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Monday, March 31, 2008

#11 - Prayer is Rejoicing

I think we've all learned "Thank-You" prayers. But Rejoicing is a bit more than saying thank-you. Rejoicing is the lingering happiness of victory. Rejoicing is triumphant.

Jesus makes us joyful. Joy is at the very heart of the Christian experience. Christmas, Easter, Pentecost -- joyful celebrations, all. Prayer should always include joy. Even the most solemn of prayers should be rooted in the triumphant joy of Christ's Easter victory.

Practice rejoicing. It's good for your soul and sweet music in God's ears.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Holy Week A+ Report Card

Busy! Wonderful! Holy and blessed! What more can be said about Easter at the church and the week before.

A+ The choir sang like angels. The song? It was one of my favorite Michael W. Smith songs, Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord. I Want to See You. Awesome lyrics and cool ringtone.

A+ The youth led the Sunrise Service around the theme Celebrate. They seemed so comfortable leading. And they did a really great job. Next Sunday night they begin a 6-week preparation for church membership. Lord I Lift Your Name on High.

A+ After Sunrise Service the men's breakfast was a real plate full.
Where do they get that wonderful sausage, anyway? Has to be Humeston's own Front St. Market.
And, How many men does it take to cook a breakfast? I'd say 15 at least.

We had Holy Week services on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, too.

A+ On Holy Thursday we remembered Jesus having his last meal with his friends before he died on the cross. We wondered what would have been in his Last Will and Testament. Then we celebrated communion (bread and grape juice and Jesus' words of rembrance).

A+ On Good Friday evening we solemnly remembered the day Jesus died. Several men and one woman each read a paragraph about what some of the witnesses to the death might have been thinking.
The theme was that most of them were just going along with things in order to get along and not get put to death themselves for challenging the authorities.
Is Going Along to Get Along a sin? Is that what killed Jesus?

My favorite Easter song is He Lives, because I do see him in my life almost every day. I mean, like, he's always there. I just only see him some of the time. Even so, I know He Lives. And I hope you do too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

#10 - Pray with Resolve

In God’s economy some prayers will be answered only if the person offering the prayer is willing to become a part of the answer. Have you resolved to invest yourself in the answer to your prayers?

God is always there to help. But if you are unwilling to take the time, spend the money, change your ways, or risk your reputation to do your part in helping God help you, your prayer may be in vain.

For example, you pray for God to help you get along with someone. OK, but what if God's answer to that prayer is for you to change your attitude. Will you do it?

Or, you pray for someone to get well. OK, but what if God's healing is meant to come through the touch of a prayful loved one? How far and how quickly, would you be willing to go to pray with that person? 10 miles? 100, 1000 miles?

As we enter Holy Week celebrating Jesus resolve to complete his Father's will, we can find strength to do the right spiritual thing ourselves. Pray, and give yourself in prayer.

In Jesus we have the extreme example of how a person can become part of the answer to their prayer. There are other examples. Surely you can think of one. Pray with resolve and may all your prayers be answered.

Monday, March 10, 2008

#9 - Conversational Prayer

The Bible teaches us that the Word of God, Jesus, became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus was a real person….is a real person. Just talk with him. Take your time. Enjoy the conversation, talking and listening, complaining and laughing.

No matter what the relationship -- at work, at home, even with friends – I’m always posturing. It’s hard not to. Who’s going to look out for me if I don’t? I find that my opinions, my needs, my ideas and my agendas are always on my mind and coming out of my mouth. And that makes it hard for me to tune in to someone else’s world and hear what they are saying. Oh, I hear their words alright. But I miss all that’s behind the words, and sometimes that’s a lot!

It’s like I’m there in the room hearing, but not actually listening.

A good conversation is one where the people listen to each other, respond and engage. A poor conversation is where the people just fill their time together taking turns talking, or worse, with only one person doing all the talking.

Prayer should be a good conversation.

Come to prayer ready to listen and hear what Jesus has to say. By keeping your opinions, needs, ideas and agendas to a minimum, you, like the great saints of the church, will enjoy the peace and discover the power of true prayer. Next time you pray, have a good conversation.

Monday, March 3, 2008

#8 - Seek God's Will

God is always willing to help you do things his way. But, if you are not ready to do things God’s way, not much will happen. On the other hand, ask God to change you and you will begin to experience power in your prayer life.