AWAKEN TALK 2 : RECEIVE HIS SPIRIT

DIDOY LUBATON : Today we’re on the second talk of our series titled Awaken. And our second talk is about Receive the Spirit. Are you ready to receive? Are you sure? Do you really want to? I am not so sure.

Remember the Pentecost? We had our Pentecost Sunday last week.

And remember the context? They (the apostles) were inside the Upper Room. Were they happy when they were waiting before the Spirit came? What were they feeling? Jesus appeared to them already before.

And Jesus promised, “The Helper will come to you.”

And so, they were waiting. They were listening. They were afraid because they were persecuted outside those doors. So, they hid themselves. But we al l know what happened: When they received the Holy Spirit, then they became free. They were speaking in tongues, and they were ready to go, to go out and preach the Good News – even die for the sake of it. And years later, they did, actually.

They became martyrs—except John.

Is that what it means to receive the Holy Spirit? That you’re going to die?

That you’re going to be a martyr? Some of us, maybe… But not a lot of us anymore. But maybe, the call is to die to ourselves. Because there’s so much more meaning in that than just live our own life.

Novena to God’s Love

We need the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to be open to receive today.

Let’s come into prayer: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Stretch out your arms and let’s pray our Feast prayer:

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

We’ll read Acts 2:1:

Put your hand on your heart, and just have this moment with the Lord.

Lord, here we are gathered in Your place. This is a House that you’ve made for us. Today we pray for the Holy Spirit to come into our heart. come into our mind to renew our mind, come into our life .

Do your miracles. Restore what we’d lost. Refresh our body and spirit. We want You. Come Holy Spirit. Set us on fire. Not for our own sake but for Your glory, for Your purpose. We await You, dear

Holy Spirit . Come into our life . Come Holy Spirit. Come Hol y Spirit. Come Holy Spirit. This is our united prayer . In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Open Heart

I want you to visualize what just happened. What happened to the disciples during Pentecost. And they were meeting in one place. There was like a sound from Heaven. There was a roaring sound of a mighty windstorm. And then what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. Could you imagine? Could you comprehend?

It’s hard to understand. I like what Fr. Boogie said at the start of his homily .

He said, “Kinakabahan ako. I am not so sure, this is the hardest preaching every pr iest would have to do every year: to explain the Holy Trinity.

I asked him about that and he said to me, “Maybe, sometimes, we don’t have to understand, but we just have to receive.”

There are many things in life that we’re trying to understand, trying to comprehend: “Lord, why did this happen to me.” “ Lord, why is this happening to our family.” “Lord, bakit nandiyan pa rin siya—Why is he still there.” Lord, bakit ang pogi-pogi ni Bro. Audee.—Why is Bro. Audee very handsome?”

I got to know the Lord, and received the Holy Spirit personally, formally, when I was 13 years old, in a youth ministry. Our faith community then was called Bukas Loob sa Diyos—Open in Spirit to God.

And I’m saying that precisely because I suggest and I encourage you to have that open heart attitude—to be open to the Lord today. Because if you want to be closer to God, you have to be open to Him.

I’m very open. I will tell you everything about my life. I will tell you anything that I think about. I’m a bit unapologetic about that. Some people like that, some people don’t. But I am me.

When I was 13 years old, I was really wide open. How do I know?

Backtracking, I was like, “What was I? Or, how was I able to have that relationship with the Lord? When the prayer leader, the Worship leader said, “Close your eyes.,” I closed my eyes. When he said, “Open your hands,” I opened my hands. When he said, “Stand up,” I stood up. “Raise your hand,” I raised my hand.

Many years after, I realized not everybody was doing it. Only a few of us did. And well, I’m thankful that’s how I was able to show my openness to the Lord. Like I said, I got to know the Lord when I was 13 years old — I’m 36 now, so, ha-ha, I’m old.– 23 years after, I’m still like that, so open to the Lord, and I’ve never regretted it.

Receive

I’m going to tell you what it means to be receiving and living in the Holy Spirit. I want you today to receive.

I have here a P1 peso coin.

I’ll wrap it with crumpled paper.

Now, I will throw this away….     What are you guys doing?

You’re just looking at it.

Now, what is this? An iPhone.

I’ll also throw it away… (A lady catches the phone.)

Didoy: What’s your name?

Lady: Shirley, po.

Didoy: Shirley, I’d been throwing this, and I actually threw it beside you and what did you do? Shirley: I picked it up

Didoy: But when you saw this… Did you see the reaction of the people around you?

Audience: Wowww-aaa!

Didoy: Shirley, what’s the difference— between the coin and the iPhone?

Shirley: The phone is more valuable.

Didoy: If I throw this to Sis. Marowe…

Audience: Whoaaaaa! (One raises hands to catch the phone.)

Didoy: Why are you reacting that way?

Because the iPhone is expensive!

Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord

Talking about receiveYou will receive if you know the value of what’s coming to you…

From the apostles’ experience, they were afraid of persecution, they were in fear of dying, of being imprisoned. They saw the Lord die — yet even if Jesus resurrected from the dead and appeared to them, they were still afraid.

What does it take for us to believe Jesus? But Jesus is very consistent. When He promises to give,

He will give. Our role is to receive …

The Holy Spirit is already being given to you – repeatedly, over and over again. Through people in your life, through circumstances —even in failures , even in difficulties, even in joys and triumphs.

But sometimes, we do not realize the value of what’s coming to us.

Today is our Freedom Day. And I see change falling, I can hear the change falling down, I can see that lives will be transformed today. I believe that you will get out of this place unafraid of living life again. Because you are being set free by the Holy Spirit…

This is your time, this is your freedom hour. The Holy Spirit is moving, and being sent out to the ends of the world, to the edges of our heart and our life.

Today, I encourage you to open your heart, open your spirit to God, and as you sing this song, make it our prayer, your personal prayer , and make it also our Community prayer:

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heartI want to see you. I want to see you.

Lord, we need you more and more. We need You, Holy Spirit , to make miracles in our life. We need that gentleness, that peace, that fruit of love.

We beseech You, come, Holy Spirit. We receive You.

Is the Holy Spirit in You?

AUDEE VILLARAZA : How do you know if you’ve already received the Spirit? How do you know if the Spirit is already dwelling in you? Is there an identifying mark? Like something that can distinguish: Ah , this person doesn’t have the Holy Spirit; Ah, this person is filled with the Holy Spirit.

Is there like a symbol that you see in a person so you know that person is full of the Holy Spirit?

When it comes to food, this would be easy. How do you know if a siopao is special? There’s a red dot on it. How do you know if the soft drink still has spirit? When you take off the bottle’s cap, it makes that sound—pssshhh. How do you know if a glass is filled with spirit? When it’s moving by itself… Ha-ha.

So, it’s difficult to know if a person has the Holy Spirit. But Jesus gives us the ultimate answer. It’s found in the book of Matthew This is a sure sign that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in you:

Actions. It’s not singular. It’s plural. Based on their actions, you can identify people. So, in a way, Jesus was saying, a sure sign of knowing that you are filled with the Holy Spirit is , No. 1: You have the fruit of the Spirit in you.

The Fruit of the Holy Spirit

Paul says something so beautiful about this in the book of Galatians. Paul says something about what is the fruit of the Spirit. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:2 2:

But hold on, wait a minute. It says the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit. Just a fruit, not fruits. And then he names nine different things. Is this a typ o? Do you think Paul made a mistake when he wrote this? Maybe Paul was a little sleepy. He put just fruit instead of fruits? Actually not. Nothing is accidental. In the Bible, nothing happens by accident. That’s very deliberate because the truth is, there’s only one fruit of the Spirit. What is the fruit? It’s called love. The fruit of the Spirit is love.

So, think about this: You’ve got love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self -control. These are all expressions of love. So, in reality, there’s only one fruit. This is not buy one, take one. This is buy one, take nine. With one fruit, you get all of these things. And I believe that we need to talk about this. Because this is the job of the Holy Spirit. You kn ow that a person is filled with the Spirit. How? If that person loves like Jesus. Because the job of the Holy Spirit is to make you love like Jesus.

Mental Amnesia

I think that this is something that I, we, can spend a little time on today. Let ’s get real, okay? Real talk right now.

Did you notice something happening in our country lately? I mean, today is Independence Day after all. So, let’s talk about our country.

Have you noticed that because of the political scene that we have, the political situation, people are very emotional? Yeah?

People are fighting with one another, people are disowning each other. People are walking away from relationships that they have deeply invested in for so long. People have started becoming irrational in a way…

Why do I say that? Psychologists will tell you this: that when fear and anger take over you, what happens is that you disconnect. There’s a disconnection happening with the higher functions of the neocortex. I know that sounds a little deep but the neocortex is responsible for giving you the rationale.

So, the moment you disconnect from that, what’s happening is that you’re no longer using your human brain when you’re angry, and when you are afraid. You start using your reptilian brain.

In a way, you can say that when you’re angry afraid, you start becoming like a beast. You start behaving like a serpent. Take, for instance, there is a thing that’s happening right now all over the world called cancel culture.

Cancel culture is when you hear something, or see something that somebody does –whether or not you know that person—something that you don’t like. And then you define that person based on that one thing, or one action that person did. You cancel out every good thing about that person—just because of that one statement or that one action the person did. You forget. You h ave what I call mental amnesia.

I mean, today is Independence Day after all. So, let’s talk about our country.

Have you noticed that because of the political scene that we have, the political situation, people are very emotional? Yeah?

People are fighting with one another, people are disowning each other. People are walking away from relationships that they have deeply invested in for so

long. People have started becoming irrational in a way…

Why do I say that? Psychologists will tell you this: that when fear and anger take over you, what happens is that you disconnect. There’s a disconnection happening with the higher functions of the neocortex. I know that sounds a little deep but the neocortex is responsible for giving you the rationale.

So, the moment you disconnect from that, what’s happening is that you’re no longer using your human brain when you’re angry, and when you are afraid. You start using your reptilian brain.

In a way, you can say that when you’re angry afraid, you start becoming like a beast. You start behaving like a serpent. Take, for instance, there is a thing that’s happening right now all over the world called cancel culture.

Cancel culture is when you hear something, or see something that somebody does –whether or not you know that person—something that you don’t like. And then you define that person based on that one thing, or one action that person did. You cancel out every good thing about that person—just because of that one statement or that one action the person did. You forget. You h ave what I call mental amnesia.

Challenge

By the way, that’s what the brain does as well. We have a part of the brain called amygdala – the defense system. Once the amygdala senses that there is a threat, a danger, coming to you, it puts up a wall. And then what it does is it sends a cortisol, an adrenalin, to you.

So, what’s happening is you are putting up walls.

So, you know, when there’s danger, you react. When there’s danger, you attack. When there’s danger, you protect.

Have you ever noticed: When you have a conversation with somebody, and you get into an argument… Tell me if this is true: When you’re arguing with someone, all of a sudden, you forget any positive trait that that person has. All of a sudden, you have this amnesia – because you’re arguing with that person, you forget that this person once upon a time was the person who led you to Jesus. You forget that once upon a time, this person was the ninong —godparent—to your kid. You forget that this person was the one who walked with you when you had that marital problem. You forget — because now you’re disconnected. You’re becoming irrational.

And that’s what’s happening right now. Not just even in our political scene but even in Church.

You know, there are persons who have approached me and said,

“Bro. Audee, what am I gonna do? We have this LG (Light Group) member –we have had an LG for 10 years, and we were very close, we were BFFs—best friends forever—but then this thing happened… And now this person left our LG. She’s no longer joining our small group. Bro. Audee, this person is no longer attending The Feast. Because this person felt judged. This person supported another candidate that her friends in the LG did not like.”

This is what is happening today. We’re canceling people.

If the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love,.. Do we have the fruit of the Holy Spirit in all of us right now? This is the challenge that we are in and we have to really look at it from that perspective… Because the challenge is to really love people especially right now.

Jesus Was Pro-Love

You know, there are many broken persons who come to The Feast – and they feel welcomed here. But the moment they feel judged and condemned, they leave.

Because they think, “This is not the place for me.”

They don’t feel the Holy Spirit working in them. But you know what, let me teach you something: If the fruit of the Spirit is love — Jesus knew all about this because Jesus was all about loving people.

Jesus grew up and lived in a time when there was a lot of political unrest.

On one hand, there were the Romans. They were the abusers because they held the power. You know, they used their power to abuse the people. If they didn’t like some persons, they could throw them in jail, torture th em or even kill them. They raised taxes on the Jews. If they didn’t like you, they did something against you.

That was one side.

On the other side, there were also Jewish authorities, the Jewish leaders , who wanted to overthrow the Romans. Why? So that they could be in power. When they saw Jesus and they believed that He was the Messiah, they thought that He would come as a military king —somebody who would overthrow the throne of Rome like a soldier would

But Jesus was different. They were expecting a hammer– to hammer down on the Romans. But Jesus was not a hammer. Instead, He was a Healer. This was a different kind of leader.

Think about it this way: They wanted Jesus to overthrow the Roman authority so that they could have the power.

But Jesus said, “No, we’re not going to do that.”

Did it mean that because Jesus said that, that Jesus was pro-Roman? I don’t think so. Did it mean that Jesus responded that way because Jesus was anti -Jew?

No. Jesus loved the Jews. He loved every person. Jesus was neither pro- Rome nor anti-Jew, or pro-Jew. You know what Jesus was? Jesus was pro- Kingdom. He was pro-Kingdom because to Jesus, the Kingdom of God is the most important. To Jesus, what was important was the Will of His Father.

And I really need to preach this loud and clear to you. Because we are at a time in or place where we need the Holy Spirit to work on us.

The job of the Holy Spirit is this: to make you love like Jesus. The Holy Spirit will be the one to move you from enmity to empathy.

What is enmity? Enmity is all about hatred. It’s all about hostility.

But empathy… Let me describe empathy this way – through how God acts.

You all know this, that the reason God sent His one and only Son Jesus down to our world was He wanted to have union with us—after sin disconnected us from God.

But there is one more personal reason God sent His one and only Son — and I pray this will encourage you, I pray that you would receive this right now — that the reason Jesus came in the flesh, in the form of a man, was He wanted to walk in your shoes.

He wanted to know what it felt like to be rejected – just like you were rejected. He wanted to know how it felt like to be abused —just like you have been abused, and misused, and maltreated, and abandoned, and forsaken.

We Categorize People

God wanted to be able to relate to you and me. Is that good news to some of you?

To know that our God knows the pain that you’re going through right now? Is that good news?

Yes. That is empathy. And my dear friends, that’s what we need now.

You know, whenever we look at people, especially during these elections, we categorized people in groups. It’s us, versus them. It’s the BBM supporters, versus the Leni supporters, or the Isko supporters, or the Lacson supporters. It’s the Republicans versus the Democrats.

It’s the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated. It’s the Golden

State Warriors fans versus the Boston Celtics fans. We categorize people into groups.

You know what’s happening when you do that? You’re creating division. And I said this last Sunday — that whenever there is division, there is hostility.

So, when you create categories, what’s happening is that you are naming people without any faces. So, sometimes, you’re pointing your fingers at faceless people and you’re calling them evil.

Empathy is this: It’s knowing that every person has a story to tell. People have their own version of how they were brought up. They’ve got past traumas. They’ve got their goals. They’ve got their defeats. They’ve got their victories.

What’s happening is that because of enmity, we look at people as a group – it’s them, it’s us. But you’re forgetting that these are people with dreams and goals and life, and love, and joy, and hope.

We Are Citizens of Heaven

Empathy is really knowing their story. It’s walking a mile in their shoes. And that, my dear friend, is what we need. Because the truth is, not everyone is a troll. Not everyone is a bully. There are some, but most are good.

Everybody is created in the image and likeness of God. And I don’t know about you, but I know God is good. It’s just that sometimes people are influenced in the wrong way. People are brought up in different ways.

In the end, don’t be pro this or pro that. Yes, fight for what is good – but make no mistake, my dear friends, at the end of the day, you are not just a citizen of this country- – you’re a citizen of Heaven.

That’s what Paul says. You are a citizen of Heaven. You are God’s children.

When our life is done, when we get up there—and I’m praying that we all get up there—there will be no political parties, there will be no political alliances, no political colors. You and I —we’re all going to be together. And we’re all going to glorify our God in union and in harmony.

So, as early as now, exercise empathy. Start listening. Instead of condemning people, lis ten to what they’re saying and where they’re coming from.

Sometimes, yes, it’s hard to love people. Because what’s happening is that you’re hurt, and sometimes they say something that triggers your anger. You thought that you were already healed but they say something, or do something— and then you feel the pain again.

Apple, Anyone?

It’s hard to love people. That’s why we need the power of the Holy Spirit.

Because the fruit of the Spirit is love.

I have a fruit here. This is an apple.       This is another apple. The Apple iPhone.

The Apple iPhone is like having the universe in your pocket. You can communicate with people, you can interact, you can be updated – using this gadget. This is an amazing, amazing invention. It’s logical that you would choose this Apple iPhone because it’s more expensive. This is more valuable than the apple fruit. But let me show you the one thing that the Apple iPhone cannot do.

This apple will nourish you….        in more ways than this Apple.

Share the Fruit

This apple has another blessing.

Let me show you through my family –my wife Kristel, our son, Ethan, and our daughter Ellie:

I wanted to bring up my family here so that you know the fruit of the Spirit is not just for you. It wil l nourish you, yes.

But there’s more than enough to also nourish others too.

He will nourish your loved ones. The fruit of love works so well that it will nourish you and then it will send you out into your family, your companies, your organizations and say, “Let me nourish your loved ones.”

The Holy Spirit is an Encourager. There are some of you here right now who feel like you’re doing a good job—but it’s not enough. Like, you’re doing a good job, you feel like— you want to be a good father, or a good mother, or a good brother, or a good sister. But you feel like your efforts are failing.

But the Gift of the Holy Spirit is this:

That it will encourage you, tell you that you’re doing better than you think you are.

You’re building your business but you feel like it’s not enough, that your efforts are not enough.

But the Holy Spirit will tell you right now, you’re doing better than you think you are. There’s somebody here who feels like you’re making a mess out of your life with every decision you’re making—but you’re trying, but it’s hard. But the Holy Spirit is telling you right now, you’re doing better than you think you are.

Let the Holy Spirit come down on your life. Receive this gift and then that little gift, share it. Let the Holy Spirit nourish those around you. It’s not for you to keep but it’s for you to share. Because there’s always more where that came from. God will always give you more. The Spirit will give you more encouragement, more grace, more mercy.

Let’s pray and worship the Lord, to respond to His goodness.

Father, You have been so good. We have tasted and seen your goodness. And we know that there is more where that came from. We pray that when the Holy Spirit works inside of us, we would know. We pray, Lord, that whatever brokenness we are coming from, that Your grace is greater. That Your mercy is mightier. Come, Jesus. Come. I invite you to my life to turn me inside out, change me, mold me, love me, influence me, and bless me. I receive Your love right now.

Open your hands to the Spirit, everybody. If it compels you to lift up your hands, don’t be afraid. Because the Spirit just wants to love you. The Spirit just wants to change you.

So, let’s all worship the Lord together. Amen.

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