Thank you, thank you, Leigh, for sharing that. God is doing amazing things here in Phoenix. Can everyone hear me okay? Great. We'll send all that information out to everyone so you can read and reflect on it at your own pace.

Now, moving on to a few church announcements. Next week, after our Sunday service, we'll be having a Trunk-or-Treat event in the parking lot. It's going to be a lot of fun and a highlight event, not just for our church, but for the community as well. Please spread the word and invite families. Especially since Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year, it's a great opportunity for kids to enjoy candy and festivities over the weekend.

Now, I must admit, if your kids are anything like mine, this is just one of the many opportunities they'll have to collect candy before Halloween. So, get ready for an influx of sweets at home!

For those who might not know, I have quite a sweet tooth, so I'm looking forward to it.

Moving on, I have a couple more announcements.

This past week, we witnessed something incredible. Jalen Davis, who's been a part of our Usher team, made the decision to get baptized. Jalen, we are all so proud of you and happy to have you as part of our church family.

In addition, we celebrated a physical birth. Leo Stidham was born on October 14th, weighing 7 pounds. We're organizing a meal train for the Stum family, so please make sure to sign up and show them some love. Our church family is growing, and it's beautiful to see.

So, as we can see, God is always working, and our family is always growing in one way or another.

Today, we are continuing our series on the Spirit, focusing specifically on 'Walking in the Spirit.' Before we dive into our main scripture for today, let’s take a moment to pray.

Alright, everyone, if you have your Bibles with you, please turn to Galatians Chapter 5.

As we navigate through our journey with the Spirit, let’s remember the words of John Muir: ‘In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.’ This can be true in our walk with the Spirit as well. It's about action, and as we live our lives listening to the Spirit's promptings, we might find surprises, challenges, peace, and so much more.

With that in mind, let’s delve into the scripture.

the past weeks, discussing how our faith can be unshakable, even in the midst of trials. But today, I want to focus on this aspect of heeding the Spirit's call, because it takes us to a deeper level of living out our faith.

You see, when we talk about heeding the Spirit’s call, it’s about more than just navigating the daily challenges of life with a positive attitude. It’s about living a life that’s radically aligned with the purposes and priorities of God. It means that we’re willing to say ‘no’ to ourselves and ‘yes’ to God, even when it costs us something. It means that we're willing to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus, just as He called us to do.

In Galatians 5, Paul talks about walking by the Spirit. And when we walk by the Spirit, we are led by the Spirit, and we bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. But it’s important to note that this doesn’t happen automatically. It requires intentionality. It requires action on our part.

We must be willing to heed the Spirit’s call, to pay attention when the Spirit prompts us to act, to speak, or even to remain silent. The Holy Spirit is our guide, our teacher, our comforter, and our advocate. But we have to be willing to listen. We have to be willing to surrender our will to His.

As we continue in our journey of faith, I want to challenge each of us to pay attention to the Spirit’s call in our lives. What is He prompting you to do? Who is He prompting you to reach out to? What area of your life is He challenging you to surrender more fully to Him?

Let’s not be content with just showing up and living a semi-moral life. Let’s strive to live by the Spirit, to walk in step with the Spirit, and to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Let’s heed the Spirit’s call, and let's do it with intentionality and action.

So, as we reflect on this message and as we go about our week, I encourage each of us to take some time to listen to the Spirit’s call. What is He saying to you? How is He leading you? And how can you respond in obedience and faith?

Let’s pray and ask God to help us heed the Spirit’s call in our lives.

In our household, we sometimes find ourselves pondering over the 'what-ifs' of life’s challenges. "What’s the worst that could happen?" we ask. For instance, in times of financial uncertainty, I’d reassure myself saying, “Well, I have a nice tent!” Though I’m pretty sure my family wouldn’t fancy living in it, it brings us to a point of realization.

We tend to worry over the little things. “So what if my kids don’t get a trampoline this year? 

They’ll be okay.” I recall my own childhood, content with just dirt and rocks to play with. 

Recently, my kids were at a pet store asking for a lizard. Living in Arizona, I suggested, “Why not build a habitat in our yard instead?

As Christians, we aspire to harbor the Heart of Jesus, to maintain a positive outlook, and to affirm that, “It's going to be okay.” Ultimately, we have our relationship with God. As Paul says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” What’s the worst that can happen? Death would mean gaining Heaven.

Yet, heeding the spirit’s call demands a radical faith. During a recent midweek gathering at our house with the East Point youth, two brothers came wearing t-shirts that vividly illustrate two different life attitudes. One wore a shirt saying, “Nope, I’m not adulting today,” while the other's shirt read, “Life's journey is not to arrive safely at the grave in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Wow, what a ride!’”

This highlights a choice we have in our spiritual journey. Do we adopt a ‘not adulting today’ attitude, avoiding challenges and seeking comfort? Or do we choose to live life fully, embracing challenges and living a life of radical faith? Living by the spirit looks like skidding sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "What a ride!"

So, I pose the question: Do you want to live like this? It seems more fun, albeit tiring, and you might endure a few bumps and bruises along the way. But that’s the essence of freedom and radical faith – it's what it looks like to heed the spirit's call.

Practical Steps to Walking in the Spirit:

  1. Daily Prayer and Time in the Word: Faith needs daily nourishment. Just as water is essential every day, so is our need for prayer and engagement with the Scriptures.
  2. Evaluate Your Heart’s Responses: Reflect on how you respond to life’s moments, especially the challenging ones. Emulate Jesus’ heart of compassion, even when you feel drained.
  3. Be an Active Participant in the Community of Faith: Walking with the spirit is a communal journey. Ensure that you are not just a passive observer, but an active contributor to the spiritual well-being of your community.

Today, let’s take a moment to delve deep into a significant biblical moment - the encounter between the Rich Young Ruler and Jesus. In this encounter, the young man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus, fully aware of what was about to unfold, responded in a manner filled with love and wisdom.

Jesus’ Response: A Call to Self-Reflection

  1. Understanding Jesus’ Love: The Bible vividly describes this interaction, highlighting Jesus’ loving gaze towards the young man. It prompts us to ask ourselves, “What is my heart’s response in similar situations? Do I respond with love, or do I let anger, annoyance, or frustration take over?”
  2. Viewing Others through the Lens of Love: How do we perceive people of the opposite sex? Do we see them as children of God, or do our thoughts wander into impurity? This is a critical question we must all answer for ourselves.

Applying it to Daily Life

  1. Reflecting on Our Heart’s Response: As we navigate through our daily lives, be it in the classroom or at work, let’s consciously reflect on how our heart responds to different situations. Are our responses aligned with the fruits of the Spirit, or do they reveal a different picture?
  2. Giving Credit to the Spirit : In preparing for this lesson, I was reminded of the importance of giving credit to the Holy Spirit. This week, let’s practice responding to the nudges of the Spirit. If someone comes to mind, don’t hesitate; give them a call or send them a text. Share your encouragement and let the Spirit work through you.

I experienced this firsthand when I felt compelled to call someone I had met in Phoenix. Unbeknownst to me, he was in Wisconsin, dealing with his father’s imminent passing. That call turned into a 30-minute conversation and prayer, leaving me grateful for the Spirit’s guidance. It wasn’t about feeling good about myself; it was about recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit.

Celebrating the Work of the Spirit in Baptisms I witnessed the Holy Spirit’s marvelous work at Jaylen’s baptism. It was an amazing gathering of different generations, all coming together to celebrate this spiritual milestone. Yet, the true hero of the story was the Holy Spirit. It is crucial that we recognize and give credit to the Spirit in our stories and sharings.

As we close out the year and engage in church activities like homecoming services and Trunk or Treat, let’s be intentional about acknowledging the Spirit’s work in our lives. Whether we are setting up chairs, passing out candy, or participating in worship, let’s remember, it is the Spirit at work through us.

Now, as we transition to a time of communion, let’s reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. He embodied the fruits of the Spirit and demonstrated sacrificial love, all to ensure that we could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Let’s be grateful, and let’s remember to walk in step with the Spirit.

Heavenly Father, as we partake in communion, we remember the ultimate sacrifice of your Son, Jesus Christ. We reflect on our own lives, seeking forgiveness for the times we have chosen the flesh over the Spirit. Help us to embrace the freedom and peace that comes with following the Spirit’s lead, and may we continually strive to embody the fruits of the Spirit, just as Jesus did. In His name, we pray. Amen.