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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

5 God's Heroes Have Hope

            There is a wonderful hymn we like to sing at church that goes:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness!
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name!
            These are great lyrics and it's a wonderful tune people love to sing, but I wonder if our attitudes and actions really live up to these beautiful sentiments.  I think they often do not.  Unfortunately, we put our hope in all the wrong things.  If we are honest, we would admit our actions sing a different tune.  Something like: 
My hope is in the game I play, my big high scores will make a way!
My hope is in the girl I love! She makes me feel so high above!
My hope is in my cool boyfriend, he says his love will never end!
My hope is my bank account! I have such a large amount!
My hope is in the grade I make! I will succeed for goodness sake!
My hope is in my the work I do!  It shows that I am worthy too!
My hope is in the way I look! If people stare, then I am good!

            We must never forget, Our only hope is in Christ!!  God's heroes have heart, courage, power, wisdom and God’s Heroes Have Hope.  Jesus teaches that we can have hope because good things are coming.  Let's look at one of Jesus' most famous sermons, The Sermon on the Mount.  In it, Jesus teaches how we have hope, not despite the troubles we face, but because of them.  I want to read the passage and share some comments as we go through it together.

Matthew 4:23 – 5:12
23 Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 24 News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. 25 Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.

·       The people of Jesus’ day were filled with despair.  Most lived impoverished, lives and struggled to make it through each day. In addition to these, many struggled with health problems (as we often do today, but without the benefit of modern healthcare).  Jesus fame as someone who could offer hope spread far and wide and people came to Jesus desperate for help.  It is often that our greatest hope is revealed when we realize we are in desperate need.
5 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.
·        Jesus decides to teach what real hope is.  The greatest hope comes not from the miraculous healings and feedings and exorcisms. The greatest hope is found in some unlikely blessings we call "beatitudes."  Beatitudes is just a fancy word that means "supreme blessings."  These supreme blessings or beatitudes are admired by people the world over--even by non-Christians.  Let's examine each beatitude very briefly, one by one.
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,  
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.        
·       This is the key to understanding all of the beatitudes.  Each Beatitude trades current troubles for a future blessings, but it all starts with the idea of poverty.  Traditional translations render this poor in spirit, but I think the NLT makes it more clear (even if it is more wordy).  It's not talking about poverty in the sense of not having enough money.  What we are saying is those who realize how spiritually impoverished they are are blessed.  Do you realize how desperately you need?  Do you realize that without God you are absolutely lost?  I had a friend who served as a missionary for 3 years in a third world country where they didn't have adequate food safety and refrigeration.  It helped her realize that when she said the blessing for her food, she was literally asking God to bless it so it didn't kill her, but would nourish her.  Do you realize that we are the same?  Yes, we have adequate food safety and refrigeration in the USA.  However, all of that means noting unless God blesses the food to nourish us and not harm us.  We are blessed when we realize that we are utterly at the mercy of God.  It is the beginning of all other blessings.
God blesses those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
·       This is not about mounring for those who have died.  God blesses those who mourn for their sin.  Are you broken hearted for your sin?  Do you realize that all the evil that has occurred since Genesis is in part a result of your sin?  Does it break your heart to think of how you have wasted the beautiful gift of life God granted us?  If so, you are blessed, because it may lead you to the next blessing:
God blesses those who are humble,
    for they will inherit the whole earth.
·       When we realize our utter desperation for God's mercy and mourn for our sin, we are blessed when we humble ourself and repent.  This is what it means to become a Christian believer.   We fall down on our knees and humble ourselves before God and ask for mercy.  "Lord," we cry out, "Forgive me!  I have sinned against you!  And my sin and selfishness have damaged, destroyed, and brought evil into the world.  Forgive me!"  And those who truly repent like this in their heart will begin--with the help of the Holy Spirit--to live a righteous life.  And then a new blessing is available as verse 6 explains.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
    for they will be satisfied.
·       Once you are a Christian, you truly hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Now many may try to do good--even non-Christians.  But Christian righteousness is more than philanthropy.  It is hunger and thirst for righteousness that is deeper than the way we hunger and thirst for food.  It it is a hopeful yearning, because we know it will be fulfilled when God makes all things right in the end.
·       We often dream about heaven and what it will be like.  We like to dream of how wonderful it will be.  But what kind of reward will eternal life really be if you do not hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Maybe you are thinking heaven will be a place where all your selfish desires are finally fulfilled.  But if that is your deepest dream, you will be greatly disappointed.  Eternal life will be where God's plans for righteousness are completely fulfilled.  And then,all those who now hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied.  And those who hungered and thirsted for something else...  well, they just might find that heaven is a lot more like hell than they expected…
God blesses those who are merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
·       We are so thankful God forgives us our Great Sin.  Yet we also must remember what Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord's Prayer:  "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”  And we remember he also said those who refuse to forgive others will not be forgiven.  So we are blessed when we show mercy to others, for then we shall also receive mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
    for they will see God.
·       Christ has saved us by his blood shed on the cross, but that's not the end of it.  Now we must grow towards perfection.  Christian perfection is something we strive for--not just in the afterlife, but--now!  Christian perfection doesn't mean we will never make a mistake.  However, as we enable the Holy Spirit to work with us and as we grow and mature in our faith, we hope to come to a place where every thing  we do is purely motivated by love.  And God blesses us to the degree that our actions are motivated by love.  For the more we love, the more we see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
    for they will be called the children of God.
·       So often when we think of peace, we think just of everyone getting along.  Maybe, in our world, peace means everyone gets along because everything stays the way it is--the status quo.  But it most certainly is God's will to take things as they are right now and shake them up quite a bit in order to get us to a place where true peace is possible.  No, God's peace is not the status quo.  God’s peace equals inner peace, assurance, and resolve; it is an unshakable state that persistence within us despite the storms and trials and troubles that rage around us.  I think of the disciple named Stephen who was martyred in the 7th chapter of Acts.  He was at peace--even when the Jews stoned him to death for sharing his testimony about Jesus Christ.  As the stoned were crashing down upon him, he looked up and saw Jesus and in heaven and commended his spirit to him, even as he prayed for God to forgive his murderers.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
·      Jesus promises the more you are persecuted, the more blessed you will be.  When we truly follow Jesus with our whole heart, we will face resistance--perhaps even down right persecution.  If you are not facing any persecution, resistance, trouble, you may not really be living as a Christian or are not pushing hard enough.   Jesus said in John 16:33 – “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  If you are not having trouble, it may be that you are not pushing hard enough.
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Where Do You Find Hope?
            In superhero stories, the superhero always seems shows just when all is lost.  Perhaps a bus full of school children is about to fall off the bridge and then it falls, but at the last minute Superman catches it and flies it to safety.  You may feel like you’re about to fall off a bridge (or you are already falling).  Do you believe and are you certain Jesus will save you?
            Jesus gives us hope.  And the hope we have is more than wishful thinking; it is the assurance that Jesus Christ will save the day.  We sing a great hymn that reminds us of the certainty of our hope.  We sing:

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home!
Under the shadow of thy throne, still may we dwell secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone, and our defense is sure

            God made the heavens and the earth.  When you look up at the night sky and see the stars, do you realize they are thousands of light-years away?  (In other words, it would take you thousands of years to travel to them if you could travel at 186,000 miles per second).  And there are morse stars in the sky than we can even count.  God made all of that and more!
            Has this incredible God not been our help in the past?  can you not think of ways He has helped you?  I you cannot, I can tell you that you would not even be able to read these words if it had not been for God.  He formed you in your mother's womb and put breathe in your lungs and sustained you all your life.  You are here today because of Him; every breath you take is a gift.  And my God gives you hope for the future through Jesus Christ.  Even the difficulties of life are turned into reasons for hope.   

            I invite you to put your hope in Christ today.  Start by recognizing how spiritually poor you are and in desperate need of God's help through Jesus.  Mourn because of the ways you have turned your back on God and sinned.  And humble yourself before God.  Fall on your knees ask God to forgive you and save you.  And then cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that you may grow in Christ--seeking righteousness, offering mercy, living and serving with a pure heart, working for peace, and enduring whatever hardships come your way while always hoping in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

We're Hiring - Children's Director

Pleasant Grove UMC is Dalton, GA is hiring a part-time children's director to coordinate and lead all church programs for children from birth to 5th grade.  Salary is $7,000 per year.

If you are passionate about helping kids grow a relationship with Jesus, you might be the person for us! Please contact the church office at 706-259-3141 or email

Pleasant Grove is an outreach oriented, mission-minded Christian church seeking to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We currently have 15-20 children participating in our Wednesday night programs.  We also have programs on Sunday mornings.  We are looking for the right leader to organize and lead our wonderful volunteers.

Ask Pastor Chris: Can Satan Hear Our Prayers?

Dear Pastor Chris,
            Can Satan hear our prayers?  I ask this because I actually pray silently, in hopes that the Devil can't, or maybe won't, be able to know what I am praying.

Your Inquisitive Friend,
Prayer Warrior

Dear Prayer Warrior,
James 4:7 says, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Humble obedience to God should be our main concern.  If we keep our focus on God, Satan has no chance.  It’s only when we take our focus off God and his Kingdom that we are in danger.
            Sometimes it feels like Satan is taunting me as I pray, trying to discourage me, but I just tell him to get lost.  I’ve even told him, “Say what you want, Devil, but you already know you lose in the end.”  I think that really drives Satan nuts and it ends my concerns on the matter.
            For me, I think the Devil’s presence (or perceived presence) during my prayer times has more to do with my own insecurities.  When I dwell on my sin or failures or shortcomings, it opens the door for Satan to come taunt me.  Thankfully, my faith in God’s goodness, forgiveness, and love reminds me to kick the Devil back out the door and to lock it tight.  I know God loves me no matter what, in spite of all my flaws.  I believe with my whole heart—“…nothing can ever separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:38).  So the Enemy’s hateful, hurtful words are just his futile attempt to scare me or depress me or distract me, and I’m just not going to let him.
Can the Devil hear our prayers?  Maybe sometimes, but I think this would be true whether we say them out loud or silently in our heart.  I think Satan is a spiritual being and if and when he overhears our prayers, he can overhear our inner prayers too.  Don’t let that unsettle you though.  Satan has no power over God and he cannot intercept, disrupt, or stop our prayers from reaching God.  I suppose some might be concerned Satan will get a little inside information he could use against us.  I just don’t think God would allow it.  God is too powerful.  Actually, it must be incredibly frustrating to Satan to hear you pray about something, to see beforehand how God is going to answer your prayer, and how God’s answer is going to defeat Satan, and Satan can’t do a thing in the world to stop it.
However, if you still have a concern Satan might be eavesdropping on your prayers, I would just start my prayer by asking God to keep the conversation private.  Pray “Lord, stop up Satan’s ears so he can’t hear what I’m about to tell you.”  Done.  God will answer that prayer and Satan won’t be able to hear a thing you pray—whether you pray in your heart or screaming out loud.  (It’s sort of comical to think about really—everyone within ten blocks being able to hear your prayers because you’re screaming; and Satan is totally oblivious.)

Remember, God love you and so do I!

Pastor Chris

Monday, June 5, 2017

God's Heroes Have Power

I used to love Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid.  One of my favorite shows was the Justice League, who were a collection of superheroes like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman.  They worked together and used their superpowers to fight the forces of evil. 
Perhaps the reason superheroes are so appealing to children is that children are so powerless.  You know, people are always telling them what to do and they have no real power, even over their own life.  So perhaps it is very appealing to kids—the idea of a superhero who has supernatural powers and can fly anywhere in the world or is indestructible and can do all these amazing things.
Well, we’ve been talking about the characteristics of God’s heroes.  We’ve learned that God’s heroes have a heart and that God’s heroes have courage.  But today, we learn that God’s heroes have power.  But what are the Christian hero’s superpowers?  Let’s see what the Word of God says. 

Slides – Acts 2:1-12, 32-33, 36-41
1 On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” 12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.

32 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. 33 Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.
36 “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away[h]—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”

41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

God’s Heroes Have Power
            We see the Holy Spirit’s power and how it empowered the Christians in this story.  There was sound—the sound of a mighty rushing wind.  There were sights—tongues of fire resting over each persons' head.  There was action—speaking in foreign languages the people had never been able to speak in before. 
            There were thousands of people gathered in Jerusalem from all over the world for the Jewish festival of Pentecost.  They all spoke different languages, but the 120 Christians gathered for  together were all from Galilee.  Somehow, the Holy Spirit empowered them to speak in foreign languages so that all those thousands gathered in Jerusalem could hear the Good News about Christ in their own languages.  Interestingly, the Greek word used to describe their language leads us to believe they spoke the languages with  perfect dialects.
            You know, maybe you’ve heard people who come down to Georgia from New York and they don't sound right.  They don’t say “y’all” and “fixin’ to” and all those other southern ways of speaking we love so much down in the south.  You can understand them, but it just doesn’t sound right.  And you’ve heard someone who comes from Mexico and speaks English with a thick Spanish accent.  But when the Holy Spirit enabled these Christians to speak foreign languages, it wasn’t with an accent.  It was perfectly, with the exact dialect of the people they spoke too.  Now that’s amazing power!
            Some people say Christians don’t have that kind of power anymore.  There are even some pastor and theologians who argue that the miracles and supernatural power demonstrated in the Bible was from another age and we cannot do these things today.  But I want you to know, I don’t believe that.  I believe the same Holy Spirit that empowered Christians in the New Testament Church empowers the Church today.  We are the New Testament Church.  Nothing has changed accept maybe the way we think and what we focused on.
            I have seen it with my own eyes.  I was in a church in rural Guatemala.  It was not a fancy church.  There was no air conditioning and the floor were just dirt.  There weren't any stained glass windows and the walls were just concrete blocks.  But after the sermon, near the end of the service, the congregation of about 120 people were all praying and it was as if the very air around me was humming and vibrating.  There was a holy awe and hush over the whole congregation and the power of the Spirit was obviously present and people were being moved and responding to God.  So these kinds of external, supernatural signs still happen, but we don’t experience them as often in our comfortable American churches because we are not rightly focused most of the time.
            I want to also remind you that people look at outward appearances, but God looks at the heart.  We learned this in the story of David.  God warned Samuel not to look at how tall a man was, because that wouldn’t tell him whether the man would be a good king.  God said, “People look at outward appearances, but God looks at the heart.”  And this is also true when it comes to the workings of the Holy Spirit.  People look at the outward signs—the sounds, the sights, the flaming tongues of fire, and the supernatural ability speak in foreign languages.  People want to see cool signs and wonders, but God is more interested in what’s happening in the heart.  That’s what’s really important.
            Romans 8:11 says, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.”  The Holy Spirit lives inside every Christian who believes in Jesus Christ.  We have the same power available to us as the Church of Acts.  Power is “the ability to do.” 
            When we talk about cars, we talk about horsepower.  I don’t know this for sure, but I imagine the term "horsepower" developed when they first made cars and they were still comparing them the most common means of transportation—actual horses.  So they would say back in the beginning when cars were just a simple buggy with a little engine that would go put, put, put, "If you buy this automobile it will have the same power to move things as 5 horses."  We’ve come so far; today a car may have anywhere from 120-500 horsepower.  Or if you have a racecar, it might have over 1,000 horsepower.  That is horsepower—the ability to move something.
            The Holy Spirit gives us a different kind of power—the power to do what God wants us to do.  Jesus gave us a mission—to make disciples—and the Holy Spirit gives us the power to do it.  And the main reason we don’t experience the power of the Holy Spirit is we don’t want to do what Jesus asks us to do.  What did Jesus ask us to do?  Matthew 28:19-20, "Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you."
            The superheroes in cartoons and movies use their superpowers to fight evil and save the world, but when I was a child I wanted those superpowers for more selfish reasons.  As a child, I just thought it would be cool to do whatever I wanted and no one could stop me!  You know, when my older brother pushed me to the ground and sat on my chest and I couldn’t move, I wanted to be able to use my supernatural strength to throw him off me and fly up into the air and shoot him with laser beams from my eyes!  In my immaturity, it was all about how I could use those superpowers for my own selfish purposes.
            And I think a lot of the time, Christians today are still immature like children.  We want the power of the Holy Spirit for the wrong reasons.  Maybe we want to be able to do cool tricks or feel an emotional high or maybe we want to heal someone we care about or to be healed ourselves.  It’s all about what we want and usually has very little to do with what God wants or the mission of the Church.  Christians today need to grow up and seek the Holy Spirit’s power to do what God wants us to do.

What Does the Holy Spirit Empower to Do? (What are the Christian’s superpowers?)
            Let me share three things the Holy Spirit empowers us to do.  First of all, the Holy Spirit empowers us to be born again.  Jesus told Nicodemus in the third chapter of John, you can’t enter the Kingdom of God unless you are born again (or born of the Spirit).  Do you remember how Jesus was conceived?  We say it every Sunday in our Apostles’ Creed:  “…he was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”  So the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and she conceived Jesus in her womb.  Do you see we are “born again” as Christians the very same way as Jesus?  The Holy Spirit comes upon us and we are born of the Spirit.  We become a brand new creature with a new beginning and new life and eternal life.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to become sons and daughters of God, citizens of God’s Kingdom.  And the Holy Spirit assures us that we are accepted, forgiven, saved, and loved.  We can live with the same confidence as Jesus and that changes everything.  Now we can start living like Christ and acting like Christ and doing the work of Christ in the world.
            And that’s the second thing, the Holy Spirit empowers us to live like Christ.  Romans 8:2 says, “…the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”  We have the power to live like Christ because we have the power of Christ living in us.  Sin no longer has power over us.  Yes, we may still struggle some with our old sinful habits, but they are no longer in charge.  Now the Holy Spirit is in charge and we can live a new way, a better way, if we cooperate with the Holy Spirit.  Listen to what Jesus said in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…  Isn’t that amazing!  We can do what Christ did and even more when we let the Spirit empower us to do what God asks.  We can love like Christ and be full of the fruits of the Spirit—joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We can serve like Christ, because everyone who believes in Jesus receives special gifts of the Spirit that enable us to serve the Church.  Some can sing, some can preach or teach, some can encourage others or be administrators, or show hospitality, or offer healing, or have strong faith…  All of these are special gifts the Holy Spirit gives us to use for the benefit of the whole Church so we can live like Christ, serve like Christ, sacrifice like Christ, die like Christ, and rise to eternal life like Christ.
The third thing (there are so many powers the Holy Spirit gives us, but I only mention 3 today for the sake of time), the Holy Spirit empowers us to preserver.  Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Comforter.  When we are sad or down hearted, or when we are worried, or when we are hurting or struggling or weak or things are stacked against us, the Holy Spirit comforts us.  Romans 8:26 says, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.”  When we are sick or in need, the Holy Spirit renews our strength, but there is more!  Romans 8:37 says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” 
You know, the Church in Acts seems to have everything stacked against it.  They started out as only 120 Christians in a world that hated them.  They had no political power, no influence, and they were persecuted, beaten, had their property confiscated, were arrested, murdered and executed.  Can you imagine if Christians in America today were persecuted like this?  And yet it amazes me what the Church in Acts prayed for.  You would think their prayers would be filled with people praying for mercy or comfort or for the world to stop being so mean to them, but that’s not what they prayed for.  When we read through Acts, again and again find they prayed for God to make them bold to spread the Gospel despite the obstacles.  For example:  Acts 4:29, “And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word.”
Perhaps Christians today need to pray less for God’s comfort and healing and protection and make our primary prayer that God would give us—His servants—great boldness in preaching His word. Then maybe we would see that the same power demonstrated in our time that we see in the Book of Acts.

            The Holy Spirit dwells inside every Christian who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Spirit is like a well of Living Water.  It is always there within us if we believe in Christ, but we need to ask God to make the well spring up within so we can, as Ephesians 5:18 says, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
            How can you be filled with the Holy Spirit as these Christians in Acts 2 were on that Pentecost day?  I suggest you ask Jesus into your heart.  Then I suggest you ask God everyday to fill you with the Holy Spirit.  I think you should go to Church and worship God regularly—every week--with a community of Christians believers.  Be baptized if you haven’t already.  Receive Holy Communion as often as you can, for it is one of the special means Jesus gave us to experience his presence and be filled with his gracious Spirit.  Serve God unselfishly and whole heartedly—pushing yourself beyond what you are able to do on your own (for only then will you realize how desperately you need the Holy Spirit’s power to enable you to do God’s work and He will fill you with His Holy Spirit).  Then go and make disciples of Jesus Christ and Jesus will be with you, through the Holy Spirit, always.