Friday, May 17, 2013
Dear Eastridge Family,
Living “Under the Influence”
If we are given a choice to be happy or to be sad, the choice is rather easy. I want to be happy. I would rather be with people who are happy. There’s nothing wrong with that. God wants joyous, excited, happy, and uplifted people. The problem lies in how happiness is generated. Some people think they’ll find it in a liquor bottle or in a narcotic. But neither of those is the Christian’s source of joy.
Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation.” Paul doesn’t try to prove that drunkenness is incompatible with Christianity, he simply gives the command. Once a person becomes a Christian, he says goodbye to the life he once lived in drunken debauchery–the party life is to have no place in a believer’s life.
One study I found said nearly 14 million Americans last year were classified as alcohol abusers or alcoholics–that’s about 1 out of every 13 adults. Millions more regularly engage in binge drinking or heavy drinking and over 50 percent of Americans report that one or more of their close relatives have a drinking problem.
I won’t lecture you on the dangers of alcohol — you’re no doubt painfully aware of the problem. Drunkenness causes violence, accidents, abuse, and indebtedness, and we pay millions of dollars in tax money to clean up the wreckage. Insobriety exacts a tremendous toll on our society, both directly and indirectly.
So if Christians are not to be drunk with wine, where do they find joy and happiness? The answer is in the second half of Ephesians 5:18: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” Your thrills, your exhilaration, and your happiness should be the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit, not from being filled with wine.
You might be shocked by the language of that verse. It sounds like Paul is saying we should be drunk with the Holy Spirit. In fact, observers of the apostles exuberant behavior at Pentecost mistakenly concluded they had been dipping into the wineskins a little too early in the morning (see Acts 2:1-4, 13-18). But here’s the idea: Being filled with the Spirit results in behavior marked by joy, boldness, and a lack of inhibition. Even a mild person can become bold and unafraid when living under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
That sounds like what happens when a person gets drunk, doesn’t it? But Paul is actually making a contrast, not a comparison, between wine and the Holy Spirit. Wine controls a person completely and works evil in his heart and life. The Holy Spirit also controls completely, but He empowers you unto true righteousness. The Spirit’s influence provides divine fuel for a different, free, uninhibited life lived for God’s glory.
In the next few weeks I want to look at what it means to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit. We will begin a new sermon series this Sunday which happens to be Pentecost Sunday.
· Youth Group Summer Retreat
Pastor James is leading our youth group on a week-long retreat in June. On Sunday he will give us some information on how we can help and support the youth.
· Discipleship Groups
We had several people respond Sunday expressing interest in being in a discipleship group. We hope to have a couple of new groups started by the end of May. If you have not indicated a desire to be in one of these discipleship groups please contact one of the Pastors: Andy, Daniel, Gloria or James.
· Board Meeting
Sunday afternoon immediately following the morning worship service we will have our monthly board meeting.
· Wednesday Bible Study
We have just recently started a study through the book of Acts. If you would like to join us on Wednesday evening at 6pm feel free to come out and join us through this study of the book of Acts.
· Missionary Guest Speaker
On June 9th during the morning worship service we will have Sharon Martin, as our guest speaker. Sharon and her husband have served as missionaries in Sierra Leone, West Africa since 2004.
· Favorite Quotes of the Week
“A spirituality that does not lead to active ministry becomes an indulgent preoccupation with self, and therefore grieves the Holy Spirit and violates the presence of the indwelling Christ.” - Maxie Dunham
For those who battle addictions: “Even though you get the monkey off your back, the circus never really leaves town.” - Ann Lamot
If you insist on marrying a child of the devil, you shouldn't be surprised when you have difficulties with your in-laws. – Douglas Wilson
You don't eat contaminated food nor drink filthy water. So why allow filthy content into you mind? – Rick Warren
Church is not an organization you join; it is a family where you belong. – Nicky Gumbel
"Religion can reform a person’s life, but it can never transform him. Only the Holy Spirit can transform!" - A.W. Tozer
I am looking forward to Celebrating the Risen Jesus with you on Sunday,