Prayers for our Church

Today as I was preparing for the National Day of Prayer at my own church, God reminded me of a prayer sheet that I created years ago when I was on a church prayer team.  I quickly tweaked it to my context and we spent today praying it.  I then wanted to bless and encourage pastors I new on facebook, so I sent it to them. Then the Lord told me to post it here on my blog for others to use in their church contexts as well. So what followers is a prayer sheet for God’s Church. I truly believe that pray has to start with the local Church.  As someone who desperately longs to see Spiritually strong Children of God walking in their divine calling and full effectiveness, I pray that this will bless you and help you grow in your own pray life and the life of your church.

Praise / Thanksgiving:

 

Psalm 50:23 “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!

v  For allowing us to freely worship and pray.

v  For our salvation and the salvation of others we are believing for

v  For our church and all the work the Lord is having us do for the kingdom.

v  For all our pastors, leaders, and volunteers who put in tireless hours for the sake of others.

v  For what God is going to do through our continued growth, surrender and obedience as a church body.

 Health/ Emotional/Hospitalization:

 James 5:15 “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned he will be forgiven.” 

 v  We lift up those in our congregation who are sick or hospitalized. We pray for healing; rest and restoration.  Draw them to you Lord as they wait.

v  We pray for physical, emotional, spiritual, healing.  Break any bonds that Satan has used, and bring forth testimonies of praise.

v  We pray for anyone in our church who is dealing with a substance abuse or any other stronghold or addiction.  We ask that those strongholds would be broken and that complete wholeness in Jesus would come to those individuals.

v   Lord, send us out to care and comfort those in our church body.  Help us to send a card or to make a call of encouragement or concern, so that they know they are loved and thought of by the body of Christ.

 Salvation/Spiritual Walk

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things are past away, and behold all things are new.”

v  We lift up all those who are in need of salvation at our church.

v  We pray that they would surrender to a life lived for Christ alone.  Whether this is a surrender either for the first time or on a deeper level, resulting in closer intimacy with God and a manifested change from the inside out.

v  We pray that people would be convicted of the sins in their lives and turn to Jesus for repentance, forgiveness and the newness of life that he offers.

v  May those in need of Salvation see the lights that we shine before them.  May they ask us what the difference is, and may we share with joy, our lives in Jesus.

v  Lord, for those who are struggling in their spiritual walk; bring others alongside them to build them up in your ways.

v   Pray for our youth to come to know the Lord; ignite a passion for Jesus so deep within them.

v  May God arise in this place; let the redeemed of the Lord rise up.  May we truly live the lives that we have been called to.

v  Pray for our church to become prayer filled and praise filled. God, shatter the darkness around us.

 Marriages and Parenting/Family life

 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

v  We lift up all the marriages in our church, that you would draw them to yourself Lord and to each other in Christ-likeness.

v  That you Lord, would bring restoration and healing of every kind into their homes.

v  Break down any walls of communication and let forgiveness and healing come forth.

v  Help parents learn to love their children the way that you love us. Bond families together and bring balance to every area of their lives.

v  Help families to only commit to things that will strengthen them in Christ-likeness;  Let them all come to church together.

v  Help parents to surrender to you Lord so that you can be the one who guides them.

Safety

1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

v  We pray a spiritual covering over our church.

v  We pray that you keep us out of the snares of Satan

v  We pray that we are always focusing on your will for our church

v  Lord keep our church safe in every way, so that we can reap a harvest for you alone.

 Pastoral Staff/Church Ministires

 Proverbs 29:18Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.”

v  Pray for our church to be dedicated to prayer.  Lord that you would reign in this, that you would burn your heart of prayer on all of ours and allow us to be united in heart of prayer throughout every ministry that we do here.

v  We pray for Pastor ______to have strength, wisdom and boldness in preaching the word of God and that the Holy Spirit is preached.

v  We pray for our pastors and their families; our church board and Childcare administration and staff.

v  Pray for revival.  As the Holy Spirit is preached, Lord we ask that you would do a mighty work in the hearts of everyone who hears; that ears would be opened, that eyes would see the truth of your ways. Lord, come revive our hearts, change us from the inside out, put a new song in us O’God.  Burn so deeply that we are changed

v  Pray for _________ Church of the Nazarene that we would be a light into our community .  Lord we pray that people sense the love that we have in you and for each other and that it would lead them closer to you.

v  Let people see that coming to church is to get strengthened and equipped so we can go out and love the world as Jesus came and love the world; but Lord may our church be a place that is grace-filled, full of love, compassion, and forgiveness.

Pray For Unity as a Church Body

1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to  your brothers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that  you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

v  That we would learn to love each other as Christ loves us.  That we may live and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of you.  That we would be mindful of the words that come out of our mouths. That we would seek wisdom and discernment and your will.  That we would hold each other accountable in Christ-like love. That we would be slow to anger and quick to forgiveness; settling our disputes quickly.

v  That we would not hold anything against another; that there would be no division among us, and that we would be united in mind and thought.

v  That we would look to the Word of God on how to live and love one another as Christ’s body. That we would be accepting of each other’s uniqueness and differences.  We are one body with many parts.  May we work together in all things to the Glory of God.

v  That we would surrender to God and our church leadership in the steering of our church and its ministries.  Keep us united; building up each other through your word.

v  Help us to be patient with each other, bearing one another’s burdens.  We pray for repentance and forgiveness as a body.  Forgive us our sins and cleans   us from all unrighteousness. We seek humility in our service to you O Lord.

v  We seek to be taught and led by your Holy Spirit in every way.  May your word dwell richly in us; that we are not murmurers, complainers, walking after our own lusts.

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Resurrected To New Life!

EASTER. This day has now become my favorite day of the year! As I have walked many “miles’ on my journey of faith, I have overcome so much, my faith has grown, and my love for Jesus has run deeper than I could ever imagine. I never want to get over this; the remembrance of Good Friday, and the price he paid for our sins, taking our sins upon himself to give us life. As we wait on Saturday, there is silence, there is darkness, but this will not last; Sunday has come! Jesus has conquered death; he has shattered the darkness, and has been raised to new life. It is this new life that he offers all of us! It is this victory that we share with him! O Death where is your sting? It is gone! It is finished! Death could not hold him, the grave could not keep him, and He offers us this same life, not just someday in Heaven, but today in our lives; we are to also be resurrected to new life, to bring forth light that shatters the darkness of the world around us, to testify of his great love! Yes, we have to take up our own cross, we struggle in life and learn the beauty of surrendering our lives over to him. He is the only one who can take our broken mess and make something new, and He does. I use to be a person who was really insecure, who always worried about what others thought of me; wondering if I was ever good enough to belong; but as I struggled with these feelings, doubts and fears and continued to give them over to Jesus, little by little He would show me more of how much he loved me. He helped me to see who I am in Him. He helped me to see the price He paid. I now saw the cross more vivid than ever before. But he wasn’t done. He brought me out of my pit of insecurities, doubts and fears, and gave me new life. He set my feet upon a rock and told me how much he loved me. The darkness in my life has been shattered. I no longer care what others may think, because I know that as long as I am walking in the ways and will of God, that is enough, it’s all he asks of me, and now my significance is found in Christ alone. Death could not hold Jesus and neither could it hold me! I am now free to be all that Christ has made me. I am free to love and to serve; not out of obligation or duty, but out of an overflow of love, and gratitude of what Jesus has done for me!! I know who I am in Christ, and I know that in such a deep way that it is fleshed out in the life I live. It radiates from every part of me, wanting to do nothing out of selfish ambition, but out of love and gratitude to Jesus who has done such an amazing work in me. I am now able to love people where they are at on the journey, no longer getting anxious for their growth, but to pray them forth into all the growth that God wants to do in their lives. I can love and accept people knowing it’s only by the power of Jesus that can raise them to new life. It is a journey from the cross to the empty tomb for all of us. And even when we have victory, we are still continuing our journey onward. Oh Jesus, my heart is so overflowed in gratitude for all that you have done for me. I can’t thank you enough, I can’t seem to sing enough praises to you! Lord, may I never get over all that you have done for me, and may I never be ashamed of the gospel that gave me new life. Thank you Jesus for the cross and for the empty tomb may we all be your lights shining brightly for your kingdom. This is Easter; not only remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus, but the death and resurrection in each of our lives. What has God resurrected you out of? What is your new life story? How will you let that shine forth to shatter the darkness in this world? To bring hope to others? He came so that we could live; He came to give us life and life more abundant! It is for Today! Are you living in the Resurrection life that Jesus died to freely give? This is the Good News! This is what I want every Sunday to be for me!! I want Sunday to now be Resurrection Day! Every Sunday, I want to make sure that I celebrate all that I have overcome and am becoming in Christ, as I live out that new life all week long! Happy Easter, And May you truly live a new life in Christ!! Below I posted our churches Easter Service. There are two sections of it that I love the most; the one is after we show a clip of Jesus coming out of the tomb from “the passion of the Christ” at 29:30 there is an awesome song of VICTORY that we sang!!! We also did cardboard testimonies at point 1:01 in the video there is our “cardboard” testimonies that I was a part of. We all have testimonies that bring us out of the tomb into new life. Share yours, because He died so you could live and testify of his great love it is why we are here! God Bless You!

I knew these feelings would come

Well, this Sunday started my first regular set of Sunday’s at my new church.  I enjoyed the Sunday School class and the discussion on the 6th chapter of the book of John.  The service was good, and yet, I had that uneasy feeling when everyone started greeting each other, feeling a little insecure, yet knowing things are going to just have to take time.  I think it’s like this everywhere, in jobs, in families, in churches, it’s sometimes hard to be the new person.  You get a bit self conscious and wonder if everyone is looking at you, but then I find myself worshipping in total abandonment and know that is a  huge part of how I connect with God.  It was interesting in the Sunday school class when we discussed back in Matthew 16:7, about John The Baptist, where Jesus asked the people what did you come here to see…?  The thought was raised what do we come to church for?  What do we come to see?  Do we seek entertainment?  Do we seek fellowship or warm fuzzies?  I am sure there are many reasons we all come to church.  Now, I was once again faced with what was mine?  Never mind that fact that I drive an hour to go to this church, so to me this question is quite important indeed!!  I felt God called me here after several things took place over a long period of time. I felt that as a student in seminary, being a part of this denomination and church would help me to one day be able to fulfill the call that God has placed on my life, even if I don’t know what that all is supposed to look like, God does.  So as I went online today and listened to my previous pastor unveil new and exciting plans for his church, I had to trust and believe once again all the things that God has led me through to get me to this point.  I  remember too, how my former pastor said that I’d have feelings of questioning myself if I made the right decision, which I know I did, I just didn’t think it was going to hit me so soon, but God did, and perhaps it’s good that it did, before I had too much time go by to make me question even more.   It all  left me feeling a bit surreal; after all, I just returned home from my nieces high school graduation, and as the class was talked to and encouraged in their new life ahead, I sat there thinking on my new week  of seminary starting tomorrow, and how excited I was for all God is going to teach me this semester.  Then I got a message on facebook on how I was missed at my former church by a friend, then comes that grand sermon of the plans my former church is  unpacking.  Yes, I knew this was going to happen.  I may of not know the details, but I had mentally prepared myself for such a time as this.  I know that there will always be changes where ever I go, and as I told my friend on facebook, I have to trust and believe that I am walking in obedience.  Is it scary and uncertain?  Yes, but change always is.  I have to keep looking back at all that God has done to get me to this point and continue to trust that it’s all going to be O.K.  I don’t know what that looks like, but all I know is that today has enough worries for itself, and I will not get ahead of Jesus.  So, today was mixed with an array of emotions, some exciting, some uncertain, some scary, some sad, and some happy.  I guess it’s been somewhat of an emotional day, and isn’t that the beauty of humanity, that God has wired us with such detail! As I prepare now to drift into a sweet sleep, I know that tomorrow will come and God will have much for me to do to keep me busy and focused on him, reminding me that it’s all gonna be O.K. as I trust and obey.

Stop Persecuting the Church

We all know the story of Paul and how as an upright Jew, he followed the law and outlandishly persecuted the church. It’s easy to look at him and pass either a quick judgment of “Paul, how could you do such a thing”, or take a big sigh of relief that he “finally saw the light”. If you read his epistles you will come to find that he is pleading with the different churches to not follow in his former footsteps. He speaks to the Corinthians of not succumbing to the sinful practices that were infiltrating Corinth. He speaks to the Galatians, calling them foolish, and he is amazed how quickly they are going back to their old habits of worldliness, urging them to walk by the Spirit and bear one another’s burdens. He speaks to the Ephesians, praying for God to give them wisdom and a spirit of revelation in the knowledge of him (Ephesians 1:17); and again in Philippians, Colossians, and 1st and 2nd Thessalonians he continues to emphasize a newness in Christ, and as imitators of Christ how we are to live and love not only one another but the world. Have you ever stopped to think why it is that the Church today is in such turmoil? Yes, there are lots of awesome things God is working out through his church, but we have a very long way to go. It starts very simply with us. How we treat each other inside our own church walls speaks volumes. It reveals our hearts. What are we saying when we open our mouths? Are we brining glory to God with our words, or are we smearing his face in the mud. It’s like a smear campaign if you think about it. Whenever we say a hurtful thing about another, about a ministry, about a group of people, we are persecuting the church; and worse yet, we are doing it to those who we come together with every week and claim the name of Christ with. Brother’s and Sister’s let me just say this; none of us arrive, we all fall short, and are only held up by the grace of God that he bestows on each of us every day. I know we are all hurt and broken and need restoration; which is found in Christ Alone. We must constantly re-evaluate our lives and make sure our time with God, to know him more, to hunger for him more, comes first. I’d like to encourage you to take some time and read some if not all, of Paul’s epistles, and when you do, ask God to speak to you, to point things out that you need to know and learn. Seek illumination and transformation from his Word, not just information; Information is useless unless it changes us. Also, pray for your church and the global church daily. Your pastor’s need your prayers, your volunteers and staff does also. We are His body, we are to be a spotless bride; and even though we will never be perfect till we get the other side, there is so much love that we can learn and give to others. Seek out the wisdom that is in The Word; seek holiness and purity of heart; for this is what God desires of each one of us. May that be our prayer today and every day. Father, I ask that you point out and convict each one of us when we persecute your church by the way we live, by the words we speak, by anything that does not please you. Teach us your ways, illuminate your word, and grow us in Christ likeness. Lord, we surrender every area of our live to you today, we ask you to do a transforming work in our hearts; revive our hearts and set us on fire for your purposes. May we be changed, and may that change flow out of us so others will see you for who you are, and not for what we make you so many times. We ask forgiveness, we seek repentance, and a changed heart. Thank you for loving us and never leaving us or forsaking us. We pray all of this in your Holy Name Jesus, Amen.

The body pulled in too many directions

As I continually surrender my junk over to God, I can’t help but grieve deeply for the church.  Many know this is a huge passion of mine, and a very real reason why I am feeling called to go to seminary.  I found myself once again laying this whole issue down again at the feet of Jesus, full of tears once again.  You might wonder why I burn so passionately, but this can only be explained through my heart and what God continually teaches me.  I was visiting over at Church Whisperer, who had a great post today on church unity.  The core message was aligning pretty much with what I had just got done praying about only a few moments earlier.  I think sadly, the reason we don’t see more unity and change in our churches today is that we are all pulled in way too many directions.   Think about the physical body, and what it feels like when we over extend ourselves physically.  We get sore muscles that can barely move and need time to rest and recover.  So too, with the spiritual body; people can barely volunteer for this ministry or that ministry because they are way over scheduled and stretched too thin.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.  What blows my mind even more is that as a single mom, is how so many couples with two extra hands to help can run around on fumes.  Now, I am not sitting here and judging family A or family B, because don’t know where you are and what your dealing with; but I do know that if we just sat down and really took a hard look at our lives, I think we would be surprised at all the junk we let in. Taking time to list our priorities and how they line up with what we value most in life,(which first and foremost, should be God).   How much free-er and better off in every way, especially spiritually and relationally, if we’d surrender some of our biggest time wasters over to God.  Perhaps then we’d truly have a more balance life, our prayer life would abound b/c we’d truly live surrendered in the moment by moment stuff of life.   And just think about how much more we could get fed by the Word of God, if we’d really let God in and fall in Love with it, but more importantly, fall in love with Him and get to really know Him; for this is truly why we have His Word; Seeing it as a necessity and the spiritual air and water that it is intended to be, instead of just checking off our devotion time for the day.  If The Word is the love letter from God that we claim it to be, then we should be intimately drawn to it, and radically changed by it, desiring with all of us to come and know the lover of our soul.  Deep, perhaps, but the very real truth and power of The Bible!!  Think about it in the light of a human relationship.  When we fall in love with someone, we want the world to know, we want to run out and shout if from the roof tops.  Why then don’t we have this passion for our God and each other???  How is the world ever going to come to truly know that love of Christ if we truly don’t love His whole-heatedly as  we do ourselves and those closest to us.  That would really be some radical transformation!  I think too, we’d start to care for each other more b/c we’d be more receptive to others needs and see them in a more compassionate light. The Bible calls us to live pure, holy, and quiet lives, but sadly in our churches today, it is anything but this. I’ve heard time and time again that transformation and revivalation starts on an individual level, and through surrender.  As someone who has learned this, I plea with you dear reader to physically sit down, get quiet with God, and start letting go of the areas of your life that God has been dealing with you.  If you want change like I do, then it starts with you, and your own relationship and surrender with God.  You know I’m all about surrender here on this blog, b/c I have see it work first hand in my life. Surrender is a way of life, a way of walking with God and growing in His Christlikeness.  So my prayer today is that God would convict your heart of some of the things I have said here, and make known to you the areas that you need to turn over to Him.  May you listen to His voice and obey what He is asking of you to let go of.   Stop putting God in a box to fit into your life, but let God conform you to His image so that we would all truly be the body of Christ on this earth.   Oh, the dreams I have for the body of Christ!  Perhaps one day God will let my dreams come true, but for now, I will just keep surrendering them over to Jesus at the foot of the cross.

More of my evolving passions pouring out

It’s really hard to be me someday, and today is one of those days.  There is allot of things that I am passionate about, and I think one of the hardest things for me is to keep giving those things over to God.  When I was a teen I was passionate about Christian music and had a desire to work in the Christian Music industry, but doors never seemed to open and I would find myself frustrated with a passion that I didn’t fully understand and know what to do with.  That passion hasn’t exactly gone away, but it has matured if you will, into a better understanding of who God is and my continued growth in Him.  Today, that passion is now somehow re-directed into the church and the body of Christ.  Today, it seems that the more I grow in Christ and understand His Word and His Ways, I have a burning desire to help people get to that next level in their Christian faith, and to see true, sold-out disciples of Christ moving as His hands and feet to a lost and messed up world.  The only problem is, is that I know it is God who transforms and all my best efforts to try and help God with that is going to lead to a life of frustration.  I know it all comes down to loving people where they are, but there are firey Christians out their leading the charge, and I really want to be a part of that passion and movement; and perhaps I am.  Perhaps God has me right where he wants me, to learn to love those around me, and not so much to change them.  I know God is working in me, and I know that He is going to make His plans clear at some point, and I guess right now, it’s a bit fuzzy.  So I’d ask for prayers from you all, b/c I know God is up to something, I just can’t put my finger on it at the moment.  Once agian, I must find a way to re-channel my passions and trust that He makes all things work for my good. In the meantime, I will continue to share my passions with others, and pray and  trust that God is moving in their lives somehow.   Blessings.

Lifechurch.tv

I’m always scouring the Internet for something new and interesting that will feed my soul; not to mention keeping up with the latest church trends, (which happens to be a fave past time lately).  I love how all this web 2.o stuff has really been a vehical for the church.  One of my favorite sites that I have been watching has been lifechurch.tv  They host a multi-Church campus, which one of them is online.  I usually miss the worship times b/c I haven’t stayed on top of it enough, but last night I got my first taste of lifechurch.tv, and I must say, I was impressed!  Now, I have visited the site previously, and watched an older sermon, but it was missing the worship component (by that, I mean the music in the beginning).  I’m a big worship music fan, and am always trying to get my hands on the latest stuff that gets put out.  I think back to that song “If I had a million dollars” by the Bare Naked Laddies.  My version, as it pertains to worship music would go something like “If I had a million dollars, I’d buy me every worship album that I could get my hands on”.  You get the feel for how much of worship music freak I am, right??  Well, last night did not disappoint.  The message was from guest pastor, Francis Chan, who I am a newly passionate fan of!   I heard one of his sermons on being lukewarm and it totally blew me away!  Check out more of him at his church website: http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/   Back to lifechurch.tv;Craig Groeschel is the founder and  Senior Pastor and who’s creative leadership style is changing the way church is done worldwide.  When you visit the site, you can find out more about the church, what they believe, service times and locations (which includes online, with a count down clock on the top of the page).  They also have an awesome leadership blog, and tons of free resources for churches!  I thought I’d share here there intro video and a song that was sung; (though it is from the actual band and not the lifechurch.tv worship guys).  I had an awesome time worshipping online.  I never thought that I would say that, but hey, what better way to get undignified in front of the Lord and rip out some of your best worship moves than in your own house! If you’ve experienced lifechurch.tv, I’d love to hear about your experience and where you worship.  They also have free downloads on itunes, and different groups that meet online.  It’s going to be interesting to keep up with these guys.  God Bless and I hope you will go and check out this awesome vehicle of the gospel that is being used with modern technology. 

Psalm 62 and my thought for today

This morning as I spent time with God I found myself crying out and wondering why He has placed this burden of The Church, His Bride, so deeply on my heart.  I mean really Lord, yes, I want to work for you and do your will, but man this is a bit more than I bargained for!  I can’t tell you the amount of anguish that He has placed on my heart.  I even began to picture myself like Jesus; kneeling in the garden, asking God to take this cup, but also wanting more than anything else, to fulfill His will.  That’s where my heart is, that’s how deeply this affects me.  I didn’t ask for this ya know; I could  have blown on with life just fine, but when I gave Him my heart, I promised I wouldn’t take it back, and so here we are, burdened with the will of The Father on my life.  I know it’s His battle, but I’m His instrument; and I know there are allot of “me’s” out there; and I pray for God to bring us together so we can be stronger and shine brighter together.  So with that, I asked God to give me a word today, because I know His power works through us, but man it can overwhelm my soul so quickly.   I sat and meditated on Psalm 62 today, and really let the words sink in.  I’m not going to break it all down today and how it spoke to me, but just invite you to read it and ask God to let it speak to your heart too.

Psalm 62 (Amplified Bible)

 

Psalm 62

To the Chief Musician; according to Jeduthun [Ethan, the noted musician, founder of an official musical family]. A Psalm of David.

 1FOR GOD alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.    2He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be greatly moved.

    3How long will you set upon a man that you may slay him, all of you, like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?

    4They only consult to cast him down from his height [to dishonor him]; they delight in lies. They bless with their mouths, but they curse inwardly. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

    5My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.

    6He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved.

    7With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God!

    8Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

    9Men of low degree [in the social scale] are emptiness (futility, a breath) and men of high degree [in the same scale] are a lie and a delusion. In the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.

    10Trust not in and rely confidently not on extortion and oppression, and do not vainly hope in robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

    11God has spoken once, twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God.

    12Also to You, O Lord, belong mercy and loving-kindness, for You render to every man according to his work.(A)

   

Where’s The Fear of The Lord?

Allot of people, myself included, claim the saying, “everything happens for a reason”.  It’s  not so much a mystical idea, but for those who believe it, I believe have some level of reverence for God; that He is sovereign and always in control, able to see everything when we can only see a micro-snap shot, and working out everything in the world for His Glory.  Last March, I was let go from a job that I was only less than 2 weeks into.  I’ve been unemployed for all that time.  Many would be quick to judge, finger point or see me as lazy, but the bottom line is that they don’t have a clue about why that had to happen; but I finally did.  I wrote most of this past year here on my blog, so I won’t repeat  myself; and as I’ve grown, I’ve learned surrender, and many, many lessons along the way.  It has become clear to me that indeed God uses all our circumstances to teach us, grow us, and to ultimately be glorified.  As Ive  tried to understand more and more, God has place a specific burden on my heart.  It is a burden of the church, the true body of Christ, His bride; radiantly white and beaming with purity before Him.   I now can see that my struggles and hardships that I have faced in the church as a child, and as a born-again believer have all occurred to teach me, and purify me with Holy understanding.  There is much I could say about this, as the passion rises at a constant level, but I lay it at the foot of the cross where I know God will deal with it.  A little while ago, I responded to a Church Wisperer,  who wrote  a blog post titled “The Church Jesus expects to find” .  I encourage you to read it, but also wanted to share my response, which is a huge part of what God has been placing on my heart lately.  May it convict you in such a way to begin fearing our Holy Lord again.  

 I really feel, and God’s been pointing this out to me allot lately, that our churches are a mess and we are so divided, and the Bride is ugly because we have truly lost our first love, Jesus Christ. Not only that, but we have forgotten the sovereignty of God. We don’t fear Him, We don’t see Him for who He really is. We don’t bow down before Him in reverence, in true surrender, in true repentance, in true gratitude and worship. I think knowing our church history is important, and it’s something God is showing me more and more. I think knowing why you believe what you do is important; Anyone can call themselves a Christian and say “Yes, Jesus saved my life”; but it goes so much deeper than that. Do you truly get that He was a living sacrifice, and does that change the way you worship and adore Him? Do you love Him for not only who He is, but what He has truly done! Where is the fear and trembling that we are suppose to have? Look at Moses, Look at Job, Abraham… They trusted and obeyed in such powerful ways that God Moved! God does not move today because People don’t want to think too deeply; they leave interpreting and understanding the Bible up to the pastors; church leaders are running around trying to follow every church fad and best seller church success story and be the Purpose Driven Church for All; but this is not what God commands; this is what the apostles warned of. I fear we will never see unity in our church’s, we will never see our prayer meetings overflowing, we will never see our numbers in whatever area of the church that we are dealing with UNTIL we remember How HOLY OUR GOD IS! WE ARE TO BOW DOWN IN WORSHIP WE ARE TO TREMBLE TO THE FOOT OF THE CROSS! That is gone in today’s churches, and unitl it get’s back in us, even starting on an individual level, I really don’t see our churches changing in revivalist ways. God said “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” God’s not moving b/c we’re not truly doing what He commands us. We just try and spin The Word of God to whatever is gonna fill the seats, or whatever we think will make us better leaders, but we are so way off!  I’ll admit, I don’t know squat about church leadership, and I can send my pastors and others tons of info  on everything I find,  but ultimately it all gets put at the foot of the cross in hope and trust. The more God shows me and teaches me, the more this exact messege keeps getting pounded in my head.  I don’t know why God has placed this on my heart so deeply, but I know He is going to use it in some way.  In the meantime I will continue to fear and tremble, I will continue to show people that I am a living testimony of obedience and true surrended by following what God commands of us in His Word as He teaches me.

Why I no longer care about Mega-Churches

I use to always think that Mega-Churches were the coolest thing!  I didn’t realize it at the time, but the feel-good, relative  message that they proclaimed, with a dash of scripture, would become the thing I would start to despise.   Jesus said, that man does not eat on bread alone.  Knowing this,  It’s becoming more and more clear to me how very messed up our churches  are; together as a whole bunch who share Christian faith.  I am finding that there is allot being written by many well know pastors about how The Gospel of Jesus and the true authentic, expository teachings of the Bible are found less and less in our American churches, and how all people want now a days is what one pastor calls” a sermon to go”.  Just let me come to church, get a feel good message, O.K. I’ll even let you talk about Jesus and quote a few scriptures if you like, but don’t start convicting me, b/c I’ll be out of here, with my tithe, and I won’t come back!  You may think I am over-exaggerating a bit, but if you go over to Amazon and search around on the subject of say, church relativism, Christ-less, Christianity, mega-churches, alternative  gospel in churches  and the like, you’ll be amazed of how many book have been written on this subject.   It’s good that it is being address, but also very scary that it is such a huge problem, and very sad that this is where we seem to be going more and more.  I wonder if too, this is why so many other religions such as Islam are on the rise.  Perhaps, and this is just my opinion, is that they hold true to their roots and their traditions on what their religion was founded on; where American Churches strive to water down the gospel to a feel-good, pop-culture, relative message, so they can increase their tribe, so to speak.   I myself just picked up a book called Christ-less Christianity by Michael Horton,  and I will be sharing what I find.   It goes something like this :

From Publishers Weekly
In another screed on what’s wrong with American Christianity, theology professor Horton, of Westminster Seminary California, bemoans the slide of the American Christian church into what he, and others, call a moralistic, therapeutic deism. Drawing on studies, surveys and anecdotal evidence, Horton reaches the oft-repeated conclusion that American Christianity is self-centered rather than Christ-centered, Jesus is a life coach rather than a redeemer, and salvation is focused on therapeutic well-being. He rants against the purveyors of this watered-down Christianity–Robert Schuller, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer–but saves his most savage attack for megachurch preacher Joel Osteen, whom Horton depicts as a snake-oil salesman teaching that God is a personal shopper ready to deliver happiness and prosperity if only individuals let God know their needs. Horton reveals his lack of theological depth when he argues that ancient Gnostics saw God as no different from humans. Yet Gnosticism’s entire point is this difference. Horton regrettably offers no recommendation for the reformation of American Christianity beyond a simplistic call to let the church be defined by the Gospel rather than the laws of the market. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Description
Is it possible that we have left Christ out of Christianity? Is the faith and practice of American Christians today more American than Christian? These are the provocative questions Michael Horton addresses in this thoughtful, insightful book. He argues that while we invoke the name of Christ, too often Christ and the Christ-centered gospel are pushed aside. The result is a message and a faith that are, in Horton’s words, “trivial, sentimental, affirming, and irrelevant.” This alternative “gospel” is a message of moralism, personal comfort, self-help, self-improvement, and individualistic religion. It trivializes God, making him a means to our selfish ends. Horton skillfully diagnoses the problem and points to the solution: a return to the unadulterated gospel of salvation.

Now if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.   It will definitely be eye-opening to be learning more about this; and it made me ponder how this is probably very much intertwined with my recent posts on Unity in the Body of Christ.  As I started reading this book, God pointed out to me that because we are getting so relative, we are being deceived that there needs to be some type of relative/Biblical balance; but what it is really doing is making us weaker in our faith.  We can even try and go out and do the work of the Lord in our communities and do our best to meet the needs of the less fortunate; but if we don’t have our roots in what is Biblical and true, then are we well equipped to really share the Love of Christ with others if our hearts are not focused completely on God at all times?   Watering down the gospel waters down our core traditions, our core doctrine, our cor faith on a personal and church level.  I think this may be why we are getting less united and more divided too; our individualism and relativism of the Truth of Jesus is what Satan is using to distract us from learning and thirsting for The True Word of God.   It happens so suddely, we don’t even realize it sometimes.  We think we’re getting ahead, but if we were to really examine where we are in complete, continual surrender to the will of God in our life and to transform our hearts into Christ-likeness, I fear many would not be able to say much about that.  If we’re not hungering and thirsting after righteousness, then really we are dying, and Satan is winning.  Scary thought, huh?    I always think about what Tommy Tenny was trying to say in God Chasers; that people come hungry to our churches and all we end up giving them are maybe a few crumbs off the carpet. (In my own defense, I am not a fan of Tenny, but He does makes some, not all, good points in the book, God Chasers).    This thought has really made me sit back and think about the church in recent years.  I imagine that this will be a pretty interesting discussion as I post my review.  I hope that you will join me in the discussion and the learning process of this very crucialproblem that we are facing more and more in our churches.  God forgive us for selling you down the river just so we can remain comfortable in our own strength!  I also hope every pastor that preaches to a congregation will consider reading this book, and take seriously the slippery slope we are sliding down.