Sunday Recap

Another great Sunday worshiping with my church family and learning more about prayer! Here are a few take-aways that I hope encouraged you today.

Salt & Light - prayerPrayer isn’t supposed to look like this Jonny Hawkins cartoon!

In the cycle of prayer, your level of peace will determine your level of perseverance. This is why it’s so important to be immersed in God’s Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to give you His discernment. Keep on praying!

“The worst of it is that we can believe God about everything except the present pressing trial. This is folly. Come, my soul, shake off such sinfulness, and trust your God with the load, the labor, the longing of this present.” —Charles Spurgeon

“God’s silences are His answers. … Some prayers are followed by silence because they are wrong [this is where we need God’s discernment], others because they are bigger than we can understand [this is where we need His peace].” —Oswald Chambers

God was going to give Hannah a son, but the time was not yet right. God needed a strong man in a dark time, and it wasn’t dark enough yet! (see 1 Samuel 1:1-17)

God feels & sees

In the meantime, remember this: God feels all of your infirmities, and He sees all of your tears.

God’s Answers Are Bigger

I’m studying for our current series on prayer at Calvary Assembly of God, and I came across this amazing story (see John 20:10-15). I’m not sure if we will have time to get to it during this series or not, but in either case it’s just too good to hold back any longer …

If you are praying for something right now and the answer hasn’t arrived yet, keep on praying. God is doing something in the waiting time. Perhaps He wants you to modify your prayer, or perhaps He has something even bigger in store for you, bigger than you could have even imagined.

Keep on praying!

Prayer’s Empowerment

Prayer is not about insurance, but assurance. Prayer is not about figuring things out, but about getting God’s mind on a subject.

But how does the faith to believe for that assurance, and the faith to capture God’s discernment come to us? It comes through the Third Person of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers us; He’s the central part of our prayer life.

Check out what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit’s role in your prayer life (see John 14:15-27).

EmpowermentAssurancethe Counselor [will] be with you forever (v. 16). The Holy Spirit doesn’t come and go, but He abides constantly. Jesus said I will not leave you as orphans (v. 18), but you will be loved by My Father (vv. 21-23). The Holy Spirit plays a vital role in bringing you into this intimate relationship (Romans 8:15).

Discernment—Jesus said a key component of your prayer life was if you remain in Me and My words remain in you (John 15:7). The Holy Spirit helps teach you what the Word says, and He will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26). The more you can be reminded of God’s Word, the more you can pray and live with God’s discernment.

PeaceMy peace I give you … do not be afraid (v. 27). One of the names given to the Holy Spirit is Comforter. The Amplified Bible defines this title as, “Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby.”

Boldness—when you have greater assurance of God’s Word, deeper discernment into the mind of the Lord, and a more tranquil peace because of prayer, you can pray and live boldly! Want to see boldness in action? Check out how the followers of Jesus lived and prayed after they were baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:14; 4:8; 4:31).

Make no mistake about it:

How we pray is how we will live! 

Our prayers and our lives will be more assured, more discerning, more peace-producing and more bold when we let the Holy Spirit empower every aspect!

We will be continuing our series on prayer—If You Will Asknext Sunday. I would love to have you join us!

Sunday Recap

In remembering Sanctity of Human Life Sunday we looked at some sobering, heart-breaking stats—

Planned Parenthood reported:

  • They performed 327,166 abortions in the course of one year and only 2,197 adoption referrals.
  • That’s 149 abortions for each adoption referral (149:1).
  • In order to hit this astronomical number they had to perform approximately one abortion every 96 seconds.
  • That means they killed more than the population of Grand Rapids AND Lansing. Combined!
  • They did all of this while receiving over $540 million in government grants and reimbursements.

But we also learned some happier stats from Alpha Family Center of Cedar Springs

  • Alpha has been providing pro-life, pro-family services in Cedar Springs for 22 years.
  • 11,300 baby and toddler related items were given out in 2013. That includes 1000+ packs of diapers, 214 cans of formula, 900 jars of baby food & baby cereal, and nearly 5200 articles of clothing for babies, toddlers and pregnant women.
  • Alpha’s counselors provided over 1000 peer counseling sessions, taught 850 parenting classes, and gave 70 free pregnancy tests.
  • And they did all of this without one cent of government aid! 

Please support Alpha with your prayers and financial support.

In our series on prayer, I shared this great quote from Charles Spurgeon:

“Why do I not call on God’s Name? Why do I run to this neighbor and that when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down and devise schemes and invent plans? Why not at once roll my self and my burden on the Lord?”

Great questions! In answering those we learned this great truth: How we pray is how we will live!

Pray = Live

Valuing Life

SOHL“As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.” —David, in 1 Samuel 26:24

This is as strong of a pro-life statement as any in the Bible! 

The Hebrew word for value in this verse means…

  • to grow up
  • to become great or important
  • to do great things

Throughout the Old Testament this word is used to describe people growing from a small, infantile state to a place of maturity and prominence.

David held King Saul’s life in his hand. Since Saul was hell-bent on messing up David’s life (even killing him, if he could), we could say that David had plenty of rationale to justify ending Saul’s life. But David would not touch Saul because he recognized Saul’s God-given human dignity.

David asked God to value his life in the same way that David valued Saul’s life. Even Saul himself affirmed this when he said, “May you be blessed, my son David; you will do great things and surely triumph” (v. 25).

What if God only valued your life as much as you valued others’ lives? 

What if God only spoke up for you as much as you spoke up for the not-yet-born? 

What if God only blessed you as much as you blessed the aged and disabled? 

How much would your life be blessed by God?

Something to think about as we celebrate Sanctity of Human Life month. We will be honoring Sanctity of Human Life Sunday this week by bringing our donations for Alpha Family Center of Cedar Springs. I would love for you to join us!

Blessed Insurance

ImmersedI’ve been bailed out by an insurance company many times. Homeowner’s insurance for the damage caused by a falling tree, medical insurance for surgery, auto insurance for car wrecks.

But here’s the thing about insurance: It’s only helpful after you’ve had a problem.

  • Workman’s comp is good after you’ve been injured
  • Auto insurance is good after you’ve smashed your car
  • Health insurance is good after you’re sick
  • Life insurance is good after you’re dead

Sadly, many people treat God like an insurance policy. They try to handle their lives themselves, and then after they’re beat-up, tossed around, and kicked to the curb they pray that God’s insurance will bail them out. It’s like they’ve changed the words of the old hymn to, “Blessed insurance, Jesus is mine!”

God desires for us to have a blessed assurance! He wants us to know His love and involvement in our lives every single day. Look at the assurance in these verses—

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. (1 John 5:13-15)

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

The Bible isn’t just a book to be read, it’s a book to be prayed. Get His Word in you, and stay immersed in His Word, and watch how your prayers change. You don’t have to wait for prayer to be your insurance policy, but you can live every day in a blessed assurance that God is for you.

Read the Bible, pray the Bible, and watch God do amazing things!

I will be continuing our series on prayer—If You Will Ask—this Sunday at 10:30am. Please join me!

Week Of Prayer

Week of prayer [2014]I love beginning the year with prayer. We talk about prayer, and most importantly we set aside lots of time to pray.

In addition to our Sunday series on prayer—If You Will Ask—we will be having a special prayer focus each day next week. You can download our prayer guide here  Week of prayer guides 

The church building will be open for prayer Sunday from 5-6pm and Monday through Friday from 5:30-6:30pm. If you are able to join us, we would love to have you come pray with us. If not physically, please join your prayers with ours each day next week as you pray from home, work or school.

Pray, without ceasing pray, your Captain gives the word; His summons cheerfully obey, and call upon the Lord: To God your every want in instant prayer display; pray always: pray, and never faint; pray, without ceasing, pray.

In fellowship, alone, to God with faith draw near; approach His courts, besiege His throne with all the power of prayer: His mercy now implore, and now show forth His praise; in shouts, our silent awe, adore His miracles of grace. —Charles Wesley 

If You Will Ask

If [web]Prayer is powerful. Ask anyone who has ever had answer from God in prayer, and they will quickly tell you just how valuable and powerful that prayer was to them.

With that in mind here’s a simple question: why don’t we pray more? It seems like prayer is often the thing we turn to when everything else we have tried has failed. Or we pray after we have messed something up, instead of before we attempted it.

The Bible says this—

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14, emphasis added)

Notice that key qualifier: IF we will ask there is an incredible confidence in God’s answer. 

Prayer should be first and continual. That’s why l like beginning each year with a renewed emphasis on prayer. This Sunday is part one in our series If You Will Ask, where we will be exploring the mind-blowing things God gives to His children who ask Him … things like insight, patience, power and initiative.

Please join me at 10:30am this Sunday as we begin our reinvigorating look at the power of prayer.

Year-End Review (2013 Edition)

Year-End ReviewThe Apostle Peter wrote this to the church—

I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. (2 Peter 1:12-13)

On the last Sunday of each calendar year I like to take time to remind myself and our congregation about what God has taught us in the year that has just past. This is not only healthy for us to remember together, but it is also beneficial for us to be able to step forward into the new year in unity.

If we don’t look back to remember where we’ve come from, it will be very hard for us to remember where we are going and why we are going there. And as an added bonus for those who weren’t with us for all of 2013, you will get caught up to speed with everyone else.

Please join me at 10:30am this Sunday as we not only review 2013, but we get a glimpse of what God wants to do in us and through us in 2014.

The Morning Star

John 3-17This is part three of a 3-part series called The Star Of CHRISTmas. I was going to deliver this message at Calvary Assembly of God yesterday morning, but due to the terrible weather, we had to cancel our services. I hope this message will be a blessing to you. Please leave me some feedback in the comments section below.

Merry Christmas!


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