Session 1: Know God Intimately 

Core Values being covered: The Bible as God’s written Authority, 
passionate prayer, and genuine worship

The Bible

2 Timothy 3:15-17 says, “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

The Bible as God’s written direction & final authority is our first core value. 

The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. This is taken directly from our first fundamental truths of the Assemblies of God.

The bible is His God breathed word, written under the inspiration and direction of His Holy Spirit. It was written as the ultimate revelation of who He is, the direction for salvation, and the instruction for discipleship. 

In Josh McDowels book “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” he writes about these sacred writings and shows evidence of God having His hands on them.  He says they were written over a 1400 – 1500 year span, that covered 40 generations, and written by over 40 authors from all walks of life.

Here are some examples: 

Written in different places:

  • Moses in the wilderness
  • Jeremiah in a dungeon
  • Daniel on a hillside and in a palace
  • Paul inside prison walls
  • Luke while traveling
  • John on the isle of Patmos
  • Others in the rigors of a military campaign

Written at different times:

  • David in times of war
  • Solomon in times of peace

 Written during different moods:

  • Some writing from the heights of joy 
  • Writing from the depths of sorrow and despair

Written on three continents:

  • Asia, Africa and Europe

Written in three languages:

  • Hebrew and Aramaic: Were the “common language” of the Near East until the time of Alexander the Great (6th century BC – 4th century BC)
  • Greek: New Testament language and was the international language at the time of Christ.

With all of that being considered, it’s incredible that there is still just one unfolding story: God’s redemption of man.

Currently the word inspired defined by Webster online dictionary means: outstanding or brilliant in a way or to a degree suggestive of divine inspiration.  Notice that the dictionary says it’s something so brilliant or outstanding that it only suggests divine inspiration. Interesting choice of words, it suggests divine inspiration. Yet, the Webster dictionary in 1828 defined inspired this way: Breathed in; inhaled; infused; Informed or directed by the Holy Spirit. Did God change? No, but the editors of Websters did!  The Greek Treasures Dictionary defines inspired: God-Breathed.  In the bible the intended use of this word inspired was to tell you and I that this book, the Bible is God-breathed, directed by the Holy Spirit. 

Because it’s inspired, because it’s God breathed, because it’s written under the direction of the Holy Spirit it is: profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

People have questions like: 

  • Does God still speak to people like me? Yes, through His God-breathed word!
  • Does God still show up in our lives? Yes, through His God-breathed word!
  • Does God still answer my prayers? Yes, most often through His God-breathed word!
  • Does God still change the man with an angry heart? Yes, through His God-breathed word!  

It is through this inspired God breathed-word that we find:

  • Hope for salvation
  • Answers for our society
  • Freedom for the addicts
  • Guidance for the child of God
  • Peace for our souls
  • Strength in times of trouble
  • Renewal for the mind
  • Gods plan for the believer
  • Gods purpose for the believer
  • Gods empowerment of the believer
  • Gods provision for the believer 
  • The passion of God
  • The plan of God
  • The hope of God
  • The priority of God
  • The promises of God

In 1 Thessalonians 2:13 it says, “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”

The Thessalonians did not just acknowledge the word as God-breathed, they received it as God-breathed, and then our passage says they accepted it as Gods word.  This particular word accept means “to take one’s self what is presented or brought by another, to accept, embrace, receive hospitably; admit, approve, allow. It implies a subjective reception, showing that a decision of the will has taken place with respect to the object presented, and that the acceptance manifests it.”

A decision of the will has taken place.  

What this means: It’s your decision to open yourself up to and then choose to believe the Bible is God-breathed. It is completely your choice.  You can view it as just another book, or you can choose to accept it. Make a decision of your will to open up your heart to the bible being the God-breathed, Holy Spirit directed, inspired word of the living God.  

Those words “also performs” in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 is taken from the Greek word where we get our English word energy from! Energy does something, makes things go, it pushes, moves, or it has potential.  The word of God has the potential to change your life, to change your family, to change your thoughts, your direction, who you are!  It performs a work in those who believe – believe what?  That this is the inspired; God-breathed Word.

Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

The American Bible Society reports almost 9 out of 10 homes in America have a bible. Yet abuse, neglect, divorce, and alcoholism is often rampant in those same homes. 

It’s not just having the book that changes us, it is receiving, accepting, and believing that it is the God-breathed Word. The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.

Question 3:

2 Peter 1:20-21For no prophecy recorded in Scripture was ever thought up by the prophet himself. It was the Holy Spirit within these godly men who gave them true messages from God.“

God gave them true messages from Himself ions upon ions ago, from so far past that you can’t comprehend it, God knew you would be sitting in this room. From infinity, because God had no beginning, He had a plan to redeem us, He had a plan to provide for our salvation, and to reveal himself to us. He moved on man and he wrote that word is His revelation of Himself, and His plan of salvation for a lost and dying world.  

*Just for personal encouragement take the time to read “Love Letter from God,” at

To Know God Intimately we need to understand the Bible as God’s written authority and engage in passionate prayer. 

Passionate Prayer

Many people pray, but Manhattan First desires to move from prayer to passionate prayer. SD Gordon writes, “How much prayer meant to Jesus! It was not only his regular habit, but his resort in every emergency, however slight or serious. When perplexed, he prayed. When hard pressed by work, he prayed. When hungry for fellowship he found it in prayer. He chose his associates and received his messages upon his knees. If tempted, he prayed. If criticized, he prayed. If fatigued in body or wearied in spirit, he had recourse to his one unfailing habit of prayer. Prayer brought him unmeasured power at the beginning, and kept the flow unbroken and undiminished. There was no emergency, no difficulty, no necessity, no temptation that would not yield to prayer.” Jesus was passionate about prayer. 

Hebrews 5:7 says, “Yet while Christ was here on earth he pleaded with God, praying with tears and agony of soul to the only one who would save him from premature death. And God heard his prayers because of his strong desire to obey God at all times.”

In a nutshell, this passage says God heard Jesus because of passionate prayer. When a child fake cries because they don’t get their way, it usually doesn’t elicit much response from parents. That same child gets their finger caught in a door and lets out a passionate cry, parents will move immediately.  This is a simple illustration that does not cover all the aspects of passionate prayer, but it illustrates the point.  

Question 4:

Jesus said “blessed are the poor in spirit” in the beatitudes. A poor person is not ashamed to plead, or beg for a food. Prayer from a heart that is a beggar of who God is and what He has to offer is the kind of passionate prayer we’re after. 

Many people don’t cry, that does not mean they are excused from praying like Jesus. It’s just praying from a place of brokenness. A broken spirit, God will not overlook (Psalm 51:17). We know what it means to be broken. Even if we have never experienced it we can understand it.  It’s not an unhealthy broken like the desperate souls of the concentration camps, it’s a brokenness of pride.  It leads to a humility that realizes completely that we need God to move.  It’s a brokenness of independence, that we would become dependent upon God.  It is a brokenness of strength where we realize we cannot accomplish what He wants on our own.  Even if no tears are shed, we can pray with this attitude.  

How do you describe a groveling before God that only comes from a place that you are agonizing for Him to move?  One passage Jesus tell us  “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:24) Striving comes from this same concept of agonizing. We pray with agony of soul and we strive to be with God.  

What if God does not answer? We keep praying! Why? What drives animals? Food and reproduction?   We need food from heaven, and we need to be reproducing believers that should keep us on our knees even when the answers are not what we hoped for.  

Scripture does not show us Jesus got the answer He wanted. It tells us God heard His prayers. Our goal should not be the answers we think we need, our goal is the ear of God.  

Question 5:

Genuine Worship

To know God intimately we need the Bible as God’s written authority, passionate prayer, and genuine worship. 

Worship is a topic if we ask 10 people what it is, we will get 10 different answers. Almost none of the 10 would be wrong, but none of them would be complete.  

Describing worship can be like describing God: It is unfathomable in its depth and unmistakable in its focus. It is unquestionable in its purpose as deep as God is and as deliberate as night and day. What we do know is holiness produces worship and worship produces holiness. 

A sinner can praise God, but only a saint can worship Him. Praise can be worship, but usually worship is not praise. Jack Hayford states: “Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One worshiped” Genuine worship produces holiness.

Worship is born out of relationship and relationship is born out of worship. It is meant to be lived, to be experienced, to be a discipline. We don’t worship because we have feelings and emotions but often we have feelings and emotions because we worship. We worship God with our life, we worship Him with our giving, we worship Him with our testimony, and we worship Him with music.  

The absolute highest purpose of music is not to entertain you, not so you can dance, not so you can feel good, and not for your pleasure. The absolute highest purpose of music is to worship the living God.  If you have musical abilities then it would suffice to say the highest purpose of the gifting God has given you is for worship. 

Three things can help us understand worship:

  1. Worship is born out of intimacy and intimacy is born out of worship
  2. Worship brings purpose and power
  3. Worship is brought together corporately 

1. Worship is born out of intimacy

R.A. Torrey, testified that a transformation came into his experience when he learned not only to give thanks and make petition, but also to worship, asking nothing from God, occupied and satisfied with Him alone. In that new experience, he realized a new intimacy with God. 

J Oswald Sanders said, “Intimacy with God will inevitably fan the flame of desire to know Him better, so that we may worship Him more worthily. “ The Old English word for worship is worthship.  When you truly worship God you are giving Him worth, the worth He is due and you don’t know His worth unless you know Him. 

2. Genuine worship brings purpose and power.

Again from Sanders:  “We should, however, beware of conceiving of worship as being confined solely to the realm of thought, (or song) for in Scripture it is linked with service. (You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only)” were our Lord’s words to Satan (Matt. 4:10). We should not separate what God has joined. Worship is no substitute for service, nor is service a substitute for worship. But true worship must always be expressed in loving service.

Psalms 40:3 says, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.

God speaks to us in worship experiences and reveals His will to us. Experiences in worship is just one of the ways God reveals to us His desire to use us and to fulfill His purpose. 

Dr Dale A. Robbins, says: “The Bible says that God inhabits in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).  In other words, God “dwells” in the atmosphere of His praise. This implies that it’s not merely a reaction from coming in to His presence. Praise is a vehicle of faith which brings us in to the presence and power of God.  Praise and worship is the “gate you have to pass” which allows us to enter the sacredness of His glory. It’s the power of God that makes a difference between a dead dry church and one that is alive and on fire for Him. The power of God shows up when His people abandon themselves in genuine worship.  

Terry Yancey said “We know our church and leadership generates hope when everyone sees himself/herself as a worship leader.”  

At Manhattan First, we want you to know God intimately and experience Him in a real way throughout your week. Our Sunday morning services will be full of people who get lost in His presence. We believe your worship to God doesn’t just stop at you.  We want to see God move, lives changes, and His plans revealed. We want to see your unsaved family members find Him and see this city changed forever because of your response to Him in worship. 

Each one of us needs to wrestle within ourselves with whatever it is that stops us from worshipping God from the depths of our being.  We encourage you to start to abandon yourself in worship, start to get lost in His praises, lift your head, your voice, your heart, and your feet and start to worship Him with everything that is in you. 

Some might say, “I don’t know how?” How many things do you do in your life that you didn’t know how, but you did them and learned? Just start to try, and try again, and try until you get it! Read scriptures about worship and start to implement them, (i.e. raising your hands, bowing before him).  You can start small.  Maybe you have never raised your hands in worship, perhaps this Sunday, you can raise them just a little. 

Raising our hands is simply often an act of surrender, or it could be an act of praise.  Think about how people raise their hands at football games.  The object of your praise has simply changed, you are now praising Jesus with hands raised to the sky.  Remember, our posture in worship is not super important, because it’s about your heart, and it often changes in the presence of God.  Some people may shout, some may weep, others may fall on their knees, and some may stand stoically in awe of Him.  

If you find yourself refusing to try (or refusing to let God stretch you for whatever reason) the signal you might be sending to God and others is, “I don’t care enough about the power and purpose of God.”   The mere fact that He deserves our abandoned, reckless, exuberant praise and worship should be enough to help us get over these hindrances and start to worship Him.

You have a purpose for being at church, and that purpose is not to come watch others worship the living God.  You can do that watching TV in the privacy of your home with a pizza and a diet coke. Our job is to worship the glory right out of heaven, right into the sanctuary, week after week.

The difference between a dead dry church with no presence and one that is alive and active, is us.  We make up our mind that we are going see God face to face today or we are going to at least sweat and cry trying. 


3. Worship is brought together corporately. 

The huge mistake that is made in worship services across America:   

  • We wait for the fourth song to get “warmed up” in corporate worship  
  • We wait for the song we like to enter into worship
  • We wait for the right mood before we enter in
  • We won’t worship until the music is loud enough or when it’s too loud for us
  • If things are not the way we think they should be we won’t worship

We are missing the greatest opportunity in our lives to be experiencing the presence and power of God on a weekly basis.  Don’t come to church and wait for anything, come with your mind made up that you are going to worship God and experience intimacy, power and purpose corporately.   

It’s simple: Worship is a choice.

You’ve completed Session 1, Congrats! You may either stop here and come back at another time or move on to the next session. If you’d like to continue click Session 2 now.