Is There a Spiritual Power Outage in Our Lives? | Acts 16:6–10

A Spirit-Led Church

Are we, both individually and corporately as a church, led by, filled with, emboldened by the Spirit, and are we all in on what God is doing in Christ by his Spirit at Watermark? Is the Spirit having his way in our lives and in our church for God’s glory in Christ?

Timothy "TA" AteekMar 3, 2024Acts 16:6-10; Ephesians 5:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 4:31-32

In This Series (8)
The Gifts of Tongues, Prophecy, and Healing | 1 Corinthians 14
Timothy "TA" AteekMar 24, 2024
A Spiritual Checkup | 1 Corinthians 12
Timothy "TA" AteekMar 17, 2024
The God Who Unifies | Ephesians 4:1-16
Kylen PerryMar 10, 2024
Is There a Spiritual Power Outage in Our Lives? | Acts 16:6–10
Timothy "TA" AteekMar 3, 2024
How Does the Holy Spirit Minister to Believers? | Galatians 5:16-26
John ElmoreFeb 25, 2024
What Part Does the Holy Spirit Play in Salvation? | John 3 and Romans 8
Timothy "TA" AteekFeb 18, 2024
Who Is the Holy Spirit? | John 14:16-17, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Timothy "TA" Ateek, Oren Martin, Antoinette Davis, Emily Hope, Dave BruskasFeb 11, 2024
Why Talk About the Holy Spirit? | John 14:16-26
Timothy "TA" AteekFeb 4, 2024

Key Takeaways

The ultimate goal is for us to long for an even greater work of the Spirit in our midst so that Christ would be most glorified.

  1. Are we being led by the Spirit (Acts 16:6-10)? In Acts 16:6-10, the Spirit is leading, directing, and guiding Paul, and he is sensitive to follow. We want to be a church that is led and directed by the Spirit to accomplish all of Christ’s purposes for Watermark.
  2. Are we being filled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20)? When you are under the influence of the Spirit, your speech and behavior are controlled by God, glorifying to him, and a blessing to others. “Be filled” is a command. It’s in the present tense which means that it is supposed to be ongoing or continuous. It’s in the passive voice which means you can’t fill yourself. You need the Spirit to fill you. So being filled with the Spirit is less about activity and more about availability. And Paul said that when we are filled with the Spirit, we address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. In other words, we aren’t just declaring something to God, we are declaring something to those around us. That God is worthy. To drown out distractions. To come to him. To not miss a chance to meet with him. To help others go to him.
  3. Are we being emboldened by the Spirit (Acts 1:8; 4:31)? Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will come in power to do what? To spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. The book of Acts is simply—and powerfully—the retelling of the apostles spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world, from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, in the power of the Spirit.
  4. Are we unified in the Spirit (Acts 4:32)? In Christ, we have spiritual brothers and sisters because of the work of the Spirit. So we are a family, and every Sunday is a family reunion. The question is will we be a healthy or a dysfunctional family?

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  1. Are you in a place spiritually where there is a power outage? In your present circumstances, how should you respond to Christ? Perhaps for the first time it’s turning from your sin and trusting in him for the forgiveness of your sin and the hope of eternal life. Perhaps it’s putting to death a besetting sin so that you might live in the Spirit (Romans 8:13)?
  2. Are you high on discipline but low on power?
  3. Would you know it if the Spirit was telling you “no”? Would you know it if the Spirit was telling you “go”?
  4. A good prayer to pray is, “Holy Spirit, what are you wanting me to know right now?” Ask when you are reading your Bible. Ask when you are in a hard meeting. Ask when you are in a fight with your spouse. Ask it when you are driving in your car.
  5. What does it look like to practically be filled with the Spirit?
  6. Stop and pray for an opportunity to share the good news of Christ this week, and for the Spirit to drown out fear with his power.
  7. Take a moment to read below the 10 things Watermark aims to be about, and ask yourself, “Am I all in?”
A church that abides in Jesus
  • Gospel-saturated church
  • Praying church
  • Bible-revering church
  • Spirit-led church
A church that makes disciples
  • Missional church
  • Sending church
  • Maturing church
A church that enjoys life together
  • Shepherding church
  • Community church
  • Unifying church

My name is Timothy Ateek. I'm one of the pastors here. If this is your first time ever with us, I just want to say, "Welcome." We're doing things a little bit differently this morning. We're going to reserve some time of singing until after the message, because we are in a series on the Holy Spirit, and my sense is that one of the best things we can do this morning is to create a little bit more space for the Spirit of God to work in our lives and to speak to our hearts to prepare us to then respond in worship. So you can be ready for that in just a bit.

Last week, John Elmore started by talking about the AT&T outage, and I appreciated it so much I don't want to move past that. I still want to revisit that horrific morning in all of our lives. I just want to tell you my experience with it. The Wednesday night before that Thursday morning was the night of prayer and worship that was the culmination of our 21 days of prayer and fasting, so I went to bed on that Wednesday night on a high.

Then I woke up that Thursday morning early, because I was going to get in the car with my 12-year-old and head out to Sky Ranch for his overnight school trip, which meant I was going to be a chaperone, sleeping in a cabin with another chaperone and 15 sixth grade boys. So, when I woke up and my phone said, "SOS," I was like, "I've never felt more seen or understood by my phone than in this moment. Yes, Lord. Save my soul right now, I beg you."

It was amazing how my phone changed everything that morning. Everything just fell apart. I needed directions to the camp, so I had to start the map before I left my house. Then we got on 635 onto the access road, and there was a wreck, and 635 was completely shut down. We were able to get off the access road, and I just went and parked. I was like, "I literally cannot even look up an alternate route. I don't know what to do in this moment."

So we ended up going home. We went home just so we could get connection again to look up an alternate route. Then when we got back into the car, I swung by the AT&T store, because at this point, I was still not sure if this was just the world turning against Timothy Ateek or if this was more collective. I walked into the AT&T store, and the woman was walking toward me, and I could see on her face she knew exactly why I was there and knew she couldn't do a thing for me.

That just told me this wasn't just about me; it was about us, that the world, at least our worlds, were in some ways shutting down. We got into the car. The only way I could communicate with my wife was my 12-year-old's Gabb watch. It was like, "I'm here. If you need me, call me on this little piece of plastic." We began to make our way out of town again, and once we started getting out of town, connection was restored. Honestly, it changed everything.

Just feeling that connection again… I felt relief. I felt resourced. I felt like I had everything I needed. I called my wife just because I could. She answered the phone more excited than she normally is when I call, because she could see my name on the caller ID. Everything changed. The reason I tell you that is because we are continuing in this series that we're in, A Spirit-Led Church. We're talking about the Holy Spirit, God's presence with us.

If you look in the Scriptures, you see this strong connection with this idea of power and the Holy Spirit. When you think about the Holy Spirit, you should think of the idea of power. Listen to what Acts 1:8 says. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Power is associated with the Holy Spirit.

When that AT&T outage occurred, I felt it on a personal level, but I also felt it on a collective level. It didn't just impact me; it impacted us. I needed AT&T to restore power not just for me but for us. The reason I'm talking about this AT&T outage is if power is associated with the Holy Spirit, I just want to ask the question…Is it possible that there is a spiritual power outage in your life individually or a spiritual power outage in our lives collectively in our church?

If there was, would we even know it? If the Spirit wasn't moving in your life or at this church, would we know it? Would we feel it? Would we experience it? The reason I'm even bringing this up is I believe some of us subscribe to a version of Christianity that is high on discipline and low on power. I believe it's possible… I mean, look around. Look at how many people are in this room right now.

There are enough people who are just in the routine of getting up and pointing their car toward Watermark Community Church solely because it's routine that we could look around and be like, "Well, the auditorium was, for the most part, fairly full for two morning services, so, yeah, everything is going great." But the fact that people are here only speaks to attendance. It does not speak to the Spirit's movement. It's possible that we could all be here just because this is what we do on Sunday mornings, not because the Spirit of God is working in our lives.

So, I just want to bring this up. Do you know what revival is? Revival is when power gets restored. Revival is what happens when there is a power outage and then spiritual power is restored; there is a power surge in our lives individually and in our church collectively. So, what I want to do today is I want to spend some time assessing whether there is a spiritual power outage in our lives individually and in our church collectively.

To put it plainly, what I'm talking about is…Is the Spirit having his way in our lives and in our church? The ultimate goal is for us to long for an even greater work of the Spirit in our midst. The way I want to assess how we're doing is I want to invite us to ask and answer four questions. I'll go ahead and give you these questions.

These questions are meant to be asked on an individual level for you but also to be asked collectively of our church. Here's the first question: Are we being led by the Spirit? The second question is…Are we being filled by the Spirit? The third question is…Are we being emboldened by the Spirit? And the fourth question is…Are we unified in the Spirit?

Before we talk about being led by the Spirit, it makes no sense to ask yourself the question, "Am I led by the Spirit?" if you don't yet have the Spirit. When we talk about the Holy Spirit, we are talking about God himself living inside of you. I don't ever want to assume everyone is on the same page. I don't want to ever assume that every person in the room is here because they know Jesus Christ.

When we talk about having the Holy Spirit… The way you have the Holy Spirit is you have come to a place in your life where you have realized the person of Jesus Christ, that God himself left heaven and came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He took on flesh. He lived the life we couldn't, a perfect life. He died the death we all deserve to die because of our rebellion, our sin against God. Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, conquering Satan, sin, and death, so you and I could be made right with God.

The way we have a real and enjoyable and right relationship with God is because of what the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has done for us through his death, burial, and resurrection. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, God puts his Spirit in you. That's amazing news. I don't know if you live with that understanding as a Christian, but the God of the universe lives inside of you by the power and presence of his Spirit, which is a gift.

Now our lives can bear fruit that looks like Jesus because of God's new covenant blessings in his Spirit. So, that's what we're talking about. If you're here this morning as a visitor, and you're sitting and listening to us talk about the Spirit, your first step might be to get the Spirit, and it comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

1. Are we being led by the Spirit? I love this story we hear about Paul when he's on his second missionary journey in the book of Acts. Listen to what it says in Acts 16:6-10. We're going to be all over the Scriptures this morning.

"And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them."

I hope you paid attention to what's happening in that story. There are two things I find really interesting. First, in this passage, it is unique to this passage that the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of Jesus, which is a reminder that it is Jesus Christ who is intricately guiding the work of the gospel in the lives of believers and through believers, and he's doing it by the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in them.

The second thing I find interesting is that the Holy Spirit told them "No" to something good. Did you see that? The Holy Spirit actually told Paul "No" when it came to speaking the Word in Asia and Bithynia. Why? Because the Spirit is leading and directing, and Paul has a sensitivity to follow. So, here's my question. When we're assessing if there's a spiritual power outage in our lives individually or in our church collectively, would you know it if the Holy Spirit told you "No" to something? Would you be able to sense it or hear it or respond to it?

There are times where the Ateeks will get in our sweet black minivan and go on a road trip, so there are times where all three of my boys will be in the back on screens with headphones on, and I'll start talking, and I will be getting no response. I'll look back, and they are all preoccupied. They can't hear my voice in their lives.

We could be driving through some of the prettiest parts of the country, and I could be saying, "Hey, guys, look out," but they can't hear the direction I'm giving them. I could be asking them to do something, and they can't respond. Some of you parents are like, "That's every day for me." I just wonder if that's us with the Spirit, if the Spirit is talking and leading and guiding and we have these spiritual earplugs in. If he told us "No" to something, we wouldn't even know it. If he told us "Go" to something, we wouldn't even know it.

The Elmores were sharing last week about how the Spirit was leading them. Some of y'all might have heard him sharing, and that felt so foreign to you. Something in you heard that, and you wondered, "If God moved in our lives that way, would we even know it or be able to sense it?" So, let me encourage you. One of the best things you can do is start asking this question: "Holy Spirit, what are you wanting me to know right now?"

Imagine asking that question all throughout the day. Imagine asking that question when you're reading your Bible. Ask it when you're in a hard meeting. Ask it when you're in a fight with your spouse or your roommate. Ask it when you're driving in your car. "Holy Spirit, what are you wanting me to know right now?" We want to be a people who are led by the Holy Spirit. We want to be a church that is led by the Holy Spirit. We want to be led and directed by the Spirit to accomplish all of Christ's purposes for Watermark Community Church.

Here's what this means. As elders, we draw a distinction between what we can do and what we are called to do. Those are two different things. There's a lot we can do. There are a lot of high-capacity strategic thinkers in this church that we could get enough of you into a conference room and fill a whiteboard with hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways we can reach Dallas and the world, but one day we, as elders, will stand before God and give an account not for what we could do but what we were called by God to do.

Because there is a difference between what we can do and what we're called to do, we, as elders, want to value sensitivity before strategy. We want to value sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit before we just snap into strategic thinking about what we can do. That's why, as elders, when we get together every Thursday morning to meet, we don't open up the agenda or talk business until we have spent the first 45 minutes together just seeking God together, praying together, asking God to lead us together.

I would invite you to pray for us. Pray for your elders. We want your prayers. Would you ask God to lead us and to give us a deep sensitivity to his leading, that we would always lead out of sensitivity and not just strategy? For months, as elders, we sought the Lord, and we sensed the Lord, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, to clarify who we will be as a church moving forward.

If you were with us on January 7, we unpacked "Hey, these are 10 things that are going to mark our church moving forward." If you weren't here on January 7, please go back and listen to that message. When we rolled out for you these 10 things that are to mark our church, that was our way of saying, "Hey, we have sought the Lord, and we sense that the Holy Spirit is calling us to do this and not this."

This is our way of saying the Holy Spirit has told us, "Be about this; don't be about that." So, to remind you of who we said we want to be, we said 10 things. We said we want to be a gospel-saturated church, a praying church, a Bible-revering church, a Spirit-led church, a missional church, a sending church, a maturing church, a shepherding church, a community church, and a unifying church.

Now, I know some CEOs in the room are like, "You know what? If you've got 10, you've got none." So let me boil it down for you. When we talk about being a gospel-saturated, praying, Bible-revering, Spirit-led church, all we're saying is we want to be a church that abides in Jesus. That's what we're talking about.

When you put those four things together, what we are saying is we want to be a people who know what it is to be with Jesus, to live life with Jesus, to be empowered by Jesus, and to enjoy intimate connection with Jesus. We want to be a people, first and foremost, who abide in Jesus. When we talk about being a missional, sending, and maturing church, all we're saying is we want to be a church that makes disciples. If we're not making disciples, I don't know what we're doing. God hasn't called us to just gather people; he has called us to make disciples of all nations.

When we talk about being a shepherding, community, and unifying church, we're just talking about being a church that enjoys life together. So, if you want to know what we're about, we want to be a people who abide in Jesus, make disciples, and enjoy life together. That's what we're about. That's what we are relentlessly pursuing. This is how the Spirit is leading us. So, I invite you into that. This is what we're about. Is that what you want to be about with us? Do you want to be about abiding in Jesus, making disciples, and enjoying life together?

I know there have been different changes over the past two months, and change can be difficult, but I want you to know we, as elders… A day will come where we will stand before God and give an account for how we stewarded what he entrusted to us. The question from God to us is not going to be, "Hey, you know what? Do you think everyone was pretty satisfied with their Sunday experience? Do you think everyone's kids went willingly to church so adults could have some 'me' time in the service?" No.

Yet that's a lot of people's criteria for church when they come. "Was I satisfied with my experience today? Did Watermark do enough to make me feel good about myself and make it comfortable and pleasing for my family?" I want you to know that we have been called by God to steward really significant things.

Look at the facility he has given us at one of the busiest intersections in our city. We have about 2,000 children on our campus this morning, the next generation. On Tuesday night, we will have over 2,000 young adults in this room. There are millions of people in our city who still don't know Jesus. There are billions of people in our world who still have never even heard the name of Jesus. So, we don't have the luxury of just coasting into eternity.

We don't have the luxury of making our highest priorities comfort and predictability. We want to sprint to the finish line, whenever that is coming. We want to hit the tape being all about exalting Christ and proclaiming the gospel here in Dallas, Texas. So, that's what we're about. We want to be led by the Spirit. When the Spirit says "No," we want to stop, and when he says "Go," we want to move.

2. Are we being filled by the Spirit? Listen to what Ephesians 5:18 says. "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…" Paul is drawing a contrast between being influenced by alcohol or being influenced by the Spirit. Both alcohol and the Spirit are meant to completely control you.

When someone is intoxicated with alcohol, it affects every part of them. You become out of control. It changes the way you speak. It changes the way you act. Your life is wasted, literally. It's a waste. Your words can be careless. You can hurt others. You can hurt yourself. Paul is drawing a contrast between being intoxicated with wine and being intoxicated with the Spirit.

What's interesting is when you are intoxicated with the Spirit, you aren't out of control; you're actually completely controlled by God so that your words count. They matter. They're honoring to the Lord. They're a blessing to others. Your actions are actually glorifying to God and helpful to others.

Paul commands us to be filled. It's a command, and it's in the present tense, which means it's supposed to be ongoing or continuous, yet it's in the passive voice, which means you can't be filled with the Spirit on your own. That's not something you can do. It is something that has to be done to you.

So, when we talk about being filled with the Spirit, I want to be clear. If you're tuned out, tune back in really quickly. When we talk about being filled with the Spirit, we're not talking about activity nearly as much as we are talking about availability. What we are talking about is a daily encounter with the Spirit of God where you make yourself fully available, fully surrendered to the Spirit of God to do his work in you.

I love how scholar Harold Hoehner explains it. He says, "With the indwelling…" John talked about that last week, that when you know Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God lives in you. You are indwelt by the Spirit. "With the indwelling each Christian has all of the Spirit, but the command to be filled by the Spirit enables the Spirit to have all of the believer."

Do you see the difference? You already have all the Spirit. The question is…Does the Spirit have all of you? When you're filled with the Spirit, when you make yourself available to the Spirit on a daily basis, that's what happens. The Spirit begins to take control, and your life reflects Jesus in a beautiful way.

So, let's get really practical. What does it practically look like to be filled with the Spirit? Well, I would draw the distinction that it's the difference between responding to God and reacting to people and circumstances. If you want to experience what it is like to be filled with the Spirit, it is the difference between responding to God or reacting to people, situations, and circumstances.

Imagine waking up tomorrow, and nothing is going right. There's another cell phone outage, and you feel the pressure of everything you have to do. Imagine asking this question first thing in the morning: "Holy Spirit, how do you want me to respond right now?" Imagine how different your day will be if you ask that question. "Holy Spirit, how do you want me to respond right now?"

Imagine being in a conversation with your spouse or your roommate or a kid or your boss or a customer where you feel attacked or misunderstood or misrepresented, and imagine asking the question in that moment, before you react, "Holy Spirit, how do you want me to respond right now?" It will change everything.

There have been times this week where the Holy Spirit has been like a shock collar in my life. It has been so encouraging, because there have been moments where I've wanted to respond in frustration or be short with my kids, and I'm about to react, and it's like the Spirit of God just grabs hold of me and is like, "Take a breath." Literally, last night even, with one of my kids, I took a deep breath, and it changed everything.

It is so encouraging when the Holy Spirit grabs hold of you and controls you and says, "Don't say that. That feels right in the moment. That would be a major reaction, and that's going to cause you a lot of unnecessary pain, so let's just push pause on that right now. Here's a better idea." Then, at the same time… I would say there have been several power surges this week, which has been amazing, yet there have still been some power outages for Timothy Ateek.

I've still been discouraged this week at different times where I've experienced fear or anxiety or a fear of man or a need for people's approval. In that moment, do you know what's happening? I'm reacting. I'm reacting to people. I'm reacting to circumstances instead of responding to God. That's a power outage, when the God of the universe lives inside of me by the presence of his Spirit.

So, we should ask the question, "Holy Spirit, how do you want me to respond right now?" That's what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit on an individual level. What does it look like for us, as a church, even right now in this moment or in a little bit when we sing again… What does it look like for Watermark Community Church to be filled with the Spirit? Listen to what Paul goes on to say in Ephesians 5:18-20.

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…"

Did you see what that just said? It says when you're filled with the Spirit, you make melody to the Lord in your heart, with your heart. The heart is the control center of your being. It involves your emotions, your desires, your convictions, your will. It involves your being. What Paul is saying is when you are filled with the Spirit… Do you know what we're talking about? We are talking about you being fully awake to what the Spirit is doing in your life.

The Spirit's goal is to glorify Christ in you. So, with all of your being, you're aware of what God is doing. Your eyes are being opened to the beautiful realities of Jesus Christ, so when you come into this place, you're in step with him. You are clicked in with what God is doing and what he's showing to you, and you are becoming more and more captivated by God's goodness. You are impressed by God. You want more of God.

You step into this place, and when you step in you're aware "God is here, and I'm about to meet with him." God is showing you things, and the result is that your heart overflows in worship with melodies from your mouth. My fear is that many of us come in here on Sundays and make melody to the Lord with our mouths, but our hearts are absent.

Jesus actually spoke of that as hypocrisy. Listen to what he said to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:8-9. "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me…" Isn't that interesting? Did that describe anyone here? What was happening in you during the two and a half songs we sang at the beginning of the service? Was it your being welling up with joy that overflowed in melodies from your mouth or were you singing every word while spectating, critiquing, or problem-solving?

Maybe you were critiquing, like, "Why are we singing that song again? We've sang that song too much. I don't like this song. Why is he wearing that onstage. I don't get that. That doesn't make sense to me." That's critiquing. Or maybe you were problem-solving. You have something coming up today or this week, so you were mouthing every word, but you were checking stuff off on your to-do list or working some equation, trying to figure out life. I call that autopilot worship, where the mouth is moving but the heart is absent.

That's why we only sang two and a half songs at the beginning, because we're going to sing more on the back end. When we do, one of the best things we can do is ask the Spirit, "Holy Spirit, how do you want me to respond right now? How do you want me to respond right now in singing?" Some of y'all, when we say, "Amen"…I'm going to go ahead and call it out right now…are going to be like, "He said 'Amen.' It is time for me to leave. Let's get a jump on this traffic. Let's get to Costco. We can make it to the restaurant without having to wait. Let's go."

I'd just say you can. Now you're going to think twice before you do it, at least for this Sunday. Next Sunday, enough time will have passed. You can just go for it. But don't short-circuit what the Spirit of God wants to do in your life. You went to all the effort to get here. Meet with God. Don't miss this chance. Don't miss the opportunity.

Then let me say this: respond freely. I was born in '81, but my experience with the church was really formative in the 90s. I grew up going to an amazing Bible church. I mean, I know the Lord today in large part because of what the Spirit did through this amazing church, but it was a time when there was a lot of fear of the charismatic movement and how that was progressing, so to be in worship and close your eyes, you were taking a walk on the wild side.

It was like, "Oh, man. He's got his eyes closed. We lost him. This isn't going to go well. We're going to have to reel him back in." If you raised your hands, you jumped off the cliff. It was like, "I don't know how she thought she could come in here and do that, but we're going to talk to her afterward. You don't do that here."

I still remember the first time ever that I raised my hands in worship. I was at a Passion Conference. I sensed that I was going to, but I was like, "Man, if I do that, if I cross that line, I can never go back. That's not something you can take back. When you put your hands up, that's making a declaration to the world that you're becoming somebody different." I was like, "I'm going to do it." You know, you kind of start at the hinge. You kind of have this motion. Then it's like, "Agh!" I was like, "Yeah, yeah. I can do this. I can raise my hands. Yeah!"

Some of y'all know exactly what I'm talking about. Some of y'all are still here, and maybe you do the one-arm. Sometimes you do this. Some of you go for this. I'm more of a fist pumper lately. If you watch me, I'm like… I mean, you do you. But when you look at the Scriptures, clapping or singing loudly or raising your hands or sitting silently… All of them are biblical motions, yet some of us are fearful of truly, fully responding.

Let me say this. My fear is not getting carried away by the Spirit. My fear is completely disregarding and ignoring the Spirit. What do I mean by that? I don't think we're going to get carried away by the Spirit. I think our theology, as elders, is intact, but what we want for people is biblical freedom, that you would respond in worship as the Spirit leads you to respond. Please don't spectate. The people up here are worshiping as they lead. They are not performers; they are worship leaders. They are seeking to lead you to worship alongside them. So engage.

Then let me say this. I love how Paul said, "…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…" Does that mean it's going to become a musical around here where we're singing, "How is your day going?" No. What's interesting is to think when you come into this place and start singing, it's not just you and God. When you worship, you're not just declaring something to God; you're actually declaring something to the people around you.

When you start worshiping, what you're saying is, "Hey! In case you're asleep, God is worth it. If you're distracted right now, wake up. Let's do this together." I love what David says in Psalm 34. He's like, "Come exalt the Lord with me. Come on! Let's do this. Let's go." Don't spectate; worship. All right. I have to move on.

3. Are we being emboldened by the Spirit? Acts 4:31. This is right after Peter and John were busted out of prison. It says, "And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness."

This is just good to analyze. Is there a spiritual power outage in your life? I'll just confess there are times where I fail to turn a conversation spiritual or to share the gospel out of fear…fear of man, fear of making things awkward, fear of hurting the relationship. As I was preparing this week, it was so good for me to be reminded that that fear is not from the Lord at all. I have the Spirit of the living God in me, and he empowers me to share the gospel.

Even this week, I was going to get my hair cut, and I go to the same girl every time. That's how it works. I don't want to risk it. She knows what I need. There have been times when I've gone to see her where we've talked around spiritual things. I've asked if I could pray for her, but I've never shared the gospel with her. As I was preparing for this message, I was like, "I think God wants me to just share it with her."

It was so good for me to know, "Hey, I have the Spirit of God living in me." So, when I sat in that chair, I was like, "Hey, this is random, but I just feel like I'm supposed to ask you if I can share with you how Jesus changed my life." That's it. I wasn't looking for a progressive in. It was like, "You know what? Let me just cut to it. I mean, I've got you for another 20 minutes here, and you can't go anywhere, although you have a lot of power right now."

It was the power of the Holy Spirit in me. It was so good to push back on any fear of awkwardness and be able to tell her, "Hey, I grew up a rule follower, and I believed I could earn God's love with good behavior, but what I realized is that God's love isn't something you earn as a reward; it's something you can only receive freely as a gift, because, honestly, you can never be good enough for God. That's why Jesus is so important.

Jesus Christ lived the perfect life I never could, died for my sins, and rose from the dead so I can experience complete forgiveness with God. So many people want to believe God is kind of a 'do good, get good; do bad, get bad' type of God, and that's just not him. So, if you've never understood the gospel, that's it: Jesus has come to do what you can't." So I encourage you. I know what it is like to experience fear when it comes to sharing your faith. There's no shame here with that, but I do want to encourage you to push back on that fear and say, "The Spirit of the living God lives inside of me to empower me."

4. Are we unified in the Spirit? We talked a couple of weeks ago about the Spirit's work of adoption, that because of the Spirit of God we belong in the family of God. We are children of God because of the Spirit's work of adoption in our lives, which means you are a son or a daughter of God because of the work of the Spirit. It means you have brothers and sisters in the faith because of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Every time we get together, every Sunday when we gather, this is a family reunion. So, we just have to evaluate if we want to be a healthy or a dysfunctional family. What are we going to be? Are we going to be a healthy or a dysfunctional family? Listen to Acts 4:32, which comes right after the verse I just read about the Spirit emboldening the apostles.

It goes on and says this in verse 32: "Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common." Do you see this? It says the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul. They were unified.

You might read that and be like, "Well, the full number… What are we talking about? Are we talking about 20 people in someone's home? Yeah, that's a lot more doable than 10,000 people." No. Acts 4:4 told us that at this point 5,000 men had trusted Christ. So, if you add on wives and children, we're talking about a church in the first century approximately the same size as Watermark Community Church, and it says they were of one heart and soul.

They were unified. There was no division. No one was dying on the hill of their preferences or opinions. No one was looking at the church, saying, "You know what? Are you meeting all of my needs? Are you doing things exactly how I think you should do them?" No. There was a dying to self. There was a common desire for Christ to be exalted and for the gospel to go forth.

So, I just want to share my heart with you really quickly. I think it's good for us to acknowledge that we are doing things the Enemy hates. We just finished up 21 days of praying and fasting as a church. That Wednesday night, the 21st, we gathered together and shared stories testifying to God's freedom in people's lives. We are doing things the Enemy hates. There is fruit. The Spirit of God is moving.

At the same time, there's change right now. We rolled out new vision. We're losing the Elmores, people we love on staff. When you put everything together, the fact that God is doing good things alongside of different change that is happening, it's a recipe for attack. It's a recipe for division, so we have to remember what Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8: "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."

I just want to call it out right now. We have an enemy who would love to cause division in our church, and he would love to use you to cause it. Let me encourage you with Paul's words to the believers in Ephesus. He says in Ephesians 4, "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Did you see that? "…eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." What does it look like to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace right now at Watermark? Let me encourage you to do a few things, and then we'll respond in worship.

1. Seek clarity. If there's anything happening that's confusing to you, seek clarity. I stand down front every Sunday until everyone is gone. I'll be happy to talk to you today. If I can provide clarity, I'd love to do it.

2. Be a dead end for gossip, criticism, or negative talk. If people start talking negatively, call it out and say, "Look. There's a right way and a wrong way to express concern, and this type of negative criticism is not of God. It will divide instead of unify."

3. Respond instead of react. Respond to God instead of reacting to people and the circumstances. I'm just going to be honest with you. I get emails from people I have never met who don't even start with a greeting. There's no "Hello, TA. We've never met. This is who I am." It's literally just the body of an email with their critique or their hot take. You can't even dignify me to say, "Hello, TA. This is going to be a tough email."

That is keyboard courage. It's feeling the freedom to say whatever you want because your computer screen or phone depersonalizes it. I can take the tough emails. It's hard, though, for me to believe that someone woke up, spent time with God, met with Jesus, made themselves completely available to the Spirit of God to lead and direct their steps, asked the Spirit what he would have them say, and then fired off an email that doesn't even acknowledge the person.

This is just good… This isn't just about me. This is about how we communicate with each other in our Community Groups. This is how we communicate out in the world with parents of kids at different schools. We're either going to unify or we are going to divide. So, when it comes to how you communicate, when it comes to how you text or how you email, here's a good rule to live by: before you hit "send," read it back and answer this question.

If you had to read that message to that person eye to eye, if you had to stand in front of them and read it, would you still say the same thing or would you feel a need to caveat or say, "Well, what I really meant here was…" or "I just wanted to make sure you hear my tone that this is what I mean." We're either going to divide or we're going to unify. Respond instead of react.

4. Be all in. Be all in with what God is doing here. Come ready and expectant to worship on Sundays. Double down on your commitment to your Community Group. Pray regularly for what God is doing here. Start praying by name for one unbeliever every day until Easter. If you're part of the 35 percent of members who haven't given a dollar to Watermark in the past year, jump in. If you aren't serving, jump in. We need more people to serve.

We turned away 76 kids from our children's ministries last Sunday simply because we didn't have enough people to serve to accommodate them. We have women waiting to get into groups in re:generation. We need more female leaders. Since the beginning of 2024, Watermark Health has turned away about 300 patients at our Skillman clinic because we don't have enough volunteers. My point is just be all in. Jump in with what God is doing here.

How do we respond to a message like this? When we talk about being led by the Spirit, being filled by the Spirit, being emboldened by the Spirit, and being unified in the Spirit, here's what I want to do. I want to call us to be a people who pray and then respond in worship. So, this is a moment where I'm going to ask you to get in a posture where you want to seek God and beg God through prayer. If you want to get on your knees, you can get on your knees. If you want to stand, you can stand. If you just want to sit where you're sitting, you can do that as well.

I'm going to ask that we pray that there would be a power surge in our lives individually and a power surge in this church collectively. So, let's take a moment and pray. Let's ask for God's movement in this place. I just want to invite you right now to say, "God, I want to be led by you. Would you give me a sensitivity to your Spirit? I would want to know it if the Spirit was telling me 'No' or 'Go.'"

Ask the question, "Holy Spirit, is there anything you want me to know right now?" Just ask him. Then ask the Spirit to fill this place as we're about to worship. Ask the Spirit, "Holy Spirit, how would you have me respond in worship right now?" Then pray, "God, would you give me an opportunity to share the gospel this week and the boldness by the power of your Spirit to do it?" Then pray that God would unify our church, that by the power of his Spirit we would be of one heart, one soul. Pray against the Enemy's work of division in our midst.

Then, if you don't have a relationship with Jesus, and you've heard the gospel, the good news of Jesus clearly today, then you can pray, "Lord Jesus, would you come into my life today? Thank you that you died on the cross for me. Thank you that you rose from the dead for me. Would you come into my life? Would you forgive me of my sins? Would you lead me in a new life? I want you to be my Savior and my Lord."

Holy Spirit, would you have your way in our lives? Would you exalt Christ in us and through us? We need you. We love you. In Jesus' name, amen.

About 'A Spirit-Led Church'

We study the work and person of the Holy Spirit so that we can more fully understand and experience the Spirit in our lives.