John Wesley once said "God does nothing except in response to believing prayer."
Six Points Church has been, is and will be a praying church. We must be, for if we are not then we have forsaken our commitment to the Lord, abandoned our desire to reach the lost with the good news and neglected our duty to persevere as we have been taught and shown.
For 134 years this church has been a beacon of light in our community and that light was tended daily with prayer. We have been people of prayer, a place of prayer and committed to prayer; and we must continue to be if we hope to continue in God's grace.
And commitment to prayer is tested most in the hard times. When our prayers seem to go unanswered, do we give up? When the world is falling apart do we forsake time with the Lord or do we recommit ourselves?
A few weeks ago at our MLT meeting, our ministry leaders and I spent our whole meeting in prayer. We prayed for our ministry areas, our volunteers and each other. It was good and it was needed to remind us who this church really belongs to.
Yesterday at a Wesleyan Pastors gathering, we spent pretty much the whole time in prayer. These gatherings are normally a time of training or encouragement, but we devoted it all to praying for our churches and movement.
I believe that we, the people of Six Points, must likewise band together and commit ourselves to prayer for our church. Let us be like the Persistent Widow in Luke 18 and not give up. We must be people of prayer.
I would ask you specifically pray for
-the Gellert family and Logan's cancer treatments
-the Capshaw family and Elwood Central Wesleyan as they mourn the death of their husband, father and pastor
-the sick among us
-our church and leadership as we seek to navigate tricky waters
If you watch the news you have no doubt seen the troubling images coming out of Afghanistan this week as our military is leaving and the Taliban is quickly taking hold of that country. Regardless of your politics or who is to blame for this terrible situation, one truth is very clear...we need to be praying for our Christian brothers and sisters in Afghanistan.
I have seen disturbing reports from Pastors in Afghanistan saying things like "we know who you are, and we will be coming for you." This applies not just to the Pastors and their families, but to the members of their congregations as well. These are death threats made to those who follow Jesus as Lord. It is my real fear that Christians of all ages, including children and women, will be targeted because of their faith in Jesus.
Please, be in regular prayer for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and around the globe as many are persecuted for their faith.
If you would like to learn more about the persecuted church around the globe, I recommend an organization called "Voice of the Martyrs" and their website www.persecution.com which gives information about worldwide persecution and ways to help, including several wonderful prayer guides.
Thank you for being people of prayer!
Recently, while on the hunt for lumber for a project, I was helping someone take up old boards on their back deck. I had seen the deck in a picture and they looked to be in good shape. When I arrived however, I realized that while many were fine, some were starting to crumble due to age and the elements taking their toll over the years. As we pulled them up, some just fell apart due to wood rot.
This wasn't some terrible deck, it seemed sturdy, I had walked on it with no fear; and yet as we pulled up the boards I found that many were rotten below the stained surface. They had fooled me. On the surface they looked good; but deep down they were broken, crumbling and rotten.
We probably have all known a person like this. On the surface they look to have it all together; but on closer inspection we find that they are hiding something. They pretend to be fine, but deep down they are rotten.
But, let's be honest for a second. Do you have rot in your heart? If you look down deep in you, what do you see? In your heart is there bitterness, jealousy, hatred or anger toward another person? In your heart is their greed, lust or gluttony for more? We may hide it from others who only see the surface of our lives; but deep down you know your own heart...the rot that you hide from the world.
God doesn't care about the beautifully stained surface of your life; he cares about the heart. Who you really are. God calls out those secret sins, attitudes and calls us to a higher level of obedience.
Ephesians 5:3-8 says, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-such person is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light."
Don't hide your rot anymore, bring it into the light and be set free by the God who heals.
Amen and Amen.
I was never a boy scout. I went to one meeting, thought it was boring and refused to go back. But, I've always respected those who lived out the scout law, they seek to be "trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent." As I have met scouts and former scouts (including my own father who was an Eagle Scout) I see these attitudes and ethics woven into the fabric of who they are.
There is one other thing a scout tries to be, ready. A scout is supposed to be prepared for any situation. If there is an emergency, they are ready to help. If there is a need to make a fire...they have the ability to rub sticks together; they are prepared.
In 1 Peter we see a verse that tells us to be ready too; but not to make a fire or help an old lady across the street. We are supposed to always be ready to share the good news. It says in 1 Peter 3:15 "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." We are all (not just pastors) supposed to be ready to share our faith. Are you ready to do that? Could you share the gospel with a friend or neighbor who asked about your faith? I remember the first time I tried...I crashed and burned hard. I had just given my life to Jesus and one of my friends at school asked about it...and I didn't know what to say. I mumbled a few things about love and forgiveness; but I didn't know how to explain what I felt and believed. I wish I could go back and get a re-do on that conversation; but life doesn't work that way. I missed that chance and I regret it to this day. But, since then I've shared my faith hundreds of times with many many people and have been able to lead some of them to faith in Jesus! I've gotten better through practice.
Are you ready? Have you taken the time to think through what you would say if God gives you the chance to share your faith? You should be, we all should be. You never know when someone you know will need the hope of Jesus...and you can be his messenger; if you are ready.