Categories
Christian Blog Perseverance

Getting Things Done with God

The church where our little congregation meets was built in 1935. Now, to my friends in the UK, where there are churches and castles centuries old, 87 years isn’t all that much.๐Ÿ˜Š

As you can see, the exterior of the church is getting a face lift. Over eight decades of south-central USA weather have taken their toll, especially on the original stained glass windows and roof. Things had gotten so bad, every time it rained, you could literally see the building disintegrating.

Many of us thought this renovation would never happen. Five years ago, we were told the estimated cost of the work was $1,000,000. And more damage has happened since then. A little background info: our church is a chapel on a US Army post; yearly budgets for religious support operations are routinely cut.

Further complicating things, every few years the post gets a new CG (Commanding General) and a new Installation Chaplain–a colonel who is over all the chapels and chaplains. Understandably, each of these leaders has their own opinion about how and where money should be spent.

Fast forward to our current CG and current Installation Chaplain. Last year, these two teamed up and found the money to fix the chapel. Praise God!

Come let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.

Nehemiah 2:17b (NIV)

Parallels between our deteriorating church building and the story of Nehemiah are plentiful. Here was a guy who shared God’s heart to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. So, he committed 100% to the goal and got the people to join him. There were obstacles and opposition along the way but Nehemiah, and the folks of Jerusalem, kept moving forward with their God-sized project.

So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height.

Nehemiah 4:6 (NIV)

Kind reader, is there a God-sized opportunity in your life that is half-way-there? Then commit, or recommit yourself to accomplish the work–with God’s help. While youโ€™re at it, inspire others to come along side. You’ll both be glad you did!

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.

Nehemiah 6:15 (NIV)

I’m not sure how long our building restoration will take, but at some point we will have our beautiful chapel back–good as new. And all this happened because two guys and God set their hearts to make it so!

I close with a quote from the highest ranking CG ever:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Jesus-Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

Thank you for reading. ๐Ÿ™โค๏ธ prayers and love.

Categories
Christian Blog Easter

Nobody Knew His Secret Ambition

Blogger Beth Alison, from Lessons from a Lab, shared a post yesterday about the Christian’s new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead. A Moment with Our Creator: 1 Peter 1:3 closes with Beth’s request for her readers to share their favorite Easter song.

Musically, Easter brings to mind a favorite tune from back in 1988, Secret Ambition, by Michael W. Smith. The last line of the chorus summarizes the whole song:

๐ŸŽถ Nobody knew His secret ambition was to give His life away.๐ŸŽถ

Michael W. Smith

I grew up Baptist, and the Passion of Christ (the events from the night before his crucifixion until his death on the cross) was not emphasized. Nevertheless, during the Easter season the Holy Spirit draws me to passages, like Isaiah chapter 53, where Jesus is described as our Suffering Servant.

He was arrested and sentenced to death. Then He was taken away. He was cut off from this life. He was punished for the sins of my people. Who among those who were living at that time tried to stop what was happening?

Isaiah 53:8 (NIRV)

Better yet, who alive at that time truly UNDERSTOOD what was happening–before the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by his wounds were are healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

At one Baptist church I attended, we actually held a Good Friday service. The scripture readings, worship music, and a short sermon all focused on the death of Christ. The congregation was then asked to leave in silence, contemplating the significance of the crucifixion.

But our throughly protestant pastor struggled to stick with the plan. During the benediction he remarked, “Brethren, Jesus died for our sins; we must remember His sacrifice. But, praise the Lord, He rose again on Easter!”

Note: If you see a black box where the video should be, please search on YouTube for Michael W. Smith Secret Ambition. It’s the one with 3.4 million views and is worth watching.

Thank you for reading. ๐Ÿ™โค๏ธ prayers and love. Have a blessed Easter!

Categories
Christian Blog Prayer

Safe Prayers are Dangerous

The Altar, St.Martin Of Tours, West Coker by Jeanette Rendell is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Imagine you visit a church for their mid-week prayer service. Walking in the front door you notice the spacious sanctuary, dark and empty. Down one hall, thereโ€™s light coming from an open door. You hear the unmistakeable sound of people praying.

Entering the smallish room, you are surprised to find only a handful of the church’s faithful. And what are they praying for? You read the prayer requests on the white board: “Bob has cancer. Theresa had a heart attack. Deacon Sam is under hospice care.

“This is well and good,” you say to yourself. “But is that all?

Fellow blogger Gary Fultz commented on one of my recent posts, “Safe prayers are dangerous.” Immediately, I thought of how the corporate prayer ministries of many churches are a mile wide and an inch deep.

Shallow prayers are relatively “safe,”after all. I mean, who could be offended by them? But this also makes them dangerous. Because if it’s all we do, are we truly covering Godโ€™s Kingdom work?


WAIT. Hold the presses! I read a first draft of this post to my wife and she said, “Sweetheart, you’ve described a problem but offer no solution. “Well, uh….,” that’s me talking.

“So, how do YOU pray?” she asked. (Please imagine the sound of crickets chirping).๐Ÿฆ—๐Ÿฆ—๐Ÿฆ— I had no immediate response. Most of my prayers aren’t all that deep, either.

“Ok, how did Jesus pray?” she followed. ๐Ÿฆ—๐Ÿฆ—๐Ÿฆ— Despite being a former seminarian, I drew an almost complete blank. All that came to mind was The Lord’s Prayer, from Matthew 6:9-13. Well, it was a good start.

A little biblical digging revealed that Jesus said prayers of adoration, like when He praised God for revealing Himself to ordinary people (Matthew 11:25-27).

Christ also offered up prayers of intercession, like His High Priestly Prayer (John 17:1-26). Here, He prays for Himself–that He will complete His mission–and for His followers–that they will live in complete unity. Why? So that the world will know God sent Him.

Lastly, Jesus said prayers of thanksgiving, like when he thanked God for hearing His prayer to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11: 41.42). This is by no means an exhaustive list. Perhaps you can add to it?

Oops, I’ve rambled on for over 400 words. That’s not like me! I’m usually “Hemingway like” in my succinctness. Perhaps the following scripture sums up what I hope to say, after all.

For my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

Isaiah 56:7b (NASB)

Thank you for reading. ๐Ÿ™โค๏ธ prayers and love