I had this song stuck in my head for the most of the day, yesterday and, of course, could help but think of the generation we are raising. So many internal, thought-provoking questions, in terms of who we are in light of eternity. It's so easy to get wrapped up in who were are and what is going on in the here and now and we miss the mark... not only in our relationship with God, but in our dealings with humanity.
Recognizing the human tendency for this, DC Talk reminds us to consider what matters...
What about love?
What about God?
What about holiness?
What about mercy, compassion and selflessness?
What are we teaching our kids; what are they noticing that is amiss in our lives, in our faith, in our walk with God and in our interactions with those around us... whether they be a part of the body of Christ or yet to come to the faith?
We need God's grace and forgiveness, for surely we all miss the mark. Even in this truthh, we try to make ourselves better or worse by assigning degrees of severity by which we have missed, but the bottom line is that we have all dropped the ball in life. The key is continue picking it up and continuing in life as God has called us and teaching the next generation to do the same.
Pray this #youthPastorWednesday, that we would recognize and teach our kids the same, that God has given each of us a second chance... to start all over again. Pray that as we take inventory of where we have missed on God and His plan for our lives, that there would be a covering of grace and conviction; for He is continually working on and in each of us. May we not lose heart in our frailty and failures, but trust in Him during the lessons of life; that they would be opportunities where our faith would be strengthened as we rely on Him. May we instill in the generations behind us, to focus on becoming people with hearts who are sensitive for the things of God.
Hearts that desire His presence
Minds that seek face.
Hands that fulfill His purpose
Feet that walk His calling.
All for His glory.
I've been thinking a lot lately, about how people rise to positions and what unfolds as they handle responsibilities and progress through stages of their career, whether it be in the marketplace or in ministry. We all have our places and while our success in one area may be a barometer for success in another, it is not necessarily a guaranteed lock that such will be the case.
There's an old joke... those who can do, do; those who can't, teach.
We've all had or seen people who were good in their job, yet once they stepped up in position, something changed. Not always, but often. And much like in the marketplace, ministry can get dicey.
Good pastors can be not-so-great bosses.
Quality associates may break under increased responsibilities.
Great managers may struggle, if they were ever the owner.
Recognizing one's strength and weaknesses can be difficult to navigate. Correctly taking inventory of it in others can also be a challenge at times, as we go through the process of doing a day's work well. For times when tensions are raised; frustrations are realized and difficulty lies at the forefront of the matter, such elements can make a good day feel like a battle for the duration... for both parties.
Prolonged battles lead to fatigue. Fatigue leads to mistakes. Mistakes lead to greater frustration. And the battle cycles to a great level of prominence. Eventually this doesn't work out so well... a nerve-racking prospect in and of itself.
While nobody likes to consider that all is not well at church, between Monday and Friday, pray this #associatePastorTuesday, where truthfully, battles are cycling to greater degrees of frustration and difficulty. For tensions that are mounting; for conversations that are not going so smoothly; for decisions that are being delayed over wide-differences.... pray a covering of grace over these today. Pray cooler hearts and minds would prevail and the calming of the Holy Spirit would permeate their environments. May God grant wisdom and direction in how things should proceed and matters be resolved. Pray a healing and restoration of relationship for those torn apart from having engaged in battle.
May what the enemy meant to divide
God would use to unite.
For a greater impact for the kingdom of God
And His glory.
Pastor preached a great message yesterday. In fact, I chuckled internally a few times towards the end, as once again he made a few statements that were in line with yesterday's prayer. The timing was uncanny.
That said, one of the biggest reasons pastors burn out from ministry results from a lack of friends. Many perspectives and mindsets contribute to this problem, on behalf of both pastors and congregations, but consider what Ecclesiates says on the matter. From the 12th verse of the chapter 4:
"Though one can be overpowered, two can defend themselves."
Long before technology and the days of modern warfare, having somebody's back wasn't a figure of speech, so much as it was a literal position of proximity to whomever you were with, who was engaged in battle with you against your attackers. Each of them took care of the others'180-degree view that was behind them, that they couldn't defend when embattled with what was directly in front of them.
They were each others' rear guard and as they moved together, had full 360-degree perspective of what and who was approaching in hopes of defeating and destroying them. Not having that person in your life, explains the enemies success in taking out pastors.
So, pray, this #seniorPastorMonday, for a strengthening of existing friendships in the lives of pastors. Pray for a closeness and a bond of brotherhood; that they are not alone, nor are they fighting life's battles alone. Pray for new friendships that need to be formed and established. May God bring people into the picture that will be true and loyal; lasting and loving; to come alongside, support and lift up before the throne of grace, pastors... friends needing the miraculous. Pray God would ordain paths to cross; that indeed two working together would get a greater return for their work.
Protection in God
Strength in numbers
Confident in His faithfulness
For the glory of God.
A friend of mine posted a meme on social medial late yesterday afternoon, and upon reading it, I thought, what a great word for today's prayer. While it applies to pastors and would be just as fitting for a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday post, I think you'll agree, it fits well, this #effectiveSunday morning.
Consider this, from the great A.W. Tozer...
"Listen to no man who has not listened to God."
Isn't it amazing how quickly we can get wrapped up into perspective and opinions and ultimately, make a shift in our mindset where we view the world and our responses in ways that are less than Biblical and have little to do with or acknowledge our roots of faith in Christ.
I was reminded of a story that Jim Cymbala, Pastor at Brooklyn Tabernacle shared a few years ago. He tells the story of tel-evangelist back in the day, who made statements in his sermons, that quiet frankly got the attention and concern of more than a few people, but in particular Cymbala and his wife.
As God dealt with them to speak up, he finally spoke to a friend who was friends with the evangelist. It was a nervous phone call, for Cymbala's friendship had no where near the time and history to be able to navigate this conversation, but he stopped out in obedience anyway. It turns out the friend of the evangelist also knew the evangelist was stepping into dangerous waters.
When confronted, that the evangelist should close the ministry or God would, the words fell on deaf ears.
"Are you crazy? This thing is bringing a million dollars a day! What are you talking about, shut it down?" was the reply.
Needless to say, within months, it was over.
All because one stopped listening to God; having mentally shifted so far as the warning from a close friend who was listening (and had received confirmation in the person of Cymbala) was not enough to take heed and change course.
Likewise for our present time... the church will fail to be of any use, much less effective and efficiency when any position of church leadership becomes greater than the ministry and the material successes start to outweigh and dominate the spiritual successes. When the message is changed to keep the money coming; when things change for continued growth in numbers rather than growth in spiritual maturity, there should and must be cause for concern. If not, then danger is looming... usually not all that far from us, either.
Thanks for joining me, this #effectiveSunday, as we pray for the effective and efficient work of ministry, for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ. May those in leadership and positions of influence within the church, great or small, have hearts and minds continually tuned to the voice and word of God. Pray for a strengthening of their resolve to seek His face and a desire to listen. Pray for wise counsel and advice, tempered with confirmation from others strong in the faith and full of the Holy Spirit. Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit as well; that God would accomplish the miraculous in our midst; always remembering God uses those who are humble and willing more than those proud and stubborn.
May God build His Church
By those willing to be a part...
For He is the Head of the Church
We, the body of Christ.
For His glory and the advancement of the Gospel.
So there's a 45 minute window yesterday, that I'm sure more than one person would rather have not had the situation happen at all... we've all been there. Yet a couple of things transpired, that as I considered today's prayer post on community, I thought were worth sharing.
In a situation, where tensions would normally run high and frustration would be visible, there was an incredible sense of calm. It wasn't that the frustration didn't exist... it simply didn't dominate to be the first noticeable reaction everybody seems to notice.
As a result, there was an overwhelming sense of graciousness in the matter. The calm allowed for normal-tone conversation. That allowed for an exchange of understanding; that again, would be harder to navigate if frustration and anger were on the forefront of peoples' reactions.
There was a sense of humility. While there are always two sides to a story and this was no different, neither party was shouting from the rooftops that they were in the right and the other was in the wrong. Furthermore, the one who was, wasn't rushing to the defensive to make sure their point was heard... loud and clear or otherwise.
Finally, a reasonable, rational and un-explainable outcome that borders on the level of 'minor miracle'. Consider for a moment, when outcomes don't seem fair, they don't seem just and someone walks away feeling slighted, jipped and more or less walks away feeling ruined. It can set a dangerous tone for days and weeks to come.
It's not to say the days that follow won't be difficult and involve more frustration and more conversation and perhaps outcomes that won't be so reasonable or moments filled more grace... they may. But we've all walked away from situations thinking and wishing they had gone so much better. Yet, because of these elements, the only way this situation had gone better was to not exist at all. Otherwise, anything different was worse.
So, pray as we engage this #communitySaturday, that the interaction between church and culture would be filled with these elements. Pray for a sense of calm and grace as we navigate difficult circumstances and tough conversations. May frustrations, while present, not dominate our emotions and drive our responses. Pray humility would reside in our hearts, that we not so quick to justify and force our thoughts, rights and opinions; even when we may actually be "in the right" on the matter. May their be a quickening, to turn to God and pray in such moments, that He would work the miraculous, whether they be major or minor; that we seek His face in ties of need, asking His help... for He is our only hope.
Wait on the Lord
To rescue you.
For He is faithful
To those who call on Him.
Our help comes from the Lord.
Once again, I chuckled yesterday afternoon, as moments after asking God for insight regarding this post the thought process unfolded in mere minutes. Why it seems God doesn't answer in other areas of my life as seemingly quick as He does for this, I don't know... perhaps He does, they just don't seem as straight-forward and clear. Like the answer is coming in pieces, until the full picture is revealed.
That said, as my mind considered the word itself, missionary, I began thinking about relationships. Then it dawned on me... why missionary dating doesn't work! I know... you didn't see that one coming either, right?
Yeah... neither did I.
But here's the difference.
Missionaries want to see people come to Christ out of care and compassion to desperately see them live for Christ with purpose rather than to live a Christ-less eternity.
Alternatively, those engaged in missionary dating desire the person they are dating to come to Christ in order to justify being in the relationship. Yes they want to see them live for Christ with purpose, but to do so with the intention that they may now live with them for the rest of life here on earth, rather than for eternity.
If some aspect or goal of the relationship isn't the desired result, then why not just witness and display the love of Christ to them as a friend showing compassion without the complication of dating?
Fulfilling the calling of missions is a sacrifice of self in favor of gaining others for Christ.
Fulfilling the pursuit of missionary dating is a sacrifice of the other in favor of gaining one for your self.
Quite a noticeable distinction. One that needs prayer, as this mentality still permeates believers, and contributes, I suspect, to the high rate of divorce even among Christians.
The relationship doesn't last, because one's commitment to Christ becomes a condition of maintaining and retaining the relationship with the significant other. A very wrong reason to get saved, quite simply.
Pray with me, on this #missionsFriday with a twist, for the relationships experiencing this conflict; possessing this mentality. Pray a genuine spirit of compassion within the church, for the lost and dying. May the focus of sharing our faith be to see others experience a genuine encounter with God, rather than having an intimate moment in a relationship. May our self-interests in seeing lives changed for eternity be set aside, as God is not willing that any should perish, but come to true repentance. Pray God work the miraculous in hearts and minds struggling with this aspect of a relationship and the conflict and discord it presents. May God bring clarity to hearts and minds; a spirit of discernment that would allow God to do and complete His Work rather than "forcing" our own desires.
True freedom in Christ.
For the glory of God.
My best friend and I, when we talk daily, usually end up talking about schedules. Like everyone else, there is always something going on, something to do, something that needs to be handled. Ministry and church operations are no different. Whether you plan your own day or it is planned out for you; or a combination of the two... where your day is subject to change when someone walks in and adds to your list; perhaps with the caveat of "this needs to be done by the end of the day" or "it was needed yesterday", schedules are often hijacked.
As I considered the schedules of church operations, it continues to amaze me, just how much goes on and gets accomplished. Just as quickly, things can change in just one phone call. Operations revolve around people, so for all that is going on, it doesn't take much of a circumstance to arise that result in serious fluctuations and changes to the game plan and timeline of ministry.
Here's the comforting part of it, however.
There is no task incomplete nor item overlooked nor deadline missed on the schedule that resides on the side table of God's throne.
No matter what our day(s) entail; no matter what circumstances arise and storms that loom, God is in control.
**I'm writing this, as the Allies are playing on Pandora... singing Don't You Worry.
"Tomorrow will take care of itself, I'm taking care of you.
You can depend on me for help. I've given my promise to you."
Be not overwhelmed. Commit your ways to the Lord and He will direct your path.
Thanks for joining me in prayer, this #deaconThursday, as we pray for those overwhelmed by schedules and calendars, trying to figure out the game plan of getting things done. Pray grace to handle their responsibilities. May they not be so consumed, that life gets in the way of their focus on God. Pray for wisdom, where changes are needed that will help navigate the day with greater effectiveness and efficiency. May their be a strengthening of teamwork, as people come together to accomplish the work of the Lord. May God accomplish the miraculous as ministry goes forth; that Pastors are able to focus on the Word and the preaching thereof.
Keeping the main thing, the Main thing.
For the glory of God
And the advancement of the Gospel.
Whoever said raising kids was easy... well, I'm not sure anyone has ever said it that; for surely it is not.
I learned many lessons about dealing with others, from my experiences in grade school and really, all my schooling, even in college. As my oldest has had some difficulty even in her early years, it's amazing what you try to look for, as insight, that will help the process.
However, something profound struck me yesterday.
Scripture says to love our enemies and to pray. It does not say anything about trusting them.
Then comes the moment of truth...
If we don't trust our enemies in the physical realm, then why do we succumb so easily to the lies of the enemy in the spiritual realm?
He is out to detour, derail and destroy your life and your soul. His words carry no weight and whatever element of truth may be found in his statements, it is to serve his agenda and his accusations. Dealing with him is hard in adulthood and yet, Scripture is filled with moments in time where the enemy of our souls sought to destroy the child.
It is where greatness begins. The innocence. The possibilities. The dreams. The imagination. Train them in the way they should go and they will not depart. Yet, if the enemy can mess us up, so that as adults, we miss the mark in training them in the things of God... if he can mess with the kids; that they won't nothing to do with the things of God...
All the more reason to cover our kids in prayer.
Pray this #youthPastorWednesday, for pastors and parents; that God would help give us insight and direction in training our children in the things of God; to instill unshakable, unwavering foundations of faith. Pray that God's hand would rest upon them; that at the earliest possible time, kids would recognize the need for Christ in their life, as Lord and Savior. Though difficult to understand, may the trust in God and in His promises... that He will never leave or forsake them; that He has a plan and purpose for their life and that He does indeed, work all things together for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Trust in the Lord your God.
Seek His righteousness and His kingdom first.
Lovers of Truth.
For the glory of God.
These prayers are increasing in number, so it's entirely possible we're covering certain aspects of life more than once now; I think there's been a time or two in similar situations, but I as pondered today's focus, in light of yesterday's prayer, I got to thinking again about Associate Pastors and those left to handle the affairs of the church during these times of transition. For what pastors face as my friends prepare to depart to the mission field; for those who have gone through the transition of my friends returning to the pastorate after a stint in missions; Associates have a huge responsibility during these times.
Such times are challenging. They are difficult. They are stressful, uncertain and exhausting.
Likewise, installations of new pastors are also challenging. Exciting, yes... but also stressful, uncertain and exhausting.
Something about these situations also seem more difficult than similar circumstances on the secular/corporate side of the equation. Job changes happen and companies and teams go through the same process; of finding someone new, who fits with the team and culture. And it's exciting, nerve-racking process for the one making the transition; the prospect of what's new, what's next, what awaits.
In light of eternity, such transitions also seem to possess such a greater depth of meaning and purpose. Purpose it's the calling of God is paramount to the matter; perhaps it's lives that hang in the balance as we are spiritually led by pastors and church leaders... it's not that these elements don't exist in the marketplace, for surely they do exist.
The difference is, the elements influence our decision in the marketplace.
In ministry, the elements are central to the decision.
Pray this #associatePastorTuesday for these times of transition. Pray for pastors in the decision process of filling an open pastorate position, senior or otherwise. May God grant wisdom and discernment in bring the right candidate into the picture and placing them exactly where God desires them to serve the kingdom of God. Pray for pastors in transition as new leadership takes effect; may there be a grace in the process. Pray for smooth transitions; that ministry would be unhindered. May much be accomplished for the kingdom of God, as doors are opened and the excitement of the prospect of great impact for the cause of Jesus Christ unfolds.
Called according to His purpose
Despite plans that look different from ours.
For the sake of Gospel.
Isn't it amazing how God brings things to our remembrance. I didn't really have a specific focus for today's prayer until after I had been up for about 5 minutes this morning. Yesterday, I had two unknown life change show up in my social media updates. A literal trading places moment, so to speak.
A senior pastor whose church I visited a couple of times less than three years ago, shared that yesterday was his last sermon as senior Pastor. After 7.5 years of ministry with this church, God is calling them to the mission field.
Meanwhile, a former senior pastor friend of mine, whose church I attended for period of time, post college, made the same switch a couple of years later. Yesterday, he shared on social media, that he and his family had stepped back into a senior pastorate position.
I have a hard enough time switching churches, when we've had to do so and equal difficulty changing jobs as well. I'm not sure how well I would handle being in positions of church leadership and making such decisions. I know it still comes down to prayer and seeking the face of God and His will for your life, just like any believer would do the same for their vocation or place in life; but somehow in ministry is seems like such a bigger deal.
This reminds me, friends of mine who were youth pastors at a former church, announced a few weeks ago, they too, are moving back to their home state, from their current place in church leadership, for what God has in store for them next in ministry.
These are huge decisions. They leave incredible marks on a church and the decisions that follow for finding the man and woman of God, who He has in mind that should take that church to the next level are level 1 critical.
I am excited for what God will accomplish in the lives of my friends, as they step into these new roles and places of ministry. I also know making such decisions would send me into orbit.
Pray with me, this #seniorPastorMonday, for these and others, who are or soon will find themselves in places of transition regarding ministry. Pray for peace and strength for the days and weeks and months to come as major decisions and logistics of life are sorted out. For wisdom and direction in their conversations as they figure out said logistics. Pray for the churches and mission fields, where there are now respective gaps, because of these transitions... may God sovereignly move to bring the people who He has called forward to step into these opportunities and fulling the calling and purpose He has for their lives. May these transitions be smooth and vision clear, as these involved believe these moves to be the will of God, ordained in advance. Pray a great harvest for both the mission field and these communities.
Called by God.
Moved by God.
For His purpose
For His glory.
For the advancement of the Gospel of Christ.
I love this band. Every song sounds incredible. And back before the time you could be individual songs, I very much appreciated being able to by an album that I fully enjoyed, rather than spend $12-15 for only a couple of songs worth experiencing.
That said, the words to this struck me as we were headed back to pick up the kids last night.
A huge part of being effective and efficient is wrapped up and defined in a game plan. A strategy.
Is everything that the church does, consistent with the vision and the mission of the church?
Essentially, it boils down to these two points.
1) Does it bring glory to God?
2) Does it seek to reach the unsaved?
Sure, it can accomplish other things and perhaps even be worth doing, but ultimately, if it doesn't contribute to those central points of focus, then it's hard to say it was both fully effective and efficient.
Pray, this #effectiveSunday, that indeed, everything that we say and do would glorify God. May the activities and events of the church, seek to reach the lost and the dying in their community. May the truth of God and His Word be revealed as the church engages community, daily. Pray a consistency about our lives, as we continue to live out a real faith, battling real struggles all while serving a real God. As we commit our ways to the Lord and seek His face, may He use us and raise us up to bring glory to Him as He works all things together in our lives for His purpose.
Strategy to win the lost.
To serve the Lord.
For His glory and the cause of Jesus Christ.
It's not very often that I have been faced with two ideas regarding these prayer posts and felt the need to decide between which one God had in mind. The two seemingly interwove with each other, between what we pursue in relationship to how community operates.
In our pursuit, we look to and for what is next. What will improve our life? What will improve our position? What will increase our bank account? What will grant us greater influence and prominence?
Community always looks for the best and the brightest.
The prominent neighborhood.
The desired school district.
The hottest restaurants.
The best shopping experience
Yet, when someone recommends seeking God for direction in life, rather than man's wisdom or insight...
When there's a recommendation of prayer over pills; to read the read the Word of God, rather than reading cards; community calls out the believer for being off base.
In and of themselves, Christians are neither perfect nor have all the answers or have it all together.
But like being a part of the best neighborhoods, attending the award-winning school, or the experiencing the greatest dining or shopping, the community of faith should be the desired community.
It's not a premier community because of who is a part of it; it is a premier community because of who the community turns to; not just in times of trouble and desperation, but in times of triumph and celebration.
It was God who created community, when he created man. He created community when he created woman, for it was not good for man to be alone. He created community when He planned for redemption through Jesus Christ.
God is the ultimate "community organizer". It is His family; an ever-growing one at that. It is where all of humanity belongs, that sons and daughters would return to the Father.
Pray, this #communitySaturday, that the body of Christ would extend the invitation to a lost and dying world, that there is hope and peace, love and forgiveness made available through Christ. May they come to a place of understanding, that God is not out of reach and out of touch, but intimately and keenly aware of what has transpired in every heart, mind and soul of every life. Pray the truth of God's Word would be made alive; that prayer works; that God's Word helps; that whatever we have need of and whatever we seek, God is able to fulfill and meet us at our point of need and in times of desperation.
May we seek Him;
And His righteousness
As we do for what this world offers
But will not last, nor satisfy.
In Christ alone, we place our trust.
Talking with my best friend yesterday, we got to talking about comedians, when Jeff Allen's testimony came up and it reminded me I had mentioned it last week. As I was thinking yesterday about community and about missions, I couldn't help but recall Jeff's words.
To appreciate a creation, you have to appreciate it's Creator.
Yet, somehow, in this life, we've figured out how to love the things of this earth, yet not acknowledge the One who created this life and all that is in it. For all that we go through, for all that we don't understand, I am amazed how God pursues us.
**I'll finish this post later, but in the meantime, share this video and pray for the miraculous!
So, I'm back... much later than anticipated. :-/
Oh, that we would pursue God as much as He pursues us. We go after possessions and the like... insert your free-time consumer here. Mine is cars; usually browsing Craigslist for the next potential ride. For others, clothes. The latest flick. Having just spent two hours at the cellular store and stumping tech support for the past four days, some have to have the latest and greatest technology. The biggest flat screen. What's your vice?
For God, it is His creation. Disconnect God from His people is the eternal equivalent for some of us being without our phone. (my replacement arrives Tuesday; this not a vice, so much as I have been unable to receive incoming calls since sometime this past Tuesday). My universe feels out of sorts when a car is in the shop (which also, could be looming in the next week or so, that will have to be resolved out of priority, not desire). A favorite outfit ruined. The superficial struggles are way to frequent; but we have relatible moments of loss... the passing of friends and family, spouse or child... incredible grief. Profound disconnect.
This is God's dilemma. Anything to have more time with those He created; and desired badly enough to send His own and only Son to earth, to pay the cost that would make restitution, whereby man could be reunited with his Creator.
The awesome, yet humbly-profound wooing of God. He desires that people would draw near unto Him, for then He has permission to draw unto them. In the meantime, there is a constant, passionate, patient knocking... loving reminders that He is waiting.
As Jeff testifies, God knew how to capture his attention. Cynics are cynical. Enter the book of Ecclesiastes. The constant knocking of sermon tapes. The patient waiting that Jeff would open one and listen.
While incredibly late this #missionsFriday, pray that many would listen and respond, to the prompting; the drawing; the wooing of Creator God. May human creation come to realize and recognize and respond to the invitation made available to have a relationship with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Despite faults and failures, missed opportunities and moments of hitting the wrong target in life; may the love, grace and forgiveness of God visit hearts and lives. Pray they would forever be changed for eternity; to testify as Jeff does; we do have and are put on this earth with purpose. It starts and ends with God; the very beginning and the end of everything that ever was, ever has been and ever will be.
All that God has for us,
Because we are made complete in Him.
For His glory
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
ps: fuzed worship radio is playing on Pandora; getting ready to update this prayer to the site and How He Loves, by True Story just started playing. Wow... "He is jealous for me... O how He loves me... I realize just how beautiful you are and how great Your affections are for me.
Gotta love God's timing!!
Yesterday, as I went about my day and pondered a decision and the surround circumstances, I though about the descriptors I used in that prayer, of steadfast and unwavering in relationship to God. A few days ago, I popped a different cassette into my car stereo and it turns out this mix tape has the Trimmed & Burnin' album, from Glenn Kaiser and Darrell Mansfield.
So, naturally, I had this song playing in my head.
He's God, God don't never change Oh, always will be God
God in the middle of the ocean // God in the middle of the sea
By the help of the great creator // He's truly been a God to me He's God,
God don't never change Oh, always will be God
God in creation // God when Adam fell
God way up in heaven // God way down in hell
He's God, God don't never change // Oh, always will be God
Spoke on to the mountain // Said how great I am
Once you get up this mornin' // Skip around like a lamb
He's God, God don't never change // Oh, always will be God
God in the time of sickness // God in the doctor too
In the time of influenza // He's truly been a God to you
He's God, God don't never change // Oh, always will be God
God in the pulpit // God way down at the door
He's God in the amen corner // God's all over the floor
He's God, God don't never change // Oh, always will be God
He's God, God don't never change // Oh, always will be God
No matter what we face, no matter what we encounter; where we turn, what we decide... God doesn't change.
Then I get to church last night... the closing song, of the praise and worship is Because of Who Are. He is worthy of our praise. Our provider. Our peace. God reigns in victory.
Just an incredibly powerful, incredibly comforting song. Both of them, as a matter of fact. Plans change, ideas come and go, our methods for getting things done and how we go about handling the affairs of this life... nothing remains as it is for eternity; except the character of God Almighty. He can be relied upon and trusted, no matter what we encounter. Triumph or tragedy. It's because of who He is, that we can set today I aside and trust and worship Him for what He has already accomplished.
Pray, this #deaconThursday, that church leadership would be reminded, as I was last night, that at times it's necessary to set requests aside and be grateful and thank God for what He has already accomplished in our lives. May we never take for granted, His protection and provision, His healing, guidance and peace that He has already brought to our lives, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray a fresh focus on the face of God, who inhabits the praises of His people.
May an attitude of gratitude
Precede our requests.
As we worship Him in spirit and truth.
One does not leave an inheritance that includes rubbish. They leave what is valuable. They leave what is cherished. They leave what is priceless. They leave among the material possessions, the intangible that can't be bought and sold, unless the one who receive the inheritance essentially trades their soul.
As I considered the possibilities, I submit the intangibles is a fairly list; but an even shorter list, are the concepts that are not inherited. Among that list, and perhaps even at the top is the concept of perseverance.
Consider the truth of perseverance, for a moment.
Perseverance is only:
- learned by living
- encouraged by others
- determined by self.
The few other character traits that can't be inherited, may also be identified by the above three statements, but I surmise that even those stem from an attitude that says "don't quit".
To understand that God has a plan and purpose for every life; that He desires every moment, every circumstance, every conversation an opportunity to be used for His glory presumes that time is nothing more than a series of decisions that, at their core, are an invitation to continue moving forward in this life.
Even as a potential decision has arisen in my life, I shared with my father last night and as well as my wife... it's hard not to let the past wrongly influence our present. Respectively, I also made the statement that it's hard to know when details cause us to hesitate, whether they are legitimate warning signs or they are prompts to trust God that the circumstance is different this time.
If such moments are challenging as adults, all the more reason to pray for our children.
Pray, this #youthPastorWednesday, for the circumstances and challenges facing our youth. Pray that as they watch adults, parents, and pastors sort through life and walk by faith, that they will decide to live a life that perseveres. May they learn to trust God in all things and seek His face in all circumstances. May they come to rely on the promptings of the Holy Spirit and discern the will and calling of God upon their lives. Pray they would not lead lives of quiet desperation, but of holiness, righteousness and purpose; to pursue the plans and purposes God has ordained in advance. May the overcome whatever obstacles the enemy of their souls would lay in their path to detour, derail and destroy their lives. Pray a foundation of steadfast, unwavering faith in the Most High God.
In the quiet confidence of God.
Seeking the face of God in all things.
For His glory.
Isn't it amazing how the mind works? Seemingly out of nowhere, it creates scenarios and pictures of possibilities and conversations, that sometimes may make sense and other times, seem way out in left field. As I traveled through an area yesterday, there is a road closure on my way, as a few miles later, they are putting in a round-about, at an intersection I'm going to drive through anyway... just not via the road I normally take. As I drove through and saw the signs, I imagined a group of friends who would travel through there for the first time.
One of the friends speaks up and says, road closure? Now where do we go? The individual goes on to state, that because of who she is, using a title that doesn't define her, but simply defines her relationship to a person of position, how would she know where to go? Of course, my sarcastic mind responds internally... just read the signs!!
Yet, unlike the road, where detours are always laid out when a closure exists (and sometimes the detours aren't so clearly marked) life rarely defines detours when certain paths are closed. You just know that some option or destination is not an available route to pursue, and so must go a different way about getting there or decide to do something different altogether.
How frustrating that must be, for one who doesn't look to God, the author and finisher of our faith. Even as I went to bed, less than 5 hours ago, pondering a decision, rather a potential decision in the very near future... I acknowledged, I can't do this on my own. I need help making decisions; choosing directions; recognizing the signs. He makes it all work for good; even our mistakes and thankfully, His grace is sufficient for my mistakes; but that doesn't make me want to willingly make them. I want to know before decision-time that I am where God wants me, doing what He has for me to do... lest I change the game and find out later, the game wasn't meant to be changed.
Even with our reliance upon God; such times are frustrating, agonizing and difficult to navigate. Hence we look to Him first and place our trust in Him, regardless; for the stress of this life without the help of the Holy Spirit is crushing to many and disconcerting to the rest. But there is rest to him who places his hope in God.
Pray, this #associatePastorTuesday, for those pastors struggling to make sense of the signs and those trying to understand where the detour they are on is taking them and why. Pray for a steadfastness of faith, unwavering in their commitment to trust God in all things, regardless of circumstance and its' appearance. Pray for those feeling lost, that God would like their paths and direct their steps. May their be a reassurance and a confidence anew, that God, is in fact, working all things together for good... even our mistakes and decisions of regret. For the past that haunts us; for decisions that bother us, for outcomes of the past that frustrate us, even when relaying the story... may the peace of God that surpasses all understanding comfort our hearts and calm our minds. Pray, that regardless of yesterday, that tomorrow would be hopeful and today would be a day of diligence.
May we live a life
Clearly marked by the hand of God.
For His glory, we pray.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Pastor preached an incredible message yesterday on the worst kind of sin. Often, within the church, we categorize sins and we have a huge tendency to associate it with the behavior of others before looking at ourselves. Their sin is worse because of what I can visibly see externally in them, rather than what they can't see internally in me.
That right there, was the topic.
The profound insight, is that pride is the one vice that leads to everything other kind. For many reasons this happens to be true, but primarily because whatever vice does come next in one's life, pride either says, it won't be a struggle for them, so it's okay or they won't get ensnared by it and thus, it's okay.
I didn't think about how to write on this, until a little over half an hour ago, when, as I was about to get ready up and write, then run off to work, my youngest daughter had a "clean-up on aisle 12" moment. Of course, I'm Dad and she's young, so there's not a whole lot of options to stand their and refuse to be a part of helping resolve the matter. Sure, I was a little frustrated, but doing nothing would have wreaked further havoc. Literally.
So it is with pride. There's a time to know when to stand one's ground, certainly, but at the same time, so much goes out the door when pride stands tall. Compassion, forgiveness, understanding, grace... acting too big to fail and too big to get involved and help cause big problems and in leadership, is detrimental to the health of an organization.
Pray, this #seniorPastorMonday, for pastors struggling in this area. For those that are not involved in matters where they should be, not wanting to be part of the solution; for those who are too involved and using their position or prominence to justify their behavior, thus perhaps leaving an open door for any kind of temptation... may God do a work in their heart and mind; that none of us are perfect, nor are we worthy of what God has given us and purposed for us to accomplish. Pray for a change of heart; where a lack of humility has stood in the way of grace, compassion and understanding with churches. May God do a healing work in relationships and circumstances where pride has caused a mess and where messes have been prolonged because pride has prevented people from stepping in and clean-up.
May the church become even more life Christ
Starting with leadership.
For the glory of God.
I'm not exactly sure what prompted me to think about this last night, as I spend the afternoon at a family reunion and honestly had given much thought at all to today's prayer (I know that sounds weird, especially having written yesterday's prayer on inquiries), but, whatever the reason, another song played an influence.
If you ever get a chance to see the band, Everfound, in concert, you should absolutely go! Comprised of four brothers from Russia, these young men have an incredible testimony of faith and the persecution their family faced before coming to America, in 1996, if I recall correctly.
Their debut album is in the CD player of the vehicle we took to the reunion, this album being one of the favorites of my oldest daughter. The entire album contains powerful lyrics, but as we were making our way to leave, the song Unless started playing, in light of the concepts of effective and efficiency.
There's an old adage that says, "pray like everything depends on God; work like everything depends on you." Pair that ideology with the chorus of the song... "unless a miracle, takes control; and rescues my fallen world."
We struggle to work and play and to make our way sometimes forgetting or at least letting it move to the backside of our memory, that everything we do is because of the ability granted to us by God, to be used for purposes of God, in order to bring glory to God. Thus, no matter our best efforts, they are, in fact, as Solomon explained, meaningless in our fallen world... unless, a Miracle.
Pray, this #effectiveSunday, for the miraculous, in our midst. In our fallen world, where everything under the sun is meaningless and all our best efforts will fall short of the glory of God, may the sovereignty of God grace our lives. May our words and deeds for the cause of Jesus Christ bring glory to God and that the drawing of the Holy Spirit would go before us and prepare the way for the work of the Lord. May we be a people, that indeed, would trust God, for it does all depend on Him, while working like it does depend on us, for we are not called to do and be nothing; but we are called to be salt and light.
God, go before us this hour.
Do what only You can do;
That we might do what you have called for us to do.
For the glory of God.
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
As I'm going about my day yesterday, in thought, prayer and reflection, I again come to the place, as I've often shared, of realizing nothing has come to the forefront for the next day's prayers topic.
With a smile, my spirit said... "You haven't inquired of the Lord."
What happened to those days? Throughout the Old Testament, men of great faith, whether they were in positions of leadership and prominence in their day or yet to become leaders, it was often stated of them, that they "inquired of the Lord."
I know people of faith, within the body of Christ as well as those in the pulpit, very much still inquire of the Lord when seeking direction and wisdom, but the phrase is not a descriptive that we hear often in public use when we talk of the decision-making process.
Inquiries have parameters. They require taking a serious look, at both the breadth and the depth of a situation, circumstance or problem. It requires looking at different angles and approaches. Inquiries are a process. Rarely are they as quick as a simple question and answer, though 2 days in a row this past week, I prayed for direction in two different circumstances and immediately after praying, "Lord if you would have this for us or not, make it clear" and a phone call regarding both situations rang, just seconds later. Two days in a row!
I don't think that it's because God likes me more or I'm better or any of that craziness. It's simply a place of understanding, that I'd rather be where God wants me and want was He has for me rather than try to do things my way or force my way to be what happens. That doesn't mean I still don't have my days where I'd rather have my way, but rather, knowing my ways often fall flat and short of what God would desire for me to do and to have, if only I would have inquired of Him and waited for Him to bring matters to a place of resolution and direction.
Sadly, we move more and more to do things our way... also, as stated frequently in the Old Testament; people did what was right in their own eyes, rather than eyes of God.
How we need to return to the posture of inquiring of the Lord, daily, in all matters and circumstances!
Pray, this #communitySaturday, that the church would be set-apart as we walk through life; that we would be known as people of faith who seek the face of God. Pray that their would be a recognition of humility, as we understand and witness that God's ways are higher, greater and better than our thoughts and ideals. While the situations and circumstances may not unfold exactly who we think, prefer or would like see in our lives, may their be an unwavering commitment to seek the face of God and trust Him to reveal Himself and His plan for our lives as walk through life on a journey of faith.
Inquire of the Lord.
For He knows the plans He has for you...
For a hope and a future.
For the glory of God.
ItI had this great number playing in my head for most of the day yesterday, and it didn't take long to consider the chorus in light of faith and the work of missionaries. Life is not a matter of if it hits hard, but when it hits hard. What will happen to your faith?
God tells us that the only thing that will stand forever is His Word. That's it. That's all there is. Everything else fades. Everything else passes. Everything else is currently the process of fading and passing. God's Word remains.
So when the walls of life press in; when the lights go out; when fear knocks on your back door... do we press in to God and His Word? Do we look to Christ to light our way? Do we run to the front door of faith?
We've come to a place as a people, where it's easier to discard and replace rather than work to repair. It's easier to quit and move on rather than continue to work through one's way. Faith is traded, sometimes quickly, sometimes over a season, for the temporary, for the moment, for the temptation, for the mammon.
Yet, it's my prayer today; for those in the faith... for those yet to come to the faith, that they will NOT walk away, neither will they go astray. It's game time. Let's go!
Pray with me, this #missionsFriday, for those who place their faith in God as well as those who've yet to come to faith in Christ... may it be known as steadfast. Pray for a faith that stands firm and stands tall; that stands for glory and honor of God and His righteousness. Though it may have its' battle scars and wind-baffled appearance, pray our faith would shine, as a testament to the faithfulness of God; as He draws all unto Himself. Pray that today would be a revelation day; that lives would be transformed by an encounter with God through the person of Jesus Christ. For what good is a faith in a made-up deity? May they know the One True God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, who desires to have relationship with His creation.
What Satan meant for destruction, God uses for development (thanks Pastor for letting me steal that)
May our faith grow, in the knowledge and strength of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For the advancement of the Gospel
To the glory of God our Father.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.