Friday, March 26, 2010

It's been a little over a week since my last post, things have been a little busy, but you will be seeing several post's over the next week or so. 

This week our church finished 40 days of prayer and devotions. We watched, commented over the sermon below and then spent time in prayer. Jim Cymbala the pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle  church preached this sermon I would say over 15 years ago (you could tell by some of the folks in the audience:-) nonetheless the message is timeless and powerful. Don't be mislead because it's a bit old, if possible set some time aside and watch and listen to this sermon. 

Then PRAY!
If by chance you can't see the video below click here.


image by [fozenminds]

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A question for you?


Does God work for the salvation of souls specifically for those around us (friends, family, neighbors, etc) even if we don't pray for them? 

That's my question for you and I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say...

More than a month ago I wrote a post where I mentioned that our church started 40 days of prayer and devotions. We are using the book 40 Days of prayer and devotions to prepare for the Second Coming by Dennis Smith as a catalyst for this venture. Then I wrote another post marking the half way mark of the 40 days and towards the end I stated there was one point that I seem to disagree with the author of the book. I was recently reminded (thank you for that) by someone who commented on my last blog post that I had not yet mentioned what is was.

Here is the comment directly from the book the theme of the day was "Intercessory prayer in the Spirit for Others"Smith says:

"Satan will do everything in his power to make us believe that it is not essential or important that we specifically pray for one another. He wants us to believe that it is not really necessary for us to pray for those who are out of Christ. He (the enemy) wants us to believe that God will work for the salvation of the lost even if we don't specifically pray for those in our circle of family and friends." p.52 (italics and bold mine)
Though I understand and agree with Mr. Smith's overall point regarding the essential or importance of intercessory prayer, it's hard for me to believe that God won't work for the salvation of the lost IF "we don't specifically pray for those in our circle of family and friends." God is a saving God and salvation can not be dependent on whether human beings will pray for each other.

Now the scope of this topic can be lengthy and I don't have the space here. BUT please understand that I fully believe in the power of prayer and I believe by faith that God will work in ways that He perhaps would not if we would not have prayed. With that said though if for some reason 'Johnny' stops praying for his friend 'Ray' I can't believe (and it's unbiblical) that God will say will 'Johnny's' not praying for 'Ray' so I won't work for his salvation.

I've not had the opportunity to discuss this with Pastor Smith and perhaps this is not what he meant but it does seem at least implied if not clearly stated. Again though, the over all scope of the book (and now I'm on day 33) has been very good and I still recommend it with this stated caveat.

So I pose the question for you again:

Does God work for the salvation of souls specifically for those around us (friends, family, neighbors, etc) even if we don't pray for them? 


Monday, March 15, 2010

Churchy lingo...


I read a blog post today that made me think a little. Recently we had a special potluck at our church where we served haystacks. Now many who read this  post know that I'm speaking of food and not...well...a stack of hay!

Yet one of our churches more recent members essentially had no idea what I was talking about until lunch when she finally had her very first haystack. Now for those who are reading this and don't know what a haystack is. Basically it's corn chips stacked with beans, lettuce, tomato's, onion's, olives, cheese, sour cream, and salsa (and basically anything else that you can stack on top to a certain degree:-) This has long been an Adventist tradition. Honestly I don't know who started it or how it started. If anyone would like to chime in with the history please feel free to leave a comment.

The point though is not about haystacks of course, but about how many times in our churches we speak our own language. Another example of this particularly for my context would be times when I have said things such as, "NAD", "the conference", "quarterly" (Sabbath school lessons), "GC", "morning star foods and/or worthington", and on and on...

Now I think that to a certain degree we do this just because we figure "everyone" understands what we're talking about and that may be the case. BUT isn't one of the essential points of church to have those among us that are NOT like us and don't know the lingo?  Perhaps one issue is that we just don't expect to have that many people at church that don't know our 'lingo'. We assume most understand. 

Maybe it's time that we expect to have more people that don't speak our 'churchy lingo' because hey Jesus came to "seek and to save that which was lost" and we need to be careful that things don't get lost in translation...hmmm

So do you hear a lot of 'churchy lingo' where you go? Do you speak 'churchy lingo'? 

boy it's lunch time, I would love to buy some haystacks...BUT no one sells that around here! Well I'll have to settle for a nacho belle grande with no meat, extra beans please:-)


image by [mudpig]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Cove


The last two days I have been at the Billy Graham training center at the cove located in Asheville, NC  for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist (the denomination I am employed with)  prayer summit. 

To be honest I wasn't sure what to expect. Perhaps boredom, bad food, pain from sitting for long periods of time, or even all of the above. 

Yet I have to say that my expectations were completely wrong praise the Lord. First the Billy Graham training center is truly one amazing place to say the least. The setting (in the blue ridge mountains), the rooms, food, and the incredible friendliness of the people is unbelievable! If you have never been here and want to get away from the daily routine this is the place. The rooms have no t.v., though there is limited Wi-Fi (it's how i'm writing this post:-). Really though this is a beautiful place.

The prayer summit itself has had some powerful speakers. Derek Morris, Ivor Meyers, Mark Finley, Ron Clouzet, and Wintley Philpps (if you've never heard these guys google them:-). They have challenged us (me) in many ways, more than what the scope of this post could take. 

Yet I will state two points that have stood out to me perhaps not so much because they are new concepts but something that I needed to be reminded of. The first one is that our churches shouldn't simply have prayer ministries but have the church be a house of prayer! Friends we truly need to make our places of worship a place of prayer for all people as Jesus wants. No revival ever started without prayer!

Secondly is that prayer must lead to missions. Any Christian that has a deep prayer life is a person on a mission to expand the kingdom of God. Just read the book of Acts.

This prayer summit has disturbed me! Disturbed me in a sense of  once again realizing how much are churches are not really seeking God in prayer.

Friend thanks for reading my blog, but stop now and pray, pray that your church/our church will be a house of prayer and pray that you will join God in His mission around you!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Half Way There


It has been 20 days since our church started 40 days of prayer and devotions and it's been great to see how God has been working.

First our last three prayer meetings I have seen about double the amount of people at church, although this past week it was a bit less. The key is not simply that people are showing up but how incredible and powerful to see God's people truly seeking the Lord in prayer as we have been spending 20-30 minutes simply lifting our voices to the God who is able to do the impossible.

Secondly as part of the 40 days we were committed to pray for at least five specific people/families every day. My prayer partner told me this week that one person on his list has already begun to speak to him about spiritual matters something he wasn't doing before.

Lastly having a prayer partner has been to say the least powerful. In my years of ministry and even as a Christian I have never had someone that I have prayed with every day for 20 days straight let alone 40 days. Having a prayer partner has thus far been one of the greatest blessing to me.

A few things before I finish, as I noted at the onset of this journey I have experienced the enemy attacking in different ways and obviously this was and is to be expected.  I find comfort in the words of David, "The Lord is my light and my salvation of whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 NIV) Also I will just simply say for now that although I recommended the 40 days of prayer and devotion book by Dennis Smith I have found so far one major point of disagreement that I will write about soon. Even so the underlying intent of the book, to truly seek the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is something we can definitely agree on!

20 more days to go...


image by[DJLein]

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mad about Marriage


This past weekend we had Mike and Gayle Tucker from Faith for Today at our church. Their website states:
"Faith For Today has had a television broadcast on the air each week since May 1950. Faith For Today's Lifestyle Magazine, The Evidence, and McDougall M.D. are broadcast around the world over the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) each week." 
Recently the Tuckers have launched a marriage workshop called  Mad about Marriage. They have already traveled to several places and we were blessed to have them this past weekend. Some may ask, 'Why Mad about marriage seminar?' The Tuckers will answer, "...some of us are madly in love, and some are just plain mad." The workshop covers a broad range of issues beginning with the ideal that God had for marriage 'oneness' along with:

  • Negative Communication                                   
  • Forgiveness
  • Lack of Spirituality
  • Too little sex
  • infidelity
  • Abuse
  • Addiction/Substance Abuse
  • Pornography
  • Negative Past
  • Anger
They began on Friday night with two sessions, Pastor Tucker preached for our worship service on Sabbath morning and then we continued the workshop with three sessions after a fellowship lunch. Mike and Gayle tag teamed the entire seminar and they truly did a great job covering nearly all the topics above.

It was also a pleasure for my wife and I to spend some time and glean knowledge about ministry from them being they had previously pastored the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist church for 17 years that has a membership of about 2,000.

I highly recommend the Mad about Marriage workshop for two main reasons. First and foremost in a society in which our divorce rate is projected to be 40-50 percent there is no doubt that our churches need marriage seminars such as this to help our broken homes. Yet the key to this seminar as it would be to any is to actually put what we hear into practice.

Secondly though the Tuckers truly make it affordable for a church of nearly any size to be able to have them come. All of the materials are provided free by Faith for Today and they do not charge an honorarium only travel, and even that because they travel so much they get for a very fair price. It's a win situation for everyone.

Once again Mike and Gayle thanks for blessing our church...

So what are you waiting for? Give them a call, tell your church, pastor and have them over!


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