Monthly Archives: October 2012

Praying People For God’s Glory

Election Season

Believe it or not it’s already November. I’m glad November is finally here so we can put the political season to rest and move forward toward 2013. BUT, we must not move forward without seriously considering the importance of what will be decided this year in our country and how that will have a tremendous effect on our lives. As a pastor I have a weighty responsibility to lead my people faithfully according to the teachings of scripture, yet I am often conflicted as to how to address matters of the political nature. Because there are so many strong and divisive opinions regarding the condition of our nation in a hostile political climate, it can be overwhelming. In addition to that, I am constantly reminded of just how much compromise is rooted in the process of political action. Everything from political campaigns to legislation is infused with compromise after compromise, and that can lead to cynicism and crippling doubt in the average voter. But Christians still have a direct biblical mandate to live for Christ in this fallen world, which includes how we are involved as Christians with the political process. I will not be endorsing candidates or parties in this article; rather I want to give pastoral counsel as to how we can pray faithfully and biblically for our churches, our city, and our nation. The following is a list of 4 significant and necessary biblical “prayer requests” for our nation. At the heart of these prayer requests is the Word of God, which is our authority in all matters of faith and action and apart from which we could not know what God expects of his people; and because we know what God expects of his people we can know how to pray for ourselves and for one another. (Personal request: please take time to read the following scriptures)

We are expected to pray. In fact we are commanded to pray for all people (1 Timothy 2:2), so it is wise to bring before God our concerns about this current election; but we are to also seek God’s will for whatever he gives us in this life. First of all we must pray that all Christians seek God’s will in all things, including who is elected to positions of leadership in our nation. From local school board to our nation’s president, God places in authority those whom He chooses and we are subject to those authorities (Romans 13:1). As you pray, ask for God’s blessing of increasing faith in your life as your seek to live in subjection to his will for you and for his church in this country and under the authorities he appoints for us.

Secondly, pray for the boldness to do good according to what is pleasing to God. Romans 13:3 reminds us that rules are given to us for our good, as we should be seeking the good of others.  As a Christian, you are to seek the good of your fellow man (Jer. 29:7) which includes the actions you take in the voting booth. You and I are expected to select leaders according to what we believe God’s word declares is best for the greatest good. Pray to God your heavenly Father for the wisdom and conviction to vote without regret, trusting that his will would be done. And once those rulers are in place, regardless of the outcome you desired, live for what is good according to God’s word. God honors faithful servants.

Third, pray that whoever is elected (in every office) will seek to do what is best for all people and what is most honoring to God. Since all authorities are “God’s servants for our good” (Romans 13:4), God’s expectation for government leaders is to uphold justice, protect the innocent, and punish wrongdoers. When leaders fail at this, then God’s judgment will be upon them. We are nonetheless called to respect their authority and pray for them that God would use elected officials to carry out his will on earth. We can disagree, and even seek just actions against unqualified leaders, but are to do so peacefully and in Christian love. So let us pray faithfully that God would work in those whom we elect to do his will.

Finally, let us pray for God’s Spirit to lead us daily into a deeper relationship so that our lives reflect Christ to the world.  Just as Paul encouraged Timothy, let us pray for God’s strength to live peaceful and dignified lives for the glory of God (1 Timothy 2:2-3). Our responses to the conditions of this world say much about how greatly (or how little) we trust God. Be involved in the voting process because you care deeply about who your leaders are; that is your God given privilege and duty. But always bear in mind who your Sovereign King is (Colossians 1:15-20) and how completely he rules this universe. You are “heirs with Christ”, and that can never be taken away.  Vote according to your Christian world-view and spiritual convictions in obedience to God. Pray earnestly for your family, neighbors, and fellow citizens. Lift up the lost to Christ for the salvation of their souls and lift up the hurting and broken that God would restore them to life in Christ. Trust God fully and live with the knowledge that God’s purposes will be accomplished in this life; not through politicians, but through the actions of his people who are called by his name. To God be the glory!

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2012 Fall Carnival

 

Join Us Sunday! It promises to be a fantastic time for the family. Great food. Great weather. And all-around great fun.

2012 Prayer Conference Media!

Prayer Conference Update:

The media  from our weekend prayer conference with Dr. Jim Shaddix of The Church at Brook Hills and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is now available. Click below for the audio or video files. (Note: Sessions 1-4 are audio only and the Sunday message is video. All files can be found on our website here.)

Session 1 – Praying for Renewal (part 1) here

Session 2 – Praying for Renewal (part 2) here

Session 3 – The Holy Spirit’s Role in Prayer and Renewal (part 1) here

Session 4 – The Holy Spirit’s Role in Prayer and Renewal (part 2) here

Sunday Message – A Desperation for God here

We Are Called ‘Witnesses’

“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”Acts 1:6-8

This is one of the most fascinating passages of scripture we will read in the Bible. This is quite an extraordinary exchange between Jesus and his disciples. As we read these three verses, Jesus moves us from a place of earthly concern to a place of heavenly concern which comes at His direct command .

First of all, notice the disciples concern over the “kingdom”. They were primarily (read: only) concerned with the establishment of an earthly kingdom in which Jesus would be reigning king (i.e. David) and they would be his administrators (see: Mark 9:33-37). Each one of the faithful disciples believed they would be appointed a special position of power and honor among the people of the new kingdom, and Jesus would reign on earth with benevolence and justice. As their selfish minds begin to wander off into a land of comfort out from under Roman oppression, Jesus quickly and decisively knocks his guys back down to earth. In fact, he bursts their earthly kingdom bubble when he essentially says “It’s really none of your business when the new kingdom will be established; God the Father is in complete control of that. Stop worrying about it and what your place will be. Listen to what I have to say, because this is what you will be doing with the rest of your earthly life.” Wow! What a realization that must have been for the disciples. They were working all of this new information out in their minds, “Wait a minute! What have we been following you around for? There IS going to be a kingdom, right?” Of course, Jesus never denies that there will be a new kingdom. In fact, that is exactly what he came to establish (John 18:36). Only this new kingdom is not one of earthly power, but of divine, heavenly power. A kingdom that is boundless and eternal. The disciples didn’t see it. Not yet.

Then in verse 8, Jesus gives a command which would become the life purpose for each of the disciples and of every Christian that would eventually follow them (that means you). He says “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, AND you will be my witnesses. . .” We tend to spend a lot of time focusing on where the disciples would be witnesses; places like Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth, and rightly so. This is a direct command for God’s people to be about global missions. But it is unwise for us to overlook what Jesus says must happen first, and then what the result will be. He tells us that we will receive power from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Any person who repents of their sin and turns to Jesus for salvation is justified and saved by God (Rom. 10:10). They are transformed from a rebellious slave of sin to an obedient bond-servant of Jesus. And in this new relationship with Jesus, every believer receives the Holy Spirit, who gives each of us the power to do as Jesus has commanded (John 14:16).

In this case, the command is to “be witnesses.” Notice that Jesus doesn’t leave room for the disciples to negotiate the terms of this relationship. He tells them, and each of us as well: “You will be so transformed by my Spirit that you will have no other choice but to be my witness to this world. The power of my presence will so greatly overwhelm you that you will not want to do anything else but testify to the faithfulness and glory of God.” Non-negotiable and non-refundable. Jesus purchased your life with his blood and you belong to him. He will make you a living witness one way or another.

Jesus isn’t just commanding us to be his witnesses if we want to or if we feel like it or if it’s convenient for us. He is telling every true believer exactly what will happen. We can’t change his plans or alter his will in any way. God’s people WILL be a living, breathing, walking, talking, singing, joy-filled testimony to who God is and to what Jesus has done for the sake of the people he loves. Through suffering and joy, every believer WILL BE used by God to declare his joy and power to the world. So, are you a witness? How have you shared the eternally significant truth of the gospel to the world? How has your life been a witness to a faithful and merciful God? You really don’t have a choice; because We Are Witnesses.

It is my privilege to invite you to join us at FBC BR for an all new sermon series in October as we look at the faithfulness of God in the lives of his people. We will take time to consider the meaning of Jesus’ words “you will be my witnesses”. We will also search the scriptures to understand the necessity of the presence of God in the lives of his precious people as he leads them through suffering and affliction in this life. The Christians’ testimony is powerful when God’s people can declare “We have been through much pain and sorrow, but God is faithful. We are witnesses”

Join us in October for this powerful series.

10/14     Acts 1:6-11 – God is Faithful

10/21     2 Corinthians 4 – This Momentary Affliction

10/28     2 Corinthians 1:3-11 – Christ: Our Comfort

11/4       Colossians 1:9-14 – The Roots of Everlasting Joy

find us at www.fbcbr.com