Dear Friends,

As I write this, the NBA is into their Championship Finals with Golden State leading the series against Cleveland 3-0.  The first two games Steph Curry was the offensive leader of the Warriors, and Kevin Durant led the scoring in game 3.  Of course LeBron James is always leading the scoring in most games he plays.  What an incredible group of highly skilled and gifted offensive players!

SPIRIT OF OFFENSE—Offense in basketball is good.  Offense in our culture is not good. I would suggest that there is a “spirit of offense” in modern America.  It seems people are looking to be offended—almost as if they want to be offended so that they can attack the one who has provided the offense.  Our culture has devolved to the point that if you say or believe something that is offensive to anyone, then it is felt that your right to say or believe that should be severely restricted.

Here are ten “spirits” that accompany the “spirit of offense:”

  1. SPIRIT OF JEALOUSY (Numbers 5:14)
  2. SPIRIT OF ILL WILL (Judges 9:23)
  3. SPIRIT OF JUDGMENT (Isaiah 4:4)
  4. SPIRIT OF DEEP SLEEP (Isaiah 29:10)
  5. SPIRIT OF HARLOTRY (Hosea 5.4)
  6. SPIRIT OF BONDAGE (Romans 8:15)
  7. SPIRIT OF STUPOR (Romans 11:8)
  8. SPIRIT OF FEAR (2 Timothy 1:7)
  9. SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST (1 John 4:3)
  10. SPIRIT OF DECEPTION (1 John 4:6)

This is an amazing description of what I witness in our world today!

What if we as American Christians would portray a new way?

GIVE NO OFFENSE—We are called to live in such a way as to give no offense to anyone so that our ministry will have the maximum impact.  To be sure the Gospel is an offense to those aren’t saved—even Jesus Himself is called a “Rock of offense,” but we aren’t to be offensive in our ways.

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed”  (2 Corinthians 6:3).

What if instead of a “spirit of offense” we cultivated these characteristics?

What if we had a:

  1. SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS?

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13).

  1. SPIRIT OF UNITY?

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5).

  1. SPIRIT OF ENCOURAGEMENT?

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

  1. SPIRIT OF ACCEPTANCE?

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory” (Romans 15:7).

  1.  SPIRIT OF HOSPITALITY?

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9).

  1.  SPIRIT OF SERVICE?

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10).

  1.  SPIRIT OF WISDOM?

Now Joshua…was full of the spirit of wisdom” (Deuteronomy 34:9).

  1. SPIRIT OF HUMILITY?

I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts” (Isaiah 57:15b).

  1. SPIRIT OF FAITH?

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13).

  1. SPIRIT OF LOVE?

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

We will not impact our world with offense.  We who claim Christ must present a different spirit…of forgiveness, unity, encouragement, acceptance, hospitality, service, wisdom, humility, faith and love.  This will have an eternal impact on our culture!

Onward in His Spirit,

Pastor Gary