This Pastor’s Prayer

I have never posted a prayer. I am not sure if I will ever do so again….I don’t do so to in any way impress anyone… I don’t think I am impressive nor are my prayers!!  Prayer that seeks to show off and impress is not really prayer at all.

But, prayer IS…. revealing. It exposes you, shows your heart, and what makes you tick. With that in mind, the below is raw and unedited….I am not trying to be grammatically correct or polished. It is just…. me sharing with you my prayer as a pastor. And so, I make myself vulnerable and invite you to read my journal and prayer to God one morning last week.

Continue reading This Pastor’s Prayer

“Silence In The Face Of Evil Is Itself Evil”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said:

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Continue reading “Silence In The Face Of Evil Is Itself Evil”

Open Door Equals Smooth Road… Doesn’t It?

photo-1444047427283-88a67f631b3e

 

Have you ever assumed that the “open door” equals a “smooth road” equation? In other words, when a new possibility, direction, or opportunity seems to have come your way, does it mean that once you take up the opportunity or walk through that door that it will be smooth sailing?

I find that many well-intentioned Christians, living in America in 2015, answer that question with a strong, “YES”!

Continue reading Open Door Equals Smooth Road… Doesn’t It?

It’s A Family Kind Of Thing

Trees

 

If you are a follower of “Gospel Connections” then you are probably aware of posts regarding prayer and specifically corporate prayer.  This has not been intentional and frankly, I am not sure why I have written so many posts on prayer. Maybe it is because I recognize my weakness and need of growth regarding prayer? I don’t know.

One thing I do know is that over the past few years I have come to love corporate prayer.  That is:  praying with my church family. So, imagine my excitement when in 2014 I came to Chapter 9 of Steve Brown’s book titled:  Approaching God.  Chapter 9 is called:  “It’s a family kind of thing”

Here are some take homes that I hope might stir you in considering corporate times of prayer with your church family.

“Prayer really is a family kind of thing.”

“When God calls one, he always calls a bunch.”

 

So, here is a gospel connection for today.

  • Prayer is a result of the gospel.
  • AND Praying together is the result of the gospel as well.

1.) Prayer is a result of the gospel.

We pray because Christ came and brought us into a right relationship with God.  Hebrews tells us to draw near to the throne of grace.  My soul yawns at this glory….

Wake up, Soul!!!  This is amazing!

Nothing short of Jesus life, death, and resurrection provides for us to be able to draw near to God. We get to pray! We get to draw near! Because of the sacrifice of Christ.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

(Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV)

2.) Praying together is a result of the gospel

It is quite a gift that we can draw near to God AND it is quite a gift that we get to do this….. together.

He saved us and brought us into a relationship with the Father and so, we pray.

And saved us into a family. Brother and sisters in Christ.

We have an “Our Father” relationship with Him and we walk that out with each other.

Also see: Prayer That Is Plural

Two Words

 

Most churches have corporate prayer meetings. I encourage you to attend that meeting and when you do, realize you are living in the good of the gospel. Nothing less than Jesus has made that prayer meeting, with your brother’s and sister’s possible.

 

3 Steps To Childlike Maturity (Not What You Would Expect)

man walking

Here are a few questions to get the prayer engine going a bit:

  • What does it mean to grow in maturity in regards to prayer?
  • What does this maturity look like?
  • Or, How would you describe “Prayer Maturity”?

Is it:

  • Consistency?
  • Faith?
  • Length?
  • Theological insight?
  • Or….. maybe maturity is……  child – likeness?

Isn’t it interesting how we think of maturity as being a number of things that are UN- childlike?

Steve Brown in his book titled Approaching God explains that childlikenss is not a call to childishness or immaturity.  You see, there is a difference between being childish and immature and being childlike AND mature.

HUH?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 18:1-4 ESV)

Why did Jesus say this?

He said it because the ADULTS around Him were asking Him who among them would be the greatest?  The mature adults were acting, immaturely!

Pause a moment and ask yourself:  Is my prayer life still asking that very same question? Who is the greatest?

Would I be great or am I the greatest because of my mature prayer life?  In other words….

I am great because – I have faith, consistency, theological insight, etc…..

Here is Jesus’ answer to them and us. “come as a child.”

But what does that mean?

3 Steps to childlike maturity:

1.)  Prayer is ABOUT relationship.  Prayer, when it is at its best, is rooted in relationship.  It is a relationship with the Father provided by the Son and empowered by the Spirit.  The gospel itself makes prayer and relationship possible.

  • We tend to make prayer and maturity too difficult!  It is this simple:  Jesus invites us to come to him in the simplicity of a child.  He is our Father, we are His children.  He has provided us a relationship with Himself.  Amazing!  Let’s not make it more difficult than it needs to be.

 

2.)  The Relationship IS:  He is our Father – we are His children.  How silly is it that we would come to Him attempting to be all put together, with an “appearance” of maturity. Or even more silly, when we come to Him with a sense of MY godliness.

How quickly we forget – he knows everything.  He is…. God and our little attempt to be all put together is…. might we say….. idiotic!?!

  • Live in the good of  the freedom we experience in the gospel  We do not have to get ourselves all put together before approaching our Father.

 

3.)  Freedom to be childlike:

  • FAITH:  Consider the honesty of a child.  Kids just blurt it out!  Sometimes it is not well worded!  Sometimes it is not the best time!  Blurt it out.  That is what kids do.  I think that blurting out is – faith.  Faith in mom and dad.  Because, from the perspective of a child, moms and dads are supposed to know everything, be able to solve everything, and have all the answers. So, the child does not come all put together. He comes in Faith in mom and dad.  How much more might we come to God in prayer?
  • HONESTY:  Think about it:  This blurting out by the child is actually a cloaked maturity.  You have to love the faith of a child.  I want that kind of maturity in my relationship with the Lord!
  • TRUST:  A child trusts mom/dad.  It is the default of a child until betrayed, and even then…..    That is why a child has that “innocence” about them and why we teach them – “don’t talk to strangers”.  There is so much trust in a child – so to be childlike is to walk through danger and yet…. trust in God.  (Psalms 23)  Think about this:  a child trusts, even when it hurts.
  • NOT PUT TOGETHER:  Children come – AS THEY ARE.  Imagine your child coming to you with all the wording just right.  I can’t imagine the child who does that.  Do your kids do that?? Sometimes kids blurt it out loudly…. in public!  We think we should approach God with all our nice theology and perfect wording.  Seriously…..  do we think we are impressing God?  By all means, I am not saying, let’s dumb it down!  But, sometimes people feel paralyzed and unable to pray because it is not all polished…..  I say – bag the polish nonsense and come to your Father – Like a Child!
  • Any Time Of Day:  Does a child come to his or her parents: once a day, in the morning….?  Of course not. He or she comes at all times, inconvenient times, spontaneous times.  Maturity is knowing you can come to the Father any time!

So, back to our original question.  What does it mean to grow in maturity in regards to prayer?

Come to your Father as a child.

 

 

A Quick Letter Regarding Prayer To: Trinity Community Church

 

post card

Trinity Community Church,

I can not begin to tell you how encouraged I was this past Sunday in our time of prayer. If you were there, I am sure you were encouraged as well!  If you were not there, you too should be encouraged to know your church is gathering to pray!

We all should be encouraged: Not because there was a certain “number” of people that came out to pray.  It is NOT about numbers…. Rather, be encouraged because the number of people that came out to pray represents our hearts.  It reveals desire.  God is at work, stirring us to pray, asking Him to move in our midst.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE TO:  Gospel transformation shapes our lives in being – “DEVOTED TO PRAYER!!!”

Romans 12:12

Let’s join together again this Sunday at 9:15.  And, let’s once again fill up the Resolved room – asking God to do what only He can do!

2 Quick Thoughts:

“Only BY God and only FOR God”

1.) As you pray, (Once a day), and as we gather to pray this Sunday, (Once a week).

Let’s pray for what God alone can do!!

Consider Gideon:
When God whittled down Gideon’s army he did not do so randomly. God had a very real purpose.

Judges 7:2 “The people with you are too many for me to give the Mideanites into their hand. Lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand saved me.’”

So, as you know, God brings the number of Gideon’s army to a terrifying small number of people. Imagine if you were Gideon!! He starts with a small army of 32,000 people and ends with an army of 300 people!!

Why?
So Israel would NOT boast in themselves and say – “we saved ourselves”. NO – God takes them down to 300 so that ALL the surrounding nations would recognize the power of the living God, and Israel would give ALL THE GLORY TO GOD FOR THE VICTORY!

Trinity Community Church – Let’s pray prayers that:

  • when God moves…. all we can say is – “All Glory be to God”!
  • And, we will say this because we will know that what has taken place is only BY God and FOR God.
  • The victory or the answers to our prayers are NOT about us.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth

Psalms 115:1

One of the things we are praying for is life changing transformation. Salvation! Salvation is not natural, it is supernatural. It is not accomplished by man. It is a work done by the sovereign hand of God alone.

Darkness turning to light / What is dead being made alive in Christ Jesus….. SALVATION!

Church, we can not produce that! Programs won’t produce salvation. Neither will preaching, right parenting, or evangelism.

Yes, He chooses to use us.

Romans 10:14 – How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him uof whom they have never heard?1And how are they to hear vwithout someone preaching?

By all means we preach, parent, and evangelize.  These are all great things, but outside of the Spirit of the Living God moving…. we can not bring about a single salvation! But the Sovereign God is able! So, we pray for MANY salvations.

O, that we would see such a move of the Spirit of God in our community that we would stand back and say “only God” and “to You alone be the glory!”

2.) On a very quick, practical note:

Last week there was standing room only for the prayer meeting. How incredible is that?!? 2 things to consider:

a.) As you arrive make your way into the room and away from the door so that people who continue to come in are not bottlenecked at the doorway.

b.) For our men: Unless you have a health issue or back issue, etc…. Offer your seat to the ladies!

Thank you for seeking to be “Devoted to Prayer”!

In Christ Alone,

Tim

Access!

Civil War

A young man who fought in the Civil War felt the need to get back home and help his family farm the coming harvest. Mom needed help!  You see this mother had already lost 2 of her sons and her husband in the war.  So, the young man approached his captain to get his permission to return home for the harvest season.  “Request Denied”,  said the captain, on the grounds that he did not have the authority to grant such a request.

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Praying Like A – Not so Good – Tax Collector!

Tax

 

I love the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector!  But before we press on – take a moment to read the text.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

(Luke 18:9-14 ESV)

Continue reading Praying Like A – Not so Good – Tax Collector!

Christianity, Secularism….Doubt Part 3

Sunrise

Paul E. Miller puts it like this:

 “I recently had a cynical moment during my morning prayer time.  I was reflecting on some answers to the previous day’s prayer, and I felt a lingering distaste in my soul.  All I’d done was pray, and God had acted.  It seemed too easy.  Trite.  I realized I was hunting for something to doubt.  I was also hunting for something to do.  At bottom, I didn’t like grace.  I wanted to be a player in the way God answered my request.  In fact, at that moment I didn’t like God.  I was more comfortable with His distance.”

Continue reading Christianity, Secularism….Doubt Part 3