Sunday Sermon 8.28.21
I feel many have been in a perpetual holding pattern for the past fifteen months. So many things have been placed on hold, deferred, declined, shied away from or just plain canceled. This has affected all areas of life, personal, professional and most seriously spiritual. Many have put off things that are now time to get going.
There is merit in addressing lost jobs, vacations, and the like, but I’d like to focus on lost spiritual ground, spiritual assignments and spiritual standings. What in that arena do you need to get going?
Can you visualize an ox goad?
That wooden tool, about 8 feet long, with an iron spike at one end. It was used by the herder to goad or spur the oxen as they carried the cart. When the ox was poked, it’s response was to sometimes kick against it in resistance. This of course was not only futile but also painful for the ox.
The dictionary tells us that a goad is:
” an agent or means of prodding or urging; a stimuls. Anything that acts to stir or incite.”
Cambridge dictionary says this:
” to make a person or animal react or do something by continuously annoying or upsetting them”
It is my strong, personal sense that we are being urged, prodded, poked and perhaps even annoyed or upset by the sharp end of the goad. We are being encouraged and stirred to do something, change course, and redirect. The prod and poke of the Spirit is urging us to get going.
Let me suggest to you the following acronym that came to me as I considered the goal of the goads.
The Goal of the G.O.A.D.S.
G – get us going (in the power of the Gospel): stirring us to act, move and speak in line with the gospel and it’s truth, light and power
O – optimize the oxen’s strength (our stength!) : the oxen has strength to carry a heavy load and yet it often chose to rest, sit, and stay put. The goad poked him to action and to utilize the strength that he has. We are that oxen oftimes.
A – assess the actual progress : weight bearing oxen had to advance and make progress each day, there was a job to be done and his progress was vital. No forward motion led to a poke or a prod to get them to gain ground an move forward. Progress was expected everyday!
D – direct away from danger, to deter certain actions: the goad often guided and directed that ox away from predators, or any other dangers in the road ahead. That nagging, sharp, annoying voice (goad) was protecting and redirecting
S – spur us on: as annoying or upsetting as the goad can be, it was only intended to spur the ox in the right direction, on the right path, pulling the load is was meant to with the strength it has been given.
I have trouble visualizing an ox kicking against that ox goad. How could its hoof and leg actually manage to hit that pointy, poking, prod? Really?? It’s kinda funny.
But isn’t that what we do? We kick back at those subtle pokes of the Spirit because we know that He is calling us to get moving and get with it. We are being encouraged to do something that what we are not comfortable with and our stubborn as an ox spirit oftimes resists.
But God said, to the soon to be Apostle Paul:
“It is hard for you to kick against the goads”Acts 26:14 NIV
“You are only hurting yourself when you resist your calling.”Acts 26:14 TPT
Dear reader, when we resist the pokings of the Holy Spirit goad, we are only hurting ourselves. We are resisting the very calling He has placed on our lives.
Remember, those promptings and pokings are intended to get us going with optimal strength on a path forward, actually making progress and guarded from danger. That goad is spurring us on and stirring us up.
Geesh, if we were walking fully submitted to the GOAD (voice of the Spirit), we could be doing the same as Shamgar, who is said to have killed 600 with an ox goad. Or perhaps even be as the wise one in Ecclestiates, of whom it is said their wise words were like ox goads.
All I know folks, is it is time for all believers in Jesus to get going! You cannot be doing now, the same things you were doing fifteen months ago! If nothing has changed in your spirit, then you have not responded to the goadding of the Spirit in your life. If you are stuck, it is time to yield to the goad and get going. If you are resisting that goad, you are only hurting yourself. There will be futility and pain.
The world needs you, and the time for ignition is short. The call of the Spirit is strong and is indeed urging you to get going. What are you waiting for?
The goal of the goads it to get us going.
Go with God,
Sunday Sermon 1.2.2021
Earlier this week I felt impressed to create and share this image –
It is a message that I cannot shake off or ignore. I believe it is a call for us all, for the new year.
Our life is like a sailboat.
It is designed to sail, to catch the wind and navigate the lakes and seas, and then return safely to dock. It is not designed to stay tied up dockside, sheltered from the wind.
Don’t get me wrong, we have spent many wonderful times at the harbor, in the slip entertaining, laughing, talking, playing, and sharing aboard our sailboat. In fact, we have spent more time dockside than sailing. But that is not what the boat is designed for. She was made to sail.
Such excitement overcomes me when I make preparations to actually go sailing. Gauges are checked, items secured, unnecessary items removed, motor started, sails checked, and untied, lines checked, etc.
Then, using the motor, we back out of the slip and head for the open ocean. Before leaving the harbor, we face into the wind to hoist the mainsail, and then continue out of the harbor. Once beyond the jetty, we cut the motor, unravel the jib and allow the wind to fill both sails. We are now sailing.
The wind is the power that drives the boat along. I steer the ship based on the direction of the wind, power of the wind, and our desired destination.
Without the wind, we go nowhere. Or facing the wrong direction in the wind, we also go nowhere. “Luffing” on a sailboat means your sails are not full and the wind is not being harnessed properly.
A friend of mine and I had been out for several hours and we had tacked to return back home. As anxious as we were to return, the wind was not cooperating. There was very little wind, and we were getting nowhere fast. To top it off, we would be loosing daylight soon. Although we were loving sailing, it was now time to use the motor; for without it, we wouldn’t make it back in daylight. (which is a rule of mine)
A sailboat, has a motor, but it’s primary power is from the wind. That is the way of it’s design. The sails are used for receiving the wind, embracing the wind and thereby powering the vessel. As the sails fill up the boat moves. The sails must fill in order for the boat to advance.
If the sails don’t fill, the boat is not fulfilling it’s purpose.
The mainsail and the jib (front sail) are intended to fill with the wind. In this picture, you can see, they are not even up, much less filling with wind.
Here’s the Sunday sermon part, my friends.
Jesus told his disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the gift that the Father had promised. He told them that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and that baptism would endue them with power. Acts 1:5,7
On the day of Pentecost, the power showed up in the form of a strong, blowing wind that filled the house where the 120 were sitting. All of them heard it and then saw dancing fire flames on one another’s heads. Acts 2:4 says that all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.
When we are born again, our spirit is regenerated, reborn, made alive. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus. We are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Our spirit is alive now, within us.
Our spirit is like the sails of our sailboat. The wind of the Holy Spirit comes to fill our sails and empower us. The power of the wind (Holy Spirit) fills us, drives us, empowers us and allows us to advance. Without the power of the wind (Holy Spirit) we get nowhere, our sails are “luffing”, we are floundering, without direction or power.
But as the Holy Spirit blows on us and fills us we are thereby empowered to heal sicknesses, diseases, and drive out evil spirits. That is what we have been commissioned to do. That is our purpose. That is our call and our destiny. That is what Jesus authorized us to do.
We have been called to cast off the bow lines, leave the safe harbor, and hoist our sails to catch the powerful winds of the Holy Spirit that are blowing.
It is time to allow your sails to be filled and experience the exuberance of sailing under the direction of the Holy Spirit, going where he leads and doing what he directs. Trusting him to use you where ever you are.
Your sailboat, your life is meant for sharing. Everything that you have gone through, experienced, struggled with, lost and gained victory over is meant to be shared with others. Your Christian life of peace, prayer, Word and worship is meant to be shared.
This horrendous pandemic with all of its ramifications has provided a ripe seedbed for hungry people, seeking truth, life and hope -all of which you have and have been commissioned to share.
I call forth 2021 to be a season of sailing under the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. A season of leaving the safety of the slip and venturing into the exuberance of a purpose filled life affecting others for the Kingdom of God.
That is what you, oh great sailboat were designed for!
Hoist up your sails and let the Holy Spirit fill you a fresh for an exciting 2021.
Go with God.
Pentecost was one of the major festivals celebrated by the Israelites in the days of the Old Testament. In it, 50 days after the Passover, they celebrated the harvest. It was referred to as The Festival of Weeks, celebrated four weeks and 1 day, after the feast of Passover.
Stay with me here. This is the secret to your power, as a thriving individual, seeking to please the Lord.
For years the Passover was celebrated and 50 days later Pentecost or Shavout was celebrated.
This Sunday then, 50 days after Passover is that Pentecost Sunday.
Don’t miss or reject this powerful truth of the word.
Jesus, before He was taken into heaven, told the disciples to go and wait in Jerusalem, until they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:5,8 So, that’s what they did. They went to Jerusalem, 120 of them, prayed and waited for this “baptism of the Holy Spirit.”. Not knowing what to expect, but expecting Jesus to fulfill His promise to them.
In Acts 2:1-4, it tells us the miraculous result,
” When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a violent wind came and filled the whole house they were in. They saw tongues of fire that sat upon each one. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues.”The Apostle Luke, Acts 2
When the Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts 2, it was the fulfillment of the centuries long Pentecost celebrations. He was demonstrating the true harvest celebration. Not just celebrating an agricultural harvest, but a harvest of people. For in Acts 2, we see that there were 3,000 people who were added to the church following that miraculous display. The disciples were empowered with fire and boldness, and 3,000 people were affected that morning and “added to the church.” Acts 2:41
On that Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on those 120, and they became his witnesses, and many were influenced and added to the Kingdom that very day.
That day empowered the disciples and was the beginning of the Christian church. They were transformed and from that day forward they entered their world charged with the power of the Holy Spirit and performing miracles. Read the book of Acts and see their powerful and miraculous witnesses.
Pentecost changed their world and revealed the heart of the Father – to have many added to His family, from every tribe and tongue.
The experience of that Pentecost lasted for years and rocked the known world.
And yet, 25 or so years after it, when Paul was in Ephesus preaching, he asked the Ephesians if they had received the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:2 Their response, “No, we’ve not even heard of the Holy Spirit.” Well, Paul settled that, he asked a few more questions and laid his hands on them and “they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:4-6
Here we are, at least 1,957 years after the book of Acts was written. Have you heard of the Holy Spirit? Are you aware of it’s power in your life? Do you know the Feast of Pentecost is about bringing in the Harvest?
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. Jesus promised Him to you as a helper, comforter, intercessor, one who would be by your side through everything that you face. He is your Comforter, leader and discerner of what is truth. John 14. Jesus told His disciples He was leaving, but He would give them/us another Comforter. The Holy Spirit was what He was talking about.
The Holy Spirit is always with you, will never leave you and will always equip you for what you face. He comes into you at rebirth and fills you at request. You can, by choice be Spirit filled, be Spirit led, guided, and granted spiritual understanding.
The Holy Spirit filled the disciples with boldness. Acts 3:6; Acts 4:8,31
With that boldness, they “turned the world upside-down.” Acts 17:6
Jesus promised that “greater works than I do, you shall do”. John 14:12
So what is it that’s stopping today’s believers from turning the world upside down, from moving in boldness and bringing in the harvest of people to the Kingdom?
Is it that they haven’t even heard of the Holy Spirit? Is it that they aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit? Is it that Pentecost hasn’t been born in them? Do they not care for the harvest?
Now is the season of harvest. Now is the season of hungry people being added to the Kingdom. Now is the season for believers to move beyond “the baptism of John and repentance” and move into the fullness of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:4; Matthew 3:6
It is time for believers to rise up, and begin to move in the power of the Holy Spirit. To move in signs and wonders, to move in miracles. To offer prayers of faith in needy situations. To rise up in the Holy Spirit and power and see this world turned upside down.
Why don’t we?
Pentecost is upon us, quite literally. Who will embrace it?
Cheers to you.