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Times of refreshing

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(6/7) To master something is not to do something that others canít do, but to do something almost anyone can do; better, faster, or with more power or accuracy. The thing about mastering anything is that whether itís a service of some sort, the arts, craftsmanship, or sports, the precision of their mastery is with such excellence that they perform in a league of their own. And itís the same way in the Christian experience; those who are more masterful in their Christian walk excel not because they can do spiritual things that no one else can do, but because they live their lives doing things anyone can do, and they do it with such consistency and passion that theyíre able to experience Godís presence in a way that most people donít.

The Lord Jesus Christ kept it simple saying that to master the Christian life, "Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:12-13). And so, when it comes to mastering the Christian life, itís really about mastering the basics, because we all come to God one way, through faith in the Cross of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8). The Apostle Paul expresses the necessity of believers mastering the basics saying, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love" Galatians 5:6). And so, just as weíre saved by grace itís Godís purpose that we "in all things grow up into him", becoming spiritual giants and masters of the faith (Ephesians 4:15). We do that by learning to excel in the basic fundamental truths of Christianity.

In the New Testament, there is one specific verse that describes what we need to know in order to master the Christian life. Acts chapter 3 tells us that Peter and John were on their way into the temple when they encountered a crippled man who would sit daily outside the gate and beg. Peter approached him and said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth walk" (Acts 3:6). He then took the man by the hand and helped him to his feet. The man was instantaneously healed and "went with them into the temple courts, walking, jumping, and praising God" (Acts 3:8). This miracle drew quite a crowd since he was well known as having been crippled from birth.

Peter seizing the opportunity, shared the good news that this same Jesus that they saw murdered just weeks before had risen from the dead and it was in his name and through his power that this man had been healed. He then extends an invitation to all the people to embrace this new way of life; not one based on the old way of doing things, but centered on the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. In one verse, he tells them how to begin this new life, one thatís truly a lifestyle thatís pursued every day of our lives, "Repent then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" (Acts 3:19). Here within this one verse we find three phrases, three personal disciplines, that when mastered and consistently implemented represent fundamental concepts of victorious Christian living.

The first phrase is "Repent thenÖ" and this is a daily commitment to change the direction of your life by dealing with your negative thoughts, actions, and attitudes. The first step to mastering the Christian life is to admit that God is right and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you those things about you that need to change and then repent; to turn away from those things every day. This is practical and purposeful, because itís a decision to correct your thoughts, actions, and attitudes that are less than loving, and taking the responsibility to do something about it.

The second phrase is, "turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped outÖ" The Greek word here literally means erased, that God forgives your sins, he washes them away, your record is clean, and you can start a new life. The apostle John said it this way, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Therefore, when we examine ourselves and confess our sins we can know that Godís forgiveness is complete and Jesus Christ brings us back into a right relationship with each other and most significantly with God (1 John 5:13-15).

The third phrase is, "That times of refreshing may come from the Lord" and I love that phrase, because thatís what God wants for his people; that they live their lives being refreshed. Itís the presence of God that refreshes us, renews us, and rejuvenates us. Itís for that very reason that weíre seeking God together in the Emmitsburg Community Park, June 5 at 6 p.m., because being in the presence of the living God charges your batteries, quenches your thirst, and fills you to overflowing. If youíre feeling like youíre on empty, youíve lost hope, and youíve got nothing left to give, allow yourself to be refreshed with the presence of God. Christís Community Churchís own worship team will lead us in praise with Jason Jablonski as the guest speaker Sunday evening at the Community Park. Jason will also be with us at Christís Community Church for a special Saturday night celebration as well as that Sunday morning. I encourage you to come out and seek the refreshing presence of the Lord, because just like repentance and forgiveness, experiencing times of refreshing is an essential part of mastering life.

To learn more about Christ Community Church visit them at www.cccemmitsburg.org or better yet, join them for sunday service 303 West Lincoln Ave., Emmitsburg and at the Emmitsburg Community Park June 5 at 6 p.m. as together we learn to master the Christian life; daily repenting, embracing Godís forgiveness, and experiencing times of refreshing.

Read past sermons by Pastor John Talcott

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