[Teaching Carrie how to fly a kit story.]
 [Flying kites with kids story.]
You know what? We can live like that kite. Our lives can be lived like they’re meant to be lived. We can soar above the muck and the mire of mediocrity and live an elevated life. Now I’m not talking about having a life of money or power or fame. I’m talking about living a life of true joy and love and victory and meaning and purpose. Having and being all that God wants us to be is what gets us off the ground.
 You see, we can fly high like a kite if we’ll simply fill our sails with the Spirit of Almighty God. He’s the wind that pushes us upward to live like we were meant to live.
Too many people have given up on flying through life. Too many people have settled on having a mundane, boring, defeated, addicted, depressed, lonely, earthly, common, mediocre life that never gets off the ground. What a shame and what a waste.
This morning we’re going to see what it really means to live a Spirit-led life and how God wants to elevate our lives like the wind elevates a kite. We’ll be in chapter sixteen of the book of Acts where Paul’s in the early stages of his second missionary journey. What we’ll see here is the amazing things that the Spirit can do through those that are led by Him.
 The first things we see the Spirit do is to guide Paul in a very specific way. The Holy Spirit seeks to help navigate us to where we need to be going on this journey of life.
[Read Acts 16:6-12.]
So Paul, Silas and Timothy left Lystra, where they picked up Timothy, and intended to go into Asia to do some church planting, but the Spirit wouldn’t let them go there. Instead, they were guided into Europe to do ministry there.
[Pew Bible map #9 exercise.]
[Read Acts 16:6-10.]
Now, we don’t know exactly how the Spirit got the message to Paul not to go into Asia or Bithynia to do ministry. As far as going to Macedonia, the Spirit spoke to Paul in a vision very specific instructions. So, how did Paul know the Spirit forbade him to go into Asia?
Since there’s no mention of a prophet speaking to him, and no mention of other visions, I think he could sense the Spirit disrupting his spirit when he tried to go into Asia and Bithynia. Maybe when he prayed about going to these places, or even when he was planning his trip, he just couldn’t get any peace about going there. In reality, it was the Spirit of God keeping him from where he shouldn’t be by disturbing him inside.
But that’s how the Spirit works as He’s guiding us through life. He gives us peace when we’re making the right decisions, and he disturbs us inside when we’re headed in the wrong direction.
Here the Spirit threw Paul a curveball and took him into Europe instead of into Asia to do ministry. It wasn’t what Paul had planned to do, but he went with it and the results are simply amazing! The very first European Christian convert and subsequent church was started right there in Philippi. And of course, the gospel traveled throughout Europe and eventually made it throughout the entire western world. Paul was able to be a part of that because he followed the Spirit’s leading. How exciting and rewarding it is to follow the Spirit’s guidance in this life. God’s got great plans for us if we’ll simply follow His lead.
I read about a group of missionaries from the early twentieth century known as one-way missionaries. They were called this because they would pack all their earthly belongings into coffins and buy one-way tickets to whatever mission field they were called to knowing they would never return home. The story is told of one such missionary named A. W. Milne who felt called to a tribe of headhunters in New Hebrides. (Even though all other missionaries who went to this tribe were killed by the people there.) But it didn’t stop A. W. He knew God wanted him there so off he went. He ended up spending 35 years ministering to that tribe of people before dying there. On his tombstone the tribes people wrote, “When he came here there was no light. When he left there was no darkness.”
When God guides us in a specific way He’s got some great plans for us and through us. We should be grateful that the Spirit is willing to lead us through this life. Seek His guidance for the decisions that you need to make. May His Spirit give you the green light of peace, or may His Spirit stop you from going the wrong way or from going too soon.
Not only does the Spirit guide us in this life,  but He transforms our lives when He saves us in the first place! Let’s go back to the story and see the results of God’s guidance in Paul’s life.
[Read Acts 16:13-15.]
Paul and the others went looking for a synagogue to preach in but found none. All they could find was a group of women who were assembled for prayer and Jewish worship down by the river. I’m sure it wasn’t what they expected, but since the Lord led them to Philippi they simply went with it. Before long a woman named Lydia, who was a Jewish convert, (“worshipper of God”), had gotten saved. She got the whole group over to her house, Paul obviously gave them the gospel as well since they all got saved as a display of their new faith! An entire family was transformed by the power of Almighty God. The Spirit of God will draw us unto salvation.
Jesus often talked about the power of the Spirit when it comes to salvation.
[Read John 6:44, 12:32, 16:8.]
The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God and even uses our own sin to draw us to the Lord for salvation. It’s a supernatural thing that only He can do.
I can’t convince you that God loves you and that you need salvation. Only He can. Oh sure, we can have a war of words and maybe I’ll come out on top. Maybe I can persuade your intellect that God is real. But when it comes to convincing a man’s heart of his need for salvation, only God can do that, and He does is through His Spirit.
When I got saved I was alone in my apartment with a mind full of Bible verses and a heart under heavy conviction from the Holy Spirit. It was supernatural, it was real, and He changed my life.
Maybe you feel that same conviction even now as I speak. You know all the verses, you’ve heard all the sermons, you’ve seen the evidence of God in the world, but you still haven’t given Him your heart – even though you can feel Him just as real as you can feel your heart beating in your chest. It’s the Spirit of God lovingly drawing you to salvation. He hopes that today is your day to become God’s child.
When the Spirit came knocking at Lydia’s door, she answered in a big way. And before the end of the day her and her whole family would become a part of the family of God.
Paul was starting to understand why the Lord had guided him to Philippi. But this was just the beginning! You see there was a girl there who was demon-possessed and she started harassing Paul and his companions as they were doing ministry amongst the people. But God loved this girl just like He loves everyone, so by the power of the Spirit she was  delivered from her demons. Yes, the Spirit has the power to deliver us.
[Read Acts 16:16-18.]
As Paul and his companions walked throughout the city spreading the gospel this demon-possessed girl would follow them around and scream out mockeries intending to discredit their efforts. “These men are servants of the Most High God who are telling you the way of salvation.” Can you imagine how frustrating that would have been? People might have thought she was one of them, people might have thought she was making fun of them, people might not have known what to think. At the very least they might have just stayed away from them since this demoniac was hanging around.
After a few frustrating days of exhausting his patience, Paul spoke directly to the demon within her and by the power of the Spirit delivered her from it’s grip. She was now free to live as God wanted her to live. She could now think and live like she wanted to. What an amazing display of the power of the Spirit.
That power of the Spirit is still available today. Whether a person is possessed by a demon or whether a person is enslaved to sin, deliverance is available today.
[“John’s” deliverance from drug addiction at LWC.]
Listen, you might have something in your life that seems to have a firm grip on you and it just won’t let you go. Deliverance is available for you through the power of the Holy Spirit. Why not make today your day of freedom?
At the end of the service, if you need to pray with someone about anything that we’ve talked about this morning, you come down to pray. If you need the God’s guidance, if you need salvation, if you need deliverance, don’t hesitate to call on the Spirit of Almighty God to do a work in your life.
But before we get to that point, we need to look at how we can choke off the power of the Spirit in our lives. You see, even though that power is available for us all, we can’t access it through our disobedience. 
I Thessalonians 5:19 warms us to not “quench the Holy Spirit”. That literally means to put out the fire of the Spirit through our disobedient lifestyle.
And then Ephesians chapter four verses 17-32 talk about all the sinful things that we can do to “grieve” the Spirit of God within us.
[Read Ephesians 4:17-32.]
If we can’t see the power of God’s Spirit in our lives, I wonder if we’ve allowed the power of sin to quench and grieve the Spirit in us?
D. L. Moody said, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled.”
If you can’t see the power of the Spirit in your life, try and see just what’s in the way. Just what has your heart’s focus?
[Paul and Timothy’s submission to God…]
 You can have the power of the Spirit in your life. You can fly high like a kite full of true joy, love, meaning, purpose, victory, everything you need to lead a fulfilling life, the life that God intended for you to live, by the power of the Spirit. Do you want a Spirit-led life?
Do you need the Spirit’s guidance for something going on in your life?
Do you need deliverance from something in your life?
Do you need salvation today?