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Following Promptings

• Seth McCoy

We can all struggle to hear and obey God at times – but why? Is it that we’re not listening well? Or that we’re afraid that we might not like what we hear? We’re not alone in those realities – even Jesus’ disciples found themselves there, hiding from others and living in fear. But when they received the Holy Spirit, they had supernatural help to overcome their fears – and so do we! The truth is, we shouldn’t be afraid of what will happen if we listen to the Holy Spirit, we should be afraid of what we’ll miss out on if we don’t!

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When Seth got spanked as a child, the one doing the spanking often said, “Seth, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.”…


Jesus told the disciples something like that – that he was going to leave them soon, but that it would be good for them. Looking back, we can see that was true, but at that time it had to be quite confusing to the disciples. They had never seen someone as amazing, as wise, as loving as Jesus – and then he tells them it’s good that he’s going to leave them soon? It must have been hard for them to believe…


The first case of “evangel-phobia” in the Bible is in John 20. Right after Jesus left them, the disciples are hiding in a locked room because they’re afraid – now that Jesus had left them, there were people looking for them who wanted to hurt them. Then suddenly, Jesus appears inside that locked room with them, tells them to be at peace, and that he would soon be sending them out from their hiding place. He breathes the Holy Spirit on them, gave them God’s forgiveness, and gave them the authority to forgive the sins of others.


A little while later, as recorded in Acts 1 and 2, that same group of disciples that was hiding in that locked room turns into a very bold group who were unafraid to go out into public and proclaim the Good News. What changed? Well, as Jesus said, the same Spirit that was in Him would be given to them, and that’s exactly what happened.


This story of transformation is a picture of our own past, present, and possible future. While hiding in fear, the Holy Spirit comes to us and wants to fill us with His peace, boldness, love, etc. That is what transformed the disciples 2000 years ago, and it still happens today. There is supernatural help and hope for us.


Just as the Israelites followed a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, God’s Spirit will still lead us today – but now He’s closer than our own breath. Why do we doubt that God wants to guide us through life? Why do we wonder if God wants to work through us? Do you believe that God has something to say to you? How about through you? Do you believe that God cares about you? How about the people around you?


In the OT, Samuel grew up in the House of the Lord, where one night Samuel heard God’s voice. The third time he heard that voice, Eli finally realized that God was wanting to speak to Samuel. But the first few times, not only did Samuel miss that fact, but Eli missed it too. How many times have we missed God speaking to us? Are you ears open to hear God? Have you been listening?


We have to be attuned to God, and we have to be attuned to other people. Can we wake up in the morning and intentionally listen to God? Are you willing to be intentional about seeing where God is unlocking doors for you to give you opportunities to share what’s in your heart with others?


When God opens a door for us, we have a choice. He doesn’t force us through the doorway, but He is at work on the other side of that door, and He’s inviting us to work with him there. But we have to be willing to risk walking through that open door – leaving the room we’ve been living in, and walking out into a new place.


In Acts 2, Peter is filled with the Spirit, and he shares the Good News with others. 3000 people were baptized that day. What if Peter had said “no” to the Spirit’s prompting? The bottom line is that we shouldn’t be afraid of what will happen if we listen to God and follow Him. Rather, we should be afraid of what we will miss out on if we don’t listen to God and obey Him.

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Topics: Evangelism, Fear, Holy Spirit

Sermon Series: Everyday Influence

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Focus Scripture:

  • John 20:19-23 (Voice)

    On that same evening (Resurrection Sunday), the followers gathered together behind locked doors in fear that some of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem were still searching for them.

    Out of nowhere, Jesus appeared in the center of the room.

    Jesus: May each one of you be at peace. I give you the gift of peace. In the same way the Father sent Me, I am now sending you.

    Now He drew close enough to each of them that they could feel His breath. He breathed on them.

    Jesus: Welcome the Holy Spirit of the living God.

    You now have the mantle of God’s forgiveness.

    As you go, you are able to share the life-giving power to forgive sins, or to withhold forgiveness.

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4 thoughts on “Following Promptings

  1. Vince says:

    I’m amazed at how much evangelphobia there is in the last 3 sermons in this series! God HAS spoken to us regarding sharing our faith. WE SHOULD! A LOT! In season and out of season! Jesus says “The harvest is PLENTIFUL, but the workers are few.” Will you step up and participate in accepting your calling as a minister of reconciliation (2 Cor 5)?
    We are a royal priesthood for a reason! To PROCLAIM the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light! 1 Peter 2 makes that clear! Will you accept who God has called you to be and become a proclaimer?

    We don’t need excuses (“I’m not loving the person enough before I talk to them…”, “I didn’t hear the prompting from the Holy Spirit to open my mouth and proclaim…”. Come on! Jesus hasn’t already made it crystal clear? How about the apostles teaching? No? Not clear enough? You are giving people excuses. I’m sorry, but evangelphobia has crept back into this series and after ONLY one teaching! After Greg’s first teaching in this series, which was wonderful instruction on how to present the good news, we have shifted back to making excuses for why we need to hesitate to open our mouths.

    I think Penn from Penn and Teller says it best:

    Loving people IS sharing our faith with them! Watch this clip from Penn…


    This is priceless! An atheist is telling the truth when he says: “How much do you have to HATE someone to not share your faith with them? How much to you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them?”

    Greg, that first sermon has already been put into practice in our small group! The angels (and us) are rejoicing over 3 new members that were added to God’s family because the GOOD NEWS is too hard to keep to ourselves, especially the way you were able to communicate it! We took that good news and incorporated it into our own testimonies. It really is true! People around us are ready for this good news! Why wouldn’t they? When should we share this? HOW ABOUT…when SHOULDN’T we? People need this!

  2. Jen says:

    Thank you so much for this sermon. It was so powerful and has inspired me to listen and be obedient to the whisper of the Holy Spirit so that when I am speaking to each individual person that I am presenting Jesus in how they need to hear it at that moment.

  3. Kevin says:

    What gives? I’ve heard Greg testify to the mighty power of the Spirit filling him during his experiences with the United Pentecostal Church Organization and now Seth opens his mouth and speaks the same resounding praise. If the Holy Spirit of God is at work there then how is it that they can have such messed up theology?

  4. Dave Pritchard says:


    “If the Holy Spirit of God is at work there then how is it that they can have such messed up theology?”

    Let’s unpack that and break it down a bit shall we – What exactly is it that is so messed up?

    One of the things that I have always appreciated about WHC is that there is a plethora of personal backgrounds and theological perspectives that all seem to converge ecumenically at The Cross. Do they always get it right? – of course not, but neither are they claiming to. I’m telling you, Seth would hand you his shoes and give you the shirt off his back, if you needed them Bro – in a second! Remember – “The wind bloweth where it listeth” – John 3:8

    But talk is cheap – come to Woodland Hills and join in for a week and you’ll see the dedication and love with which they reach out to the community with the Gospel. They blew me away!

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