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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

#4 - Daily Prayer Guide

Do you pray for the same things all the time? Use the same words over and over?

This can be a sign that YOU are more the center of your prayer life than you realize. The prayers have become YOUR prayers. And you are no longer letting God shape and re-shape, word and re-word YOUR prayers into prayers God can actually answer.

You do need to pray constantly, for the same people, and the same concerns. But Daily Prayer Guides can be useful in helping you get beyond seeking merely an outcome you want. They can tweak your prayers to lean more in the direction of seeking God's purpose and will.

Daily Prayer Guides are also a huge help when you cannot pray.

And when you are super-stressed and feel like you are absolutely going crazy, Daily Prayer Guides offer one single, simple, manageable thought for the day, to help you over those moments.

Our parish uses These Days and Upper Room. I like the Global Prayer Digest. Most 12-Step programs, like AA, have wonderful Day Books. And there is always the option to Google for a subscription or online version you like.

Parents to the Plate

Lots of parents, Dads especially, struggle with being the family’s spiritual leader. Not knowing how keeps many from trying. If you are like me you don’t want to look stupid, especially in front of the wife or kids. So, just don’t go there, right? I think it’s the ego thing.

But parents, the scary reality is: whether intentional or unintentional you actually do set a spiritual standard for the whole household every day. A good one or a bad one.

Do you guide your children to recognize and honor the Holy?
Do you assure them that God Cares, and share your Hopes with them?
Do you show them how to Live, and model Godly Values?
Do you fill them with Self-Worth, encourage Grace and Generosity?
Do you teach them to Repent and seek Forgiveness?
Do you make a Place for them, so they know they Belong?
Do you give them Work in which to find Joy and Meaning?

Each of these questions addresses a basic spiritual need.

Are you struggling with your spiritual leadership? If so, just figure out something you (or you and your spouse together) can do so that you can answer each of these questions with a Yes. Then guess what, mister Spiritual Leader. Problem solved.

Monday, January 28, 2008

#3 - Pray "Lord have Mercy"

Lord have Mercy.
What a magnificent prayer. Three simple words with which to honor God; three words acknowledging our need; three words expressing our humility.

As sinners we pray, Lord have mercy on me.
When others are in need we pray, Lord have mercy.
In prosperity and want we pray, Lord have mercy.
For our children and loved ones we pray, Lord have mercy.
Listening to the news we cry, Lord have mercy.
Reaching the un-reached we pray, Lord have mercy.
For the blessing of the nations we pray, Lord have mercy.
Needing rest for our souls we pray, Lord have mercy.

The perfect prayer. Use it often.
Lord have Mercy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Is T G R

Kids in TUF Team today were asked, What is T G R? Once they learned that T G R stood for what is True and Good and Right, they still found it difficult to name TGR things.

In the places where our kids live there's not enough focus on positive things which build character. In many corners of their minds, violence rules. News, movies, video games, cartoons, family fights, conflicts in school and on the streets.

God Bless the Children with Peace. God open their minds to the more excellent things.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blessings Shared

Our faith family has so many stories to share but our web site can't handle all the traffic yet. Bear with us as we figure out how to get our idea exchange set up. Meanwhile check out the 10 Guidelines from God.

For the full transcript email your request to For encouragement in other areas of life check out the Yellow Pages link (bottom left).

#2 - Kneeling Prayer

So many people came forward yesterday to kneel while the choir sang When I Kneel at the Manger. The pastor extended the invitation and dozens came. Choir members said it gave them chills to see all come. A long-time member reported as a major blessing how good it felt to once again be able to kneel in church. You better believe. From now on we will have a kneeling place in church.

Do you feel closer to God when you are on your knees? For some it is THE spiritual posture -- low to the earth yet nearest to God.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Missional Ministry

We live in a new and exciting time of Christian ministry, as long-established congregations move from being Institutional to being Missional. What does this strange language mean? and why is it important?

Well, it is important because it has to do with the life of the Church. If Church keeps being Church as we know it and live it, we will soon discover that Church isn’t at all. Membership enrollments and finances in Institutional churches continue to decline.

What is an Institutional Church? An Institutional Church is a church with a mission, a budget, a clearly defined membership, and, most generally a denominational affiliation.
In the Institutional Church the focus of church life is on the church itself -- the church family, the church property, the church outreach, the church programs, denominational participation and whatever mission and fellowship projects the church supports. We all know what a church is, right?

So then, what is a Missional Church, sometimes called The Emergent Church? A Missional Church is a church that puts much more emphasis on God’s Purpose and Mission than it puts on membership, budgets, and such. Not that it neglects the traditional concerns; the Missional Church focuses foremost on God (Praise) and God’s Mission (Personal Discipleship).

Perhaps this doesn’t sound like a difficult issue to you. But for many it is a radical shift in orientation which changes the way they do church. Missional people rarely, if ever, ask (or think about) what’s best for the church. Rather the question is what’s best for God’s Kingdom and Glory.

Including my years in seminary, I served the Institutional Church for more than 40 years. I loved it, but near the end of that time I found myself tiring of “the church,” all the institutional expectations and duties, all the bickering and politics.

In the last two years I have discovered the Missional Church and am re-energized to serve God, through the church of course, putting Christ first. After 40years I’m finding that this change in outlook is both wonderfully invigorating and mentally challenging.

At a denominational training event last April, I happened upon a brief and succinct explanation of this change -- from Institutional to Missional Church. It goes like this:
No longer – “The Church has a Mission”
From now on – “God’s Mission has a Church”

Any help you can give me as I start on my next 30 years would be welcome. Journey with me if you like, I’d love the company. Where will all this lead? God knows and that's good enough for me.

TO LIFE.! LeChayim.!
Pastor Dale

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

First Way to Pray (1 of 100)

We began 100 Ways to Pray this week. Prayer can be so easily a family thing. I hope that many of you will take this opportunity to enjoy praying together and with your children.

Obviously, the
Lord’s Prayer
is first. For several of us the goal is to quickly repeat the Lord’s Prayer 5 times in a row, and to do so at least 5 times per day for the week. This prayer idea really struck a cord with the congregations because so many joined in. It really has created a lot of energy and excitement.

Surprisingly, many long-time Christians found themselves losing their place or forgetting parts of the prayer on the 3rd, 4th, or 5th time through. Everyone was relieved when they learned how many friends that was happening to.

The challenge is to let this powerful prayer minister to our souls without engaging our thought process. It’s like a professional basketball player shooting foul shots. He (or she) has to do it over and over until it becomes so automatic that s/he can do it totally without thinking -- mechanically. If we are going to become great prayer warriors we’ve got to get beyond thinking prayers to the place where prayer for us is pure instinct and an automatic, constant, and dependable response of our soul.

If you are not at the place where you are wanting to becoming a prayer warrior and just want to think about the Lord's Prayer, here's a place to start.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Boys, Ear Buds, and Awesome God

At church Sunday the boys assigned to collect the offering were watching the MP3 and sharing ear buds. So much into it, they missed their cue and needed prompting to fulfill their duties. Boys! Uh! No matter. All went well. And after church they were so excited to report to pastor that they had found Awesome God on their MP3. Listen, pastor, listen. Boys! Ah! May they always be as devoted to the Jesus.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Meet Jesus

Sunday Jan 13 we begin a new preaching series called Meet Jesus.

Many people think Jesus is dead. Not so. He is risen. And he totally wants a personal, spirital relationship with you. You can meet him face to face (in a spiritual way of course).

Learn how at church. Study the Bible book of John with us. Or join our webinar study group. Email me. See address in My Profile.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Yield and Pray

Years ago I knew a good mechanic, stubborn but good. He could fix anything. As time went by things changed. The world of mechanics changed, but stubborn old Dwane held on to the good old ways. Never would, never did he yield to the invasion of that foreign metric stuff. After a while there wasn’t much he could fix. Didn’t have the right tools. Wouldn’t give in to the new realities of a global economy.

It’s hard to give in, to surrender, to yield, to change. Doing so makes us feel like what we have been doing is somehow wrong or flawed. And if it is, then shame on us for not doing (or even knowing) what’s right.

How do you think Jesus’ followers felt when he introduced his “new” teaching? They were extremely nervous but actually very courageous. And how about the religious leaders of his day? No way would they even consider his “new” teaching. To do so would bring upon their heads unbelievable and catastrophic shame. No man could endure that. So their cowardly response to Jesus was outright hostility. Eliminate this source of shame.

What new teaching did Jesus bring? Throughout the Gospels we read about Jesus showing people how to pray, how to think and act, and how to relate to others. He taught people how to please God and live in a way that gave him glory. He taught how to act when things don’t go our way. He taught about what we should do after we have sinned. He taught us that we should love our enemies, and that our gifts, talents and possessions are not really ours. This new teaching felt like an invasion. And no wonder, because Jesus was bringing to the church of that day an invasion of heavenly teaching.

In the months to come I will be considering the Gospel teachings (Jesus’ heavenly invasion) in light of another invasion, the technological/data invasion of the 21st century. And I invite you if you are daring enough to seek out, yield to, and stand for Jesus’ new teaching to face, with me, the challenges of the 21st century.

My plan is to start with 100 Ways to Pray. Shoot me a quick email if you feel like it’s the right time for you to risk the adventure of a deeper relationship with Jesus. pastordale