Follow Up: Resources on Spiritual Warfare

This last Sunday, Pastor Joel preached on the topic of spiritual warfare. As follow up we wanted to provide you with some helpful links and responses to the text in Q&A. If you have any additional questions feel free to chat with a leader or Pastor on Sunday or talk with your Discipleship Group.

HELPFUL RESOURCES
ON SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Got Questions - What does the Bible say about Spiritual Warfare (Article)
https://www.gotquestions.org/spiritual-warfare.html

Desiring God - Arm Yourself to Battle Satan (Article)
https://www.desiringgod.org/labs/arm-yourself-to-battle-satan

Desiring God - Spiritual Warfare Theology Refresh (Podcast)
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-engage-in-spiritual-warfare 


Spiritual Beings - The Bible Project (Videos)

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH0Szn1yYNeef2AIszbltRK15dgoxA_57

Spiritual Inventory Form
https://resurrectionchurch.ccbchurch.com/goto/forms/88/responses/new 


SPIRITUAL WARFARE Q&A RESPONSES

How does a Christian discern, when bad things happen in the world, whether the bad thing is an effect of spiritual warfare?

Pastor Joel: We need to remember that in all circumstances, there is always more than what is observable on the surface - there is a spiritual element to everything. In the case of someone getting an illness or disease, it may be that this thing came upon them due to simply living in a broken world where these things exist (John 9:3), or it may be directly connected to some sin or idolatry going on in them or in someone who has affected them (James 5:14-16). In the case of some world power who is acting in an evil way, the biblical authors would have seen those things as directly correlating to the influence of idolatry in that person or those persons, which was seen as one in the same with satanic/demonic powers (for example, King Saul (1 Sam 15:23) narrative or Abimelech in Judges 9:23).

What this means for us is that we can't be too quick to blame spiritual warfare, or too quick to write it off. We have to be spiritually 'awake' when we encounter bad things and prayerfully weigh both the presence of spiritual warfare as well as the relevance to how we respond to that situation.

Do Satan and demons have access to knowledge of the future?


Pastor Joel: We have no conclusive evidence from the scriptures that suggest Satan and demons do or don't have access to knowledge of the future. The closest thing we have are stories like the one today, where the girl 'told fortunes' or stories in the old testament where magicians and prophets of false gods were said to have a similar ability to foretell what was going to happen, apart from God.

Is the example of Paul casting out demons descriptive or prescriptive? Does that happen today non-anecdotally?


Pastor Joel:
The example of Paul casting out demons (along with nearly all of the stories in the book of Acts) is definitely descriptive. In order to discern application when we read descriptive texts, we have to consider if there are any principles to be found that are consistent with the call to christians in the scriptures and then apply those. There isn't a clear command for us to 'cast out demons' in the bible, but we are called to warfare (Eph 6:10-18) against the enemy, which in rare cases may lead to the casting out of demons


How do we practice being "for people" not against them? When do we let them go?

Pastor Joel: This is a hard question. In terms of being “for" someone, it means you are always seeking their best interests. Sometimes we don’t know what the best thing is for someone, and sometimes we do know, but people don’t want what’s good for them. Or, in many cases people don’t agree with a christian worldview or believe that idols are even a thing. 

In Ephesians 6:10-12 the Apostle Paul says, 

"[10] Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. [11] Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. [12] For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."

I believe one of the main reasons he tells this to us is so we are able to recognize where the fight truly lies. Oftentimes when we get into a ‘battle’ with another person, it’s because we lose sight of the underpinning spiritual battle. This reminds us that while we should definitely be against the devil and his schemes, we should never use that as license to stop loving someone or seeking to lead them to our liberating God.

A Message from Pastor Joel: Leader Equip

Picture this. Every man woman and child in the south puget sound is connected to someone who loves Jesus and who loves them. Can you imagine how that would change everything? That’s what we mean when we say that as a church we want to impact every city, neighborhood, and person with the gospel. Through our relationships, We want to see the region transformed by the good news about Jesus Christ!

We want to be the kind of people who make a gospel impact in other people’s lives where we work, live, and play. As a church the way we see that happening is by multiplying churches which multiply disciples. Disciples making disciples and churches planting churches!

This is such a huge vision! We obviously can’t work toward this vision apart from God working in and through us. So we’re utterly dependent on him. And we also can’t do this unless the church is thriving. So for every city, neighborhood, and person to be impacted by the gospel, we need healthy, strong, church leadership.

Imagine what that would be like. What would happen if all our leaders were strong? Well, we would all be growing more and more deeply in our relationship with God, in our relationships with the people we lead, AND with our fellow leaders as a big family. See, we need each other. We need to know that we aren’t alone in our efforts but we each have a vital part in the bigger whole of being the church, of disciple-making. And as your elders, we believe it’s of paramount importance that we get together regularly and recalibrate. That we remember why we’re doing what we’re doing and that we are able to lock arms with our fellow leaders as we join in this effort together.

So I’m excited to announce a new chapter in leadership development at Resurrection Church. Lord-willing, this will take us into the future together so that every leader is equipped, every ministry is thriving, and disciples are being made. Here’s what that’s going to mean...

1. ALL LEADER RETREAT

We are going to get together with ALL of our church’s leaders this August for a weekend of good times, camp vibes and intensive equipping! This is an event you can look forward to at the end of summer every year, but this year is special in that it will also be the launching of Leader Equip.

2. LEADER EQUIP

Just as with our growth in Christlikeness, we never fully arrive as leaders. Not only do we need the ongoing fellowship of those who we serve alongside, we also need the ongoing challenge and encouragement to stay on track in what the Lord wants for us. Leader equip is a tool for leaders within each ministry to use to develop other leaders. Beginning with the intensive weekend at the All Leader Retreat and followed by monthly gatherings within the various ministries, leaders will spend time together, learning and growing to flourish as disciplemakers. Simply put, Leader Equip allows leaders to grow in relationship as they grow as leaders.

Since it is not a one-time event, our hope is that Leader Equip can become a part of your regular rhythms as you meet with your fellow ministry leaders on an ongoing, monthly basis.

We will cover broader topics that address the needs of all church leaders so the content is always relevant to all leaders and there is unity across the board among leaders no matter their area of ministry focus.

I’m so excited to get to spend some time with you all and enjoy fellowship as we are shaped by God’s word and Spirit together! Please be praying with me that God would use this time to that end!

Love,

Pastor Joel

A Monumental Moment

There are certain moments in life that stand out as important and special. These are the monumental moments, things like learning to drive, getting your first job, graduating school, getting married, or having a child. Often when we look back at our lives, these monumental moments are what we remember best, as they seem to be the most meaningful moments.

Recently, we had a monumental moment in the life of our church as we launched what we are calling, the Legacy Church Planting Residency. The Legacy Church Planting Residency exists to develop and send pastors to plant Resurrection Churches throughout the South Puget Sound area.

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The residency will be a relational, two year program, in which residents are developed in four specific areas: preaching, shepherding, leadership and mission. The hope is that during these two years of development, residents will be raised up as pastors and when the time is right, be sent out to plant a church.

I’m happy to announce that Dmitriy Spatarel and his wife Mary will be our first church planting resident couple. Over the years, it has been wonderful watching Dmitriy and Mary grow into loving, fruitful leaders.  This past Sunday, we shared with Resurrection Church the wonderful news about Dmitriy and Mary. Check out this video where they share their hearts.

Here is a photo from Dmitriy’s first day of residency. For his first day, we outlined a sermon together (which is on the whiteboards in the background). I love how excited he is. :-)

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We are so happy for Dmitriy and Mary, as we love them very much. Please join me in praying for Dmitriy, Mary and their three children as they enter into this new season of development.

Things to pray for Dmitriy and Mary:

  • Wisdom - Dmitriy is being trained and developed. Please pray that he and Mary grow in wisdom.  

  • Protection - With this new opportunity comes greater spiritual warfare. Please pray that God will protect their family.

Pastor Bubba JenningsComment
We're Expecting!

My wife Shelly said, “We’re pregnant!” I felt a rush of joy and happiness… and a little bit of fear. I thought, “Wow! We’re pregnant. This is amazing. I’m going to be dad!” At this point, we had been married four years and already had names for two boys and a girl picked out. I’m a planner so I like to be prepared. 😀

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However, long before we became pregnant, we had a desire. We knew children are a gift and blessing from God (Psalm 127:3) and we desired to have children and grow our family.

As we began our journey into parenthood we started with prayer. Before we became pregnant we prayed that God would gift us with kids. Then once we became pregnant we prayed even more. We knew that life begins at conception and God was with our baby in the womb (Psalm 139:13). So, we prayed. We prayed for the baby’s health. We prayed for the baby’s salvation. We prayed for the baby’s future. We prayed for all kinds of stuff - big stuff and small stuff and in-between stuff.  

As soon as we learned we were having a boy, we named him Jones. Even though we had not yet seen Jones face to face, we loved him very much and had dreams for him. We dreamt he would be born a healthy boy - with five fingers and five toes and all that. We dreamt that he would love God. We dreamt that together, we would laugh and snuggle and have fun. We dreamt that he would grow in godly character and one day be a man of faith with his own family to love and lead. 

WE’RE EXPECTING!

In the same way that my wife and I experienced the excitement over the new life we were getting ready to welcome so many years ago, we, Resurrection Church, are joyfully expecting. We are prayerfully hoping God will birth a new Resurrection Church in the Federal Way/Auburn area sometime within the next two years.

This past week, just over 50 people came together to pray for our first core group meeting. During this meeting we prayed Jesus’ word from Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” There was a weightiness to the meeting as the Holy Spirit filled out hearts with a passion to join Jesus in his harvest work.


Desire

Our desire is to see God grow his family. We desire to see lives changed and people experience the joy of salvation in Jesus. We desire to love our neighbors and be a blessing to our cities.


Prayer

Our prayer is for a movement of discipleship to happen across South Puget Sound. We are praying that every man, woman and child hear the good news of Jesus and be saved. We are praying that Jesus will build his church.

Join us in praying:

  • For God to raise up leaders for the Federal Way/Auburn plant.

  • For God to build the core group for the Federal Way/Auburn plant.

  • For God to create unity and collaboration between the Christian churches in our region. We want to see all local churches flourish.

  • For God to provide a future meeting space for the Federal Way/Auburn plant.

  • For God to provide the funds needed to start this new church plant. 

Dreaming

This is the beginning of an amazing journey of planting churches throughout the South Puget Sound region. In the future months, we will gathering together for more prayer meetings as we dream the future together. I want to invite you to dream the future with us and be a part of what God is doing. If you live in the Federal Way/Auburn area join our core group.

Pastor Bubba JenningsComment
Peter and Stephanie: Leading by God's Grace

Story and Photos by Effie Gurmeza

Peter and Stephanie host and lead a Discipleship Group in North Tacoma. Discipleship Groups are communities of God's people that gather throughout the week to share life and grow together as disciples of Jesus. 

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What do you enjoy most about leading a discipleship group?

We enjoy having a consistent group of people that meet to intentionally discuss God's truth and challenge each other. Even in our first 7 months as a group we have had so many personal changes and events: a wedding, family difficulties, surgeries, and more. The two constants we have is God's truth and group accountability.

can you share an example of how someone has discipled another person in the group through one of these challenges?

One example would actually be me and my anxiety I had from a recent surgery. I was really struggling mentally and physically with anxiety and it was affecting my relationship with Stephanie and others around me. The group was awesome at communicating they were praying for me before, during, and after the surgery, and Heather from our group gave me some awesome practical advice concerning how I felt and how to calm down as she has had a major surgery and health problems before. Having the constant community and someone who experienced what I was going through in our group, helped me realize that Christ was present with me in his church (my DG group) through my struggle. And, that’s, overall, what helped me overcome my anxiety!

What was one reservation you had before leading?

 Leading was intimidating because of how new we were to the church. We had just moved across the country and had just become members. It was easy to use that as an excuse to stay comfortable.

How has God helped you through that?

God pushed us to realize that Church is about giving and not taking. The Church had a need for discipleship group leaders and hosts, and the simple response was to fill that need and lead. 

What encouragement do you have for new leaders?

Leading can be hard, and you are going to have weeks that make you question your ability to lead. And, that's ok. Having a Gospel community is about facilitating a place for Christ to lead you and the group together. So, leading isn't about you and your ability, it's about Christ and his will. So, when you feel inadequate, focus on Christ and his work of grace in the sermon, in the songs of praise, in communion, in your Scripture reading, and pray for his Spirit to lead.

 

Frank and Betty: Growing in Christ-centered Friendship

Story & Photos – Kyle English

Frank and Betty DiMarco have been leading a discipleship group out of Tacoma’s west end for the past year.  For them, it has been a year marked with joy, growth, and rich blessings; all of which come from faithfully engaging in Christlike fellowship with others.  I recently had the opportunity to meet with them and asked them to reflect on their experience as leaders. 

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WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LEADING A DISCIPLESHIP GROUP? 

Frank: Watching friendships grow was one of the most enjoyable parts for me.  I remember that first night of group when people just sat there and didn't really say much.  It was uncomfortable.

We were all Christians, and yet there was this tension in the room.  But you know, we’ve come such a long way from there to this past Tuesday night – we had a cookout in our backyard, cherry-spitting contests, laughing, and just having a good time together - I think that that's very enjoyable for me.

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Betty: I definitely enjoy seeing the friendships grow, but I also think about our own personal growth and development.  As we were preparing for group discussions, we had to be prepared ourselves.  If we were talking about spiritual disciplines, to present that, we needed to be growing in all of those disciplines as well.  That was an accountability thing for us that really strengthened my walk and my relationship with the Lord.  I'm very grateful for that, for us individually and as a couple.

DID YOU HAVE ANY RESERVATIONS ABOUT BECOMING GROUP LEADERS?

Betty: I think that we were concerned about the amount of time that it would take.  But you know, God blesses a commitment like this.  It's turned into something very enjoyable, something that we want to do, and something that we have prioritized.  When you look at the Bible, what does it say in Acts about the fellowship of breaking bread together, and praying together, and how important that is?  It has just become a lifestyle for us.  It's exciting when you can turn away from some of the worldly things that would pull you away and be more focused on something that helps us, and others, be more like Jesus.  It has been a blessing, and it has not turned out to be a problem for us at all.

Frank: Time was something that held me back for a while.  But I tell you, I just felt a nudging and a nudging and a nudging from the Lord that we were supposed to do this.  We prayed on it, and then just trusted that God was going to work out all the details, which He did.  We ended up so blessed with the group that we got.  We’ve lost some people along the way - they moved, changed jobs, and those sorts of things - but we've really been blessed by those growing relationships.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED AS LEADERS AND HOW WERE THEY OVERCOME?

Frank: Well, one of the things that I had to watch out for is not giving too much input, in conversations, meetings, or groups.  That was a challenge for me - to be thinking about questions and to engage as many people as possible – rather than just trying to give my own input.  The other side of the challenge is to promote an understanding that we’re all helping each other to grow.  I really liked that in our group there were people bringing things in to add to the study or sending emails with all kinds of resources and references. 

Betty: I think one of the things that we were a little bit unsure of at first was how we were going to minister to the needs of everybody and pray for everybody.  I think that having prayer partners on a weekly basis helped us a lot because you knew that you couldn't be responsible for everybody during the week.  Trying to reconnect with everyone during the week can be a challenge when you’ve got a group of 12 or more.  But in having prayer partners, we knew that people were communicating with each other, especially if there were special needs, crises, or struggles that they were going through; and that somebody else was there to reach out and help.  That was encouraging.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU'VE SEEN GOD AT WORK IN THE PEOPLE IN THE GROUP?

Frank: For me, the biggest one was a guy that had been disconnected from everything for a while when he came into our group.  He was pretty withdrawn at first.  But we got to watch him grow, and to watch him become more open; especially when the guys would break out into smaller groups.  We would do some sharing and some good accountability, and he really grew a lot.  

Betty: I think too that we're seeing people step up in ownership of things because they value the group. It’s really been a joy to see other people step in and do things.  It's not just Frank and me leading now.  It's taken time, and I think that it takes time to build trust and relationships.  This is not something that has happened overnight, and I'm excited to see continued growth in the fall as we come back together.  

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I think spiritually I’ve seen people have more of a conviction and a heart for some of the spiritual disciplines, as we went through that; especially with our women's group.  We were able to encourage each other with different tips and ideas as to how to be in the Word every day, how to excite and encourage our prayer life; and the material was so rich and so good that I think people grew in the spiritual disciplines; through the Word and through each other.

DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF WISDOM FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN BECOMING A DISCIPLESHIP GROUP LEADER?

Frank:  If you are someone who feels that God is drawing you into a DG leader position, pray deeply on that.  And then I would say if you have the sense to move forward, go for it.  We have such a great set up in our church for leadership and discipleship training.  There's a whole system of coaches who are there to support you, to facilitate monthly meetings to help iron things out and to help you to grow.  It’s just a blessing to be in the kind of church that we have, one that's all in for discipleship, all in for solid Biblical teaching, and being part of the effort of moving our church forward; which means reaching people for Christ.  Go for it!

Betty:  We serve such a relational God, and we were not meant to do life alone.  It’s just such a blessing to be part of a group of people that encourages one other to see their value as children of God; to love them well, and to help them meet their needs.  There were so many times where we were able to meet the actual needs of people here - even simple things like taking somebody to the airport or bringing them food if they were sick or in the hospital - and those are the kinds of support things that make you a family.  I just think it's such an important aspect of our faith that we can all live out our faith together as a group.  It's empowering, it's exciting, and it's fun.  I would say go for it too.  It's been a great journey, and we're excited to continue!
 

Jesus is Working for My Good
Jesus is Working for My Good

Brionna's Story:

"A year ago, my husband unexpectedly left, walked away from the church, and filed for divorce. By God's sovereign grace with the help of my church community God used this rejection to call me out of my sin and take hold of my heart. In the midst of that devastating time, I was able to celebrate God's faithfulness and experience a genuine closeness with God I had never had before in my faith. In losing my marriage God has given me a story to share which shows how His grace is sufficient to cover sin and weakness.  

Moving forward from this season, God has opened up doors for me to relate to other women and friends in my life who are struggling in their marriages, contemplating divorce, or experiencing loss in ways I never had been able to understand or walk alongside in a genuine way before. The peace I have coming out of this season is the promise that Jesus is real and present and working for my good, my joy, and His glory and that is enough."

Growing Through Discipleship

Story & Photo - Kyle English

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Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. ~Matthew 28:19-20

AJ grew up in an active Catholic family, but never fully felt like he understood the Gospel.  His life began to change when a Christian girl came into his life. “She started taking me to a Christian Church,” he recalls, “and taught me how to read the Bible, and was just a great example of what it meant to walk with Jesus.”  As the relationship progressed a few months, he began to undergo a major shift in perspective and heart attitude. “God opened up my eyes and my heart to see the depth of my sin, and His endless love and grace over my life.” Soon thereafter, he began serving in his community, and volunteering at the Tacoma Rescue mission.  It was there that he met a new friend who attended Resurrection Church and kept insisting that he come check it out; which he eventually did. “I have now been attending Resurrection Church for the past year and a half and am very blessed to be a part of it,” he states.

In the Fall of 2016, AJ had the opportunity to attend an immersive discipleship experience at Resurrection Church.  The training, then called Disciple, lasted ten weeks, and looked at what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  It provided the tools and learning environment for participants to grow in discipleship and disciple-making; while learning about the church’s five core values: Jesus, Love, Truth, Transformation, and Legacy.  If this all sounds familiar to you, it’s because Disciple eventually refined into our church's ten-week Disciple Maker series; laying the foundation for our current Disciple Maker Equip and setting the direction for Discipleship Groups.

AJ is up front when asked about his initial reason for wanting to take part, stating “I initially enrolled because I was told it was needed to become a member (it’s not any longer).”  However, he took to the learning experience very quickly, and found himself enjoying the discipleship and new community he plugged in with. He adds, “just after the first class, I ended up really loving it, and got to know some really great people!”  

A big part of growing in discipleship, in addition to gaining a better understanding of what it means to be a disciple, is learning to disciple one another.  This is practiced, in part, by participating in small discipleship groups. The purpose of these groups, is to continually engage each other in discussion, prayer, fellowship, and accountability.  AJ says of his group, “from the very start, God was really moving among us. Meeting a group of complete strangers… and yet at the end of the first day, we had all felt like we’d known each other for a long time.  As time went on, we got to really know each other and grow as brothers in Christ.”

When asked what discipleship means to him, AJ responds that it “means actively walking with Jesus.  Spending time with the Lord through prayer, scripture reading, and fellowship to where we are continually learning and growing in His likeness.”  

He goes on to talk about his greatest takeaways from the experience: “Overall, there were many great practical tools I acquired that I can honestly say will be used throughout the rest of my life.  The number one thing I personally have taken away is that discipleship is meant to be done in community; and through it all, God has not only blessed me and equipped me in that aspect, but in all areas to live a life devoted to Him.”

As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  ~John 17:18


Disciple Maker Equip and Discipleship Groups continue to be important parts of Resurrection Church.  If you are not yet part of either, you can connect by texting the numbers below or by visiting the Connect Desk on Sunday.

 

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