victorious life is daily submitting
to the conviction, direction, and empowerment of God's Spirit in our lives. A young man said to his Pastor, "I accepted Jesus as my Savior several years ago, but I was never too excited about my relationship with the Lord. I found reading the Bible uninteresting, and my mind would wander, and I couldn't concentrate on the Word." He went on to say, "I never really knew what it was to worship the Lord fully, and my prayer life was erratic." The man also said, I rarely ever shared my faith with others because I was fearful that they would reject me if I did." He also said, "And because I was living life by my strength, I rarely had victory over fears, worries, insecurities, and temptations." Then the young man concluded, "But since I was filled with the Spirit a few months ago, my life has changed completely. I now have a great love for the things of God. I can't seem to get enough of the Word, prayer, and worship; and I now love to fellowship with other believers, and witness to those who aren't believers. I also now have victory over the struggles and strongholds of my life. What a great change has happened in my life since I was filled with the Holy Spirit." When we and the people around us submit fully to God's Spirit every day of our lives, we will have the testimony that young man had - the testimony of living a vibrant and victorious life.
In our current sermon and Life Group series, There's A Script For That, we're seeking to help people live vibrant and victorious lives. While we've learned that Americans are the most over-medicated people on the planet, we've learned that the Scriptures were helpful for people long before Prescriptions were available. And we've learned so far that combining the principles of Scripture with the power of the Holy Spirit helps people to overcome their struggles with Hopelessness, Anxiety, and Depression. Join us this Sunday either in-person or online as we learn from God's Word how There's A "Script" For Betrayal found in God's Word.
We still need to raise the money to pay for the recent renovations at our River Parishes and St Bernard Worship/facilities, as well as pay for the renovation costs of our Kenner and Westbank facilities that are ongoing, and we're raising those monies through our 52 CHALLENGE initiative. If you've not yet given generously or made a commitment to our 52 CHALLENGE initiative, I want you to do so this week. If you were with me two weeks ago on Sunday at Celebration River Parishes you would understand why all of our people at all of our Campuses need to give generously to our 52 CHALLENGE initiative. Doing so will bring lots of joy to people's lives, and lots of transformation to other people's lives, circumstances, and relationships in the months and years ahead. You can find out more about the 52 CHALLENGE initiative and how you can support it by going to www.celebrationchurch.org/the52/.
In March our Spanish speaking congregation we've had for years launched out with our endorsement and support to become a new Church, and we promptly started a new Iglesia Celebration congregation led by Pastor Jhorman Rivera. That new Spanish speaking congregation had 212 people attend Easter Weekend services with us. If you have Spanish speaking friends, encourage them to find out more about our Iglesia Celebration ministry by going to www.celebrationchurch.org,
or by contacting Pastor Jhorman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 504.338.8841. The Lord is doing great things for and through the Spanish speaking people of our region. Let's encourage our Spanish speaking friends to join us and experience what the Lord is doing.
Our Pastors and I look forward to seeing you this Sunday at Celebration Church.