Dec. 6 – 21 Days of Prayer

As you serve the Lord, work hard and don’t be lazy. Be excited about serving him! Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time.  Romans 12:11-12 ERV

I’ve used a simple structure for prayer at many times in my life called ACTS in Prayer.  During these first few days as we begin to pray for LIGHT, our Christmas services on December 22 & 23, we’ll use ACTS in Prayer as a guide.

In Romans 12:12, Paul said pray all the time.  As we’ve seen the past few days, a simple structure to use when praying is…

A = Adoration – slow down and focus on who God is and express our praise for His attributes.

C = Confession – I agree with God about my sin and ask His forgiveness.  It also means I ask anyone I’ve wronged to forgive me.

T = Thanksgiving – I express thanks to God for His blessings in my life; big and small.

S = Supplication – asking God humbly for help and includes praying for myself, my family, other people, and other needs.

Please spend a minute or so doing each of these.  As you move into supplication (humbly asking for help by praying to God) please join us in asking God for some specific things.

As you pray for LIGHT, ask God to encourage our church family to invite someone specific, and people in general, to our Christmas Services.  Ask Him to empower every invitation in the lives of those we invite so they attend with hearts open to the truth about Christmas.  Also ask Him to help me and our creative team as we prepare for these services; to have His wisdom, direction and creativity in planning and the execution of those plans.

 

Christmas Fun, Jokes, Trivia

Knock Knock

Who’s there!

Anna!

Anna who?

Anna partridge in a pear tree.

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

Dec. 5 – 21 Days of Prayer

God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son.  Romans 1:9 NLT

I’ve used a simple structure for prayer at many times in my life called ACTS in Prayer.  During these first few days as we begin to pray for LIGHT, our Christmas services on December 22 & 23, we’ll use ACTS in Prayer as a guide.

The S stands for Supplication.   A simple definition of supplication is asking humbly for help by praying to God.   Supplication includes praying for myself, my family, other people, and other needs.  In the past, I’d break this down into categories and pray for different things on different days of the week.  Currently, I use 3×5 cards and rotate through the needs I’m praying for over the course of a week or two.

As you pray for LIGHT, ask God to show you someone you need to be praying for regularly.  Pray that God would bring people of influence across their path that would encourage them to take a next step toward Jesus.  Pray for them, as well as people in general, to attend our Christmas Services and understand what it means to receive the light of Jesus in their life.

 

Christmas Fun, Jokes, Trivia

Answer to yesterday’s question…

The famous Christmas song was actually written for Thanksgiving. James Lord Pierpont originally titled the song “One Horse Open Sleigh” and performed it at his church’s Thanksgiving service in the mid-nineteenth century. Then, in 1859 the song was republished under the name “Jingle Bells”.

 

 

 

 

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

Dec. 4 – 21 Days of Prayer

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:17 NIV

I’ve used a simple structure for prayer at many times in my life called ACTS in Prayer.  During these first few days as we begin to pray for LIGHT, our Christmas services on December 22 & 23, we’ll use ACTS in Prayer as a guide.

The T stands for 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. Someone said: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Thanksgiving allows us to enter the presence of God (Psalm 100).  Take a moment to express thanks to God for your many blessings; for things as simple yet profound as being able to see and read.

As you pray for LIGHT, thank God for His blessings in your life and ask Him to help someone you know, and people in general, to understand what it means to be thankful for the grace of God through Jesus Christ through their involvement in our Christmas services.

Christmas Fun, Jokes, Trivia

Jingle Bells wasn’t originally written as a Christmas Song.  Do you know what it was written for?   (answer tomorrow)

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

Dec. 3 – 21 Days of Prayer

If we say that we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done.  1 John 1:8-9 ERV

 I’ve used a simple structure for prayer at many times in my life called ACTS in Prayer.  During these first few days as we begin to pray for LIGHT, our Christmas services on December 22 & 23, we’ll use ACTS in Prayer as a guide.

The C stands for Confession.    To confess means I agree with God about my sin.  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 needs to be specific.  It 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.

Take a moment to ask God to show you anything that’s wrong in your life and confess it to Him, asking Him to forgive you.  When it involves someone else, make sure you ask them to forgive you too.

As you pray for LIGHT please ask God to help someone you know, and people in general, to realize their need for forgiveness of their sin through Jesus during our Christmas services.

Christmas Fun, Jokes, Trivia

From Yesterday…

What did Alvin want for Christmas in the Chipmunk Song?     A Hula Hoop

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

Dec. 2 – 21 Days of Prayer

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!  Psalm 150:1-2 NLT

I’ve used a simple structure for prayer many times called ACTS in Prayer.  During these first few days as we begin to pray for LIGHT, our Christmas services on December 22 & 23, we’ll use ACTS in Prayer as a guide.

The A in ACTS stands for Adoration.  Adoration means we slow down and focus on who God is and express our praise for His attributes.  An attribute is a quality, characteristic or character trait associated with someone or something.

When thinking of the attributes of God I’ll often reflect on a passage of Scripture I’ve read.  One recent example is Psalm 17:6-7 which says:   I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.   Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies.

Reflecting on this passage allows me to praise God because He is a God of love and wonder who delights in listening to me and answering (in His way) when I pray.  I may also praise Him for being a powerful deliverer and protector I can trust when any enemy comes against me.

Would you take a moment to praise God in your own words, and praise Him for being a God of love and wonder.

As you pray for LIGHT please ask God to help someone you know (and others who attend) to understand the truth about God’s love for them during our Christmas services.

__________

Christmas Fun, Jokes, Trivia…

What did Alvin want for Christmas in the Chipmunk song?  (answer tomorrow!)

 

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

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