New Hope Notes

Life Hacks

Pastor Jon Burgess
July 2, 2017 - W1727

Good morning church and welcome to another beautiful day of fellowship.

As we continue our Life Hacks series, we're going to be talking about the fruit of the spirit of gentleness.

If you will open your Bible to 1 Peter 2:1-3 and read,

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking...if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious."

How many of you have tasted that the Lord is gracious in your life? He gave us grace when we did not deserve it. We tasted it, and we were forever changed.

But over time, you and I can ?? we can become a little harsh in our response to people. Instead of people tasting grace in our responses, what are they getting? Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, evil speaking. Maybe they're getting on our nerves. Maybe we're frustrated. Maybe we wish they would just come to know Jesus already and get their act together.

But if we don't have that gracious spirit of gentleness working through our lives, the fact of the matter is people will be getting a mouthful of this instead of the grace that has changed you and me forever. And so what we're going to be looking at tonight is what that gracious gentle work of the spirit looks like when it's calling us and restoring us and making us new as we study the life of the prophet Elijah.

  1. Gentleness is generous restoration.

    As we study how God worked with Elijah, I want us to understand that God wants to work with us and through us in the same way.

1 Kings 19: 4-9 says of Elijah, “‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’  Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’  So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.  There he went into a cave and spent the night.”

There's a very good chance that some of us in this room right now are right where Elijah was. Maybe you're watching online right now and you're feeling at rock bottom. You've had victory, and now you're in defeat. You saw great things happen and you thought it was going to turn out a different way, but you've lost all momentum and you're having a hard time even celebrating the Fourth of July or any of that because of where you're at in your heart. Your heart is broken. Maybe it's a relationship. Maybe it's finances.

If you're not there, there's a good chance someone in your life is there, and what they need, what you need, what I need more than anything right now is a gentle response, and that's what we're going to be reminded of as we watch God walk Elijah back to wholeness and healing. I want you to know He's going to do the same for you and me today.

So God’s generous restoration is bringing Elijah back to the very place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. This was a holy place. He wasn't going to leave him in his depression. He wasn't going to leave him to simply end his life. He wasn't going to leave him to just die of starvation and thirst. He strengthened his body so he could strengthen his spirit. He's addressing Elijah, body, soul, and spirit, speaking restoration and bringing restoration to every single area in his life.

What is He not doing? He's not condemning him, He's not slapping him around. Rather, He is leading him slowly, gently, specifically, purposefully toward restoration. This is what Isaiah talks about in Isaiah 42 verse 3 when it says, "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice."

Now, some of us need a kick in the butt and God knows when that time is. But some of us are that smoldering wick. We are that bruised reed. Just a little bit more pressure, snap. Just another blow of the wind and our wick is out and our flame of faith is gone. For some people depression can set in and thoughts of suicide can enter our thoughts. God knows when we're at that spectrum with respect to that, and it's important that you and I know where people in our lives are at emotionally.

2.  Gentleness is gracious reproof.

The thing about gentleness is that it doesn't mean God's not going to address the problem. There was a problem of fear in Elijah's life, and it was keeping him from continuing to step into all that God had for him. 

So God is going to take us near the fire, just as you're going to see in Elijah. He's going to take us near the fire, but He's not throwing us in the fire. He's going to bring reproof and correction, but He's going to do it in a way that's gentle so that we're not lit on fire, but we're actually a toasty brown.

And you can see him doing that here in 1 Kings 19:9-13: 

"And the word of the Lord came to him: 'What are you doing here, Elijah?' He replied, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.'"

  1. "The Lord said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'"

    I feel like God might be asking some of us right now, “What are you doing here?” There is a purpose in that question. It's a centering question. It brings us back to the halftime point, this halfway through the year. Are we where He wants us to be? Are we doing what He asked us to do? Is there a place where we have been running from the very thing that He called us to do in the beginning of this year? Was this where Elijah was supposed to be? No. But this was where God found him and this was where God was restoring him and this was where God was going to bring gracious reproof.

     3.  Gentleness is gradual refocusing.

    God is rebuilding who you are. Maybe the first half of this year has torn you apart. But rejoice because God is putting you back together, just like we see Him do here with the mighty man Elijah.

    So as we read in 1 Kings 19:13-18,

    God said, "'What are you doing here, Elijah?' He replied, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down Your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.' The Lord said to him, 'Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel ?? all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.'"

    Was Elijah the only one? No. And some of you need to be reminded that you're not alone. You're not the only one. When we're out there, it feels like sometimes in our offices, sometimes in even our homes, like we're the only one. And if you feel isolated, you're going to run out of strength because you're going to feel like you’re the only one that's trying to make this stand.

    And God, in His beautiful restoration, is rebuilding Elijah saying that there are 7,000 others who are making the same stand as him. God is saying to just do what He’s asked you to do. What's the coach saying? Get back onto the field. And for some of us that's exactly what He's saying. You've been off the field. Your Christian walk has been a shambles. You've run into all kinds of things that have caused you to question God Himself, and yet God is gently restoring you, He is graciously reproving you, and He is gradually refocusing you.

    We're always praying for a move of God, and maybe we don't realize that that move of God is actually going to come when you move with God. It's actually going to come through your hands and your feet, your voice, your words, your life.

    Elijah wasn't done yet. Neither are you. If you want to make your second half of 2017 better than your first, let this gentle word of God be the reminder to you that He's just getting started. If you want to move with God and have Him move through you, would you show the Lord by standing right now right where you're at. I'm looking out at a room full of Elijahs, people that God has given authority to, God has put you right where you're at by divine design.


  1. Why do we need gentleness?

  2. What are the three ways that God works gentleness in our lives?

  3. How did God treat Elijah when he was down and out in the wilderness?

  4. What does God do when He takes us near fire?

  5. Why do we need to be careful in what we say and do to others?