Five for Friday

I know you have plans for the weekend as you are wrapping up your work week.  Don’t turn off your brain – keep reading and keep growing.  Here are five articles I found interesting this week.

  1. We turn to Josh Ketchum who writes about Our Children and What the World Will Not Teach.
  2. Jim Faugh share insight from his experiences in Grief and Hope.
  3. I did not see this article when Wes McAdams published it in December, but I am glad I read about Women in the Church.
  4. I like lists and Tim Gunnels gives us a great one on Restoring Passion for Christ.
  5. Richard Mansel at answers the age old question, “Will We Know One Another in Heaven?”

This Sunday begin your week with God.

  • Scott

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Growing up atttending Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, as well as attending a small private Christian school songs about God, Jesus, Church, and daily Christian living were very commom. Maybe you remember this one.

It isn’t any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E,
It isn’t any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E.
If ever you’re in trouble,
It will vanish like a bubble;
If you only take the trouble,
Just to S-M-I-L-E. :-)

A second verse went this way:

It isn’t any trouble just to P-R-A-Y-pray . . .

Prayer is a wonderful priviledge that we have as Children of God. The Hebrew writer says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:14-16 – ESV).

Because of our relationship with the Father through Jesus the Christ we can confindently draw near to God’s throne in prayer when we are in trouble. We need no man to stand between us and God other than the man Jesus the Christ.
I do not recall where I first saw the following accrostic of pray; but I wanted to share it with you as I add a few thoughts of my own.
  • P= Prepare time with God – Do you remember Daniel? Even when he was fully aware of the king’s ordinance regarding prayer, Daniel made a praying a regular part of his day. He pre-determined to set aside prepared time with God. Jesus, God in the flesh, was no differening. We read in Mark’s account of the gospel, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mar 1:35). Jesus seemed to make this a regular part of His ministry. Setting aside time to pray. What does that suggest to us? We should make preparations to pray every day.
  • R= Request of God with Faith – Paul says, ” . . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Php 4:6). James echoes, “. . . You do not have because you do not ask.” (Jas 4:2). Although God knows what we need before we ask, He also desires us to realize our need and to recognize our dependence upon Him. He is still able to do more than we can ask or imagine (Eph 3:21), we just do not ask enough. We must ask though in faith that He knows more about our true needs than we do. (I’ll save this for another post, but realize that “yes” is not the only answer to prayer.
  • A= Attribute goodness to God – James reminds us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (Jas 1:17). Take time to count your blessings of life, or health, of family, of friends, of you name it. God is the giver of good. Especially the good that comes from being “in Christ.” Take time to read Ephesians 1:3ff concerning our spiritual blessings that are only when we are in Christ.
  • Y= Yield to God’s sovereignty – Again I refer to James who says, “Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (Jas 4:15). If the Lord wills . . . I do not hold the pure Calvanistic doctrine that all of life is predermined by God — even the bad. What James is teaching is not to boast of our own accomplishments and plans. James is reminding us that God is sovreign over all creation. He rules and the world continues because of His steadfast, never ending, merciful love (cf. Lamentations 3:22). We can make plans, we can pray for success, but realize the world is on God’s timetable not ours. This also implies that we trust God’s answer to always be the right answer, even when He says no.
Take time right now to PRAY.

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A Prayer for the Church

Join me in prayer today.

  • Scott

Dear Father,

Thank You for the Church. Thank you for paying the price for her through the Sacrifice of Your Son. Thank You for Your Love that bring us, Your people, into the Kingdom through the blood of Christ.

Today Father, I ask You to be with the leaders of the local church. Be with the elders who spend countless hours in thought and prayer over Your people. Be with them as they lead us closer to You and help us guide our walk with Your Word. Be with them as a serve Your people; praying with them and for them during trying times. Give these men the health they need to be good servants of Yours. Be with their wives as they support them and encourage them.

Be with the deacons and other ministry leaders. Help them to have the strength to serve as faithful stewards of the task(s) set before them. As they look over the day to day operations of Your church, whether they serve in building maintenance, education, transportation, missions, youth, children, college, greeters, growth, small groups, ladies ministry, elderly saints care, outreach, benevolence, or one of any number of areas they serve, help them to always see their duties in the light of serving You and growing Your people. Be with their families as these deacons and leaders spend time providing for the growth and edification of Your Church.

Be with each and every Christian. May we see our role as servants and as disciples. May we live our life in a way that reflects Your light to our families, co-workers, neighbors, fellow Christians, and friends. Help us to focus on You and others more than ourselves. Give us the strength we need to daily die to ourselves so that we can better live for You. Be with our teens as they face the temptations that come during their time of self-discovery. Bless our college students with the wisdom and fortitude they need to stand strong when those around them abuse their new found independence. Be with our young adults who are beginning their lives as singles, young marrieds, and as they begin their careers and follow the path of their life. Help them to keep You first in their lives. Bless those who are parents. Help them as the face challenges of raising children in the world today. Bless each of us with strength and courage to live for You.

Be with those that teach Bible classes. Bless those that teach the babies and toddlers as they lay the foundation for faith to grow in these little souls. Be with the teachers of the elementary age children. Give them the patience and skills they need to help these energetic young people to focus their energy on You. Be with the teachers of our adolescents. Help them guide these budding souls into an ever deeper faith as they face the changes coming in their world. Be with the teachers of our college adults, young adults, and maturing adults. Help them to teach what Your word says and help them to lead us closer and closer to You.

Be with those who preach Your Word. May they be faithful to Your will as they teach it to others. May they have a contagious energy and enthusiasm that leads others to know the joy of salvation in Christ.

In Jesus’ Name . . .

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A Quick Thought on Discipleship

Yesterday both sermons and our small group discussions were about discipleship. This is a statement made in these lessons and studies that I want you to consider.  One sentence that is a reminder about discipleship.

Life in Christ is not about me.

  • Scott

not me

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Five for Friday

Five for Friday

Good morning, Friday readers.  Here are five things I read this week that I thought you would like to read as well.

  1. Donnie Bates at A Ready Answer helps us understand Biblical Confession
  2. Joe Butler at Faith and Footsteps leads us to Pursue Spiritual Growth.
  3. Jonathan Aigner Ponders Anew wondering if the “Worship Industry is Killing Worship.”
  4. Glenn Taylor studies how God’s Word connects Love and Giving.
  5. Mike Benson reflects on memories from Hurricane Katrina and the Debris in Our Lives.

Keep reading, keep learning, keep growing, and keep teaching.

  • Scott

Today’s bonus, just showed up this morning. It is from The Jenkins Institute – Why?

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Why I Love the Church

I grew-up in a Christian home. My parents and three of my four grandparents are (were) members of the Church.  Many of my earliest memories surround assembling with Christians and having other church members over our house on Sunday evenings.  Growing up there were two major influences other than my family they were Church and school.  My adult life reflects those influences – I am a preacher, married to an elementary school teacher.  Church involvement was never an option and neither was respecting and loving the Church.  That is not to say my parents forced my involvement, but their example and instruction insured that I would dedicate myself to Christ and His Church.  They taught me to love the Church.  What I love about the Church, I learned from those before me.

Song Leader Suggestions

I love the Church in view of the fact that God loved Her enough to PURCHASE Her at a sacrificial price (Acts 20:28).  How can I not love the people for whom my God and Creator gave all that He had to give to sanctify?  How can I turn my back on the Church when God was willing to not spare His Son so that the Church might exist?  I love the Church because God loves Her.

I love the Church that is PRECIOUS to Her Groom (Eph 5:21-33).  Paul’s description of the Church as the betrothed of Christ is a beautiful portrait.  When ever I see a long-lasting marriage relationship that is beautiful and I see the way the husband dotes on his bride of many years, I think about Christ doting on His betrothed Bride – the Church.  I think of how He is preparing Her for the day He presents His chosen Bride to the Father.  How proud He is of Her beauty and accomplishments that glorify Him.  I love the Church because the Christ loves Her.

I love the Church that has the PROMISE of an eternally joyous relationship with Her Husband (Rev 19).  We as the Church – purchased and precious – await the day when we will welcome the Bridegroom who promised to come and take us home with Him to His Father’s house (John 14:1-6). I love the Church because the faithful will one day reunite in heaven with the Father and the Son.

I love the Church!

  • Scott

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More than Routine Maintenance

My '01 Frontier

This morning, I dropped my 2001 Nissan Frontier off at a service center for long overdue maintenance and repairs. The repair / maintenance list is short: 1. Repair leak that involves the power steering lines / reservoir. 2. Replace timing belt and all drive belts. 3. Replace water pump (old one has to be removed to get to timing belt). 4. Replace ball-joints. 5. Perform a front end alignment. Okay, the list is pretty long and more than I am capable of doing and will take more time than I have to give if I were capable.  The truck has 196,000 miles on the odometer, my plan is to get another 100,000 out of these repairs.

As I was waiting for a ride to my study, I began thinking of the repairs and maintenance our lives need.

  • Paul tells his readers to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
  • James tells his readers, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:22-25)

The admonition they both give is for us to look at how we measure up to God’s standard and make the needed repairs in our life. Those repairs begin with knowing that like my truck repairs, I am (we are) not capable. On our own we are not and cannot be good enough. We require the grace of God to apply His righteousness to our broken lives and repair us for His glory. (2 Corinthians 5:21). Then we strive to continue to walk in the light along side Christ (1 John 1:7).

  • Scott

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