Now Is The Time To Pray

I’m reading a great book on prayer again in my Radical Mentoring group.  Just finished the chapter dealing with a simple pattern that I’ve used and encourage others to use as a part of developing their relationship with God through prayer.  It’s simply called ACTS in prayer.

A = Adoration. Adoration means we slow down and focus on who God is – His attributes.  Sometimes I’ll reflect on one attribute I’ve read in a passage of Scripture. This morning I read Psalm 17:6-7 which reminds me that God is a God of love and wonder who delights in listening to me and answering (in His way) when I pray.   There are other times I use what’s called the Alphabet of Praise and praise God for an attribute that comes to mind for each letter of the alphabet (usually excluding X and Y – ha).

C = Confession. To confess means I agree with God about my sin.  For me, this means getting specific and naming the things I know are wrong or that He brings to my mind that are wrong; and asking God to forgive me.  Confession is not saying: “Please forgive us of all our sins.”  Confession means getting specific.  True confession also means I ask anyone I’ve wronged to forgive me.  Confession is like taking a spiritual bath and helps me maintain fellowship/closeness with God and others.

T = Thanksgiving.  I love it when my kids are grateful for what we do for them.  I love it even more when they take the time to express their gratitude. We’re about to celebrate Thanksgiving in our country, but we should celebrate the things we’re thankful for by expressing thanks to God daily.   You might want to stop right now and think of 10 things you can thank Him for today.

S = Supplication.  Supplication simply means asking for help.  Supplication includes praying for myself, my family, other people, and other needs. I use a system of prayer cards now, but have used a system where I kept a prayer journal with sections to use for different needs.  Sundays I prayed for our church services and all the aspects of things that took place as we gathered as the church on Sunday.  Mondays I prayed for missionaries and missions.  Tuesdays I prayed for people I knew who were far from God. Wednesdays I prayed for workers in God’s Kingdom; other pastors and friends in ministry.  Thursdays I prayed for the leaders of our Country.  Fridays I prayed for my extended family. Saturday I prayed for myself and some specific needs.  I also kept a daily section, a long term section and a short term section for a few other specific requests.

Most of us have thought about prayer and have been taught about prayer, but we just don’t pray.  If we’re going to follow the example of Jesus, we are going to have regular times when we get alone with our Heavenly Father and pray.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

BLESSED

I’m re-reading a book that’s about how I view God.  It’s a book that challenged my theology in a good way when I read it last year and now I’m going through it again!   I read it for my Radical Mentoring Group and it was one of my favorites.  The book is The Good And Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith.

One of the exercises that helps me focus on the goodness of God is making praise a habit.  He says when we’re grateful for something ordinary we are offering praise to God and in every single moment we have and opportunity to find something worth being amazed by.

So I sat down to write out some of my ordinary and extraordinary blessings and just let my mind and pen flow in gratitude to God.   It’s worth doing; I suggest you try it.  As I did, here are the things that filled the first page of my journaling:  Janet (my wife), my kids, my grandkids, friends, home, tv, music, dogs, hunting, outdoors, family, encouragement, seeing people saved, pastors, good friends, traveling, mountains, sunrise, sunsets, my grandkids’ smiles and expressions, my dad, my mom, family memories, Christmas, love, smiles, corny jokes, preaching, air conditioning, heat, life-change, challenges, comfort, my truck, our car, food, water, warmth, coolness, snuggling with kids, movies, the awe of children, questions, creativity, nature, fishing, golf, watching deer, excitement, hunting, motorcycles, fast cars, sports, Grace Fellowship, Mexican food, clothing, sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, playing games, laughter, peace, hope, love, humility, answered prayer, faithful people, people who serve.

I’m thinking this is a great exercise I need to do on a regular basis.   Hope you’ll consider doing it too!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

INSPIRATION & DIRECTION

I’m surprised at the number of people I meet who claim to follow Christ while disregarding or neglecting the things He tells us about living.  If we claim to be Christ followers, doesn’t that imply that we choose to follow what He says?  I know I’ve failed to follow Christ as I should and there are times I neglect what He says (that’s sin), but the overall bent of my life includes my desire and choice to follow and obey Him.   Do I always love God and people as Christ commands?  No, but I’m better at it now that I used to be; I want love for God and people to rule my heart.

We find what Jesus said in the eyewitness accounts that make up the New Testament.  The New Testament was written primarily by people who were eyewitnesses of Christ’s resurrection or by people who compiled their accounts through God’s inspiration as they interacted with eyewitnesses of Christ’s resurrection.   A number of the New Testament authors weren’t sure Jesus was who He claimed to be until they saw Him after His resurrection.  The resurrection confirmed for them that Jesus was legit; He was both God and Lord – the Messiah who came to save the world.  As a result of this, many of them gave up their lives because of their commitment to the truth of Christ’s resurrection; that He was indeed God.

Paul was someone who hated the name of Jesus and violently persecuted Christians until he became one.  Paul became a Christian because he had a personal encounter with Jesus after Jesus was raised from the dead.  He became one of the most powerful Christians of the first century and God used him to plant many churches and write much of the New Testament.  He too, lost his life for his faith in Jesus Christ.

In a letter Paul wrote to a young Christian leader named Timothy, Paul reminded Timothy (and us) All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT)

God uses Scripture to prepare and equip us to live life to the max.  Think about the idea of taking a certain path each day, and while on that path you have opportunities to make changes in your direction.   Scripture teaches us the wise path to choose and because God loves us so much, He’ll also use Scripture to show us where we’ve made an unwise choice and gotten off the best path.   God’s love continues because He provides Scripture to show us not only where we got off the best path, but how we can get back on it.  And He can use Scripture to teach us how to stay on the best/wise path in the future.

If you’re a follower of Christ, you cannot make wise decisions about life apart from a consistent intake of the things Jesus taught and the things God inspired the authors of Scripture to write for us.   All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to give us wisdom in choosing our direction!  Someone once said: “Seven days without the Word makes one weak.”   I know it may sound corny, but it’s true.  We grow in spiritual strength with a steady of diet of Scripture that’s followed by exercise (applying what Jesus says in our life).

Don’t know where to start?  Read a small portion of the Gospel of John each day and ask God to help you understand it so you can apply the principles you discover.  Follow this by doing the same with 1st John, and then read the rest of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). Follow these by reading the rest of the New Testament; take your time and reflect on small portions of Scripture asking God to help you apply their truth in your life.

Bible.com is also a great place to find a reading plan if that’s what you need to get started.  If you want to know more, stop by the HUB at Grace Fellowship on Sunday if you’re in the area and we’ll help you discover how to take some Next Steps.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

41 Years

41 YEARS TODAY WITH THIS BEAUTIFUL WOMAN. Happy Anniversary Sweetheart. She’s gotten more beautiful inside & out and I’ve – well – I’ve aged.

Young Adults – We’ve certainly had our ups & downs, made lots of mistakes & have been through tragedy together, but the key for us has been our choice to maintain a growing relationship with Jesus. A common commitment to follow Christ by seeking His direction in prayer and striving to apply what He tells us in His Word (the Bible) has made the biggest difference in our relationship and family.

Enjoyed an anniversary weekend in Boston with Alan & Jeannine Powers & got a chance to watch a game from the Green Monster!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

June 30 – INCREDIBLE – Grace Fellowship June 2018

This is one of my favorite props of all time because it helped explain the simple truth of the Gospel in a visual way from Romans 6:23.  More importantly, I love it because a number of people understood the gospel that day and committed their lives to Jesus.

We’re celebrating 15 years and looking forward to an INCREDIBLE FUTURE as our purpose is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

June 29 – INCREDIBLE – Grace Fellowship June 2018

Every time I drive onto this property I’m reminded of what a miracle Grace is.  I’m reminded of what Jesus did for us as I view the crosses and I’m reminded of our mandate (found engraved into our outdoor baptistry) to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Great Commandment – Mt. 22:34-40)…and that we’re to go into all the world and make disciples by telling people about Jesus, baptizing them and teaching them to obey His commands (Great Commission – Mt. 28:19-20).

Celebrating 15 years as “The Miracle in a Cow Pasture” and looking forward to an INCREDIBLE FUTURE.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

June 28 – INCREDIBLE – Grace Fellowship June 2018

I will long remember this special night of worship and communion.  As people took communion they were to take a red marble and carry it with them as a daily reminder of the blood Christ shed for them.   One of my friends, Del Pitts, who is with Jesus now, drove a big rig and Del glued his marble to the console of his truck as his daily reminder.

We’re celebrating 15 years and looking forward to an INCREDIBLE FUTURE.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

June 27 – INCREDIBLE – Grace Fellowship June 2018

Going way back to Summer in Paradise!  This was in June of 2005.  My hair was dark and Jerry had hair.   Jerry’s holding Alanna who had just finished Kindergarten (she just finished her Freshman year at Texas A & M this year!)

We’re celebrating 15 years and looking forward to an INCREDIBLE FUTURE.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

June 26 – INCREDIBLE – Grace Fellowship June 2018

I like things (like motorcycles) that are fast & loud, and we’ve enjoyed some great times with motorcycles at Grace. We have a lot of people who like to ride which is always a blast.  We’re celebrating 15 years and looking forward to an INCREDIBLE FUTURE.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

June 25 – INCREDIBLE – Grace Fellowship June 2018

We started doing Freedom Fest around the 4th of July each year and its grown to close to 5000 people.  It’s our free gift to the community and will be a huge event this year on Tuesday night, July 3.    Make plans to bring your family and friends for a great night of celebration that culminates in a great fireworks show.   We’re celebrating 15 years and looking forward to an INCREDIBLE FUTURE.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment