THIS SUNDAY, 8/22
- Sammy will be bringing a powerful message from God’s Word about stewardship.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR SUNDAY, 9/12
Wow – what a day the Lord is preparing for us. Every day is “the day the Lord has made,” but, on Sep. 12th, we’re kicking off a major emphasis and vision for BHBC. I’ll elaborate more in next week’s Navigator. For now, note the following:
- No Sunday School/Small Groups that day. Everyone (youth through adults) will meet in the Worship Center both hours – 9:15 and 10:45.
- As with all Sunday mornings, we’ll have a break between the services and enjoy snacks and fellowship in the Commons together.
- Important: the two services will not be the same. Jerry Joplin will be preaching at 9:15. D.L. Lowery will be preaching at 10:45. Additionally, the music will be different in both services as well.
- The following Sunday, Sammy will unpack his/our vision for BHBC. Very exciting days ahead.
The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?” This week’s tip: prayer
What does prayer have to do with teaching and learning? Everything.
Erwin McManus rightly stated,
“Some claim that it was on June 17, 1963 that the end began – when prayer was legally removed from public schools. The crisis did not begin when prayer was removed from public schools, but when we stopped praying.”
I read a poll a while back asking pastors what the hardest spiritual discipline to maintain was in their ministry. The No. 1 answer? Prayer.
Why would the enemy make prayer the most difficult to maintain spiritual discipline?
Because, as Spurgeon once preached, “Prayer moves the hands that move the world.”
The halls of hell quake and Satan trembles when even the weakest Christian is on their knees in prayer.
Most Christians simply don’t know how to pray. Indeed, even Jesus’ own disciples asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
For decades, as I’ve helped people learn how to pray, I’ve encouraged them to simply begin by praying prayers already written for us by God, himself. These prayers are found throughout the Bible, the Psalms containing 150 of them.
Then, there are prayers collected over time and published. One that I own and use from time to time is The Valley of Vision. In way of example, one of the prayers included records a Christian pleading with God,
“Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, supply words that proclaim that ‘love abounds at Calvary.’”
What must make certain when discipling someone about prayer that we begin by teaching them what the Bible says about it.
Jesus left no doubt, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”
He could have said, “a house a teaching,” or “a house of singing,” or “a house of fellowship/meetings/etc.” But, he chose his words carefully: “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”
But, when I was first learning to pray, the only example I had of someone praying was my granddad. And he prayed in King James English!
Fortunately, while still a teenager, a man who was discipling me showed me Exodus 33:11:
The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
This was a breakthrough for me. “God, are you telling me I can talk to you just like I talk to my friends at school?” “Yep,” he lovingly replied.
Over the years, having read the Bible through numerous times, I have benefited greatly from the prayers recorded in scripture.
My favorite prayer in the Bible is in Daniel 9. The longest prayer recorded in scripture is in Nehemiah 9. The Bible is full of his people communing with God in prayer.
One author describes prayer this way:
“That mysterious intersection where God and humanity meet.”
Then, for those who have just about given up on prayer, convinced it doesn’t do any good (I’ve been there), I lovingly remind them of a principle I learned while reading Philip Yancey’s powerful book, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?,
“We pray because Jesus prayed. And he prayed as though it made a difference.”
Usually, those who are just beginning to learn to pray feel a little embarrassed because they run out of things to say to God within one minute’s time. I tell them what I heard a preacher say a long time ago: “Prayer is as much listening as it is talking.”
Indeed, when visiting with a friend or colleague both parties talk and both parties listen. Listening is important. Silence. The spiritual discipline of solitude – just being still and listening to God. “Deep calls to deep,” wrote the psalmist.
I’ll close this section with one last quote from Yancey:
“Jesus taught a model prayer but otherwise gave us few rules [regarding how to pray]. His teaching [on prayer] reduces down to three general principles: keep it honest, keep it simple, and keep it up.”
LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP NOTES
Thank you, my friends. Including those who contacted me, letting me know they were unable to attend, we were just about at 100% attendance. You can never know what that means to me. I love you all. As promised, here are the notes from our workshop last Sunday.
Link to our Workshop notes from 8/15 can be found here.
We had a wonderful crowd this past Wed. evening! Encourage your “flock” to join us each week. Then, lead by example.
- Mid-week opportunities for learning & discipleship are set! Click here to see this Fall’s line-up. Meal – 5:30 (must make a reservation by noon on Monday); classes – 6:30-7:30.
- You can view my class on Daniel 1 here. Standing up for your faith is risky business. And this is what we see in chapter one.
HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND: “I don’t believe in God. I believe in science.”
Can a Christian intelligently respond to this statement? Of course! (whenever I hear this I always think of Nacho Libre’s sidekick who didn’t want to be baptized because, as he told Nacho, “I believe in science.”) :))
The best way to respond – if they’re truly interested in civil and intelligent dialogue – is to ask them, “Where exactly does the Bible contradict science?”
If they fire back with comments dealing with miracles, or the afterlife, etc., simply remind them that science can neither prove nor disprove those types of things since they are, by nature, metaphysical – beyond the purview of science. If they truly believe in science they will happily agree with you. So let’s stick to science.
As they try to think of where the Bible contradicts science you can offer, for example, the following ways to demonstrate how science actually affirms what the Bible says.
Science has determined:
1) The universe had a beginning. The Bible teaches this in Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
2) The universe is expanding. Isaiah 45:12: “I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (emphasis mine)
3) The laws of physics established at the moment of singularly are constant throughout the universe. Astrophysicist, Neil Tyson DeGrasse, asserted that if you were able to travel to the other side of the universe you would find the very same physical laws that govern us to be governing there as well. Jeremiah 33:25 – “this is what the LORD says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky.”
Think deeply, nw
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MAGNUM P.I.
When Michelle and I got married in 1985 we had a discussion as to who got to choose what we watched on Thursday evenings. I wanted to watch The Cosby Show and she wanted to watch Magnum P.I. (We watched Magnum P.I.)
I’ve always liked Tom Sellek. He’s a class act. I knew he was a veteran, but was unaware of his devotion to Christ. You will be uplifted and encouraged as you read his story. Click here.
NOSTALGIA: FIELD OF DREAMS
For fans of the beloved movie, can you believe it’s been over 30 years? It’s the moment we were introduced to the line, “If you build it, they will come.”
Recently, Kevin Costner walked out onto that baseball field we saw being built in the movie. It’s an emotional moment. But it doesn’t end there.
Read the article about the event here. The video clip of the event is embedded in the article. Enjoy!
QUOTE of the WEEK
“[When we] fight the Lord’s battles with the devil’s weapons, if we cut our own fingers we must not be surprised.” – Spurgeon
Adversity has the effect in eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant. – Horace, 1st century BC
LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE
SOUL FOOD: Messy Spirituality (It’s all of us)
Truth be told, we’re all just different levels of dysfunction. And, according to Jesus, that’s perfectly ok. Read the blog here.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick