When God revealed that this is going to be the year of wholeness for our church, a pandemic is not what I had in mind. I kind of envisioned a more peaceful year where we could all just relax and experience wholeness.
But turns out, I didn’t really understand the path to wholeness. Let me show you what I mean:
James 1:2-4 NLT – Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
Alright, who wrote this? You’re telling me that I should consider COVID as an opportunity for great joy?
Maybe we just need to stop right here. We probably all need to take this one home and chew on it and apply it to our lives. But wait, it keeps going:
James 1:2-4 NLT – For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
Oh, now it is starting to make sense. When our faith is tested, we actually grow and become stronger in our faith. Just like working out. You have to put strain on your muscles in order for them to grow.
James 1:2-4 NLT – So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
In other words, you will be whole. So, in order to experience wholeness, our faith has to be tested. And when we let our faith grow, it will lead us into wholeness.
Whew. That’s good news for me. Because for a few weeks there I was worried that you guys might have thought I was crazy for prophesying the Year of Wholeness because the pandemic probably didn’t fit your description either.
Let me clarify something though. God did not bring the pandemic so that we could experience wholeness. But God is going to use it to lead us to wholeness.
Come on, let’s praise God for taking what the enemy meant for evil and turning it for good!
God wants us to experience wholeness not just here at church, but in every area of our lives. So, let’s break that down. What does it look like to experience wholeness everywhere?
Wholeness in my personal life.
If the church was doing good, but you weren’t, it really wouldn’t do a whole lot of good for you, would it? That’s why, first things first, God wants you to be whole on a personal level. Take a look:
1 Thessalonians 5:23 NLT – Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
God doesn’t just care about your spirit. He also cares about your soul and your body. Did you know that you are more than just a body? Yeah, you probably get that. But did you know there’s a difference between soul and spirit?
God is also made up of three parts: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And this three part structure actually echoes throughout all of God’s creation.
If you remember from high school science class, the atom has protons, neutrons and electrons. Matter is either solid, liquid or gas. Space is measured by length, width and depth. Time is either past, present or future.
Pretty cool, huh? You also have three parts: spirit, soul and body. You understand what your body is because it gripes at you every day. It wants to be fed and taken care of. But, how is your soul different from your spirit?
Your spirit is the core of your being. It is your inmost part. This is the part of you that’s made brand new when you give your life to Jesus. It’s the part of you that is joined with God.
Your spirit is where your conscience lives. You know, that thing inside of you that works to keep you on the right path. And if we’re honest, we’re often annoyed by it because it tells us not to eat that, or drink that, or to keep our sexual desires in check.
Your spirit is also where intuition lives. We like to call it a “feeling”. Like when you discern that someone is lying to you. Or, when you sense God’s spirit in the room with us during worship.
Your soul, on the other hand, is like the bridge between the spiritual world and the physical world. It stands between your spirit and your body. It’s kind of like a filter.
That’s why, when your spirit is born again, it takes a bit for everyone else to see the results of it. Because you need to clean the filter, your soul.
Your soul is where you do all your thinking. It’s where you feel all your emotions. It’s where you make decisions.
Just think of all those times you sense something on the inside of you, your spirit, telling you to stop eating. But you decide to keep eating anyways and then your body later feels the effect of overeating.
Your spirit tried to help you, but your soul, which is where decisions are made, didn’t cooperate with your spirit. Your body thought that it wanted to keep eating, but only because the body is dumb. It only does what soul tells it to do.
This reminds me of when Beth and I got married. It was two months after graduating high school, so we were both in the best shape of our lives. Then we nestled into our home, got comfortable, and got fluffy.
The main problem was, we were eating more and moving less. When we decided to get the weight off, our body didn’t appreciate the smaller portions. It was always screaming as if it were starving.
We ignored our body’s cry for more, stuck with smaller portions, and wouldn’t you know it, our bodies adjusted. Turns out they didn’t need the larger portions after all. They are now fully satisfied with smaller portions.
The body just follows the soul like a little sibling. It just takes some time for it to catch up when you decide to change direction.
I wanted to explain that to you so that we can all understand that God wants us to experience wholeness in all three parts of our being.
He wants our bodies to be whole and well. He wants our emotions, our thinking and our decisions to be whole. And He makes our spirits whole when we say yes to Jesus.
So, we have to experience wholeness on a personal level first, in all three parts of our being: spirit, soul and body. And here’s what’s next:
Wholeness in my relationships.
If you were fit, healthy and had the biggest muscles around. If you lived in your dream house, drove a sweet car and had enough money to do anything you wanted. If you had it all, but your relationships were falling apart, you wouldn’t have anything.
We even talked last week about how relationships are required for you to walk in healing. That was a revelation because we tend to think that healing is a matter of faith alone. But it’s actually strong relationships combined with prayers of faith that lead to healing.
Relationships are also how you walk in freedom from your hangups, your past and your mistakes. You have to have people in your corner who will lift you up and pull you out when you tell them what you are dealing with.
We’ve only begun to understand how important relationships are with other believers in our walk with God. That’s why we’re given this instruction:
Ephesians 4:3 NLT – Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Oh man, you mean it’s going to take effort to build these relationships? You know it. But the effort pays off big time.
Let me encourage you to put in the effort of building relationships this coming small group semester. It starts a week from today, but registration is now open so you can look through the available groups and pick yours.
If you can’t find one that works with your schedule, consider moving your schedule around to make small groups work. They are that important.
Most of you have been in a small group before, but this time, make every effort to go all in. Show up to every meeting – there are only six of them this semester.
And when you are there, don’t sit quietly in the corner. Engage with those in your group. Get uncomfortable and talk about things you normally keep hidden. Make every effort to build close relationships.
Let me put it to you this way. There’s something that’s required to experience wholeness in relationships. This works for any relationship, whether it be your spouse, your kids, your parents or your small group members.
Wholeness in relationships requires transparency.
We all like to show our highlight reels on social media and talk about the good things happening in our lives, but how about getting open about the depression you are dealing with?
How about being yourself instead of trying to be who someone else expects you to be? How about getting open with your struggle to overcome pornography addiction?
It’s going to take some real relationships for that to happen. And it starts by joining a small group. Then, you make every effort to show up to your small group. Then, you start to open up about some things with your small group.
And before you know it, your small group will be helping you find freedom. They’ll be praying prayers of faith that lead you to healing.
It’s time, y’all. We can either keep putting this off and delay the year of wholeness, or we can dive in this small group semester and experience wholeness in our relationships. Which will lead to this:
Wholeness in my church.
So, we actually can’t experience wholeness here at church until we all start to experience wholeness on a personal level and in our relationships. Let me show you why:
1 Corinthians 12:12 NLT – The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
If your foot is broken, is your body experiencing wholeness? If your pancreas stops producing insulin, or if you are deaf in one ear, or if you can’t see without glasses, is your body experiencing wholeness?
Thanks to modern medicine and innovation, you can still function with all of these ailments. But what happens if your crutches break, or you run out of insulin, or your glasses break?
So it is with the body of Christ. If one of us isn’t whole, we have to find some way to fix what’s missing, and it’s not going to be near as good as having the whole version of you in that place.
Together, we make up the body of Christ. This isn’t just Kade and Beth, this is NoLimits Church. Zoom out even more, this isn’t just NoLimits Church, this is every church throughout the entire world.
You have a specific function here at NoLimits. And we need you to be you, not anyone else. God created you with the gifts and passions you have because you are part of the body of Christ.
NoLimits has a specific function in the church as a whole. We don’t have to do what every other church is doing. We need to do what God has called us to do while cooperating with other churches and ministries around us.
Now you can see how personal wholeness leads to relational wholeness which leads to wholeness in our church which ultimately leads to wholeness in the body of Christ. It all works together.
How to Experience Wholeness
So now the question is, how do we experience all of this wholeness?
Well, I am glad you are curious to know the practical ways we can experience wholeness. I’m going to give you five and they all come from a block of scripture in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. Here’s the first one:
1. Maintain peace with others.
You’ve probably noticed over the past two months that this is not a natural human response. We’d rather disturb the peace by posting our opinion about masks or social distancing or vaccines.
But if we want to experience wholeness, we must choose a different path:
1 Thessalonians 5:13 NLT – Show your [spiritual leaders] great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
Isn’t it interesting that pastors all over the world are being disrespected for calling people to faith instead of fear, hope instead of worry, love instead of slander?
I’m thankful that no one here has been doing this. But I want you to remember that, regardless of if you agree or not with how they are handling the pandemic, you can still show your spiritual leaders great respect and love.
The second part of this verse is something we can all probably work on, live peacefully with each other. When we don’t agree, choose peace by agreeing to disagree. When they hurt your feelings, believe the best.
When they intentionally meant to hurt you:
1 Thessalonians 5:15 NLT – See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
You can’t control what they do, but you can control what you do. So, always do good to all people regardless of if they deserve it or not. That’s how you maintain peace with others.
Here’s the next one:
2. Choose joy.
When you look at Christians as a whole, they seem to be a little down in the dumps. They’re not really enjoying life, and some even believe that a lame life is God’s intention for us.
It seems like an honorable thing to do, to give up all the joys in life to live a solemn, reserved life for the Lord. But this doesn’t really align with scripture. Take a look:
1 Thessalonians 5:16 NLT – Always be joyful.
How often are we supposed to be joyful? Always. Here’s another one:
Nehemiah 8:10 NLT – Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!
Hm. This is kind of unraveling how many Christians present themselves. If you thought that living your life for God was supposed to be all solemn and quiet and on your best behavior, let me show you one more scripture:
Philippians 4:4 NLT – Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Come on y’all. Let’s choose joy. Go ahead and burn the book where you’ve been writing that sad, depressing story and open a new book filled with joy. Not because everything is going right, but because you made a choice.
And I’ll tell you this, joy is a required ingredient if you want wholeness in your life. But it doesn’t come by accident. You’ve gotta choose joy regardless of what is going on in your life.
When you lose your job, choose joy. When you wreck your car, choose joy. When your kids get on your nerves, choose joy. Because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
So maintain peace with others. Choose joy. Here’s the next one:
3. Never stop praying.
Alright, now I’m intimidated. I think I can maintain peace with others. I can even choose joy. But to never stop praying? How in the world am I supposed to live my life if I have to pray all the time?
Well, one of the most common misconceptions about prayer is that we think we have to talk the whole time. Some people don’t even try to pray because they know they are going to run out of things to say in ten seconds.
Prayer is not sitting in a quiet room and talking to God nonstop in King James language. No, prayer is any time you fix your thoughts on God, whether you are talking or not.
You can do this all throughout the day. It’s as simple as saying, “God, thank you for getting me here safely today.” or “God, can you help me solve this problem at work? I’m struggling here.”
Prayer is simply a fancy word to describe our ongoing conversation with God. It doesn’t have to be formal. It doesn’t even have to be out loud. Simply give your attention to God throughout the day. That’s what it means when scripture says:
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT – Never stop praying.
In other words, never disconnect from God. You need Him. You can’t do this on your own. And when it comes down to it, why would you even try to live life without Him?
To experience wholeness, always keep the communication lines open with God. Here’s the next one:
4. Be thankful in all circumstances.
Surely God doesn’t expect me to be thankful when my water heater goes out and floods my master closet. Surely He doesn’t expect me to be thankful when my roof needs to be replaced before it’s lifespan is up.
Well… I’m kinda scared to show you this next scripture.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT – Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Aw man. Can you believe this? Be thankful in ALL circumstances? This is God’s will for me? Nah, that can’t be. Or, can it?
This seems really crazy until you think of it this way. Does being upset about it make it better? Does griping about it make it go away?
But what if you chose to be thankful. What would that say to those around you?
What if, the next time your phone breaks, instead of griping about the inconvenience and cost of fixing it, you talk about how thankful you are to have a little break from the pocket demon?
What if, when your air conditioner goes out, you talk about how thankful you are that there are repair men trained and ready to come fix it? And then you get the opportunity to reward them with money and help provide for their family.
What if we chose to be thankful in all circumstances? People would notice. And your witness for Christ would explode. People would be asking you, “How the heck do I get some of that?”
And not only would it make a difference in the lives of others, but it would also bring wholeness into your life.
At this point, you may be thinking, “Wow, Kade. You’re asking me to do a lot.” And I agree, this is a lot. It is all counter-cultural. It is opposite of what your natural response is. But I have some good news for you:
You can’t do this alone.
Seems kind of like bad news. But once you realize you can’t do it by yourself, you are open to God’s power working in you to accomplish these things.
Wouldn’t you rather humble yourself so God can come in and fix all those parts that are broken? So that He can give you the power you need to maintain peace, choose joy, never stop praying and be thankful in every circumstance?
That’s why this last one is so important:
5. Trust God to make it happen.
God never intended for you to do any of this without Him. He gave you this gift, called the Holy Spirit, so you would have the power you need to accomplish the things He’s asked you to do.
And when you receive power from the Holy Spirit, here’s the outcome:
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NLT – Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
I want to end today by inviting you to receive the Holy Spirit. It’s not weird. It’s not crazy. The Holy Spirit is a gift given to us so we can live in wholeness and accomplish what God wants us to.
On the original day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out for the first time. This encounter gave them miraculous power to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
Our whole goal here at NoLimits is to make a difference. But we can’t do this on our own. We need the power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 4:31 NLT – After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
Now it’s time for God to shake us so that everything that doesn’t belong falls off of us. It’s time for us all to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Extend your faith and pray the exact prayer that caused this to happen in Acts chapter 4:
Acts 4:24-30 NLT – “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! They were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
This isn’t just a one-time event. The power you received today from the Holy Spirit is going to bring four things into your life:
- See God’s face
- Hear God’s voice
- Clarity on Your Purpose
- Boldness to Lead People to Jesus
Speaking of, I need to take just a moment right here to talk to anyone who has not yet given their life to Jesus.
You’ve heart truth from the Bible that resonated with your spirit. Something on the inside of you is saying, “Hey, I need that. That’s what I’ve been missing.”
I have good news for you, it’s actually your choice to step into the kingdom of God. They key to opening that door is Jesus Christ.
He died on the cross to pay for your sins. Someone had to do it and He took care of it for you. Then, He rose back to life so that you could be raised to new life with Him. This new life is your life with God, and it will continue through eternity.
If this is you, if you are ready to receive what Jesus did for you and step into the kingdom of God, say this prayer of faith:
“God, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. It’s pretty clear I can’t do this without you. So I put my faith in Jesus today. Thank you for forgiving me through the blood of Jesus. Thank you for eternal life. Now, fill me with the Holy Spirit – so I can walk out your plan for my life.”
Salvation Next Step
If you just prayed that prayer, we want to support you along the journey that’s ahead. But we can’t support you if we don’t know. So we set up an easy way for you to tell us. Simply text the word Jesus to 918-373-9883.
We’re not going to bug you. We’re not going to spam you. We are just going to help guide you through your next step. We’re here for you. So please, go ahead and send that text.