The Supernatural Gifts (of the Holy Spirit)

By Matt Dawson


There was this awesome little book that came out in January of this year called “Gifted:Unleash the Power Within” by a brilliant young author (yes, the joke is intended)…if you haven’t read it yet – you can purchase a copy in the lobby or online!

When I talk to folks about the Spiritual Gifts, 99% of them go straight to their confusion, misunderstanding, or outright rejection/acceptance of the supernatural gifts (or manifestation gifts) written about in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

“To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wisdom; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.” (1 Corinthians 12:8-10 NLT)

Wisdom, Special Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Distinguishing Between Spirits (Discernment), Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues.

Paul continues this conversation in chapter 14 around the 2 gifts that the church in Corinth had trouble with as well (Prophecy and Tongues).

Why are these “supernatural” gifts so hard to understand?

Let me give you 3 reasons that I believe why we struggle with these 9 supernatural gifts given to us through the Holy Spirit.

1. We Don’t Have Spiritual Awareness in The West.
One of the greatest benefits to modern western culture is our ability to think critically. We are taught from a very young age to logically analyze, process, and critically challenge our own thoughts and actions. This is something that is not all that common in the rest of the world. However, the rest of the world is highly attune to supernatural and spiritual manifestations, while we in western culture have all but full removed them from our existence.

This makes understanding the spiritual and supernatural a greater challenge for us. We read scriptures and hear testimonies of miracles, divine intervention, and healing but it all seems suspect to our minds. It all seems like a fairy tale or something that only happens on a fictional middle earth. Or we see the abuse of these gifts being used for fame & profit (healing revivals, prosperity gospel) and witness gifts like tongues in a group of babbling believers that looks more like chaos than worship.

All spiritual gifts are supernatural, however these 9 gifts not only occur when the Holy Spirit resides in us, they “manifest” themselves supernaturally in our lives. The more we can train ourselves to become spiritually aware (read Don’s book “Sixth Sense”) the more we will see and experience these gifts.

2. Supernatural = Evil.
Because of the exploitation of our Enemy’s power in our modern culture, most of us were raised (outside of superhero comics) to relate the supernatural to that of demons, evil spirits, and ghosts. From tales of witches to modern day paranormal activity, we as a modern culture entertain ourselves with negative examples of supernatural power and therefore have a difficult time seeing anything supernatural in a positive light.

If God were to supernaturally use your hands on someone to heal them right before your eyes, most of us would be personally filled with fear and bewilderment rather than awe and wonder of our God who has answered our prayers so miraculously!

3. Loss of Control (Fear).
One of the reasons many churches and denominations simply do not teach or encourage the use of supernatural gifts is the loss of control it represents. All religions are based on an organization system of control – including most evangelical churches. We embrace what we can control and activate – we shy away from or denounce what is mysterious and outside of our ability to control it. Such is the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. We embrace faith and wisdom, but fear the rest because they don’t easily fit within the context of our church programming.

If you ask God to “move” in your life – then expect it to be supernatural and outside of your control or ability to control it. Discernment is needed because many will use mysticism as a way to engage the spiritual without being led by the Holy Spirit. However believers should NEVER fear the work of the Holy Spirit through those who are mature in living out of their spiritual gifts!

STUDY THE GIFTS
Studying these gifts are essential to every believers journey as they continue to grow in maturity in Christ. I also believe every single person has at least one manifestation gift in their mix of gifts given to them by the Trinity. God desires to supernaturally work through you, but you cannot experience this or live in the power of the Holy Spirt if you relate to the struggle listed above.

Confess to God where you personally struggle the most with understanding the spiritual/supernatural. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you and to help you address these issues so that you can continue to grow and mature in your walk with Jesus!

Guardrails Series Preview

By Matt Dawson


I’m excited about the upcoming series at Journey entitled “Guardrails”.

We all know what Guardrails are: They are a system designed to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas (bridges, medians, curves).

They primarily do two things. They DIRECT us and they PROTECT us.

We believe as followers of Christ that God gave us wonderful wisdom and guidance on GUARDRAILS FOR OUR LIVES. Throughout scripture God reveals WARNINGS and WISDOM to help us create our own personal guardrails to keep us from straying off course or derailing our lives completely. Whenever we HIT these self-imposed guardrails we reduce the damage that could potentially happen in our lives without them.

Everyone needs Guardrails.

However, we live in a culture where having personal guardrails (self imposed disciplines) is criticized and viewed as unnecessary religious dogma. Our culture sells us the lie that all we really need is GUIDELINES to give us suggestions and warnings, yet has no problem judging those who have affairs, go bankrupt, drive inebriated, or struggle with addictions.

Think about it… OUR GREATEST REGRETS could have been avoided if we would have had personal, moral, financial, or professional guardrails in our lives!

Join us for the next several weeks at Journey Church as we spend time looking at the importance of “Guardrails” in our lives.

Easter Preview Blog

By Matt Dawson


As we approach Easter Sunday, I’m excited about gathering together as a part of the local body of Christ at Journey Church. 

This Easter, we made the decision to not tie the service into any other message series. It’s a stand along message that I’ve been working on for the last several months with excitement and anticipation of what God will do in our church.

For those that read this blog, you get the inside scoop on what we will be talking about and how you can be praying this weekend before we gather together.

The title for the day is “RAISED TO LIFE.”  The scripture we’re centering on is from John 11:25-26 when Jesus said these words

“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.”

Jesus never misspoke. He was very specific to use these words to not only describe what He was capable of (outside of Lazarus’s tomb) but that HE IS RESURRECTION AND LIFE!  That’s who Jesus is!

That same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now lives in us! (Romans 8:11) There is nothing we will face in this life…even death, that Jesus does not have the power in us to overcome. No marriage problems, no addictions, no depression, no layoffs, no cancer, no rejection, no betrayal, no financial hardship, and no family crisis that JESUS CANNOT RAISE TO LIFE! 

This weekend, we will celebrate the RESURRECTION of Jesus – not just the EVENT that marks the calendar, but the Son of Man who is actively at work in our lives today resurrecting what is dead and giving as a NEW LIFE IN HIM.

Pray with me as we approach Sunday together for those that God has coming to Journey. That we would HUMBLY point everyone that comes to ABSOLUTE HOPE and that they would experience the RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE OF JESUS who loves them!

New Wine in Old Wineskins

By Matt Dawson


Jesus was asked one day why his disciples didn’t follow TRADITION.

Luke 5:33-39 “One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?” Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”

I love this set of verses. Jesus had such a gift of using practical illustrations to help people understand spiritual things.

TRADITION

I’m not against tradition. Some people might think I am because I am an “early adopter” when it comes to new ideas, technology, and methods of accomplishing tasks. However, I enjoy tradition sometimes. I enjoy having Christmas ON Christmas morning.  I enjoy some of the traditions in liturgy that the church has passed down from generation to generation. I would even say that I enjoy traditions that honors what should be honored (like the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem).

However, I’m NOT a fan of people forcing tradition ON ME.

When tradition is forced, sometimes it’s no big deal.  Like when I visit other countries and other cultures, I have no problem falling in line with what they want and expect to honor them.  As a matter of fact, I enjoy hearing about HOW and WHY those traditions took root in their culture.

However, Jesus is quick to help those in the passage above understand that TRADITION is very different than TRANSFORMATION. The initial argument over fasting is easy to address. Jesus says – when I’m gone, they will fast. It would be foolish for them to fast while I’m here with them.

But then He went on to talk about real TRANSFORMATION. We don’t use a NEW CLOTH to patch an old suit. It doesn’t match; it doesn’t work.  He was saying we don’t try to FIT SOMETHING NEW onto SOMETHING OLD.  He was, of course, speaking about the NEW COVENANT He was bringing to God’s people in contrast to the OLD Covenant of the Law.

He then uses the example of WINE. If we try to force new wine into old wineskins – it wouldn’t work!  New wine NEEDS new wineskins for both to work and be preserved. And as a FINAL DIG on the folks asking the question – he says that some who drink the OLD WINE don’t even want what’s new. “The old is just fine,” they say.

TRANSFORMATION

At the heart of these illustrations is the picture of real transformation that happens to those who follow Christ. We cannot accept the love and grace of God and try to ADD IT TO our old way of trying to make ourselves right with God by our actions and behavior. IT WON’T WORK.

Real TRANSFORMATION comes when the grace and love of Jesus that saves you (NEW WINE) is poured into a new life. A life now surrendered to the Holy Spirit, who’s living in obedience to His ways, and living out the mission of telling the world about Jesus (NEW WINESKINS).

Many people who are STUCK IN RELIGION, are stuck in the traditions of men and focus more on the outward behavior and if it matches their RULES and TRADITIONS.  If they don’t, they get bent out of shape and QUESTION why you don’t love Jesus!

Jesus spoke these words for YOU and for ME. We cannot take what Jesus has done for us and try to mix it with our old lives and traditions of men. Jesus gave us A NEW LIFE.  We are a NEW MAN in Him.  New wine MUST have new wineskins!

The Dangers of Old Testament Thinking in Our New Testament Faith

By Matt Dawson


 

As Christians, it’s vitally important that we understand the Old Testament and how it reveals the character and nature of God to us. That’s why we do a message series on it at least twice a year.

However, we have to be careful not to allow OLD COVENANT thinking to invade our NEW COVENANT relationships with Jesus Christ. Jesus was very clear when He came to earth that He was NOT AN ADDITION to the old model of faith, but was starting something BRAND NEW!

Matthew 5:17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.

Throughout Jesus’ entire ministry, He used “the Law” to show His disciples their inability to keep the Law and their need for “something NEW.” He summarized over 600+ commandments into one command and established the NEW Covenant on his last night before being arrested. Jesus was not an extension of the old temple model, He fulfilled it!

Many denominations and churches today suffer from Christian SYNCRETISM, in which they believe in Jesus for Salvation but still view “the Law” as the manner by which we obtain salvation and keep God happy.

Here are THREE EXAMPLES of the dangers of Syncretism to the Christian faith.

1. Vertical Morality – we spend a lot of time worrying about our behavior to make sure we’re in good with God. Our actions don’t come from love but from fear. However, Jesus said that in this NEW covenant, how we love God would reflect through our love for others. God’s desire throughout the entire Old Testament (Law & Prophets) was for us to love God and love others equally.

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

When we believe we have to jump through behavioral hoops to keep God happy, we can easily neglect to love others and yet believe that we are perfectly fine with God. This is why you’ve met some of the angriest, self-righteous, judgmental people who actually believe they are right with God regardless of how they treat you. It’s dangerous to mix old covenant vertical morality with Christianity.

2. Temple Worship – the idea of sacred spaces & places was all changed when the veil was torn and the Holy Spirit entered every believer (New Covenant). Now our bodies are the temple and God is with us wherever we go.

2 Corinthians 6:16 “…For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

With Old Testament thinking, we put a higher value on beautiful sanctuaries over school gymnasiums. God’s house is the LOCATION where people gather (local church) and that we GO THERE to meet with God. However, Jesus said in Matthew 18 that where 2 or 3 are gathered, He’s there. We have to be careful when we mix old covenant thinking with Christianity.

3. Nationalism – there is a great deal written in the Old Testament about the way that God blessed the NATION (all of God’s people) on the actions of a few leaders OR judged them all because of the disobedience of their leaders. This has found its way into a strange form of Christian Nationalism in America that should have no place in our theology. The Bible calls us to respect and pray for our leaders, but the message of the New Covenant is one of personal responsibility and accountability. We will not be judged or held accountable for what our leaders do and how they affect us…. rather you will be judged and held accountable to God for what YOU are doing and how that affects others.

Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

When nations and cultures are “seemingly” being judged by God, they are really just collectively reaping the consequences of trying to live outside of God’s way! We WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE as followers of God… not as a “so-called Christians nation.”

These are just a few examples of how dangerous it can be to MIX old covenant thinking with the NEW Covenant Jesus brought us. It does not ABOLISH the law, but Jesus fulfilled it by His death and resurrection. We are not stuck in a life of fear driven by VERTICAL MORALITY…our gatherings at a local coffee shop can be Holy Spirit filled, just like it was in the Temple of God… and our NATION is not the entity that drives God’s favor or judgement, but how each of us loves one another because Christ loved us!

Social Community – Is it Real Community? Is it Healthy?

By Matt Dawson


In our current age of technological advancement and immediate access to every person on earth – I’m asked often about the value of “social community,” especially when it comes to young adults and aging parents.  Is it real community? Is it healthy to believe these virtual connections are real connections?

This blog is an opinion so you’re welcome to disagree with me and form your own conclusion.

I will say that I’m a fan of the technological advancements we have made to make the world smaller, and to help us connect easier to each other.  That being said, with every great thing comes the opportunity to abuse, misuse, and produce something unhealthy.  There are many blogs written about the warnings of social media, I’m going to share with you what is GOOD and USEFUL concerning Social Community.

To start, the best thing you can do is separate what you might assume is just a false sense of community through social media into two categories: Social Network and Online Community.

Social Networks
We all have friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors, and acquaintances. These all represent the touch points in our lives in which we share some of the deepest relationships we have to the most casual. Regardless, this spans over the course of our lives from that kid with the glasses we were in 2nd grade with, to that girl that I met last weekend at the conference that has a similar love of 80’s memorabilia.

Social Networks allow us to remain connected and get connected to every one of these relationships. When understating the purpose and usefulness of these networks, you can enjoy connecting with an old friend from school or forming a private group with family members to share photos of the kids & cousins.  This allows us to ask questions to our local network “hey…who’s got a plumber that they trust?” or “does anyone know why that road was shut down this morning?”

Social Networks are the EXTENSION of a relationship (all kinds relationships) that allow us to continue to CONNECT (network) with one another.

Online Communities
Online Communities can overlap some with relationships that I have in my social network, but most often are groups of people that I’ve connected with ONLINE. Most online communities are interest based and offer us the opportunity to engage with people we have never met and might not ever meet in person…but to whom we can have a relationship with through the online community.

In my current stage of life, I’m a member of several online communities that vary in interest from ministry partners and pastors, online coaching, and lovers of all things kayak.  These groups are filled with people from any gender, ethnicity, and from all over the world. It’s fascinating to take a conversation to a direct message with someone in Costa Rica about the kayaking they do down there…WOW!

Some use these communities as a “safe” option for relationships because they are less likely to be rejected and can find more people with similar unique interests to theirs.  Make no mistake, they value these relationships and consider these online communities very important to their life.

Online Communities are the ADDITIONAL relationships we have with people around the world that we may have never met, but who bring value and meaning to interests in our lives through these virtual communities.

Are they REAL Community?  Are they Healthy?
While I do not believe that we will EVER be able to live without close, face to face, connection, and interaction with each other in relationships – I do believe you can also find real community and healthy relationships online.  With the advancement of video chats (Marco Polo, Facebook Live, FaceTime) and faster connections, we have more and more opportunity to connect at a deeper level with people that we are physically removed from.

Our children need to be taught (and we often need to be reminded) that relationships are INTENTIONAL. The guidelines we chose to define our relationships will determine the AUTHENTICTY and the VALUE those relationships bring to our lives. If they are Christ-centered, grace-filled, challenging yet refreshing, with shared values and reciprocal friendships, then you can experience real, healthy community.

At the end of the day, how you approach social media and online groups will largely depend the results you get from them.

Join us at Journey Church as we discuss the details of a Healthy Church and a Healthy Community.

Gifted – Gifts or Talents?

By Matt Dawson


One question that emerges when doing a spiritual gifts study is the difference between a GIFT and a TALENT. There are other resources you can use to dive deep into the world that aligns and separates these two characteristics, but I will give you the baseline apologetic that I used in the Gifted book.

Talents
Talents are given to us by God and strengthened by our willingness to exercise and perfect them. There are no shortages on the list of talents that God has given us as a human species.

One of my favorite YouTube guilty pleasures is to watch Dude Perfect videos. These are the young men who throw tennis balls and footballs off skyscrapers, through a maze of hula hoops, all to land perfectly through a basketball net set up so far away they can barely see it. I know that it’s not impossible, but every trick they do is so improbable that I end up losing 2 hours in a black hole of endless videos. This is a TALENT.

I’m sure you’ve seen many people do what seems impossible to most of us, but they make it look so easy. Some have a talent for math while some have a talent to connect strangers over a business lunch meeting. Some are physical talents like a sport (Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth) and some are intellectual (Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein). Some are artistic (Jimmy Hendrix, Whitney Houston) and some are seen as more entertaining (Stephen King, Julia Roberts).

No matter the talent, the path is almost always the same. People are born with a bent and aptitude that is discovered early in life. They spend time exercising this talent, developing it, and some even perfect it.

The primary distinction that makes a talent different from a spiritual gift is that although both are given to us by our Creator, a talent does not require the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Many people granted talents by God do not recognize God, serve God, or even want to know God. That does not remove their talents or hinder them from growing. Talents are inherent abilities provided by the Creator of life (Psalms 139:14 NLT) “Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.” 

Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts are given to us by God. Jesus told Nicodemus that the process of being “born again” was not a physical rebirth but a spiritual rebirth (John 3:1-8). Paul tells us that when we receive Christ as our Savior, we die to this life and our real life becomes hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). That new life in us is guided by the Holy Spirit that lives in us and produces “fruit” in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

Spiritual gifts are supernaturally given when we receive our NEW LIFE through Jesus Christ.
That is what distinguishes our GIFTEDNESS. 

I wish that because of my salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, I could suddenly become a professional basketball player! That’s not going to happen. That’s not the purpose of our spiritual gifts. Talents can be fueled and encouraged by our spiritual gifts, but they do not arrive in our lives because of a spiritual rebirth.

Spiritual Gifts are given to us for purpose, transformation, and to have an impact for the kingdom of God. They are not a list of things we can achieve based on how much faith we have, or how hard we work for Christ. These gifts are given in variety, and God alone decides who is granted which gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:11 NLT “It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”

Our GIFTED Journey

By Matt Dawson


I’m so excited about what God has in store for Journey Church in 2018.

We’re kicking off the month of January with our theme for this year – GIFTED!

Starting this Sunday, we will begin a journey to better understand the spiritual gifts God has given each one of his kids.  When we better understand how we are our gifted, we can begin to understand the greater PURPOSE for our lives, experience the TRANSFORMATION we long to see in our hearts, and have a greater IMPACT in this world.  God has blessed you with incredible POWER through your individual gifts – it’s time to UNLEASH The Power Within!

To go along with our message series, I’ve written a resource book entitled “Gifted:Unleash the Power Within” and it’s now available on Amazon for purchase ($7.99).  It will be available in paperback ($12.99) by mid to late January, we hope. Our prayer is that this book is an incredible resource for you as we go through this message series together.

There are several NEW THINGS happening this month, some of which we plan to share with our Partners on the January 18th Partner Night.

We can’t wait to share with you all that God is already doing in our church to set us up for an AWESOME 2018!

Matt Dawson, Lead Pastor

2018 – It’s all NEW

By Matt Dawson


Before we get to the NEW YEAR – don’t forget to help us finish 2017 strong by giving to our Year End Giving Challenge.  We are 71% there!  CLICK HERE TO GIVE ONLINE

In 2018 – Everything is going to be NEW. 

Why? Because that’s my word for the year. A month or so ago I was praying about what 2018 would look like for me personally and for me as I continue to lead this amazing church we all love. It didn’t take God long to remind me of the scripture that is now the foundation for our NEW vision statement.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

I’m not the same man I was in 2016. I won’t be the same man I am today next year.  It’s all NEW.  

That’s what is so awesome about our relationship with Christ. He is always making things NEW in our lives as we partner together, grow in our faith, serve our neighbors/community, and lead our friends to absolute hope!

Our NEW LIFE is a Gift from God. That’s why we will be starting 2018 with a series called GIFTED. I’m also releasing a book entitled “GIFTED: Unleash the Strength Within” to accompany the series.  The e-book will drop (Lord willing) on January 2nd on Amazon and the printed version should be available mid-January at Journey and on Amazon.

God has some other NEW things in store for Journey Church as we launch into 2018.

  • New Groupsat Journey (1st Session begins Feb)
  • New Business Venture(First Fruits Realty)
  • NewOpportunities to Serve through HopeLKN Events
  • New Building Project(solving space issues in Kidstreet)
  • NewGlobal Outreach Opportunities (Haiti)
  • and much, much more!

I can’t wait to launch into 2018 with all of you! Don’t forget our first service of the year is on January 7th as we start GIFTED. See you in 2018.