Spiritual formation...how do people grow? The church’s job is not to win the lost, it is to make disciples. Disciples reproduce.
A culture that is discipleship friendly understands that joy is not a superficial thing, it is not based on what is happening, in church joy is not a reaction to entertaining talks or sermon or “worship”, joy is relational, it is not a reaction to a performance, entertainment, it is relational.
When the church is making disciples, it is fulfilling its purpose. People are changed, the Body of Christ is healthy (built up), and the world is impacted by the church. Discipleship does not excite a leader whose eyes are fixed on growth. It’s a slower way to grow the church.
The Culture or Soil that Transforms includes four nutrients - ingredients, culture that makes growing things easy:
- Joy: the Face of Jesus that Transforms
- Hesed: Our Relational Glue
- Group Identity: What Kind of People are We?
- Healthy Correction: When the Group Stops Being Nice
Holy Spirit is the Great Psychiatrist - illuminates the word, reminds you of what Jesus told you, Paraclete/comforter/counselor, parents us (fathers/mothers), empowers us...
Left side and Right side of brain. When I walk into the room, your face tells me more than your mouth does. The left side of my brain understands what you say but the right side of my brain tells me EVERYTHING.
Half-brained Christianity may help you figure everything out but it will take full-brained (Spirit-filled) Christianity for you to be free...prisoners free, sight for the blind, oppressed free.
- You need to engage your hunger for Spirit and Truth not just Truth
- The anointing breaks the yoke
- You were created to long for truth and your heart burns when you are near it or hear it
- Holy Spirit will help you to KNOW the truth
You were created to know the Truth, truth is a person, Jesus, and you won’t be fully satisfied until you discover the Truth. When you hear truth speaking, bringing good news to the poor, freedom to prisoners, sight for the blind, and oppressed are set free, your heart will burn.
Holy Spirit reformation and Half-brained Christianity - the mystery of Spiritual formation.
31 Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “When you continue to embrace all that I teach, you prove that you are my true followers. 32 For if you embrace the truth, it will release true freedom into your lives.” 33 Surprised by this, they said, “But we’re the descendants of Abraham and we’re already free. We’ve never been in bondage to anyone. How could you say that we will be released into more freedom?” 34 “I speak eternal truth,” Jesus said. “When you sin you are not free. You’ve become a slave in bondage to your sin. 35 And slaves have no permanent standing in a family, like a son does, for a son is a part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free from sin, then become a true son and be unquestionably free! 37 Even though you are descendants of Abraham, you desire to kill me because the message I bring has not found a home in your hearts.
I know there is much fear in our culture today as we continue to deal with a pandemic, political unrest, media that is “state run” and hellbent on dividing people, racial tension, and a seismic shift in our western world. We’ve gone from being a Christian nation, to post-Christian, to anti-Christian culture. We’re not in Kansas anymore. All of this has given us concern, worry, anxiety, oppression, and anger.
How do we deal with this kind of stress and pressure? Let’s look at what happened to Jesus. The parallels are uncanny.
- A mob mentality
- An unfair trial
- A questionable election
- A cancel culture
- An innocent person suffers
What if us being the salt of the earth is not just the impact we have when others see the light in us but it is the prayers that we pray when “it looks like God’s side is losing?" What if God’s best work is done when the seed is buried? All hope is lost? The only hope we have is a miracle?
Guest speaker J. Michael Utterback on Palm Sunday 2021.
The Protestant Reformation, October 31, 1517. Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg, Germany. The Church was compromised, indulgences, priestly superiority, Scripture kept away from the common people. Martin Luther protested for change to come from within. Church was lifeless, it had become political with too much power.
At the time of the Reformation, everyone had accepted what was being taught, not taught. You pay for indulgences, saved by works, priest was right even if unscriptural, Latin mass...no options. Martin Luther protested and he took his life in his hands. Today, we stand at a similar crossroads. Because of unfamiliarity with Scripture, the masses accept whatever the spiritual leaders teach, the church has become lifeless, powerless. We have plenty of copies of Scripture but we’re ignorant.
We need another reformation. I believe we are in the beginning stages of a Holy Spirit Reformation. Today, I am protesting against a lifeless, compromised, apathetic church.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The
old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
First, “The old has passed away”, and secondly, “Behold, the new has come.” We are continuing to receive and walk in NEWNESS. This newness is a “new order” that has divine authority.
- You now hear from heaven.
- You now receive instruction from the Holy Spirit.
- You now have access to the throne of God.
- You now have supernatural power, gifts, and ability---through prayer.
Our relationship with Jesus was never meant to be one time experience that
becomes distant and outdated. There are endless possibilities of resurgence: new things, new miracles, new victories, new levels of grace, and new revelation.
We have to have an encounter with the Jesus Christ. Open your mind and heart to God’s miracles and possibilities.
Humility, modesty, sincere, reliable, simple, godly, CHRISTIAN.
Maybe for some, but you might be asking, what am I to do? Can I get my situation turned around? How do I leave a legacy for my children? Move from generational curses or consequences to generational blessings?
How can I become a salt of the earth person? Let’s define it first. It would be the kind of person who followed the teachings of Jesus that he offered in the Sermon on the Mount. He is saying, “I’m about to teach you some things that if you apply them to your life, you will impact the earth, your community.”
How am I to become a solid, mature Christian, salt of the earth?
- Understand the power of YOU
- Understand the power of Holy Spirit
What is a “salt of the earth” person? Well, we know from Matthew 5 it would be the kind of person who would heed the teachings of Jesus, a Christ-follower or a Christian. But, we have this cultural term too. The woke culture has threatened this and other terms - synonyms for “whiteness” like salt of the earth, patriot, conservative, Christian, etc. - this is so sad.
What defines a true “salt of the earth” person? Not race.
- Humility - not impressed with themselves, not insecure, humility is honesty.
- Modesty - no need to impress others, draw attention to themselves, not pretentious; I pray that you will go ahead now and embrace modesty as a lifestyle.
- Sincerity - their yes is yes and their no is no, not fake, we’ve seen so much fakeness in our world that when we see real, we run to it, people are craving the real, authentic right now even if it’s not “great”, sincerity is endearing.
- Reliability - you can trust their handshake, they’ll sign a contract but you don’t really have to get them to because their word is their bond, you can take it to the bank.
- Simplicity - they don’t have to go on cruises in the Mediterranean to be content or happy, they don’t need the newest whatever to feel important, they don’t have to have the corner office, sit at the head of the table, they know who they are.
I want to start a campaign to raise up a salt of the earth church...
- Real life-giving relationship with Jesus
- Study the Bible
- Engage with the Body of Christ