Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Practice of Prayer

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” The aged cliché speaks volumes of truth of the effects of prayer. Logically, you may wonder what is it about prayer that can accomplish anything. You think or speak your desires into thin air. There seems to be no one listening. It is as though you talk to yourself in quiet retrospect.
However, our prayers are directed to God, who knows everything, is everywhere, and has all power. It’s incredulous to think that he waits on our directions, our requests, or our pleas, before he can act. Some may reason, “If God knows all and can do all why not just let him run things and don’t bother to talk to him about it.”
We are never to approach the spiritual with carnal logic. Some things will never be logical but they are correct. Jesus didn’t say, “If you pray,” but rather “When you pray.” He gave us examples of prayer and taught us how to pray in the pattern of “the Lord’s prayer.”
He prayed for the will of the Father so we may also seek his will. He prayed before major decisions so we would also seek direction before drawing conclusions. He prayed for others that we would intercede for someone else. He blessed food so we might also consider the giver of our daily bread. Jesus prevailed in prayer that he might be powerful in person. So let us follow his example.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Waiting on the Wings!

But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
The purpose of God is fulfilled in us as we surrender our lives to him. Occasionally or often, in His Will, we may find ourselves waiting. What at times may feel like inactivity and stalemate may be purposefully applied delay to develop patience and Godly virtue in our lives. It is a whole lot easier to do “something” than it is to wait! Have you ever had to wait on someone when you were late or anticipating an exciting event. It is the most difficult thing ever done just to stop, sit down, and do nothing, while waiting.
Not all of our activity is tremendously productive. It is often “slow go,” incremental measures of accomplishment. We have known the snail pace of walking in His Will while seeing little return on our effort. We must not give up. We “shall walk and not faint.” “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).
Also in His Will, we may run! Times of expended energy and rapid movement are often where we feel the most productive, the most significant. We may feel that if we have put forth effort, work, and energy, our own labor has produced the results. But, it is all a part of the process.
Flying is the fun part. When the waiting is done, and the walk turns to run, then it’s time to take wings and fly! Nothing is more exhilarating than flight; take to the air and watch the ground fall away as the mighty rush of wind lifts you to new heights.
But, anything that flies has to land sometime, especially when it is time to regain strength. Isaiah said it’s in the waiting that our strength is renewed, “They that wait upon the Lord.” So we wait, and we walk, we run, and sometimes we fly.
All of these postures are experienced in the foundation, growth and development of a new church plant. Be not weary in well doing. There’s a new season coming. While it seems that all we do is waiting … we will fly!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Miraculous Demonstration!

Miracles are commonplace with God and impossible with us. Whenever God speaks miracles take place; when he moves the impossible occurs. Bound by the flesh, we know our limitations, and by logic know the things that are not possible. However, when God is working with us we are no longer bound by the limitations of reason. Unexplainable things occur and God receives the glory.
If it were possible for us to initiate the impossible and activate the miraculous then we could also claim some of the credit. Since we are totally incapable of performing miracles or instigating the supernatural, when it does occur we must acknowledge divine intervention.
Throughout the ministry of Jesus the miraculous signs helped the people to see the source of the supernatural. When the impossible happens, Jesus is glorified. The skilled surgeon is caused to acknowledge a higher power. The one who is delivered must confess it was nothing of his own doing. An authentic miracle magnifies the majesty of God and humbles the recipient.
We desire to see the miraculous demonstration of the awesome power of God in our ministry, our lives, and in our churches. This will not happen if the purpose of the demonstration is to bring us to prominence and acclaim among our peers. The less we see of ourselves, the more we will see of God. As our motivation for self-exaltation is diminished, our passion to see the glory of God will be illustrated.
The world is desperate for a demonstration of the power of God. Jesus is the answer for the hopeless condition of our world. We can expect miracles to happen as we hide behind Christ and put him first in all we do!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Experience Grace!

How does one “experience grace”? It sounds like an advertisement for a new ride at Great America, or a new game for your Xbox. However, the neatest thing about this billing is that there is no charge, no subscription fee, no origination fee or recurring maintenance fees. Christ has freely given us the opportunity to have the experience!
To experience grace is to experience salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). The act of grace provides salvation and also effects salvation when received by faith in Jesus Christ.
To experience salvation is to experience the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through his great grace he has extended grace to us in the offering of himself as a substitute for the penalty of sin. The message of Easter is the power of salvation, Christ’s death, burial and resurrection! The cross commenced it, the grave contained it, but the resurrection confessed the power of the Gospel and conferred to us deliverance from the bondage of sin and death! Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
The “experience” of grace continues in our lives until the day we stand in his presence! His grace is our guide, our inspiration, our hope! God, “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
Experience His grace again and anew today!