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Pastor's Point - November 2022

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Dear Church Family,

Over the sixteen years of my ministry here at Oakhill we have seen God do many things and there have been many necessary changes along the way. We have adjusted
our worship services, constitution, church polity, church schedule, budget, and ministry structure just to name a few. But one thing that has never changed and never will is that the focus of our Sunday worship gatherings is God’s Word being preached. I am so thankful for God’s Word. I love preaching it. It is the truth that changes our lives and directs us as we live for Jesus in our world.

A few Sundays ago, I was reminded once again of how impactful and rich God’s Word is. I love preaching through books of the bible for several reasons. 1. It encourages biblical literacy for the church. 2. It keeps pastors honest to have to deal with all the truths in scripture. Even the passages that are difficult to understand and those that are hard to hear. 3. It helps to protect against the pastor’s opinion as we seek to know what God’s Word says and not what the preacher thinks. There are many reasons I believe preaching through books of the bible are so helpful. But sometimes I find that if I try to preach through a sizable portion of scripture in one sermon, there are times when I have more truth to unpack than is possible in the allotted time. That happened a few Sundays ago.

The Apostle Paul had left Athens and had made his way to Corinth. These were two very hard ministry contexts to serve the Lord in. One was eaten up with human philosophies and the other was immersed on sexual immorality. Paul was having a challenging time in ministry and so the Lord comes to Paul in a vision to encourage him to remain faithful and fearless in the ministry as he lived for Jesus. And I believe the commands and promises with this vision were not just helpful for Paul, but they are helpful for us all as we make it our goal to live for Jesus as well. So let me just encourage you as you are “Living for Jesus” to remember these commands and promises from the Lord found in Acts 18:9-11.

  1. Do not be afraid.
  2. Stay on your mission.
  3. I am with you.
  4. You will not be harmed.
  5. Many more people need to hear the Gospel.

As we take these commands and promises to heart, I believe that they will help strengthen us to remain faithful and fearless. After Paul received this vision, he stayed in Corinth for another year and a half. In our lives we need to hear from the Lord and trust his Word. And as we do it encourages and inspires us to persevere in our faith and remain faithful and fearless as well. This is why it is so important that we make sure that each week as we gather to worship that we focus our worship on the proclamation and study of God’s Word. We need his truth if we are going to truly “live for Jesus” faithfully.  

I love you and I love being your pastor!

Posted by Alan Scott with

Spare Change - November 2022

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Living a Spirit-filled Life
Being a Spirit filled Christian is an important part of our faith. This is something we should strive for daily. This ideal seeks to shape us in the process of sanctification; however, we must not confuse being Spirit filled with being Spirit indwelled.  Every born-again Christian who has experienced the redemption found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ has been indwelled with the Holy Spirit. This is the same Spirit which was promised by Jesus to help us in all that we do as believers (John 14:16-17). The real question is if we recognize that He is in us and if we cooperate with Him. This is what being filled by the Spirit is all about. Paul explains this in Ephesians 5:18-21:

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making
melody to the Lord with your heart,
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 

The idea here is that we are repeatedly filled with the Holy Spirit.  Wayne Grudem describes it like this, “…it is appropriate to understand the filling with the Holy Spirit not as a one-time event but as an event that can occur over and over again in a Christian’s life. It may involve a momentary empowering for a specific ministry, but it may also refer to a long-term characteristic of a person’s life.” (Systematic Theology, 782). Christians are called to continually be Spirit filled and to renew that filling if we find ourselves off-track or backslidden. The big question is how do we become Spirit filled? Paul gives us a plan that results in a Spirit filled life:

  1. Empty Yourself of the World (5:1-17) - It is hard to fill a glass that is already full of something else. Paul uses
    Ephesians 5:1-17 to emphasize the fact that we need to rid our lives of worldly attitudes, thoughts, and actions. Take a moment to read this entire passage and think about what things need to be emptied out of your life.

    2. An Outward Attitude of Worship (5:19) - We should have a worshipful attitude toward everyone we meet. This is to be taken literally and figuratively. One sure fire way to engage with the Spirit is to sing songs of praise and worship to the Lord and talk about Him with other believers.

    3. An Inward Attitude of Worship (5:19) - Our inward attitude should match our outward actions. We can’t just sing songs of praise, we must internalize them and sing them to the Lord. Making a melody to the Lord with our heart is about having a close relationship with the Lord. That’s what an attitude of Spirit filled worship does for us.

    4.An Attitude of Thanksgiving (5:20) - It is amazing how much better you feel when you express an attitude of
    thanksgiving. There is something about gratitude that just makes us feel better. It helps us to draw close to God and
    relate better to those around us. Start by making a list of all that you are thankful for. You might find that you run out of paper before you run out of things to be thankful for.

    5.An Attitude of Submission (5:21) - Jesus is our authority. Every Christian should walk in submission to Him. However, if we say we submit to the Lordship of Christ but refuse to walk in humility, forgiveness, and love toward one another then we are not truly honoring Him. Mutual submission among believers is submission to the Lord. All our relationships should be marked by this type of living. This is what it means to live a Spirit filled life.
Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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