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Message Monday: Disciplines of Devotion – Discipline 2: Principled Prayer

Intro:Image result for prayer

  • Just a few weeks ago a group of university students at Notre Dame University made headlines as they staged a walk out to their graduation ceremony during the address of the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.
  • Around 100 graduates out of 3171 chose to walk out of the graduation ceremony in protest of Pence’s ideas and policy positions.
  • The move was unprecedented because Notre Dame is an institution committed to the free expression and exchange of ideas.
  • The graduate staged their protest to respond to Pence’s policy positions opposition to gay rights, refugee resettlement, sanctuary cities, and his support of President Trump’s travel ban.
  • Until this protest the graduates had little power to openly oppose these positions. The choice of Pence as graduation speaker gave these graduates the power to voice their disapproval.
  • One graduate said, “We are not protesting their choice of a commencement speaker. We are unwelcoming Mike Pence Back to Indiana with the idea that nobody knows Pence’s record as well as Hoosiers do.”
  • Speaking of powerless, one parent of the graduates said of the walkout, “we think it’s in poor taste. We think its disrespectful. It’s so unnecessary.”

Hook:

  • No matter how you feel about Pence’s policies or about this walkout, there is an important aspect of this story for us to realize.
  • We live in a nation where “freedom of speech” is enshrined as the first amendment to our Constitution. So both the graduates and the parents have a right to peacefully express their beliefs and ideas without recourse.
  • Because we have “freedom of speech,” anytime we as Americans feel powerless about something that our government or another group does, we can simply speak up and express our opinions and views.
  • But just imagine living even just a few hundred years ago around the time our nation was founded. For just speaking up against the government a person could be imprisoned or worse.
  • If we go back further in history rulers had even more absolute power and death could be commanded in an instant for any offense.
  • Powerlessness is a condition that has existed for millennia, causing frustration and despondency. After the founding of our nation people could respond as publicly and passionately as they desired, so long as it was peaceful.
  • Before we assume that believers should just speak up when we feel powerless, let’s look today at Daniel’s response to a precarious situation.

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Posted by on July 24, 2017 in Ministry of the Word

 

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Experiencing Joy Among God’s Flock

discipleshipA few weeks ago I shared an article that detailed several prayer requests that a congregation can pray for her pastor. With that in mind, it seems appropriate to offer pastors several prayer requests pray for the congregation among whom our Lord has given you to serve (1 Peter 5:2).

Don’t forget pastor, that you do not serve at the pleasure of the congregation. You serve at the pleasure of the Lord. He has assigned you a field of service, with a congregation among whom you will serve. Pastor, this should liberate you to pray heartfelt and genuine prayers that your members might serve the Lord with you. Similarly, pastor this should allow you to minister and pray even if your congregation does not choose to serve the Lord with you. The ministry of the Word the Lord has called you to accomplish demands that you call people to follow, not push them to follow. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Ministry of the Word, Shepherding

 

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Newsletter: April 2010

Anarchy and Apathy vs Prayer and Institutional Support

Continental Congress Praying

In the week after the healthcare reform bill became law, I must say that I have been surprised at the reaction of some people. Certainly the reaction of jubilation on the side of those who supported the bill and angst on the side of those who did not support the bill is warranted. Two other responses that I have noticed concern me. There seems to be in addition to those attitudes a general sense of apathy or anarchy towards th government. How does a Christian respond to these attitudes?

Let me first say that we must recognize the Bible’s affirmation of government’s primary role. Romans 13:1-7, among other passages (Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-15, and John 19:11 to name a few) reveal to us that the government primarily is a reflection and extension of God’s authority over all things. Even though governments may act in ways that do not promote godliness, God allows them to do so in order to bring about his good purpose. Therefore to advance anarchy in the face of a legitimate government is to call into question God’s authority. Respect for government’s authority ensures tranquility. The leaders of our government whether we like it or not represent and act on our behalf. In our system of government we have a say at the ballot box, however at all other times we should pray for our leaders and support them as God’s representatives for us (1 Tim. 2:1-4). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2010 in Christian Worldview

 

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Newsletter for October 2009

As announced the results are in! I want to thank all who participated in our church health survey and am so thankful for the results we received. The church health indicators listed are ones mentioned throughout the New Testament, but especially in Acts 2:42-47. The survey measures how we feel about the health of these areas in the life of the church. The results are not a prescription of how we can solve all our problems, but they help us to know where we are as a church right now.

So let’s get to the results. As you can see in the chart we have a real strength at FBC Enoree in worship and prayer. The category of questions that relate to worship asks questions about our facility, our music, and the messages people receive when they attend. Prayer questions were ones that emphasized both the importance of prayer in the life of a believer as well as the belief that prayer works. In the middle we find ministry and discipleship. Ministry questions asked the willingness of people to serve and who actually does the work of the church. On the other hand, Discipleship questions seek to discover if people grow as Christians in this church as well as if the church keeps its members. Finally as you look at the results, you will also notice that the least healthy areas of our church right now is in evangelism and fellowship. Evangelism questions were ones that asked people about sharing the gospel and reaching out through missions. Fellowship questions were ones that asked about the sense of unity and love among our members. In addition I listed on the graph the next health level for each indicator as a goal for us to keep in mind.

In reality these results are no surprise to us; however as Luke 14:25-33 encourages us, these results serve to allow us to see where we are in following Christ and what it will cost us to serve him better. As believers we all want to follow Christ. We all want to be a part of a church that is unified and faithful serving him. We all want to the people in our community come to know Christ through the ministry of our Church. This survey aides us in two ways. First we know our strengths. As we seek to see our church become healthier certainly we will do so by emphasizing worshipful and prayerful ways to resolve conflicts and share the gospel. Secondly we also know our weaknesses. In all areas of our church life we must be diligent to see conflicts resolved biblically and emphasize both evangelistic and community building opportunities. Perhaps the greatest news for us is that there is tremendous hope for us in knowing where we are as a church family. To follow Christ we must make hard decisions, take difficult stands, give up personal preference, and even suffer for the gospel’s sake. The great news is that just as Christ had an eternal impact; as church family who follows Him, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to have an eternal impact for Him!

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2009 in Christian Worldview

 

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Newsletter: Nov. 2008

            As we conclude our newsletter series of writings on the nature of Christians and politics, I want to again encourage you to go and vote! Even so, my comments today refer not to the election, but to our response after the vote. How should a Christian respond especially if the “wrong” person is elected?

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Posted by on January 31, 2009 in Ministry of the Word, Shepherding

 

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