Fresh Start

Description

In this message, we learn that the Holy Spirit wants to have a relationship with us.

Hey, friends, happy New Year. I hope you and your family had a great New Year’s and Christmas. Me and my family did, Colleen and the kids, we got to go to Buffalo to go see my family. We got to be a part of the biggest snowstorm they have had there in years. So, you all had fake snow, I had real snow that is what I am trying to say, we had a great time for Christmas and it is a New Year, I love the New Year, new beginnings. If God’s mercies are new every day they are certainly new every year. And, I believe 2013, is going to be a great year because 2012, was an incredible year here at Valley Creek church, anybody want to agree with that, right.

2012, was an incredible year, God moved in this place in an incredible way, 1000s of people took next step, hundreds of people got baptized, we all move forward on our journey, we did our Missional Move, God did some incredible things and I want to start 2012, by just saying thank you. A great way to start a New Year is by being grateful for the year before.

And, so, I just want to say thank you to all of those of you who serve in ministry. We could not do this every weekend without you, thank you to all of those of you who give, we could not advance the kingdom of God without you, thank you to all of those of you who took next steps on your journey. Spiritual momentum happens when people take their next steps on their journey with Jesus. The momentum that is here at Valley Creek church is not because a bunch of leaders create a bunch of hype, it is because you all decide that you want to go on this journey with Jesus and so as you are moving forward with him, that is what creates the spiritual momentum, the spiritual life, I want to say thank you 2012, was incredible and I believe 2013, is going to be even better. I believe that God has incredible things in store for us, which means God has incredible things in store for you because whenever God blesses the community, he always blesses the individuals. And, so, I believe this is going to be a year of breakthrough. Isaiah 43:18 and 19, says Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing, now it springs up, can you not perceive it.

I believe this is a year of breakthrough that God wants to do some incredible new things in your life, so, it is time to forget the past. Okay. Yesterday is gone. Last week is gone. Last month is going. Last year is gone, it is time to forget the past to learn from our mistakes, thank God for His forgiveness and His grace and get excited and start looking for the new thing that God wants to do in your life. It is going to be a year of breakthrough if you believe it. Okay, I believe God can bring breakthrough in your marriage, breakthrough in patterns of sin in your life, breakthrough in finances, breakthrough in the new areas of anointing, new areas of assignments that He has for you, I believe it is going to be an incredible year of breakthrough. So, here is what we are going to do. We are going to start the year together with a 21-day prayer and fasting. Okay, 21 days of prayer and fasting together to start this year here at Valley Creek church, what we are going to do is, we are going to say, we are putting God first, we are going to make him the center, we are going to make him the focus of the beginning of this new year and we are going to spend 21 days together praying and fasting and to pray and fast is simply this.

It is to create space in your life for God to fill, that is all praying and fasting is. Creating space in your life for God to show up and fill you with good things, see our is a filler, he is not a forcer. Okay. He will never force things upon you, he would not force himself upon you, he would not force his blessings into your life, he would not force you to have a relationship with him. But when you create space in your life, God shows up and he fills it with some incredibly good things and so when we fast, all we are doing is giving something up to focus on God creating margin and space for God to show up and fill us. And, so, I want to invite you to go on this 21 days prayer and fasting, we will start it next weekend, and basically it is this, it is just giving something up. Maybe it is giving up lunch every day for 21 days, maybe it is giving up sweets, maybe it is giving up coffee, that will be a tough one, I know but some of you might that might be the one for you.

Maybe it is just choosing to eat fruits and vegetables for 21 days, maybe it is giving up an activity or a hobby or a TV show that you like to watch, I do not know, it is about creating space in our life getting rid of some of the junk and the clutter, focusing in, seeking God and watching as he shows up and fills the space that we create. And, when you fast you actually have to pray. Okay. Fasting without prayer that is just called dieting. I know that some of your New Year’s resolution that is great, that is not what we are talking about here we are talking about creating space and seeking God and believing that he is going to fill us with some good things. Let me read you our theme passage for this fast, it is Luke 11:9 through 13, it says, So, I say to you, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you for everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds and to him who knocks the door will be open.

Which of you fathers if your son asks him for a fish, will give him a snake instead, or if he asks you for an egg will give him a scorpion, if you then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him, here is what we are going to do. We are going to ask, we are going to seek, and we are going to knock, and we are going to believe that by putting God first at the beginning of this year, he is going to fill us with some incredible things and we are going to do that last part Verse 13, We are going to pray that the Father in heaven will give us the Holy Spirit. That is our theme verse for this whole fast, we are going to pray and ask that God would fill us with the Holy Spirit, that He would give us the Holy Spirit, that He would help us have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and by going on this 21 days together, it is going to unify us, we are going to take next steps, we are going to create room for God to move, and God is going to show up and do some incredibly big things. Okay. So, can I just ask you this.

Can you just try it. Can you just try it. It was a bunch of vision casting to get to this point, can you just try it. Okay. Just try it. Listen, intentionality is the key to breakthrough. If you want breakthrough in your life, you got to be intentional about it and listen to me. If you always do what you have always done and you will always get what you always got. If you always do, what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. Some of you are sick and tired of the results you have been getting in life that means it is time to do something different, it is time to put God first at the beginning of the year seek Him, His kingdom, and his righteousness and everything else will be added unto you. In other words, put God first and he will take care of the rest. Okay. That is going to be our vision for the beginning of 2013, and so, just try it. I know this is new for a lot of you, it is about giving something up, 15 minutes a day to focus in on God and believe he is going to fill you with some great things in your life. Okay. So, here is what I want you to do, will you take out your cell phone right now, if you got a cell phone I know it is church I am not supposed to say this I am giving you permission.

I know you do it when I do not give you permission, so, I am giving you permission so take advantage of it while I am doing that. Take out your cell phone and here is what I want to invite you to do on the screen you are going to see a number, and I want to encourage you to text 41411, and just those little words VCC fast and basically here is what is going to happen, for the 21 days every single day we will send you one little thought, one text that is a thought, that is a scripture, that is a verse, that is a thing of encouragement, I realize a lot of you have never done this before. And, so what this will do is this will encourage you, this will give you discipline, this will keep you going, this will give you the support and the preparation and the inspiration you need, once a day for the 21 days, we are going to send out one text that all of us who sign up for it will get and it is what it is going to do, it is going to unify so all focused on the same thing that you are encouraged and you know that hundreds and 1000s of other people are doing this fast the same time that you are, and we are going to believe God’s going to do some incredible things with it.

I am super excited about this, this texting thing, because I think it is going to unify us and when we get to that place of wanting to give up, it is going to inspire us to keep going. Okay. So, we are not going to know your number, we are not going to do anything after it, we are not going to sell it, we are not your information, all that kind of stuff, okay, 21 days. We will send you one text every single day to inspire you, to put God first at the beginning of the year, to create space for God to fill. Okay.

Are you with me. Does that work. Okay. Now put your phones away, who told you to take out your phone in church, now I am just kidding. If you got your Bible, starts with me to Acts chapter two, and John 14. Acts chapter two and John 14, if you did not have your phone write that text number down you can do it at any time during the week, it does not matter when, even if you are not going to fast, go ahead and sign up for it. What could it hurt to get 21 days of inspiration, about seeking God at the beginning of the year.

Acts chapter two, John 14, we are starting a new series today called chapter two, beginning a relationship with the Holy Spirit. And, for the next few weeks, what we are going to do is, we are going to unpack Acts chapter two, hence the title chapter two, and we are going to talk about what it mean to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. And, I got to be honest with you I am incredibly excited to do this series. I have been wanting to do this series for a really long time and so I am super excited about it and yet at the same time, if I am honest with you, I am very intimidated about going through the series, and here is why, because I am not sure how to describe the indescribable Spirit to you. I am not sure how to put into words, who the Holy Spirit is and how great He really is in our lives and so what I am going to believe is that the Holy Spirit is going to reveal Himself to us, as we go on this journey and we unpack the scriptures together and I am not sure what you believe about the Holy Spirit. Okay. I am not sure what you think about him, I am not sure how you view him, I am not sure how you have been taught or what experiences you may or may not have had with the Holy Spirit, but I would bet a lot of you sitting here tonight are a whole lot like me.

You see, I grew up in church going just about every single Sunday, but I never heard anything about the Holy Spirit. We were literally in church every single Sunday, but nobody ever taught me about the Holy Spirit. The preacher he never used the word Holy Spirit, he did not do a sermon on the Holy Spirit, let alone a whole series on the Holy Spirit. The only time I heard the word Holy Spirit was when somebody was getting baptized right, baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be like who is that last guy, do not worry about it, as long as you got the first two were good right. I mean that that was about it, we did not hear about the Holy Spirit, we were told to stay away from the people down the road, those are the Holy Spirit people, right. Do not talk to them, stay away from them, they are the weird ones, they are the Holy Spirit people leave them alone and then every once in a while some old person in the church would use the term Holy Ghost. And, I always think what in the world does that mean, I do not care how holy he is I want nothing to do with the ghost. Okay.

I mean that is creepy in church, Holy Ghost and so I was afraid of the Holy Spirit. I did not know anything about Him, I did not know what he was supposed to do, I had never been taught about the Holy Spirit. And, then I moved to Colorado to go to seminary. And, when I got to Colorado, I walked into this church for the first time, and I walked in and I remember it was something like I would never experience before. I walked into church, and everybody there was full of joy. Can you imagine people happy in church, right, that does not happen, does it. At least it had not happened in my experience and these people were joyful, they were excited, they wanted to be there, they were passionate, they were excited to worship, they were excited to get into the presence of God and miracles were happening only God stories were moving in their life. They were full of faith, they were full of grace, they were excited, and it was so refreshing because I have never experienced church like that before. And, they talked about the Holy Spirit a lot. And, it was the first time in my life I saw what a chapter two church can look like, it is the first time I saw what a chapter two life looks like.

And I remember thinking, I do not know what that is, but boy I want to be a part of it, because that looks incredibly refreshing. And, so, what is a chapter two life or a chapter two church, well look with me. Acts chapter two starting in Verse 42, you have probably heard these verses before, talking about the first church. It says they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer, everyone was filled with awe and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common, selling their possessions and goods. They gave to anyone is he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people and the Lord added to their number daily, those who were being saved.

That is a chapter to church and that is a chapter to life. Does anybody want to experience that in their life. I mean listen to what that says, they met together because they wanted to be there, and they were passionate and they worship God and God moved in their presence and miracles were done and they gave to each other and they were in community together, they did live with one another everyday people were getting saved, I mean that is chapter two church, that is a chapter to life. It is a life in a church marked by passion, power in the presence of God. Read through the book of Acts, these guys are incredible, they are so passionate for Jesus they will do anything. They have the power of God all over them, miracles flow out of their lives, the presence of God is the centerpiece of everything they do. That is a chapter to church and what I love about that description is it is not only a description of the first church, it is actually a prescription of what church is supposed to be like. And, not only describes what that first church in Jerusalem look like, it is actually Jesus’s vision for what the church should be like, and so if it is a prescription of the church, let me ask you this question, why does that seems so inconsistent for most of our lives.

Why does it seem like so many of us live these defeated, depressed, discouraged, powerless lives. Well how did they become a chapter to church with chapter two, jump back to the beginning of the chapter. Acts chapter two, starting in verse one. Jesus has just been resurrected, he has gone up to heaven, the disciples are waiting in the upper room for him and look at these first four verses. It says when the day of Pentecost came they were all together in one place. Suddenly, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. You see in the beginning of Acts chapter two, it is the first time the spirit is released.

It is the beginning of the disciples relationship with the Holy Spirit. Acts chapter two, is a fresh start. It is a new beginning. The Holy Spirit has been released and it is now the Spirit who enables and empowers them to live a chapter two life, a life full of passion and power in the presence of God, and without the Holy Spirit, there is no way they can live the kind of life that Jesus has called them to live. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us for chapter two living. And, so what I want us to do for these next couple weeks is just ask the question, who is the Holy Spirit. I think we are really comfortable with the Father, we understand who Jesus is, but who is the Holy Spirit. He is the one we just do not know. If I asked you to turn to your neighbor and just describe in five words or less who the Holy Spirit is, most of us would not really know what to say. I think we think the father, He is the mean one right, He is got the lightning bolt waiting to bring justice. Jesus he is the passive one, trying to pacify the father’s anger, and the Holy Spirit he is the creepy one, He is that bird that comes down and descends upon you, from time to time.

That is, I think our extent of how we view, who God is. But what would it be like if we had a fresh start with the Holy Spirit. What would it be like if tonight if I just asked you and said for the next few weeks, could you just lay down all the religious baggage, all of the things you have been taught about the Holy Spirit, all of your ideas your preconceived notions all the things that we have built up in our mind about who the Holy Spirit is or what other people have told you the Holy Spirit is like my childhood growing up. What if we just laid all of that down and for the next few weeks just read the Bible, and said let us discover who the Holy Spirit is. What if we were like the disciples that are sitting the Acts chapter two, and the Holy Spirit showed up and it was the first time we understood what relationship with him was like, okay. That is all I want to do. Next couple weeks I want to literally set the table for you, so, you can have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. So, a couple of thoughts for you tonight about who the Holy Spirit is.

First thing is this. The Holy Spirit is a gift. Okay. The Holy Spirit is a gift, I do not know if you have ever thought about him this way or not, but let me read you Acts 1, 4, and 5. On one occasion while he Jesus was eating with them. He gave them this command. Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my father promised, which you have heard me speak about for John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I think a lot of times we think that Jesus his last words to the disciples were go, right, the Great Commission in Matthew 28, go and make disciples of all nations, but that was not Jesus’s last words his last words were wait. He said, I want you to go but I need you to first wait because I need to give you a gift. I need to give you the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself says, But wait for the gift my father promised for in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself says, The Holy Spirit is a gift that he wants to give to us.

And, how many of you know that when God gives us gifts, they are always good, right. They are always good. Okay. This is not like that ugly Christmas sweater your grandma gave you. This is not like that fruitcake you do not want to eat, this is not like that loud toy with sirens whistles and bells that somebody gave to your kid, right, that keeps you awake at night somebody gave us one of those this Christmas. This is not that kind of gift, this is a good gift that Jesus was excited to give. In John 16:7, He says to the disciples, but I will tell you the truth, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away the councilor, the Holy Spirit will not come to you but if I go, I will send them to you. Jesus looks at the disciples, he says guys get excited that I am leaving. He says in fact I am excited that I am going to the cross because if I go through the cross, I can give you the gift that I long to give you. I can send you the incredible Holy Spirit and every gift Jesus gives us is always amazing.

You see, up until Acts chapter two, the Holy Spirit never remained. Okay. Up until Acts chapter two, the Holy Spirit he never remained, he would descend and he would come down and he would empower somebody for an assignment, like Moses or one of the prophets, he would empower them for an assignment to accomplish something, but then he would return and he would go back to heaven, but it is in Acts chapter two, where the Spirit descends for the first time and now remains, he becomes a gift that can never be taken away, and for 1000s of years the people of God longed for this gift and it now belongs to you and me. A few years ago, I wanted to give somebody in my life, a gift. Okay. And, so, I spent a lot of time studying and researching and trying to find the perfect gift. I went on the website and I went to stores and I looked all over the place to find the perfect gift and I finally found the thing I thought this is it like, this is the perfect gift, and I was excited and I ordered it and got it and then I got the gift and then I customized it. Okay.

I put a bunch of customization and personalization for this person, I mean I spent loads of time on this gift. I was super excited so I wanted to wrap it up all nice but you cannot imagine me wrapping anything, so, I got my sisters to help me I worked out much better. And, they wrapped it and put the bows in the cards, and all the little stuff to make it look incredible and I was so excited to give this person that gift. I was nervous because I was waiting to see this incredible look on their face, but there was a little bit of nervousness in me and I remember the day that I gave it to them. I walked in the house and they were in the living room and I walked over and gave it to them and they opened up the gift and I am sitting there waiting for them to be like so thrilled with this thing right and they look at me and they open it up and they just say, oh, thanks, and they throw it on the couch and get up and walk out of the room. Okay. Yeah, come on give me some compassion. Thank you, that is much better. Man, I remember feeling devastated. I was like so hurt because I had gone through so much trouble to get this gift and to do all the work that I did, I felt terrible when it was done is that ever happened to you, did you ever give somebody something they totally reject it.

Do you realize that is what we do to Jesus, when we do not receive the Holy Spirit. Then when we are unwilling to receive the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are rejecting the gift that Jesus could not wait to give us. The gift that he went through all of that trouble to give us, the trouble called the cross, he had to go through the cross to give us the Holy Spirit and when we reject the Spirit, we are doing that to Jesus, we are hurting him and saying, we do not really care about this gift that you have given us, that you are so excited to give us. And, so we have got to choose to receive the Holy Spirit to be grateful for the Holy Spirit, and use the Holy Spirit. Okay. Holy Spirit is not a trinket that is meant to be put on the shelf and never to be used. It is meant to be used. Luke 11:13 our theme verse for the fast again.

If you then though you are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who asked him. The Holy Spirit is a good gift. And, what I love about the Holy Spirit is he is the gift that keeps on giving. Okay. It is like the infomercial, but wait, there is more. Okay. Wright these couple things down, here is just some things that the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. The Bible says the Holy Spirit is your counselor, that he will be with you and give you wisdom, whenever you need it. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit gives you spiritual gifts, that he literally empowers you for the work of ministry Acts 1:8, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, He gives you spiritual power for the work of ministry. The Holy Spirit gives you character. Galatians chapter five, the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. You cannot have those without the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who literally gives us good character in our lives, the Holy Spirit fills us with love.

Romans 5:5, God poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. It is the Spirit who fills us with love, and it is the Holy Spirit who becomes God’s voice in our life. It is the Holy Spirit who speaks to us, so, we might know God’s voice and his will and where he wants us to go and what he wants us to do. The Holy Spirit is an incredible gift that needs to be treasured and cherished. Okay. So, the first thing is the Holy Spirit is a gift. Second thing is this, the Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit is God. Flip over with me to John chapter 14, John chapter 14, and as you turn there. Let me say this, I think most of us think the Holy Spirit is secondary to Jesus, that somehow we think the Holy Spirit, is not it or a thing that is a second class citizen to Jesus, but that is not what the Bible says. John chapter 14 starting in verse 16, And, I will ask the Father, this is Jesus speaking, and He will give you another counselor to be with you forever.

There it is again, it is a gift that will be with you forever. The Holy Spirit is a gift that can never be taken away. God’s gifts and callings Roman says are irrevocable they can never be ripped out of your life, so, once he gives you the Holy Spirit, it cannot be taken away, to be with you forever The Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. Jesus looks at the disciples and He says guys I am going to give you another counselor, talking about the Holy Spirit. Okay. Stay with me, in the original Greek those words are “Allos Parakletos” another counselor, it is Allos Parakletos, the word Parakletos for counselor, it means counselor, comforter, advocate, helper, one who comes alongside to help you, that is what Parakletos is. So, when Jesus says I will give you another counselor, he said I am going to give you someone else to come alongside and help you.

The word Allos for another, it means another of the same kind. Okay. Another of the same kind, there is a Greek word that means another of a different kind, that is not the word Jesus chooses, He chooses Allos which means another of the same kind which means, Jesus is saying to the disciples guys, I am going to give you the Holy Spirit, I am going to give you the counselor, and he is just like me. He is another of the same kind in fact the Holy Spirit will come and he will do exactly what I would do if I was going to stay here with you, I am divine, I am God, and I am going to send you another one just like me and his name is God The Holy Spirit. Jesus puts the Holy Spirit on the same footing, the same ground as him. He acknowledges the Holy Spirit as God. We know that in the Trinity right, we would joke about that God the Father, God the Son, and that other guy, right.

And, that is really what we think, we do not think God, the Holy Spirit, but you will see it all over scripture. Jesus gets baptized, all three, Jesus goes into the water, Father speaks from heaven, Spirit descends upon him in power. The Great Commission Matthew 28, Jesus says go and make disciples baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You see it all over the text, that they are all three together. The Holy Spirit is God and just to prove it to you in case you still do not believe me, Acts 5, 3, 4, it says, then Peter said Ananias how is it that Satan has so filled your heart, that you have lied to the Holy Spirit. What made you think of doing such a thing. You have not lied to men, but to God. He says, why have you lied to the Holy Spirit, you have lied to God, the Holy Spirit is God. And, if you want to know what the Holy Spirit is like, all you have to do is look at Jesus. Colossians 1:15 says Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Okay.

That means if you want to know what God is like look at Jesus, I have taught you that verse a bunch of times, and whenever I do I always say if you want to know what the Father is like look at Jesus because he will tell you exactly what the Father is like. This week as I was studying I had this revelation that if the Holy Spirit is God, then Jesus is the image of the invisible Spirit. But, if I want to know what the Spirit is like, all I need to do is look at Jesus because he is the image of God and the Holy Spirit is God. So, if Jesus is compassionate, the Holy Spirit is compassionate. If Jesus was merciful, Holy Spirit is merciful. If Jesus was loving, the Holy Spirit is loving. He has the image of the invisible spirit. When I was in seminary I told you, I went to go to seminary and got connected in this church and so I am trying to figure out who the Holy Spirit is okay. And, I am watching in church, this church that I am a part of and it is awesome because it, man, Valley Creek were becoming such this incredible church and these people are so full of joy in life and all this stuff, but I was still having such a hard time understanding who the Holy Spirit was.
And, one day I met with one of my professors and asked them a bunch of questions about the Holy Spirit and He knew what church I was going to in town and he basically looked at me and he said John, he said that church focuses too much on the Holy Spirit. So, they spent too much time seeking the Holy Spirit, in fact, you do not even really need the Holy Spirit, so you need to be careful hanging out in that church. And, I remember walking away feeling totally confused like, man, I do not understand but I trust and respect him, he is a seminary professor, but in my mind I could not get it right and so I studied the scriptures and wrestled and wrestled through the text, and when I came to the revelation that the Holy Spirit is God, I thought about that conversation and listen to what he really said to me, he said John that church focuses too much on the Holy Spirit. In other words, he said John that church focuses too much on God. He says, you do not even really need the Holy Spirit, you do not really need God.

You see to ignore the Spirit is to ignore God, to reject the Spirit is to reject God because the Holy Spirit is God. And, here is the great part about the Holy Spirit, okay, he is not weird. Okay. He is not weird. And, for some reason he gets a bad rap because of weird people. Okay. Weird people are weird with or without the Holy Spirit Can I get an Amen. Some of you are married to one, okay. Weird people are weird, with or without the Holy Spirit and they do something weird and say it was the spirit. Listen, do not blame your weirdness on the Holy Spirit, He is not weird, you are the weird one. Okay. I am just saying, The Holy Spirit is not weird, people are weird and we cannot allow people’s behavior to determine our view of the Holy Spirit. And, here is why, I know the Holy Spirit is not weird because Jesus was not weird. And, if the Holy Spirit is Allos Parakletos another of the same kind, then he cannot be weird either. And, Jesus walked around this earth full of the Holy Spirit and the Gospels do not make Jesus out to be a weird dude, do they.

Oh, they make him to be somebody who had faith and moved with power and was full of love and character. That is the Holy Spirit. He is not weird, he is God. Okay. And, the last thing is this, the Holy Spirit wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to have a relationship with you. The Holy Spirit is not an “it or a thing,” look at verses 16 and 17 again. And, I will ask the Father and He will give you another counselor to be with you forever The Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know him for he lives with you, and we will be in you. Jesus never refers to the Holy Spirit is not it or anything. He always refers to him as a He, as a Him. Why, because the Holy Spirit is God and he has a personality, which means he has a mind. He has a will, he has emotions, which means you can relate to him, you can have conversation with him, you can communicate him, you can have a relationship with a person, you cannot have a relationship with a thing.

You cannot have a relationship with an “it”, you can control it or a thing but you cannot have a relationship with it. And, so Jesus says, but you know him for he lives with you and will be in you. He says the Holy Spirit wants to come and be your best friend. And, think about the kind of friend the Holy Spirit is. He can never hurt you. He can never sin. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He would not hold on to bitterness. He will always forgive you, sounds like a pretty good friend. Second Corinthians 13 and 14 says, the amazing grace of the Master Jesus Christ. The extravagant love of God and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Holy Spirit wants to be your best friend. Let me ask you for a second. Think about the best friend you ever had. Best friend you ever had, think about them in your mind.

Maybe it was a childhood friend. Maybe it was somebody from high school or college. Maybe it is your spouse right now I do not know, just think of the best friend that you ever had. To have that kind of relationship with that person, I bet you took these three things. It took desire, effort, and communication, right. To have a best friend, it takes desire, you have to want to have that relationship. It takes effort you have to prioritize it and go out of your way to pursue this relationship and it takes communication. You have to constantly communicate talk and listen back and forth to be best friends. Well, the Holy Spirit wants to be your best friend. And, if you are going to receive Him as your friend, it takes desire, effort, and communication. He wants to come and be your counselor and give you counsel when you need wisdom. He wants to come and give you patience, when you are about to snap at your spouse or your kids. He wants to give you power for that ministry that God wants to do through your life. He wants to give you, encouragement when your heart is broken and you are down, and you are defeated.

He wants to be your best friend. It is a really simple question I just want to ask you tonight is, do you have an active relationship with the Holy Spirit. He is pursuing you, do you have an active relationship with Him. And, notice I use the word active, because I think a lot of us if we are in church for any period of time, this is what we will say sure John I have received the Holy Spirit, but now I have pushed them over here to the side, and I am just kind of moving forward and doing my thing. I am talking active. I told you I went back to Buffalo this week, I saw lots of people that I used to have great relationships with, but I do not have an active relationship with him now. There is no desire, there is no effort, and there is no communication. It is not an active relationship, but sure at some time in my life, I had a relationship with them. Do you have that with the Holy Spirit. See chapter two changes everything. Chapter two becomes a fresh start. Chapter two empowers you to live a life of passion, power, and the presence of God.

And, here is what we think. I have got to be perfect to get the Holy Spirit. Nothing could be further from the truth. You see sitting in that room that night when the Holy Spirit was given in Acts chapter two was Peter, who had just rejected Jesus to a servant girl, but after chapter two he stands up and preaches and 3000 people get saved. In that room was John, the son of thunder, in other words, the dude with the anger problem. And, he goes on after Acts chapter two to become the apostle of love. In that room was James, Jesus’s biological brother from Joseph and Mary, who rejected Jesus, who was embarrassed by Jesus and his crazy claims, but after Acts chapter two James becomes the leader of the first church. See chapter two changes everything. And, it is a fresh start, no matter who you are. Let me close with his, I told you in the beginning that I went to this church and I am trying to figure out who the Holy Spirit is, for four months I prayed Luke 11:13 every single day.

Four months our theme verse for this path fast, every single day for four months. I said, God, I do not understand the Holy Spirit, will you teach me. God I do not really understand this will you reveal something to me. God, I would like to know the Holy Spirit, would you reveal something new to me about him through your word. God, will you teach me about the Holy Spirit and how I can have a relationship with him and every time I prayed I went a little bit deeper, and finally I started to say this Holy Spirit, will you reveal yourself to me because I would like to have a relationship with you. And, after four months of praying that every single day, I met the Holy Spirit and it changed my life, changed my life. I had been saved, I knew Jesus I was in seminary. I was preparing to do church work. Holy Spirit changed my life when I met him and let him become my best friend. And, that is my hope and my prayer for us in this series, is that the Holy Spirit will reveal Himself to you. That you will allow him to pursue that relationship with you.

That you will lay down all of the baggage and the preconceived notions, and all the things we think we know about the Holy Spirit and just step back and say, Father, you say you will give the Holy Spirit to those who asked, and so I asked. I asked, if the Holy Spirit is a gift, and he is God and He wants to have a relationship with you, we should be desperate for the Holy Spirit. And, the fact that we cannot fully get our minds around it at this moment in time, should not stop us from moving forward and saying, God, I want everything you have for me in 2013, are not you ready for a fresh start. Hey, I am and I am excited about the series because I am learning new things about my best friend. And, he is revealing new things to me about our relationship and I am believing that for every one of you, regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey that God has something great. If you will start this year by seeking Him first, and just tell Him, you are open to a great relationship with the Spirit of the Living God.

So Lord Jesus, we celebrate the beginning of 2013, and we start by giving you gratitude for 2012. Thank you that every one of us is here tonight and we are alive and we are breathing, and that you are pursuing us and that we can have a relationship with you. And, so Lord right now we thank you for the Holy Spirit. We thank you that he is a gift that you wanted to give us, that He is God that He is in very nature Allos Parakletos another of the same kind as Jesus that when we look at Jesus we can understand who the spirit is and that he wants to have a relationship with us. And, so Lord tonight we invite the Holy Spirit to have a relationship with us. Can you in your own way feel comfortable enough to do that. Can you just tell the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, I would like to have a relationship with you.

And, so I invite you into my life. And, I am confused. Maybe a little scared. I have heard some different things before. But, I would like to live a chapter two life. I would like to be full of passion and power in the presence of God. So, Holy Spirit would you come into my life as I start 2013, in a new and fresh way, and teach me what friendship with you is all about. If you are here tonight and you need prayer for anything. We are going to have people up here to pray for you. Maybe you need prayer for the beginning of 2013. Maybe you need prayer because you do not have relationship with the Holy Spirit. Maybe you need healing in your body, I do not know, come up and let these people pray for you. If you are new to Valley Creek church I am so glad that you are here I would love to invite you over to guest central, some of our leaders will be in there, we would love to introduce ourselves to you and tell you that we are glad, that you are here but listen let us prepare ourselves this week for the 21 days praying and fasting.

Let us put God first, so he can take care of the rest and we will have the greatest year of our lives as we pursue God, with everything that we have got. I love you and may the Lord bless you in 2013, blessings.

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