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As I consider the story of a boy confronting a lion and a bear to defend his sheep, I can’t help but be in awe. To have the audacity and bravery to grab a lion by its beard, kill it with a sword, and rescue a lamb out of its jaws is the work of a seasoned warrior, not a shepherd boy. David was faithful before God in private before he was esteemed by God publicly.
The lion and the bear represent things that we overcome in obscurity before we earn the right to face and defeat our Goliath in the public arena. If we cannot overcome our lion and bear, we will never be able to defeat our giant. When God anoints us with His Holy Spirit, He endows us to overcome and be faithful in the private arena as well as the public. The Spirit’s power is not just for the pulpit, but for the private. His Spirit empowers us to be faithful NOT just with the sacred (church stuff) but for the secular (holding a steady job).
In the lonely hills surrounding the small village of Bethlehem, David faithfully shepherded his father’s sheep. When the prophet Samuel was sent to Jesse the Bethlehemite to anoint one of his sons as the future king of Israel, David, being the youngest of eight sons, was not even invited to the sacrifice and feast. Someone had to watch the sheep in the wilderness and it might as well be the runt of the litter (1 Sam. 16:1-13). When David was finally brought before the Prophet, the Lord spoke to Samuel and told him to pour the anointing oil on him, for he is the one (Ex. 30:22-33). The holy anointing oil found its way to a young teenager, in an out-of-the-way place, and on unremarkable lonely hills. Isn’t this the way of God; to bypass pedigree and outward appearance to call whom He chooses? (1 Cor. 1:26-31) When the enabling power of the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you are changed into a new person. With the Holy Spirit comes the spirit of faith (2 Cor. 4:13). All things are now possible for him who believes (Mark 9:23). When the kingly anointing comes upon you, there is an infusion of nobility, courage and integrity. From among the ewe lambs arises a lion. From the youngest of eight sons arises a king. To think that this same Holy Spirit that empowered kings, priests and mighty prophets of the Old Testament, indwells, New Testament believers (John 14:15-18). God has truly made us Kings and Priests to the Most High God (1 Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:6, 5:10).
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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. NKJV
Can a person change?
When I was 21 years old, I played drums for a bar band in Saginaw Michigan. One night after the gig, the drunken bash moved from the night club to a home. My friend dragged me out of the party because I was causing trouble and he was afraid that a couple guys would jump me and clean my clock (something I probably deserved). On the way home we missed a turn and our car smashed head on into the face of a ditch. I woke up in the hospital emergency room with a bruised face and my upper and lower jaw were broken in seven places. While recuperating at home with my jaw wired shut, I was contemplating what a loser I was and wondered; if I had died in that wreck would I have gone to hell? One day as I was thinking on heaven and hell and the existence of God, a knock came on the door. It was a friend that I hadn’t seen in a year or so. He told me about how he had given his life to Christ and then invited me to go to church with him that night. God’s timing was amazing. Here I was, in a low place and questioning everything about my life and God sends a witness.
At the service that night I made my way to the front of the church and committed my life to Christ. A fellow came over to me, put his hand on my back and prayed with me. He then spoke 2 Corinthians 5:17 to me, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” I can’t explain to you how much hope that verse brought to me. My life would be changed now. I would have a new beginning and fresh start. God would help me change the direction of my life.
The transformation was so radical and severe that it put a fright into some of my friends and family. Some thought I was having an emotional breakdown (something that did happen when I was 17 just after my parents divorced). Some thought I had been deceived into joining a fanatical religious cult. My Dad even bought me a book on cults and told me to see if I was in there. Some of this was pretty humorous to me. I quit drinking alcohol, drugs and cigarettes cold turkey. My language was so vile and filthy that I could not use one sentence without cussing. I would catch myself just before letting a revolting word slip out. My speech was strange, broken and stuttered for a while as I kept stopping myself mid-sentence from letting loose something nasty (which happened from time to time, even in church).
As strange and humorous that some of that sounds, I was desperate for stability. God and His word became an anchor to my wounded soul. Like Odysseus who had his men tie him to the mast so he would not listen to the Sirens luring his ship to smash into the rocky shore. I also lashed myself to God and his word so I would not self-destruct. Well-meaning people would say to me, “You don’t have to be so extreme.” “You can still be a Christian and not be so fanatical” “If you read your Bible too much you’ll go insane.” I want you to know that people can change. It happened to me and if it happened to me it can happen to anyone. If you are desperate to see positive changes in your life, turn to Jesus whole heartedly and He will hear your deepest cry and longing. It’s time for a radical transformation.
Pastor Alan Leonhardt
If you are desperate for a transformation then pray this prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I am a sinner, and I ask you for your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior.
In Your Name, Amen
For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." NKJV
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. NIV
1 John 5:12-13
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. NKJV
Hastings Assembly Of God
1674 W State Rd
Hastings, MI 49058
Sunday Worship 10:00 am
Visit the "Connect" room twenty minutes before & after service.
Every 5th Sunday: Potluck following service.
1st & 3rd Sunday at 6pm
All church Prayer
2nd & 4th Sunday at 6 pm
Life Groups at various homes.
Wednesday evening is Family Night
7:00 PM Respective classes