The Rock Covenant Church

The Rock Church Worship Service

We Believe (You whom we cannot see)
Open Up The Heavens (Open up the heavens, we want to see You, open up the floodgates, a mighty river)
Jesus You Have Won Me (Oh, oh oh oh oh, Grace you've shown me grace, Jesus You have won me)
Holy Is The Lord (We stand and lift up our hands, Holy is The Lord God Almighty)
The Solid Rock (My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness)

All church BBQ in 2 weeks, the meat is provided but we need side dishes

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV)

Paul begins the letter to the Ephesians, existing Christians, that Christ already dwells within our hearts
I think there are a lot of Christians today with knowledge but not experience
Blaise Pascal
Great philosopher in the 1600s
After he died, they found a journal entry sewn into the lining of his jacket

Year of grace 1654, Monday 23 November, feast of St. Clement . . . from about half past ten at night to about half an hour after midnight, FIRE. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars. Certitude, heartfelt joy, peace. God of Jesus Christ. God of Jesus Christ. “My God and your God.” . . . Joy, Joy, Joy, tears of joy. . . Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ. May I never be separated from him.

Ed. Note: Google search for “blaise pascal 1654 Monday 23rd November” led me to this article.

This is a person who had an experience of fire
The God of Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, not the God of philosophers and scholars
He took this written expression of the experience and sewed it into his jacket as a constant reminder
Dwight L. Moody, one of the greatest preachers of hype 20th century
Asked God to spare him of the overwhelming-ness of the experience
Without the experience of Christ, we will not be able to live lives of power
You already have the love of Christ
The problem is that we’re not drawing from that
What do we need to do that?
A spiritual sensitivity in order to tap into the resource that is already there
A power of spirit in your inner being
There’s a difference between believing and knowing
It’s one thing to hear about it, it’s quite another for it to grasp you
When it overwhelms you, it takes you to a different place
You want to dance and sing
You don’t know about it, you KNOW it
Up until the age of 7, I had never left Michigan
That year, we took a trip to California to visit my grandparents
Having never been to California, the one thing that needed to be done was seeing the redwood forests
I had seen pictures of them, but couldn’t believe in them
When we went, I KNEW them
It is possible to have strong beliefs and knowledge, and still not have it in your inner being
The psalmist says taste it
Paul says, “My prayer for you is that the love of Jesus would be more for you than a mother or a lover”
He is praying for a people that already have a knowledge of the love of Jesus Christ to go deeper to an experience of Jesus Christ
Many of us as Christians have numbers in our bank account that we don’t draw from, we choose to live in poverty
To be filled with the fullness of God
You hear a sermon like this and say, “okay, gotta get the goosiebumps of God”
When the knowledge and the experience fuse together into one, you won’t be filled with self-loathing
Christians, hear this: you already have the Holy Spirit living in you
You still need theology and solid doctrine and knowledge
But when you start talking about intimacy with The Lord Jesus, that’s too far
Then there’s the other end of the spectrum where it’s just about the experience without the solid base of knowledge
How do we get more of this in our lives?
You can’t just sit there and wait for the Holy Spirit to overwhelm you
* Learn how to develop a regular, sustained, and seeking prayer life
One of the early church fathers said this simple prayer, “Lord Jesus make thyself real to me, a living bright reality”
Another simple prayer that I pray, “Holy Spirit, you lead, I will follow”
“Jesus make me fierce with reality today”
Get this thing going in the right direction
* A long obedience in the right direction
I took this from Eugene Peterson
The fact that Paul was kneeling is important
People of that time stood and prayed
You’re not going to be able to fully grasp the love of God if your conscience is bothering you
“Today I choose to kneel before you”
And I submit to that
* Living in a Christian community
If you want to know God deeply
You need to be around other people that are walking in that same direction
The practice of determined meditation
This word grasp is originally translated as wrestle
To jump on something
Who or what are we supposed to be wrestling with?
Going back to the psalms and look at how the psalmists prayed
Psalm 42
Why are you so despondent? Put your faith in God
Psalm 103
Talking to themselves, arguing with themselves, their soul
Wrestling with the truths of God and pounding them into the inner reality of their soul
When you practice meditation, start by reading the Scriptures
Then talk to God
Then meditate, wrestle these truths into your soul
Take the 30 minute challenge
Sit down with a piece of paper, take a passage of Scripture, and write about it
After 10 minutes of genius inspiration, you’ll hit a wall (like a runner)
If you keep going, some of it will be inspired, other bits will be garbage
Christianity is from the east
Fill your mind with the things of Christ
And then one day it will drop and you will stand at the base of His glory and say “I didn’t realize it was this much”
Meditated on how wide the love of God is
In Isaiah, your sins are scarlet
You will be as white as snow
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done because the love of God is so much wider
How long
The Holy Spirit poured His love upon us before the foundations of the world
It’s outside the time continuum
How deep
Jesus went down to the pits of Hell for us
How high
In John, Jesus prays for us to have the same relationship with one another and with us
Next week, Paul Duncan
Then Dan Parkins
Then Paul Duncan
Taking a little break from the pulpit

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