I hope each of you is having a good week and you are finding some rest in God in the midst of the noise that is all around us. I am in a particular busy season as I hit some deadlines with my doctoral work and balance a combined work load at the mission school where I teach. In the middle of all this though, I do see how God is forming us as a church and drawing us closer to God, the Word, and to love.
This week we experienced the power of the Lord through a tough passage of the Bible in 1 John 4:1-6. We are commanded to test the spirits and not accept every single teaching that is thrown our way. We talked about the complexity of grace and truth and how sometimes, even in our best attempts, we could get things wrong. Confess and listen were the two words we discussed. I encourage you to go back once more and read the passage a few times through and see if the Lord has anything else for you as you read.
One of the things that has been so very challenging to me as a leader and a Christ-follower in general is this commitment to “everybody gets to play.” We see it so clearly modeled in the interdependence of our Trinity God and in the body of Christ narrative from 1 Corinthians 12 but boy oh boy are there a lot of variables to “playing well.” There is no wonder why things went sideways in the Early Church as new believers were learning to follow the voice of the Spirit for the first time while philosophies came in and out of the church. One thing that has helped keep me grounded are the practices of continually coming back to the Word of God – reading it, studying it, praying over it. . . . and then bouncing those ideas off others who I know follow and listen to God. I know it sounds simple but often times people begin going off the rails when they are isolated, not surrounded by love, or simply stop engaging the Word of God, disconnecting the supernatural work of the Spirit from the truth. Let’s stay rooted and loving one another.
You guys are a gift to our family and to the world. May you know that, receive that, and live out these things we are studying together.
With you on the journey,
John D. Trotter
Senior Pastor, Liberty Vineyard Church
Sunday’s sermon: Testing the Spirits (Pastor John Trotter)