It is great to be out here. God has blessed us with a beautiful day, hasn’t he? And it’s great to be able to be together with the church. All of you are out there online, we welcome you, of course, to the north region for our park service if you’re online with us today. As a church, we’ve been going through this month in accordance to the “one spirit” is the topic is what we’ve been talking about for this month as the whole theme for the year is “one”.

So it’s been a great journey that we’ve been on. As I was preparing this, this time with you, I always get advice from my wife, Michelle. I know that you guys really appreciate that, that I’m not just out here on my own. I asked her, “what should I share?” Because there are so many things on the Spirit. We could be here all night long.

We’re not going to be, trust me.

We’re going to be able to narrow it down and just focus on a few things. The things I want to focus on is how the Spirit makes us new. How it helps us in every area of our lives. But the Spirit wants to change you and make you new. So two things I’m going to talk about today is the new walk and a new joy.

The Holy Spirit has always taken things out of chaos and then brought them into a new state. Even in creation, it says in the beginning, of course, there was the world and it was formed and the Holy Spirit was over the waters. And scholars believe that’s the chaos that was there. But then God spoke, his words spoken. When God’s word spoke, things came into order and a new existence begins.

Isn’t that the same in every area of God’s people? Even if it was the Jews coming out of Egypt, they went through the Red Sea. They went to a new place. They went to the desert. But then they became new. They became a nation. And it’s the same thing with us as when we get baptized. Amen? When you make Jesus Lord of your life, you repent of your sins. You say Jesus is Lord. Then you are baptized, as it says it Acts 2. For what? For the forgiveness of sins, the chaos into a new life, and you get a gift that makes you new and keeps you new.

And it’s the wonderful gift, the Holy Spirit. But so often, it’s so easy for us to resist a new era. Are you with me? We’re in a new era, aren’t we? Who would have predicted that we’d be meeting like this? There are some things about this era that you like. There’s other things you don’t like. You know, for introverts, it may be good not have to get involved with so many people all the time. For extroverts, they are like “why can’t we get together even more”?

You know, I think of even how we do church now. You know, one thing I like about this whole thing that’s been going on right now is that I’ve been able, Michelle and I do Kingdom kids every first Sunday. I haven’t been in Kingdom kids in over at least twenty eight years.

But because of the pandemic, we get with the kids once a month and we do a zoom call; we have an amazing time. I love that. You know what? I don’t love? Preaching to a camera. I mean, I look at the camera right now. It’s my friend. How are you doing out there? I really don’t like this.

I remember when we were putting together for 2020, we were doing some promotional videos. Marshall asked me if I could join and we had this promotional video for “Stronger” and it was like three of us doing different parts of it. And all I had to do was like three lines. I had the lines memorized until I got in front of the camera. You know, I just forgot I was stuttering. I was going. And, you know, the pressure of the camera. Marshall Mead was there and he’s kind of laughing in the back; my good friend, you know. It got so bad that I got through it. Then Marshall said, let me just do it just in case.

So I went home to my wife. I said, honey, I’m not in that video.

There’s no way that they’re going to take what I got. There’s no way. And I’m so glad I don’t have to do this anymore. Someone else can do this. And then the pandemic came. Now I talk to cameras. Now I’m talking to Live Stream. I talk on Zoom. I mean, we are talking to cameras all the time. A new era. You know what’s good about that? The video came out and guess what? I was in it.

Praise God for the editor. Praise God for people like Jason. They can straighten you out and help you out.

I think that’s the way the Spirit is. You know, we don’t have to be perfect all the time. We act like we got to have it all down before we go somewhere and do something for the Spirit.

The Spirit will help you and get you. He just wants you to show up. He’ll edit the process. Just get on out there in the video. Get out there. And I’m still working on my presence. I’m not as smooth as Jake Rock. Of course, I can never look as good. But that’s all right. I can get good at this the best I can. A new era. Let’s not resist it. Let’s know that God wants you to be different.

So a new walk. That means that the Spirit wants to take you to new places. We’re going to look at Galatians. You can open up your Bibles to Galatians Chapter five. That’s where we’re going to spend some time. When Paul was talking to the Galatians, it was all about the Spirit because the Jews were going back to saying, if you want to be a disciple, you’ve got to get circumcised, be a Jew, and go back into that way of following God.

And Paul was very upset about that. He’s like, who cut in on you? Who cut in on the Spirit? You did not get the Spirit through obeying the law. You got the Spirit because you believe in Jesus who brought the Spirit to you. And it’s a new era. And the whole book corrects this.

At times he even said, you know, Galatians 3:3 he said, “you foolish Galatians!” He was so upset.

And he said something here, “Are you so foolish after beginning by means the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”

Isn’t that how we are? We want to go back to the things we know. I think the Jews knew the law, we know what it is, we know we’re here, you’re going to do this, too? It was easier for him, but we’re the same way, aren’t we? So to be led by the Spirit, you’ve got to know that there’s going to be conflict. That you’re going to have to fight with your desires, because we are not naturally spiritual.

Our flesh wants to take us somewhere else, and that place that it wants to take us is natural, isn’t it? But when we walk by the Spirit, when the Spirit gets a chance to make you new and give you a new walk, then you have an opportunity to overcome.

Let’s go to Galatians 5:16. Paul says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, for the flesh desires, what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit, what is contrary to the flesh? They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you’re led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

You see, we got to recognize that conflict and know when we’re in it: your fleshly desires. What does it come down to? Let’s just call it what it is. If you got to surrender to the Spirit, well you’re going to be selfish? See, this new walk is the Spirit leading you to a new place.

We’ve got to overcome. Verse 19, it tells us, this is the part where it just tells us about the flesh and how it wants to lead us. It says it’s obvious here in verse 19, “The acts of the sin, the acts of the flesh are obvious sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, authorities and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

You know, I remember when I first read this. And I said, wow, all those things are sins. It has described so much of my life. I knew I needed a new life. I never looked at said, you know, we don’t look at sin, we don’t look at saying that much. And we kind of get the moral standard we get our basis of what’s good and evil off of each other instead of the Bible.

But when you look at the Bible, it’s amazing how it lays it out. And we need to look at this whenever we look at our flesh, we got to look at a different way. That when we see that we’re tempted to do these things, when we see that we’re about to go that direction, then it gives us an opportunity to step with the Spirit. But what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to be able to know where is it going?

You got to ask yourself a few questions before you walk another way. You see it’s a walk with the Spirit. It’s a lifestyle. And we know if we’re tempted. I’m tempted by lust. I got to know I’m heading down that way. I’ve got to have an opportunity to be led by the Spirit. You got to constantly be changing your walk. You’ve got to know which movies you can watch. You’ve got to know there’s a lot of gray areas. What some some people can do not everyone can do.

We got to be willing to say, well, I’m not going down there because that’s going to lead me that way and look down the path that you’re going. You know, the problem with sin is that some of them, we love them. Let’s be honest. There’s pleasure. There’s pleasure in lust, there’s is pleasure in those things. There’s pleasure at times and in even being angry sometimes and in a fit of rage. You know, we sometimes will say that’s a righteous rage. But how often is our rage righteous when someone cut you off on the road?

So we got to know ourselves and know which way we’re going, and whenever those things come up, we got to realize that, you know, what’s the Spirit want me to do? And I don’t have time to go through each one of those, but I want to go through one of them is selfish ambition, because selfishness is really behind every one of those things.

If you really want to look at it. Selfishness is the core. But what’s selfish ambition?

Well, we all have ambition. Some of our ambitions are good. Not all of our ambitions are bad. But when does it become selfish? You know, when it becomes selfish is when God says no. I mean, God says, wait, before you get this.

I can think in my mind, in my life with God, there’s ups and downs. Are you with me? Are you on the same rollercoaster ride that I’m on? We make dreams and we make goals. I want to do this. Like I wanted to go in the ministry. I want to go be a missionary. God allowed me to do many things. But I want to tell you something, there’s a few things he hasn’t done. There are some dreams that you have that God hasn’t done yet that are good, that are worthy, that you said if you give me this Lord, I’ll use this for your kingdom. I will use this to serve if I can do this and go there. This is a good thing. My career, I’ll be able to give more to the church. If you give me this, I’ll use this house for the for the ministry. You know, these are all good things.

What happens if God says no? Makes me think of Paul when he was going to Asia in Acts 16. He wanted to go and the Spirit said no. Then he turned another direction to Bethania.

You know, God said no. What happens when God allows your world to crumble in this pandemic? Our world is crumbling. Some of you have lost work. Some of you are going through changes in your career; changes in how we do things.

It’s been tough for some of us. And how do you know it’s selfish ambition is when you get mad at God. When you say, “God, why don’t you give me this” and then you see someone else out there doing the exact same thing? How come you always give it to Larry Enders and not me?

Do you love him more, God? No, don’t tell me she’s going to get that too? She got that. Oh, my goodness. I’ve be praying for this for 20 years.

And I won’t go down the whole list because I don’t want you all to start crying. You know the area. What happens to us when we don’t get our way? We get mad at God. We say God’s not fair. What do we do, other things wrong with some of the things I just shared about jealousy, envy, hatred?

You know, I pray I do well spiritually because I’m a leader. I’ll either lead people to God or I could lead people astray.

If I’m not in a good place and I’m not just saying this, I’m a leader because I’m a minister, you know, we have leaders out here. You’re a leader, and we all lead in different ways. Which way are you leading people? Towards the Spirit or are you leading them towards the flesh? What can happen is when you get frustrated with God, you start getting into the world and start getting into things that you can see. Things that make a difference, things where you can be rewarded.

We’re just like the Jews here who went back to the flesh. We’re back to the law instead of going with the Spirit. And we’ve got to get to a place like Paul where when he saw that vision of Macedonia, he said, ok Lord, I’ll go there. Let me tell you, that’s hard.

So what am I saying when they’re saying it’s an opportunity to be led by the Spirit? Start taking steps when you see that happen and take steps away with the Spirit instead of walking towards your flesh.

I mean, track your steps. We do that, don’t we? I track my steps every day. I do. I try to get steps, you know, ten thousand steps in. And when I go running, I have a I have my heart rate on my watch. I have an app that shows me how far I run and when I’m listening to music, I run so many miles now and you’re at this pace and your heart rate is this.

We get all kinds of things that this track track all kinds of things. And it’s convicting to me, because I got to ask myself, do I do that with the Word of God? Do I track my steps? Do I make sure I’m in the spirit? Do I love my brothers and sisters enough to when I see that they’re going another direction, I’ll go and help them and get them and say, listen, come on back now.

I appreciate a sister called me one day and it was about a brother. I won’t mention any names. I know whenever I start talking about people, you’re wondering who. You can’t figure this out. I’m just going to share this right now. My sister said, you want to check on so-and-so because I noticed that this brother is not turning on is his zoom. You know, I went down that alley because the Spirit must have spoken to her, but just because someone didn’t turn themselves on Zoom isn’t a sign that you’re in sin. I just want to let you know that.

But but there was just something that she knows about his character and it was good because I got to talk to him and be able to lift him up and help him out. We got to care for each other and watch how each other is walking.

I think of my daughter, Bianca. I just want to thank all of you for praying for her as we shared about her having MS multiple sclerosis. She came home for Thanksgiving and my wife, Michelle, noticed how she was walking. She said something’s not right, Brian. It spurred us on to get Dr. Bill Bird involved and to get going, and we got to figure out what’s wrong and praise God we figured it out.

Praise God that even though it’s a tough news and we don’t want to go down this road, but it’s the news we needed to see to be able to help her. I want to thank you for your prayers. I want to thank you for the prayers that you prayed for me to not sin and hate insurance companies. I’m grateful for you that I made it through so far and I still got a ways to go. But, you know, we needed that.

We needed to know what was going on. And then we were able to to help her. And she had her first infusion and it went well. I want to thank you for continuing those prayers, but it was her walk that was noticeable by my wife.

We’ve got to allow the spirit to guide us and take us. So Paul said it’s obvious the way the flesh wants to go. Let’s talk about how the spirit goes now.

So let’s see how we should be in the Spirit, because a new way of walking is just being in the Spirit. Verse 22 says, “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there’s no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

You know, I really love what it says here, because all these things are all the things that are hard to be, isn’t it?

And if I was to put music to this, it sounds like it would be some real, real background music that’s lovely. The spirit is love, joy, peace and there’d be some some soft music playing behind it. A gentle place, a place that we’d want to go. But then in verse 24 it says, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with his passions and desires.” I think the music would be strong there.

You see how it changes?Because we want to be with the spirit so bad all of a sudden Paul says: but crucify the flesh. That’s strong. Brothers and sisters, we’ve got to be radical about walking with the spirit. We got to put to death our fleshly nature, and I can’t focus on all these different all the different fruit of the spirit because there’s so many of them, but I want to focus on love and joy. You know, there’s something special about.

Love is really obedience and joy is an expression of doing what is right. When we live, right, and do what God wants us to do and we follow the spirit, then guess what you have?

You have joy. Joy is noticeable. Even with our mask on last night, my wife and I went and saw Brandon in the show and we met one of his friends last night and took a picture with our masks on. The girl was taking of picture of us, said, smile. We didn’t have to, but she said I can see in your eyes that you’re smiling. Isn’t that true? Joy can come through your mask. Joy is something we can see.

You know, sometimes we don’t want to be in the Spirit because we can’t see the spirit, we can’t let it move us. But you know what? The Spirit can show through joy that it’s in your life. And that’s why it’s a new joy. No one can take that away. A joy that’s from the Spirit cannot be taken away. I’m not saying that everything is always happy, but when you’re doing what God wants you to do, no matter how bad it is, you can find joy.

If you haven’t found joy recently, then you’ve got to really look at yourself and say, am I in the Spirit or not? Because the Spirit hasn’t left you. So you got to check it out and say, what if what’s wrong with my walk that I don’t have or can’t access joy? I believe that Jesus said that when he sent out the seventy-two. You can turn to Luke 10. In Luke 10:16, he sent out the seventy-two and he gave them some instructions and those instructions were very detailed.

Where to go, what to pack?

I don’t know if we like to go on vacation with Jesus because he said don’t carry an extra bag or tunic. He told you just trust in him.

He said, go to a town and then there’ll be someone there that will feed you. What an extensive outline for them to follow. But it was a message of love. And then they returned in the Spirit, because they represented Jesus. I say, they returned in the Spirit, because one of the things he told them was this in Luke 16, I mean, Luke 10, verse 16. He says, whoever listens to you listens to me.

Whoever rejects you rejects me, but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me. In other words, he said, you’re going to go out there and be me. When they see you, they’re going to see me. They reject you, that means that they rejected me. They came back with joy.

Look what it says in verse 17, “the 72 returned with joy said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions to overcome the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you, however, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'”

What brought them joy? Doing what they were created to do. Doing what Jesus told them to do. What’s that say to me? If I don’t have joy it’s because I’ve stopped doing what Jesus wants me to do. There’s something wrong. But isn’t it true when we stop doing what Jesus wants us to do? How awesome that is. How you feel with joy when you do a whole project; how you feel with joy when you share the scriptures; how you feel with joy when you’re just thankful for all that God has given you, even in tough situations. When he told them, don’t get so excited that the demons like, why did you say don’t get so excited about that?

Jesus definitely went up to them. He says, ok, the demons submit to you as I saw Satan fall from heaven.That’s all well and great. But he said, but don’t rejoice, don’t find joy in your power and what you can do. Find joy that your name’s written in heaven because no one can take that away from you. And that every day you’re going to feel like the demons are submitting to you.

These guys, we’re going to be martyred one day and their will might have been different than the Lord’s, but he said no, get your joy on straight. That fruit came out of them and they had this moment. Then you see right there in verse twenty one, at that time, Jesus full of joy through the Holy Spirit. You see how joy is right there with the Holy Spirit.

“I praise you, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed and the little children. Yes, Father. For this world, this is what you were pleased to do.”

You know, I love this because Jesus was filled with joy, and I can’t imagine what that look like, the Son of God filled with joy, but what a moment they had right there. He went to his father, and said, “God, this is amazing”.

You got to ask yourself. Do I have that place where there’s joy? You know, I love in the north, what we’re doing for those of you that are from different regions, we’re doing a series of in the desert and we’re talking about the path the other day. About how there’s different rocks in the path. And we’re going through the desert and the desert is teaching us how the Israelites, as they go through the path, through the desert, that there’s lessons in that. You can stumble on little rocks and you can go to your knees on a bigger rock and then they show this huge rock. You can just stop right there. There’s all kinds of situations in life and all those rocks truly take away our joy, isn’t that true?

After we get into our small groups and I was actually in a small group with with B Beverly King. You know, she shared that, yeah, it’s a big rock because we know that Beverly had lost her husband, Joe, who was so dear to our region. We miss Joe, don’t we? And she just said, when she shared “you know that I’m in the face of the big rock, but I can find honey in the rock.”

That’s what we’re talking about, how God even in tough situations, even when you feel like it’s not fair, even when you fall into that place of where you may be bitter about what God has given you, the cards you got dealt, you can find joy. And Bev, I know you’re at home watching right now. You inspire me. She inspired me on Valentine’s Day.

You know, it would be a really tough day. I’m sure it was for her because it’s during those holidays that when you lose a loved one, that you really feel down. And I talked to Bev on Valentine’s Day and in her sweet voice, the sweetest voice that you could ever imagine. You know, if you need encouragement call Bev King. I said, Bev what are you doing? And she said, well, Brian, it’s Valentine’s Day. She brought it up.

No, you know what I’m going to do?

I found a card that Joe wrote to me for Valentine’s and I found a card that I wrote to him on Valentine’s.

And a little bit later, I’m going to read both of them and have a moment with Joe and God. She said that not with sadness. She found joy in a tough situation and I called her this morning and told her I was going to share this to make sure that she knew I was going to share this. But you know what? She encourages me because it shows me what am I feeling down about? Sometimes the people in tougher situations are the most encouraging.

How does that work? They have a walk with the spirit that’s greater than what’s going on in the world right here and they’re following Jesus. And Jesus is taking them through with a new walk and a new joy. John 14:15, Jesus says, “if you love me, keep my commandments and I will ask the father and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever, the Spirit of truth.” Brothers and sisters, said another advocate, why do you say another advocate? Because he was their advocate when he was on Earth.

But the question for you today is, are you walking with the spirit? If you’re not a disciple, it’s time to surrender and let the Bible change your life and let the Holy Spirit take you into a new life. Find whoever asked you and ask him, how did you make a decision to have the spirit. Study the Bible getting the word. But if you are not filled with joy, this message reached you somewhere, it’s time to talk to somebody.

Talk to someone who loves your spouse or a good friend and sit down, have coffee or whatever, or Zoom each other, whatever you’ve got to do at this time, but ask them, am I filled with joy?

What do I need to change? What do I need to be different in? What are the fruit of the spirit you see in me? And what are some of them you don’t? This could be a tough conversation. But isn’t it a good one? Because it gives you an opportunity to change and to be like Jesus. So think about these things today. I want to close out it before we take our communion. And it’s John 15:11, where Jesus, who we’re following with a new walk in a new joy that’s going to lead to heaven one day said this in John 15, verse 11, “These things are spoken to you that my joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full.”

You know what Jesus wants for you, that joy that he felt that day.

We can have it. He said, “I want to joy to be full. This is my commandment that you love one another as I loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command.”

So as we take the bread and the fruit of the vine, it reminds us that Jesus died for us, that Jesus went to the cross, and that God raised him up on the third day so we could lay down our lives for each other.

Let us remember, there’s a way out if you came in today and you’re feeling down, you feel like it’s just been too much pressure and there’s a lot of different things and you’re just not doing well spiritually. If you’re a disciple, that’s fine. The spirit can lift you up. Let’s remember the cross. Let’s remember that Jesus wants us to lay down our life for each other because he laid it down for us.