Spark Notes (10/15)

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This week, Greg Schut wrapped up our series on Spiritual Warfare with the topic of praise. He began with 2 Chronicles 20,  

"He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’... After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever." As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” - 2 Chronicles 20:15-17, 21-22 (NIV)

When they were going into battle, they would send the worshippers out ahead of the army. The battle is not ours, but God's. When we magnify God first, we are putting the situation into His hands and glorifying Him. What you magnify will be magnified. Do you magnify the Lord, or your circumstances?

Greg shared his testimony of healing for back pain - when he was struggling with the pain, he constantly worshiped God and stood in His identity as a son of God. In that identity, we are given healing by the blood of the Lamb. After choosing to focus on God, rather than the pain, Greg had breakthrough. When we focus on our other circumstances, our eyes are taken off of Christ. Jesus says "Worship me in Spirit and in Truth". The Truth says that we are sons and daughters of God. We are free. And everything Jesus has been given, has also been given to us.

In 2 Samuel 6:12-23, we see David's heart steadfast in the Lord as he worships. As the ark of God was brought to Jerusalem, David and the entire house of Israel worshiped. David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might. He was leaping and dancing, his deepest act of humility for the Lord. As this was happening, Michal, Saul's daughter and David's wife watched from a window and despised David in her heart. Michal had a heart issue - she was not down worshiping with all of Israel and she was angry with David and his reckless, all-out act of worship. In verse 23, we read that Michal had no children. This shows that the fruit of our lives is affected by our worship.

In Acts 16 we read how Paul and Silas are severely beaten and thrown in jail for casting a demon out of a woman, ruining the fortune telling business of that city. Paul and Silas, in their wounded and chained up state, still sang praising to God all through the night. Their act of worship broke the chains of all those in the jail. The jailor, scared of his punishment to come nearly committed suicide, but was stopped by Paul and Silas as they led him to Jesus Christ. Our worship changes things for more than ourselves, but it can break chains for others.

Greg concluded by emphasizing that worship is not just a tool or weapon in spiritual warfare, it is something we do because God is worthy of all of our praise.

To watch the IGNITE service online, click here.

What To Pray When You Don't Know What To Pray

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Do you ever struggle sitting down to spend time in prayer? Can't find the words or aren't sure where to start? Try these ten ideas to start praying!

  1. Praise God for who He is. 
  2. Thank God for what He has done for you and ways He has provided for /you in the past. 
  3. Pray that God will help you hear His voice clearly. 
  4. Ask Him to prompt you regarding what you should pray. 
  5. Pray that God will reveal unconfessed sin and areas of unforgiveness that may stand in the way of you fully loving others. 
  6. Pray for wisdom and discernment of His will. 
  7. Pray that He will help you quickly and readily obey His leading.
  8. Pray that God will infuse you with courage to let you light shine so that you can be a positive impact for the kingdom in your area of influence. 
  9. Pray that God will continue to grow and mature you in the wisdom and knowledge of Him. 
  10. Pray for unity within God's church, protection for his leaders, and effectiveness of the church's outreach to the nations. 

Prayer Guide: P.R.A.Y.

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This prayer model focuses on Matthew 6:10-13 using the acronym P.R.A.Y. - Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield.

    • Praise God for who He is.
    • Praise God for what He has done.
    • Repent of sins I have committed.
    • Repent of commands I have neglected.
  3. ASK
    • Ask for the needs of others. 
    • Ask for my needs. 
  4. YIELD
    • Yield my will to God's will. 
    • Yield my agenda to God's agenda for me. 

Prayer Guide: Praying from the Bible (ACTS Model)

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You can turn any verse of the Bible into a prayer, hanging pronouns as needed. For example: Ephesians 3:20, "Glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope." One way to pray this might be, "All glory to you God! By your mighty power at work within me, your word says that You are able to accomplish infinitely more than I would ever dare to ask or hope."

The ACTS model of prayer can help you pray deeper into this verse.
  • ADORATION: If the verse you are praying shows you anything about God's character or who God is, praise Him with those words. From Ephesians 3:20, we could pray: "Almighty God, you are all powerful."
  • CONFESSIONS: If the Holy Spirit points out anything from the verse that you are not living out or believing according to what this verse is calling us to do or be or believe, confess that to God. From Ephesians 3:20, we could pray: "God, sometimes I doubt that you are at work, Sometimes I put limits on what I believe you are able to accomplish. Forgive me, God." 
  • THANKSGIVING: If the verse holds a promise or a truth for us, thank God for it. From Ephesians 3:20, we could pray: "Thank you God for showing me in this verse that you are at work in me and you are able to accomplish more that I could even hope. I choose to believe this and I thank you for this God."
  • SUPPLICATION: Ask God to be your teacher and help you understand the verse better. Read the verse word by word, then phrase by phrase. Then, be silent and open your spiritual ears to God. If your mind gets distracted, pull yourself back by reading the verse again. Ask God to quiet all other noise (your own inner voice, the enemy, distractions, even the voice of the world/the culture). Give voice to what you are hearing by telling God so that He can correct anything or add to it. Write it down. Then, ask God to help you obey the verse of put into action anything He showed you. 
End by praying the verse straight through again, letting it sink into you a little deeper and then commit to God to believe it and live it.

Perhaps you may even want to write an "I will..." statement with what you are committing to. For example, from Ephesians 3:20, we could write: "I will choose to trust God who is at work within me accomplishing great things for His glory." Repeat your "I will" statement throughout the week.

Memorize the verse so that you can pray it frequently. In this, you will be letting God transform you by the renewing of your mind through His word. (Romans 12:2) and letting the Holy Spirit make you new in the attitude of your mind (Ephesians 4:23). 

Spark Notes (10/1)

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Spiritual Warfare: The Name of Jesus

 This week, Justin VandeWater brought the message focusing on the name of Jesus. He began with asking the question, "What were some of the amazing, miraculous, authoritative things that Jesus did?" Some the answers shouted out were that he healed the sick, multiplied food, walked on water, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, prophesied, baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire, trained his disciples, and conquered death. 

John 14:12-14 says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." We can ask in Jesus' name and he will do it. Jesus said that we can do what he did and even greater things! So, how are we doing with doing the works of Jesus? 

This week's Verse of the Week is Philippians 2:9-11, "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father". Justin shared how his initial thought in the past has been "Well, he is God so of course he does those things" We are not God, so our expectation is that we don't do those things. This pushed Justin to pour though the gospels, looking for what it is about Jesus that he can do these things.

Jesus was never less than God, but he was also never more than man. So how is there so much power and authority to do the things that he did? What can we do? Try harder, pray better? We are drawn to Jesus' power and authority, but if we focus on that, we miss what preceded this power and authority. It was the radical, costly submission and surrender to his Father's will. 

Going back to Philippians 2, starting in verse 5, "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Then the big word, "THEREFORE" follows. Therefore, because of Jesus' obedience, he was highly exalted... 

So what preceded Jesus' ministry? His "yes" to the Father to leave the throne and humble himself. Jesus' "Yes, Father" lead to his humility. We see in the gospels that Jesus was baptized and given the Holy Spirit and then sent to the desert to be tempted by the devil. In the desert, Jesus was obedient to the Father. Jesus kept saying "Yes, Father", and he overcame.

We failed in the garden - we were given all we needed, yet could not obey, so Jesus came to model that for us. Jesus was able to live in alignment with the Father. In John 5, Jesus says that he only does what the Father says. Jesus trusted his Father and obeyed. That power of Jesus is available to us when we submit and surrender to the Father. 

In spiritual warfare, our obedience and submission to the Father is our warfare. We must listen to the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit tells us "no" to something, yet we do it, we grieve the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit tells us to do something, yet we don't do it, that is quenching the Spirit

What is impacted by our obedience and coming under the authority of the Father? 
  • our worship 
  • our prayers 
  • our command and authority over demons
  • our power to heal
  • our ability to preach (Acts 4:13)
  • our ability to suffer well (Acts 5:41)
Justin challenged the group in speaking of his deep love for Jesus and his desire to serve and love him well, but at the same time, he does love his life and often feels he has to prove himself and find his identity in other things. That is the battle. We cannot have both. We strive to be obedient to the death, as Jesus was. 

Justin concluded with Ephesians 1:15-23 as our prayer, "For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all".

To watch the IGNITE service, click here


Prayer Guide: FELLOWSHIP

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Ten Prayers to Receive Strength in the Inner Man

To be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man. (Ephesians 3:16)

F - Fear of God:
  • Father, release the spirit of the fear of God into my heart. (Psalm 68:11)
E - Endurance (perseverance, patience):
  • Strengthen my spirit with endurance to do Your will (Colossians 1:11)
  • Don't let me quite pursuing the deep things of God. Don't let me lose my spiritual fervor!
  • Help me to follow through on my commitments.
  • Help me to fulfill my ministry callings when they're difficult.
L - Love: 
  • Father, pour out Your love into my heart so it can overflow back to You and others. (Philippians 1:9)
L - Light of glory:
  • Father, let me see the light of Your glory. (Acts 22:6-11; Exodus 33:18; Psalm 4:6)
  • Let me encounter the "glory realm" in dreams, visions, etc. 
  • Let me be a light to others, pointing straight to You. 
O - One thing life focus:
  • Let me maintain a life in Your words with desire for it. 
  • Alert me when I need to recommit my priorities and schedule so that I can live as a person who regularly sits at Your feet. (Psalm 27:4)
W - Count me worthy:
  • Help me to walk in a worthy way in response to God in my life (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
  • Help me to escape all compromise. 
  • Let me see that the opposite of worthiness is to waste or receive Your grace in vain. 
S - Speech:
  • Father, set a guard over my lips and free me from sinful speech. (Ephesians 4:29; Psalm 141:3)
  • May I only give edification and impart grace to the hearers of my words. 
H - Humility:
  • Jesus, I want to learn from You how to walk in lowliness of heart. (Matthew 11:29)
  • Let me consider others better than myself. 
I - Insight unto intimacy (wisdom):
  • Let me know the secrets of Your heart. What are you thinking and feeling? (Colossians 1:9)
  • Father, give me insight that I may walk under the Spirit's leadership so that we may partner together in every issue in my life including my finances, schedule, emotions, circumstances, physical body(diet, health), relationships (in the home, work, ministry), my future, fears, addictions, etc. Give me new ideas in each area of my life. 
  • Father, I long to walk in the fullness of Your will in every area of my life. 
  • Holy Spirit I ask for insight into God's end-time purposes, eternity, the new Jerusalem, the judgment seat of Christ, and hell. 
P- Peace and joy:
  • Strengthen my heart with supernatural peace and joy that overpowers fear and anxiety. (Philippians 4:7)


Spark Notes (IGNITE 9/24)

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Spiritual Warfare: The Blood of Jesus

In our third week of the Spiritual Warfare series, Bret Engelkes spoke about the blood of Jesus

Bret first took a few moments to emphasize that we are all created for something. David was first created as a man of war, but also a man of worship. This is why David could not build the temple because he had shed much blood. When David did not go to war, he found himself wrapped in many sins. We have been created for specific things. Bret encouraged everyone to ask themselves the question, "What am I created for?"

Spiritual Warfare is the war continuously going on around us, the blood of Jesus is our help in this battle. 

1 John 1:3 says that "we proclaim what we have seen and heard". The testimony of the cross is proclaimed in many epistles. The authors of the epistles also write of what they have endured, yet they have endured with gladness. We are to find joy in tribulations and encourage others in that. To love is to encourage and to invite in. 

Leviticus 17:11 says, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." There is a requirement of blood, and Jesus was the atoning sacrifice. We have complete agreement with the blood of Jesus when we declare it, it makes it known.

What does it mean to speak or plead the blood of Jesus? 
The word "plead" is an actual legal term. Like a lawyer "pleads his case", the wrongs are vocalized, evidence is presented, action is taken. To plead the blood of Jesus is to present the facts and evidence of what Jesus did on the cross. It is to present faith-filled words of agreement. When we declare, He acts, He "releases it from heaven". It may not be in the timing we prefer, but He moves when we plead the blood. 
The blood of Jesus speaks a better word: mercy. It was the full demonstration of His love. His blood shed for us gives us authority and dominion over the enemy.

To listen to the full message, click here

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