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Category Archives: Prayer

Ephesians 4:1

 

“Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received.”

This is a great verse to start our study of Ephesians because in it is found two over arching themes of the book of Ephesians. One is that you have something to do, the other is that something is found in the will of God.

Here we find the bible urging us to do something. If we are urged then we have the option weather to do it or not. Furthermore, we find the word walk. Walk is a verb thus it implies doing something. God has called us, as this verse states, to do something which we have the option to do or not to do. Throughout Ephesians we find a call to action to serve the Lord, to walk in unity with other believers. These are actions we must decide to take then under go the often hard work of seeing those actions through. Walking worthy is not something that happens in a one time decision. It isn’t something that happens a few times a year. It isn’t something that happens once a week in a worship gathering. Walking worthy is a decision we make every morning, every evening, and every moment of our day. But deciding isn’t enough we must also walk. We decide to walk then we do the actual walking. That is a continual living out our faith through the Love of God and the truth of the Gospel.

As Christians we must be careful. We tend to fall into one of two ditches on either side of the road of our thinking. One ditch is the overly spiritual. Everything comes back to prayer, waiting on the Lord, and the work of the Holy Spirit. This sounds really good and spiritual. We are supposed to precede, and follow through everything with prayer. And we are supposed to seek the Lords direction on things. But to often this mentality results in an idea that we can’t do anything on our own. In some sense this is true. But God has called us to go, to walk, to be, to do, to make, to serve, and he has given us the power to do so. We have the Holy Spirit, we are called to do, don’t defeat yourself and what God wants to do in and through you before you every begin.

The other ditch is just as bad. This ditch is overly pragmatic. This ditch is all about plans, procedures, techniques, and methods. If I could just get a good plan I could do this, or if the church just had the right programs it would grow. This is completely taking God out of the equations. He has called us to do things but he hasn’t called us to do it alone. Our calling comes from God and so does our power.

I urge you to realize where your call, confidence, and help comes from. We can rely on God but we must also be obedient and do our part. Stay out of the ditches and I look forward to seeing you at our worship gathering.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Bible, Prayer, Purpose, Sermons

 

The Faith to do What Needs to be Done!

Sunday was a weird sermon. I focused on prayer and its effect on our prayer life. There are numerous preachers out there that have the wrong idea of faith. I think there are basically two camps. There are those that use faith as a catch-all and as a means to get anything from God. The other camp is those that limit faith to that which is easy to understand and by doing so limit its importance. I attempt to fall somewhere in between. Both of these camps are equally wrong.

My sermon Sunday likely didn’t answer many of your questions about faith and might have given you a few new ones. But the value of that is that it hopefully encourages you to think and pray and study the word. That is what New Life seeks to do. That is bring people from various religious backgrounds and agree on the foundational truths of scripture and then agree to learn from the rest.

So with that being understood I believe when discussing a topic as mired in religiousness and spirituality, as faith is, that we must be particularly aware of our hermenutics. That is making sure we understand scripture for what is really saying not what we want it to say, what we think it says, or what it appears to say.

That being said we must discuss Hebrews 11:1:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

This verse points us to four particularly important aspects of faith. The first two are the present versus the future. The second two are who God is versus what he has promised. The faith in the present is largely associated with who God is. The faith in the future is largely associated with what God has promised. One reason that hermenutics is so important when talking about faith is that many people tend to make the promises of God mean what ever they want. So when you find a promise in reading the bible, study it out. It might not be what you thought it was but it is likely something much more grand.

When we pray we should keep both of these in mind. Pray believing that God is able because he is powerful or is willing because he is loving. And pray confidently because he has promised. As we study scripture we grow in understanding of who God is and what he has promised and by doing so if we are aware of it we should be growing in faith as well.

Adult discussion:

  1. What are some particular promises of God?
  2. What are areas I am afraid to have faith in? Why?
  3. What promises have I seen fulfilled?
  4. What are some particularly important characteristics of God?

Family Discussion:

  1. What is God like?
  2. What do these attributes mean about him? What can he do, what will he do?
  3. What does it mean if we are confident? Give examples?
  4. How can we be confident because of who God is?
 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Bible, Prayer, Sermons

 

PRAY

“Obama Triumphs” is the headline on USA Today. To be honest, I am a little disappointed I guess. But to be completely honest, It doesn’t really matter. Obama or Romney, they are both the same. The same? How can I say that? Same sex marriage, abortion, and many other issues are important to me, because they are important to God, but don’t fool yourself into thinking one candidate is any better than the next. The big wheel of politics is rolling and most, if not all, soften their stance on religious issues when in office. Men and women elected forget their roots and say and do what they think will win favor with the voters.

Now, with that, what are we to do? Pray! Pray and humble ourselves. God made a promise to the Israelite people in the Old Testament and it is still valid for us to pray today.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This Sunday at New Life we will conclude our sermon series on prayer. Let me encourage you to take prayer seriously.Come this Sunday to church. Come to God on your knees asking and believing. Ask for forgiveness of sin, for yourself and for our nation. Pray that the name above all names, Jesus, will be glorified regardless of who is in office.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Church, Encouragement, Events, Life, Prayer

 

Keep Praying!

Last week we had a good challenge to pray. For 10 minutes a day we were to pray for ministry. Our ministry, the churches ministry, all ministry that furthers the name of Christ Jesus. This week I handed out mints. If you weren’t at New Life yesterday, you are saying, “mints?”.

God has recently shown me the prayer of Jabez again. It become popular 10-12 years ago and many sermons and Bible studies centered around it. I really didn’t get involved with it at the time. I realize now that I wasn’t spiritually mature enough to embrace it at that time. Today I am. I have been praying the prayer multiple times a day now for eight days.

“Oh, that You would bless me indeed

and enlarge my territory

that Your hand would be with me

and that You would keep me from evil

that I will not cause pain”

The mints that were given out yesterday were in a sandwich bag with this verse in the bag as well. They are ment to be seeds. Daniel ordered 5000 mints(seeds), good tasting mints, that have our church logo on the wrapper. These mints aren’t for us. They are to be used as an evangelistic tool. So let me encourage you again, share the love of Christ with people who God brings into your life this week. Give them a mint, or just be Christ to them and reward yourself with a mint. I’m going to eat one now….. I will tell you why, tomorrow.

Questions to ponder:

-Is it selfish to pray, “bless me”? Why or why not.

-When Jabez prayed, “enlarge my territory”, was he asking for more land?

-What does it mean to you to pray for Gods hand to be with you?

-Have you ever prayed, “Keep me from evil”? We pray when we are tempted for strength to overcome. How is this prayer different?

-“That I may not cause pain”, How have people caused you pain in the past? How have you caused others pain?

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Excellence, Individual Growth, Life, Prayer, Sermons

 

Are You Praying?

In his book “Break Out Churches” Thom Rainer chronicled how churches that had long been mired in mediocrity that had had little to no impact in changing lives, in reaching there community, or making a difference in the world had a dramatic change when the church, and specifically the leadership, recommitted themselves to the foundational ministries, the greatest of these being prayer.

My point is that if you desire for your church to make an impact in the world you must pray for it. If you desire for yourself to make an impact in the world you must pray for it. If you desire your church to change lives you must pray for it. If you desire your life to be changed you must pray for it.

In Acts 1:14 the leaders of the church gathered together and devoted themselves to prayer. Websters defines Devote as “to keep or intend for a special purpose”. The early church leaders special purpose was not merely changing a few lives or impacting the world but rather saving the world. There is a reason that the first century church was the point of, arguably, the greatest church growth (at least by percentages of people) that the church has ever seen. Prayer was certainly a major factor in that amazing growth.

To see God work in and through us we have to remain connected with him. It is through prayer that we maintain and build this connection.

If you didn’t make it to New Life Sunday we missed you but you missed a new challenge for every one that hears it. YOU are challenged to prayer for ministry (that is yours, your churches, others in town, others you know about, people your witnessing to, people you should witness to, that’s work with the church, the leaders of the church, that’s visitors to the church, any and all ministry) for at least an hour a week. This is over and above your times of personal prayer. But don’t try to fudge it and pray a minute here and a minute there. The suggestion is to pray ten minutes a day. This point is a matter of intimacy  Do you build a relationship with the person you talk to a minute at a time or the person you chat with for long periods, like over a meal or on trip? Well obviously the longer periods. So is the same with God.

If you did hear the challenge you should be praying. If you didn’t please join the rest of those that did. 10 Min. A Day. Its simple.

Are You Praying?

Don’t forget after each sermon we will have two blog posts to help you reflect on and apply the sermon and specifically to develop the concepts with your family. I like to give you some discussions or points directed toward adults and then the whole family:

Adult Discussion:

  1. Are You Praying?
  2. Honestly evaluate your prayer life. Jesus was 10 Where are you?
  3. What is your view of Prayer? What is the bible’s view? Focus on importance.
  4. Remember how you emphasis prayer is how your family will.

Family Discussion:

  1. Establish a family prayer time. Once a week, or once a day the important thing is that you do it.
  2. What kind of things can we pray for? Should we pray for?
  3. Are You praying for ministry?
  4. What is ministry?
 

Man and God and Man

 

 

In Acts there is given an account of the activities of the early church. The passage records that 3000 people joined the group that were followers of Christ and then it states that “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42 NASB).

This is the early church and what they did, what they saw as important. The modern church as a list of programs, activities, groups, meetings, services, and ministries, that every church feels like they “have to have”. But what did our example of how to do church do after adding 3000 members? A church with 3000 members could do about anything they wanted to in modern day. They could have several paid staff positions, with the greatest of praise and worship bands leading the services. They would have a rockin’ kids and youth ministry. There could be sending missions trips across the globe and have a school of some sort. They could have every ministry one could think of. But what did our example for church do with an abundance of resources? The connected people to people and people to God. This one verse gives examples of the focus of the entire purpose and practice of the church. It boils doing what the church is to do into two activities and gives us two examples of each. The first activity is to assist people in their connection with God, this being illustrated through their devotion to the apostles’ teaching and to prayer. That is direction communion with God and the study his word. The teachings of the church leaders (i.e. the Apostles) would be the word of God. The Word of God is what should be the teaching of any church leader and literally, because the teachings of the apostle’s were the writings that were eventually incorporated into the cannon of scripture because they are the word of God . The second activity of the church that this passage exemplifies is connecting people with other people. I think we all realize the value of people in daily life. This passage gives two illustrations of this connection as well, recording that the people were devoted to fellowship, and to breaking bread (with and understood idea that this was done together). Interesting the connection with God bookends the passage.

With our Sunday school class, that discussed the biblical purpose of the church, just ending up. We can see this verse presenting a simplified focus of that purpose. The church is to connect people to God and to each other. This might be a to overly simplified understanding of purpose to develop a churches entire structure or activities around, yet it provides us with a clear expression of our intent as a church.

To:
Connect People with God and People with People.

 
 

You do not have, because you do not ask God. (James 4:2b)

How many times have you been in trouble or facing an issue or pondering a question and after far to long you have the bright idea to pray? Prayer is not man’s natural reaction, prayer is other worldly. We perceive what is in front of us, so we approach life with the mindset that the resources that we have to accomplish anything or to see anything done are merely what we can see in front of us. However, this is far from the truth. The fact of the matter is our greatest resource to finishing the race that is set before us for over coming the struggles of this life is our advocate in heaven.

Why don’t we approach God with every thing? Why don’t we seek his perspective on each thing? Why don’t we request his assistance on most things? We go through life slaying dragons and traversing deserts and scaling mountains by our own efforts when we could have merely called on the name of the one that sees those dragons as gecko’s sees those deserts as sandboxes and sees those mountains as mole hills.

We could have so much more yet we fail to request from the one that has the most to give. I don’t mean material wealth this would be the wrong motives spoken of in the next verse of James. What I mean are those things that we can’t get ourselves or we struggle greatly to find. For instance we know we ought to share our faith yet many of us are so busy and isolated that we struggle to have anyone to share our faith with. Why not ask God to bring someone into our life to do just that? Why not ask God to use you each day? We all won’t to see our church reach people for Christ and transform lives, and many of us work toward that end yet we still struggle. Why don’t we ask God to bring us lives to see transformed through His Grace and Love? Why don’t we ask God to show up in a mighty way each time the church gathers together? All of us struggle in our relationships and, if we are honest, we know that we make mistakes and have areas to improve. Why don’t we ask God to improve us or to help us improve?

These are just a few ideas on what we can take to God. Let your mind run wild in appreciation of all our heavenly father’s desires to great things for us.

 
 
 
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