The Great Ones

The Forgotten Great ONE – God in You

By Kevin Linthicum

 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Christians in the world today have become impotent. Christians have become impotent because we have forgotten the promise given to us in Acts 1:8. What has happened to the courage that was displayed by first century Christians? What has happened to the Holy Spirit filled Christian willing to die for the cause of Christ? The power of the Holy Spirit in us enables us to overcome any obstacle in our path. However, our lives are lived in a timid fashion, fearing what others might think.

Does your life express the joy of the Holy Spirit?

Are you seeking the teaching of the Holy Spirit?

Do you sense the power of the Holy Spirit in your life?

What would happen if we took a firm stand for the Truth? What would happen if we began to embrace the power of the Holy Spirit within us, and lived our lives based on the power of the Holy Spirit? This tremendous power is within all believers. Our disobedience has so quenched the Holy Spirit. The valve within our souls is closed so tight, the Holy Spirit is not able to work within us. We need to pray specifically that the Holy Spirit would move freely in our lives.  Because we are not willing to speak up and proclaim the whole Gospel, lives are being lost on a daily basis. We should consider the following:

  1. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11
  1. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Galatians 5:18
  1. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16:13

Is the Holy Spirit leading you to reach out to someone today? If so, I invite you to respond. The time for being timid and unresponsive has passed. We need to take active, aggressive, and ascending steps towards the Holy Spirit today.

Apart from the Holy Spirit, there are no great ones. Listen to Pastor Kevin Linthicum via podcast here.

Phinehas: Zeal for God

By Robert Thomas

Tucked away in a small chapter in the book of Numbers is a powerful story, in which a man who had zeal for God made a very bold decision that would impress the Lord. In Numbers 25, Phinehas showed his obedience and ardent dedication to God’s honor by making a decision that would affect the history of God’s people.

But first, take a few steps back with me to Numbers 22 for the beginning of the story.

Balak was king of Moab, and Israel struck fear into his heart because Israel defeated every enemy they came across, by the power of their God. Balak heard Israel had made camp near his people, the Moabites.

Balak decided to hire a magician named Balaam. Balaam’s reputation was for cursing people, so maybe Balaam would be able to defeat Israel where no others could. However, Numbers chapters 22-24 tell us that regardless of how many times Balaam attempted to curse Israel, they were utterly protected by God. No attack would prosper.

Balaam shrewdly decided to entice Israel to engage in sin. Perhaps temptation would accomplish what no attack could. This is where we enter into the story in Numbers 25, as Israel enters into a sinful relationship with the daughters of Moab, joining in their sexual immorality and idol worship.

God sees His children disobeying His commands and disciplines them. The leaders of this rebellion were to be executed and a plague overcame Israel. Tens of thousands would die and the whole of Israel mourned outside the tent of meeting. To make matters worse, an Israelite man, flippantly disobeying God’s commands, paraded through the Israelite camp with his pagan girlfriend, showing complete disregard for God’s commands.

Phinehas, the son of Israel’s priest, watched these things play out. In the middle of a weeping congregation, Phinehas watched this Israelite man publicly ignore God and decided he could not sit by and allow this to happen. Wordlessly, Phinehas took a spear, followed the man to his tent, and stabbed both the man and the woman with a spear. At that moment, God’s anger toward Israel abated, because of the actions of one man who stood up and attacked sin head-on.

By acting against sin, Phinehas revealed his strong desire to protect God’s honor amongst his people. He understood the holiness of God. He chose to confront the sin, acknowledging that sin came with a great cost. As a result of Phinehas’ actions, God was pleased with Phinehas’ zeal. He decided to make a covenant with Phinehas, that his entire lineage would serve as priests in God’s temple forever, and the Priestly Covenant was established.

Even though Israel could not be attacked from the outside, they were vulnerable to their own temptation. But Phinehas’ zeal for God’s honor and glory is an example for Christians everywhere. His decision to end sin at the source was celebrated by God. This example is challenging for us today. I ask myself, how often am I caught blatantly welcoming sin into my heart? Even more importantly, do my actions show any regard for the holiness and greatness of the God of the universe?

Phinehas is one of the Bible’s many great heroes of faith, due to his passionate dedication to God’s honor.

This week, I challenge you to pray this prayer from Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Listen to The Great Ones sermon series here.

Robert Thomas is a graduate of UNM, and is currently a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, pursuing a master’s degree in Christian Education. He leads the 5th and 6th grade Preteen ministry at AFBC, and works as a substitute teacher for Albuquerque Public Schools. In his spare time, he enjoys surfing the internet on his laptop, watching a movie with his friends, or hanging with his preteens at the church.

Moses – A Great Vessel

By Karen Polich

Have you ever thought about how the life of Moses can impact how we live?

Phynnly Masiku, shared Sunday’s message and gave us insight on Moses. There is much we can learn from Moses. Listen to The Great Ones sermon series via podcast here.

Moses was many things, most importantly, he was called by God.

A man of faith and friend of God. Moses knew the God he was serving and spent time investing in his relationship with Him.

A prophet. God spoke through Moses.

An investigator. Growing up in the palace, he was able to see things from a unique perspective. When he saw something, he looked deeper. From the treatment of the Hebrew people to the burning bush, Moses was attentive. He used his knowledge to intercede for the Hebrew people.

A humble man. He did not seek to glorify himself, but to honor God. He was willing to submit to God. This required patience, trust and courage.

A man who knew hardship. Moses had his share of difficulties. In the hardships, he encountered the power and glory of God. This is where much of his personal growth happened.

A man of obedience. Moses had excuses when God called him to lead the Israelites, but he listened to God and was willing. God gave him support through his brother. God did not call him to work alone.

A great leader. Moses was successful. He was focused on God, willing to obey and God’s plan never fails.

We serve the same mighty God as Moses!

What we can learn:

  • In hardship, seek God.
  • God will not call us without equipping us.
  • With faith, we can engage with God like never before.
  • Leadership and knowledge come when we seek God, study His Word and are willing to share what we learn.
  • God knows our hearts. He will provide us with the encouragement and support we need to fulfill His calling.
  • When we give God room in our hearts, we will learn who we are. Our blessings come from Him.
  • Sometimes our biggest weaknesses are what God uses. Our weaknesses showcase God’s power and can create the opportunity for a team of people to work together for His Kingdom.
  • God’s plan never fails.

Take the lessons from life of Moses and use them in your own life today. The Great Ones can teach us how to answer God’s call in our life. Moses was willing. Are you?

Phynnly Masiku is part of the team working with us in Malawi. To learn more about the Malawi Mission Project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen

By Trey Sullins

A few weeks ago I watched to see who would receive the title of the greatest in college football. The Heisman would go to the one competing at the highest level. I was fascinated by the videos of each player. Film reels did not just start in college, and were not just shots of the games played. Each player’s tape reflected years of playing, and hours and hours of practice time. Laboring in all types of weather, enduring the pain, and staying focused on the prize. The prize of greatness was at stake.

Most of us know we will never earn the right to strike the Heisman pose, but something in all of us craves some kind of greatness. For believers, that craving often comes when we meet or read about a person in their Christian walk that God is allowing to be part of His great plan. They are people used by God to give the gospel to many, or those trusted to go overseas in His name. We read the stories in the Bible of the true legends of faith, knowing what was done in the name of God by men like Abraham, Moses and Paul was nothing less than greatness. It also seems like that one thing that can rarely be attained…. The greatness for God.

In my study to see what the Bible would say about greatness I found myself with Stephen. Acts 6 starts the account we have of this man of greatness. In its briefness, we can see true keys to greatness.

First, those who are great for God make it clear from where their greatness comes. It is clear that Stephen is full of the Holy Spirit. Greatness cannot be achieved alone. No matter if it is greatness for God or greatness in football. When we choose to surrender our lives to God we are filled with the Holy Spirit; filled with His greatness. Never again will we be called to do anything on our own power.

Second, we see that those who are great spend a massive amount of time preparing. Stephen was a Jew, and God used him to speak to the Jews. He was ready for the role God had for him because he had prepared. Stephen spends all of chapter 7 in Acts reciting the ways God worked in the Old Testament. As he gave example after example, it clear Stephen knew the Scripture. He had learned the truth about God from the writings and teachings.

There is no short cut to greatness. God is able to use those who choose to take the time to prepare their hearts for Him. He uses those who take the time to know Him, and there is no way to know Him without knowing His Word.

Third, Stephen teaches us is that greatness doesn’t guarantee a happy ending. A believer who is great for God is not guaranteed an ideal outcome, just like winning the Heisman trophy doesn’t guarantee playing time at the next level or the ideal injury free career. Oh, we can know it will be exactly what God wants for us, but His will does not always line up with what the world would tell us is best.

The believer who finds His greatness in God has to hold on to the truth that God’s plan is perfect even if it doesn’t line up with ours. In Stephen’s case, it cost him his life.

Such a simple formula to write about, yet it often seems impossible. Like the three sitting on the front row, waiting for the chance to hold the Heisman trophy, those who run the race for the true prize are part of a slim crowd. These are the few that understand the prize at stake and what it takes to achieve the title when it is all said and done. “Well done, good and faithful Servant”. (Matthew 25:23)

Listen to The Great Ones sermon series here.

 

 

A Humble Witness

By Ty Haguewood

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”  John 1:29-34

Greatness is not measured on some type of outward success but rather an inward faithfulness to God. It is vital for us to understand that the “Great Ones” are only great because of their faithfulness to God.

The world desires for us to believe that greatness is a characteristic of someone who has had outward success such as a certain income or social status like fame. The men that we will be discussing in the next several weeks are men who gave their life to following the Lord.

John the Baptist has such an incredible testimony. I am extremely challenged by the life of John for several reasons. I just want to give you two life changing truths that John the Baptist taught me.

John’s entire life was leading to the moment he would meet his Savior, Jesus.

I remember months ago reading the story of John the Baptist when the Lord revealed something HUGE to me. I have always been a person that thought purpose was an outward calling. After God saved me, I became obsessed with figuring out what my “purpose” in life would be. I stumbled across the testimony of John and was broken by the beautiful testament of John’s faith. I mean this dude’s purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus and before he could even see the ministry of Jesus completely fulfilled he is beheaded. Meditating on the simple, “Behold, the Lamb of God…” left be baffled to say the least. John’s entire life was fulfilled when he met Jesus, his hope had arrived.

Shouldn’t that be our response to the Lord? BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD! John saw the Lamb approaching and he was compelled to start shouting and crying out those bold words. Can I show you something special? The Lamb that approached John is the Lamb that ransomed you and I. John showed me that our purpose is Jesus.

John’s faithfulness was not dependent on whether he would receive a great reward. His faithfulness was dependent on the Savior that would soon be coming.

John was called to baptize with water and preach of the coming Messiah without having known when or who this Messiah would be. This is crazy to me!! The calling God placed on his life was good enough for him because of the God who called him rather than the outcome that would come of his life. Our obedience and faithfulness to God should never be dependent on an outcome. Faithfulness to God looks like following Him regardless of where that ends up and how crazy you may look in doing so.

John’s life does not end in the greatest of ways. After being imprisoned, John the Baptist is beheaded. The Lord used the life of John the Baptist to shape and mold who I am today. My earnest desire is to get to the end of my life having had faith like that of John. Let me leave you with some words from our Lord and Savior, Jesus about John.

When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Luke 7:24-28

Listen to The Humble One via podcast here.