This article is reprinted from the Gospel Coalition website
In 2013, The New York Times Magazine published an article called “What Happens to Women Who Are Denied Abortions?” It traced the story of a woman referred to as “S.” whose baby, at 20 weeks’ gestation, was too far along to be aborted by her local Planned Parenthood. S. reluctantly carried her baby to term, and the journalist chronicled all of the devastating financial and emotional consequences that came with single motherhood. S. lost her job, felt overwhelmed, and thought the baby was mad at her when it cried.
And then, buried in the middle of the dire warnings about the cost to women denied abortion, this paragraph:
S. now says that Baby S. is the best thing that ever happened to her. “She is more than my best friend, more than the love of my life,” S. told me, glowingly. There were white spit-up stains on her green top. “She is just my whole world.”
I thought of S. and her baby last week after watching Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran calmly argue that a single physician should be able to abort a baby even after the onset of labor, if she believes it will injure the mental health of the mother. Many concerned doctors would have written off Baby S. as a danger to her mother’s health. But they would have deprived S. of the best thing that ever happened to her.
Regrettably, full-term abortion for the mental health of the mother is already legal under U.S. federal law, as Joe Carter explains in 4 Facts Every American Should Know About Third-Trimester Abortions. If you feel outrage about what’s happening in states like Virginia, let that outrage fuel fervent prayer to end the murder of infants who happen to be on the wrong side of the birth canal.
The beginning of the New Year has brought one be change in our lives. We have moved…just down the street. The home we were living is being sold, which meant we had to find something. We were able to find an apartment in the city and we are so thankful for it. You can imagine the stress we had after Christmas in terms of finding the apartment and packing. Now we can catch our breath a little bit. We are still trying to find everything that was packed, but the next couple of weeks we should be finished and settled in. If you need our new address please email me.
We had a great Christmas Eve service. Many visitors came and heard the Gospel and we are praying that some will end up coming back in the future. All of the unbelieving spouses who are married to members in our church, came to the service. What a praise! Keep praying for them and their salvation.
In 2019 we are beginning to take the next steps to help our women’s and men’s groups in our church. We are doing two bible studies that will focus on biblical manhood and womanhood. There are some people who are interested in the courses and even two men who are unbelievers. Pray as we challenge our people to take the next steps in their walk with Christ.
We have a couple of people that come to our church who are interested in Jesus, but have never made a decision to places their faith in Him. I have asked one those people, if they would like to do a Bible study about the basic core beliefs of Jesus and the Bible. This has been a good resource in order to reach people and see them come to faith. Not everyone desires to do it, but those who have, have come to Christ. This man, who has been coming regularly took the book and is looking it over. Pray that he will take that next step and begin the Bible study.
A more positive twist to our new ministry slogan (just among Rich and I), is “The exciting new opportunities or people we meet today, will be what draws us to our knees tomorrow.” In other words, we are excited for the new people God adds to the church, and yet he keeps us clinging to him as we seek for his wisdom in how to love them and guide them through their trials. We all are like sheep who desperately need a shepherd. Thankful that God came as the good shepherd who continually and gently guides us back to his side! A recent new Christian said They’d rather be on Satans side because it is easier and they’re very discouraged. The fight is real. It is not easy to go the narrow road. But we know it is worth it.
On a side note, we are also going to be hosting a “Missions Academy” in our church planting center. It will be from May 14-24, 2019. If your church has anyone interested in missions or ministry this would be a great missions trip for them to come on. Please contact me as the spots are filling up!
Please pray that we can get a new van for our refugee ministry and other network ministries. At the moment the old van continues to break down and they are heavily used during the week. At the moment they are using the van to pick up 20 or more refugees for their Bible studies. You can imagine how many times and miles they have to drive for one Bible study. These are people who do not know Christ who want to know more about him. Please pray for the Bible study and the means to pick them up!
- Please pray for the unbelievers to begin the Bible study.
- Please pray for our Men's and Women's Bible studies.
- Please pray for our church as we a developing and electing leaders.
- Please pray that our network of churches can get a new van.
- We praise God for new apartment
- We praise God for the people who heard the Gospel on Christmas Eve.
- We praise God for the men who are taking leadership roles in the church.
pg: 67: glory, good
pg 68: good, comfort, working
Recommended by Pastor Ray Brandon
The following resouces are not necessarily related to the Gospel Project study but are timely and worth digging into as you have time. While we make an effort to provide additional resources to you, do not feel like you need to read every one, listen to everyone. Use wisdom, ask God for guidence and don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed. The most important resource is the Bible itself. Make sure you are reading and listening to God in the Bible first, everyday.
Happy New Year! You just finished the first month of 2019 talking with your LORD and Savior.
Think about furture blessings one for each of the months ahead. Pause to express your gratitude to God.
Think about how you can be a blessing in each of the months ahead. Many blessings!
Thank you for praying!
Today, let us repent of not praying for our community and then go to prayer for our neighbors
1. Pray for families. Families are a crucial social unit, and they can weather some significant challenges. Pray for the parents, aunts, grandparents, uncles, cousins, siblings, and children in your neighborhood.
Heavenly Father, we ask for your presence in families in our neighborhood. We pray for strength and understanding between the marriages in our neighborhood. We ask for loving, strong bonds between the children, teenagers, adults, and grandparents. We pray that each branch of the family would demonstrate love for one another.
2. Pray for relationships between neighbors. Healthy relationships between neighbors create a loving and compassionate community, Pray that neighbors would learn from each other’s differences and find common ground in their community.
God Almighty, we ask for healthy, thriving relationships between neighbors. We pray different cultures will be able to understand and care for one another in our neighborhood. We pray that the diversity of your people will be celebrated by all neighbors, just as you affirm and love each one of us.
3. Pray for schools. Pray that schools would be a place of positive influence for students in the neighborhood. We hope to see schools that contribute to the social fabric of a community and equip our children to achieve and thrive.
Father, we pray for the teachers and local principals who devote their days to shepherding our students. Please be present as district and state leaders make impactful decisions. We ask for guidance and patience for the parent volunteers as they serve our neighborhood schools. We pray that our schools will be a safe, positive community for our students.
4. Pray for local churches. Neighborhood churches are too often disconnected from the communities in which the physical building resides. We hope to see congregations committed to serving the residents and representing the hands and feet of Jesus.
Lord God, we pray for guidance for our local pastors as they nurture Your congregation and seek to serve those around them. We pray congregations would welcome neighbors with open arms. We hope for residents to find a place to experience community with the body of Christ as they grow spiritually.
5. Pray for safety and peace. A neighborhood where all residents feel welcomed and safe is one we strive to create. Pray God would allow your neighbors to find safety in their living situation.
God, our Prince of Peace, we ask for your presence in the streets and homes of our community. We pray for local law enforcement, for their safety and wisdom and compassion in all circumstances. We pray your comfort for those who have experienced violence, and we ask your protection for all our neighbors.
6. Pray for local politicians and leaders. Many neighborhoods experience marginalization when important decisions are being made. Pray for community voices to be heard in matters that impact them at the local, city, and state levels.
Father, we ask you to give our state and local leaders wisdom make decisions affecting our neighborhood. We pray they will be thoughtful in their decisions and listen to the voices of the community. We pray for courage to stand up for our community and to live with grace and dignity in our city.
7. Pray for residents. Pray for each neighbor by their name. Pray that your neighbors and residents of the neighborhood will know Jesus more deeply in their lives and have the opportunity to flourish as a community.
God, we ask for a flourishing community, where neighbors learn to love each other and come to know Jesus. We pray that we can be good stewards of Your love to each one of our neighbors. We ask that You help us to learn from our community, and it may be a place where all are welcomed.
Great pastors know it’s more important to pray for your people than preach to them. - Rick Warren
Pause to express your thoughts of praise to God.
A prayer by Matthew Henry:
Thou, O God, art greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about thee. O give us grace to worship thee with reverence and godly fear, because thou our God art a consuming fire.
This is that which thou hast said, That thou wilt be sanctified in them which come nigh unto thee; and before all the people thou wilt be glorified. Thou art the Lord that sanctifiest us, sanctify us by thy truth, that we may sanctify thee in our hearts, and make thee our fear and our dread.
We come together to give glory to the great Jehovah, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, and therefore blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it. And our help stands in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
O let us be new creatures, thy workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. And let that God, who on the first day of the world commanded the light to shine out of darkness, on this first day of the week shine in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
We come together to give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to sanctify this sabbath to his honour, who was the stone that the builders refused, but now is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing, it is marvellous in our eyes: This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. He is the first and the last, who was dead, and is alive.
O that we may this day experience the power of Christ’s resurrection and may be planted together in the likeness of it, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life and may sit with him in heavenly places; and by seeking the things that are above, may make it to appear that we are risen with him.
We come together to give glory to the blessed Spirit of grace, and to celebrate the memorial of the giving of that promise of the Father, in whom the apostles received power on the first day of the week, as on that day Christ rose.
O that we may this day be filled with the Holy Ghost, and that the fruit of the Spirit in us may be in all goodness and righteousness and truth.
We come together to testify our communion with the universal church, that though we are many, yet we are one; that we worship one and the same God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him, in the name of one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him, under the conduct of the same Spirit, one and the self-same Spirit, who divideth to every man severally as he will, walking by the same rule, looking for the same blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour.
No man can do a great and enduring work for God who is not a man of prayer, and no man can be a man of prayer who does not give much time to praying.
pg 57: monotheism. one true God
pg 58: Lamb of God, sacrificial, system, cross
Pause, think of 10 things/people/blessings you are thankful for. Express your gratitude to God.
Holy living is essential preparation for prayer. -EM Bounds
Today, let us pray for one another.
Pray for Pastor Ray as he teaches this morning.
Pray for the Elders of Northbridge.
Pray for your small group leader
Pray for the members of your small group
As you go to worship this morning, ask God to give you someone to pray for during worship.
The irony is that many conservative Christians, most concerned about conserving true and sound doctrine, neglect the importance of prayer and make no effort to experience God, and this can lead to the eventual loss of sound doctrine… Christianity without real experience of God will eventually be no Christianity at all. - Timothy Keller
Pause to express your thoughts of praise to God.
O My God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.
When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.
I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou has given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing sense to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.
I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures.
Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.
Matthew Henry’s prayer
Prayer turns theology into experience.
Pause to express your prayer of thanksgiving.
We can never know God as it is our privilege to know Him by brief repetitions that are requests for personal favors, and nothing more.
- E M Bounds
O God of Grace,
You have counted my sin to my Substitute
You have counted His righteousness to me
You have Clothed me with a Bridegroom’s Robe
You have Decked me with the Jewels of Holiness.
But in my Flesh – I am still in Rags
My best prayers, stained with sin;
My best tears, filled with impurity
My confessions of wrong, aggravated with pride
My receiving of the Spirit, subverted with selfishness
I need to Repent of my Repentance;
I need my tears to be washed
I have no Robe to cover my sins
I have no Loom to weave my own righteousness
I stand in Filthy Garments
Yet, by grace, I am always receiving a change of Dress, For You justify the ungodly
I come to you empty, and I am filled
I come to you naked, and I am clothed
You forgive me and You bring me forth, Dressed in Your Robe of Righteousness
Every morning, like the flowers of the field, you array me in this Precious Robe –
Every evening you lay me down under its cover,
I go out to the day’s work in it,
I eat and drink in it,
I am married in it,
I will grow old in it,
I will die in it,
I will stand unashamed before the great white throne in it,
And I will enter heaven in it, shining as the sun – dressed in Your Robe, adorned in Your Glory.
So Grant me Jesus never to lose sight of my need to be Dressed by you. Help me always to see…
The exceeding sinfulness of my sin
The exceeding Righteousness of Your Salvation
The exceeding Glory of Christ
The exceeding Beauty of Your Holiness
The exceeding Wonder of Your grace
Yet even now, Dearest Christ, as I feel the pangs of pride…
I cast away my dirty rags, and clinging to Your Holy Robe, I Repent of my Repentance, and I Rest myself in you.
Adapted from the Valley of Vision p76
Prayer, like everything else in the Christian life, is for God’s glory and for our benefit, in that order.
- R C Sproul
Pause and focus your praise today on God’s expression of his character through the names of God.
ABBA (Romans 8:15)
ADVOCATE (I John 2:1 kjv)
ALMIGHTY (Genesis 17:1)
ALL IN ALL (Colossians 3:11)
ALPHA (Revelation 22:13)
AMEN (Revelation 3:14)
ANCIENT OF DAYS (Daniel 7:9)
ANOINTED ONE (Psalm 2:2)
APOSTLE (Hebrews 3:1)
ARM OF THE LORD (Isaiah 53:1)
AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION (Hebrews 5:9)
AUTHOR OF OUR FAITH (Hebrews 12:2)
AUTHOR OF PEACE (1 Cor. 14:33)
AVENGER (1 Thessalonians 4:6)
BEGINNING (Revelation 21:6)
BISHOP OF SOULS (1 Peter 2:25)
BLESSED & HOLY RULER (1 Timothy 6:15)
BRANCH (Jeremiah 33:15)
BREAD OF GOD (John 6:33)
BREAD OF LIFE (John 6:35)
BREATH OF LIFE (Genesis 2:7, Revelation 11:11)
BRIDEGROOM (Isaiah 62:5)
BRIGHT MORNING STAR (Revelation 22:16)
BUCKLER (2 Sam.22:31 kjv,Psalm 18:2 kjv, Psalm 18:30 kjv,Proverbs 2:7 kjv)
CAPTAIN OF SALVATION (Hebrews 2:10)
CARPENTER (Mark 6:3)
CHIEF SHEPHERD (1 Peter 5:4)
CHOSEN ONE (Isaiah 42:1)
CHRIST (Matthew 22:42)
CHRIST OF GOD (Luke 9:20)
CHRIST THE LORD (Luke 2:11)
CHRIST, SON OF LIVING GOD (Matthew 16:16)
COMFORTER (John 14:26 kjv)
COMMANDER (Isaiah 55:4)
CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL (Luke 2:25)
CONSUMING FIRE (Deut. 4:24, Heb. 12:29)
CORNERSTONE (Isaiah 28:16)
COUNSELOR (Isaiah 9:6)
CREATOR (1 Peter 4:19)
CROWN OF BEAUTY (Isaiah 28:5)
DAYSPRING (Luke 1:78)
DELIVERER (Romans 11:26)
DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS (Haggai 2:7)
DIADEM OF BEAUTY (Isaiah 28:5)
DOOR (John 10:7 kjv)
DWELLING PLACE (Psalm 90:1)
ELECT ONE (Isaiah 42:1)
EMMANUEL (Matthew 1:23 kjv)
END (Revelation 21:6)
ETERNAL GOD (Deut. 33:27)
ETERNAL LIFE (1 John 5:20)
ETERNAL SPIRIT (Hebrews 9:14)
EVERLASTING FATHER (Isaiah 9:6)
EVERLASTING GOD (Genesis 21:33)
EXCELLENT (Psalm 148:13 kjv)
FAITHFUL & TRUE (Revelation 19:11)
FAITHFUL WITNESS (Revelation 1:5)
FATHER (Matthew 6:9)
FIRSTBORN (Rom.8:29, Rev.1:5, Col.1:15)
FIRSTFRUITS (1 Cor.15:20-23)
FORTRESS (Jeremiah 16:19)
FOUNDATION (1 Cor. 3:11)
FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS (Jeremiah 2:13)
FRIEND (Matthew 11:19)
FULLERS’ SOAP (Malachi 3:2 kjv)
GENTLE WHISPER (1 Kings 19:12)
GIFT OF GOD (John 4:10)
GLORY OF THE LORD (Isaiah 40:5)
GOD (Genesis 1:1)
GOD ALMIGHTY (Genesis 17:1)
GOD OF THE WHOLE EARTH (Isaiah 54:5)
GOD OVER ALL (Romans 9:5)
GOD WHO SEES ME (Genesis 16:13)
GOODNESS (Psalm 144:2 kjv)
GOOD SHEPHERD (John 10:11)
GOVERNOR (Psalm 22:28 kjv)
GREAT HIGH PRIEST (Hebrews 4:14)
GREAT SHEPHERD (Hebrews 13:20)
GUIDE (Psalm 48:14)
HEAD OF THE BODY (Colossians 1:18)
HEAD OF THE CHURCH (Ephesians 5:23)
HEIR OF ALL THINGS (Hebrews 1:2)
HIDING PLACE (Psalm 32:7)
HIGHEST (Luke 1:76)
HIGH PRIEST (Hebrews 3:1)
HIGH PRIEST FOREVER (Hebrews 6:20)
HOLY GHOST (John 14:26)
HOLY ONE (Acts 2:27)
HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL (Isaiah 49:7)
HOLY SPIRIT (John 15:26)
HOPE (Titus 2:13)
HORN OF SALVATION (Luke 1:69)
HUSBAND (Isaiah 54:5, Jer. 31:32, Hosea 2:16)
I AM (Exodus 3:14, John 8:58)
IMAGE OF GOD (2 Cor. 4:4)
IMAGE OF HIS PERSON (Hebrews 1:3 kjv)
IMMANUEL (Isaiah 7:14)
INTERCESSOR (Romans 8:26,27,34 Hebrews 7:25)
JAH (Psalm 68:4 kjv)
JEALOUS (Exodus 34:14 kjv)
JEHOVAH (Psalm 83:18 kjv)
JESUS (Matthew 1:21)
JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD (Romans 6:23)
JUDGE (Isaiah 33:22, Acts 10:42)
JUST ONE (Acts 22:14)
KEEPER (Psalm 121:5)
KING (Zechariah 9:9)
KING ETERNAL (1 Timothy 1:17)
KING OF GLORY (Psalm 24:10)
KING OF JEWS (Matthew 27:11)
KING OF KINGS (1 Timothy 6:15)
KING OF SAINTS (Revelation 15:3)
LAMB OF GOD (John 1:29)
LAST ADAM (1 Cor. 15:45)
LAWGIVER (Isaiah 33:22)
LEADER (Isaiah 55:4)
LIFE (John 14:6)
LIGHT OF THE WORLD (John 8:12)
LIKE AN EAGLE (Deut. 32:11)
LILY OF THE VALLEYS (Song 2:1)
LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH (Revelation 5:5)
LIVING GOD (Daniel 6:20)
LIVING STONE (1 Peter 2:4)
LIVING WATER (John 4:10)
LORD (John 13:13)
LORD GOD ALMIGHTY (Revelation 15:3)
LORD GOD OF HOSTS (Jeremiah 15:16)
LORD JESUS CHRIST (1 Cor. 15:57)
LORD OF ALL (Acts 10:36)
LORD OF GLORY (1 Cor. 2:8)
LORD OF HARVEST (Matthew 9:38)
LORD OF HOSTS (Haggai 1:5)
LORD OF LORDS (1 Tim. 6:15)
LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:6)
LOVE (1 John 4:8)
LOVINGKINDNESS (Psalm 144:2)
MAKER (Job 35:10, Psalm 95:6)
MAJESTY ON HIGH (Hebrews 1:3)
MAN OF SORROWS (Isaiah 53:3)
MASTER (Luke 5:5)
MEDIATOR (1 Timothy 2:5)
MERCIFUL GOD (Jeremiah 3:12)
MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT (Malachi 3:1)
MESSIAH (John 4:25)
MIGHTY GOD (Isaiah 9:6)
MIGHTY ONE (Isaiah 60:16)
MOST UPRIGHT (Isaiah 26:7)
NAZARENE (Matthew 2:23)
OFFSPRING OF DAVID (Revelation 22:16)
OMEGA (Revelation 22:13)
ONLY BEGOTTEN SON (John 1:18 kjv)
OUR PASSOVER LAMB (1 Cor. 5:7)
OUR PEACE (Ephesians 2:14)
PHYSICIAN (Luke 4:23)
PORTION (Psalm 73:26,Psalm 119:57)
POTENTATE (1 Timothy 6:15)
POTTER (Isaiah 64:8)
POWER OF GOD (1 Cor. 1:24)
PRINCE OF LIFE (Acts 3:15)
PRINCE OF PEACE (Isaiah 9:6)
PROPHET (Acts 3:22)
PROPHET OF THE HIGHEST (Luke 1:76)
PROPITIATION (1John 2:2, 1John 4:10)
PURIFIER (Malachi 3:3)
QUICKENING SPIRIT (1 Corinthians 15:45 kjv)
RABBONI (TEACHER) (John 20:16)
RADIANCE OF GOD’S GLORY (Heb.1:3)
REDEEMER (Job 19:25)
REFINER’S FIRE (Malachi 3:2)
REFUGE (Jeremiah 16:19)
RESURRECTION (John 11:25)
REWARDER (Hebrews 11:6)
RIGHTEOUS ONE (1 John 2:1)
ROCK (1 Cor.10:4)
ROOT OF DAVID (Rev. 22:16)
ROSE OF SHARON (Song 2:1)
RULER OF GOD’S CREATION (Rev. 3:14)
RULER OVER KINGS OF EARTH (Rev 1:5)
RULER OVER ISRAEL (Micah 5:2)
SAVIOR (Luke 2:11)
SCEPTRE (Numbers 24:17)
SEED (Genesis 3:15)
SERVANT (Isaiah 42:1)
SHADE (Psalm 121:5)
SHEPHERD OF OUR SOULS (1Peter 2:25)
SHIELD (Genesis 15:1)
SHILOH (Genesis 49:10)
SONG (Exodus 15:2, Isaiah 12:2)
SON OF DAVID (Matthew 1:1)
SON OF GOD (Matthew 27:54)
SON OF MAN (Matthew 8:20)
SON OF THE MOST HIGH (Luke 1:32)
SOURCE (Hebrews 5:9)
SPIRIT (John 4:24)
SPIRIT OF ADOPTION (Romans 8:15)
SPIRIT OF GOD (Genesis 1:2)
SPIRIT OF TRUTH (John 14:17,15:26,16:13)
STAR OUT OF JACOB (Numbers 24:17)
STRENGTH (Jeremiah 16:19)
STONE (1 Peter 2:8)
STONE OF ISRAEL (Genesis 49:24)
STRONGHOLD (Nahum 1:7)
STRONG TOWER (Proverbs 18:10)
SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (Malachi 4:2)
TEACHER (John 13:13)
TEMPLE (Revelation 21:22)
THE ONE (Psalm 144:2,10)
TRUE LIGHT (John 1:9)
TRUE WITNESS (Revelation 3:14)
TRUTH (John 14:6)
VINE (John 15:5)
WALL OF FIRE (Zechariah 2:5)
WAY (John 14:6)
WISDOM OF GOD (1 Cor. 1:24)
WITNESS (Isaiah 55:4)
WONDERFUL (Isaiah 9:6)
WORD (John 1:1)
WORD OF GOD (Revelation 19:13)
YAH (Isaiah 12:2 kjv, Psalm 68:4 nkjv)
No man – I don’t care how colossal his intellect – No man is greater than his prayer life.
“He draws us out to draw us in…”
https://radical.net/podcast/305-is-it-not-i-the-lord-exodus-410-12/ (only 4 minutes and an excellent reminder)
Word Study, YHWH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLrGM26pmM0
A must watch movie: American Gospel
Article: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/american-gospel-blows-hole-prosperity-gospel/%3Famp Available on Amazon, iTunes and Vemeo.
Learn How to 'Adult' Before You 'Missionary'
ALEX KOCMAN | JANUARY 18, 2019
Every head bowed, every eye closed. Good. Now, do you feel a stirring deep in your soul when I talk about missions? If so, stand up.
If you’ve spent any time in evangelicalism, you know all too well this familiar scene, when the trajectory of one’s life boils down to a single, mystical moment as the band ascends the stage and a synth pad drones in the background.
January isn’t just the season of resolutions, frigid temps, and caloric deficits. It’s also conference season in the evangelical world. And for many college-age believers, it’s a chance to double-down on their spirituality, arms high and heart abandoned in a sea of like-minded students.
I’m not against conferences—many of them I love. I work conferences regularly, I am friends with those involved, and I even attended a Christian university where our thrice-weekly chapel was itself a literal arena event. But the problem with spiritual mountaintop experiences, like any other high, is that there’s always a low. Just as the demon-riddled lowland greeted the disciples after the transfiguration, the monotonous valley of everyday life never lags too far behind the final chorus. This is normal. And it wouldn’t be a problem at all, in fact, if it weren’t so radically divergent from the enchanting bill of goods the Christian conference cottage industry often sells young adults.
Many conferences rally young people to do extraordinary, counter-cultural, radical things for kingdom. High school, college, and seminary students are exhorted to do anything but settle for a predictable, cozy existence. The drumbeat, intentional or not, is risk, run, burn out, and die for Jesus.
This, admittedly, is what many young people—and the rest of us—probably need in order to pierce through the haze of apathy that envelops our cushy American lifestyles. But I doubt if such rhetoric always represents the counsel most fitting for current college students.
Christian college students are far from immune to the cultural trends affecting Generation Z (defined, after millennials, as those born after 1997).
According to one source, students in the class of 2017 graduated with an average of nearly $40,000 in student debt.
Barnes and Noble College reported in September that only about 47 percent of Gen Z engages in volunteer work, compared to 70 percent of millennials.
Another researcher noted that social media have lured Gen Z its own version of “keeping up with the Joneses” trap, despite the stigma attached to excessive consumerism. He also reports how the post-millennials (not in the eschatological sense) generation is increasingly forsaking traditional industries in pursuit of monetized micro-celebrity on the Internet.
Across the generational landscape, more and more Americans continue to delay marriage or forego it altogether.
Finally—and appropriately—a Google search for “adulting” (a verb) yields 10.4 million results. It’s a thing.
College students need to learn to “adult” before they “missionary.”
I’m not saying that all students born after 1997 are delinquents. Such a claim would be absurd. I am saying, however, that our pastoral rush towards the “radical” rally-cry exposes a gap in our discipleship track: ordinary faithfulness.
When I was a biblical studies student at my Christian university, I bought into the logic of extraordinary Christian living. I rushed to finish my undergrad in two years, convinced I had a far more glamorous calling awaiting someplace in which my talents and I would finally be recognized as God’s gift to the world. God needed me, after all.
Wide-eyed for ministry, I eagerly proposed to my girlfriend, and we made plans to begin our adventure right after college. But with precious little professional experience at my unripe age, having pigeonholed myself as a professional evangelical, my ambitions backfired, and I quickly found myself scrambling for ministry jobs to no avail.
The best pieces of advice I received during that season of life came from two respected guys on campus, both a few years my senior. My first friend brought me to 1 Chronicles 21, where David, relying on his own achievements, orders an unsanctioned census of Israel, incurring national judgment. In spite of David’s hubris, God mercifully lessens the severity of the punishment (v. 15), an act of mercy that literally lays the foundation for the temple (v. 28; cf. 22:1). In this, the Lord reminded me that knuckleheaded decisions have consequences—and God is gracious anyway.
The second guy simply reminded me of Luke 16:10: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (ESV). At a season in life when I was looking for my big break—to burn out for Jesus in a proverbial blaze of glory—I needed to focus on ordinary, menial obedience.
I wanted to win the world, but I needed to get a job. I wanted to preach, but I needed to do the dishes. My calling was simply to do the next thing, what Eugene Peterson called “a long obedience in the same direction.”
Hell is real, Jesus saves, souls are in the balance, and time is short. The oft-posed Monday morning question, of course, is, what next?
If we do not disciple the up-and-coming generation with an understanding of obedience in the ordinary, we will produce fickle missionaries at best. Full-time ministry—in any culture—is, after all, the sum of a hundred ordinary days at the office, church budget meetings, and sermon prep sessions after the kids have gone to bed.
While we challenge young people to live lives of eternal significance, our counsel must also include:
Join a church. (As a member.) Submit to elders. Serve faithfully. Do jobs nobody else wants.
Make a budget. Limit your expenditures. Live below your means.
Get a job. Develop a good rapport before the watching world. Make yourself useful to other people. Contribute to society.
Tithe. Give above a tithe. Save money. Pay off your loans.
If you want to get married, stop playing juvenile dating games and get married. Learn to love a spouse, raise children, and die to self.
Exercise. Eat right. Lose weight if you need to lose weight. Gain weight if you need to gain it. Pick a goal and strain to reach it.
Read your Bible every day. Know it by heart. Master it, and be mastered by it. Abide in Christ.
Pray fervently. Make disciples locally. Preach the gospel in your Jerusalem.
I’m not saying that full-time ministry is reserved for those who have reached the pinnacle of human perfection. God graciously uses us in our mess—just as he redeemed my boneheadedness in college, and redeems my daily boneheadedness now.
But adulthood is a baseline qualification, not the pinnacle. It takes no super-saint to have a spiritual experience while the music reaches crescendo in a room of thousand; the proof is in the life that follows. We should be able to say, with Paul, “When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Rally-cries have their role, but God’s program for our lives always winds through lengthy valleys of ordinary faithfulness. This requirement is intrinsically good and is divinely hard-wired into the sanctification process for our maximal maturity and God’s greatest glory.
If we aspire to ministry greatness or missionary success, we must first be made small. If we cannot be faithful with the “little” of adulthood, we will surely be unfaithful with the “much” of mission.
Dr Dan Dewitt 2018 summer Northbridge speaker
Book Wins Double Honors
Dr. Dan DeWitt, Director of the Center for Biblical Apologetics and Public Christianity and Associate Professor of Applied Theology and Apologetics at Cedarville University, has earned double honors for his first children’s book, The Friend Who Forgives. This story about the friendship of Jesus and Peter was honored by Christianity Today and the Gospel Coalition.
Thanking the Lord from Germany!
Thank you for all the prayers during my travels!
I arrived in Germany on Saturday after around 21 hours of travel, and proceeded to attempt to stay awake for the remainder of my day! Directly from the airport I was taken to a small party prepared by the teen group that I worked with during my last time in Germany! They made a large banner and had flowers to welcome me:) We all went to Burger King for an early dinner and it was fun to reconnect with them!
My German is by no means perfect, but it is coming back to me and I feel so much further along than the first time I came. I spent the week settling into my apartment, waiting on luggage, and getting legal documents in order. I also visited two of the kids' clubs. It was SO fun to see them. When they realized I was back, we jumped right back in as if I had never left!
Thank you to everyone who prayed for my luggage to be returned. I miraculously caught a flight I should have missed due to delays, but my luggage did not. I waited from Saturday until Tuesday for it to make it to Germany. Thank you, Lord!
It‘s exciting to be in the new building - which includes my own office. My name is on the door with office hours which makes it feel very official.
That all of my legal documents can be finished without any issues arising.
That I can quickly settle into the work and communicate well.
Let us give thanks to the Lord,
for he satisfies the thirsty,
he fills the hungry with good things,
and he heals the afflicted.
Let us celebrate his abundant goodness.
We thank you, gracious Father,
that you provide for all our needs,
for food on our tables,
for the clothes on our bodies,
for the beds we sleep in,
for the dwellings that shelter us.
We praise you, Lord,
for all your gifts that go beyond our basic needs,
for the things that make our work easier,
for the conveniences of modern life,
for the beauty and pleasure that you bring into our lives.
Thanks be to God!
Pause to express your prayer of thanksgivng.
We are thankful for those who gave to the Above and Beyond. We were able to purchase Logos Bible Software for a church planter, help Ashley Sheffer with her support, provide daily necessities through Christian Neighbors and more. God is good.
By praying with friends, you will be able to hear and see facets of Jesus that you have not yet perceived. - Tim Keller
Pause to thank God that he is patient and kind to show us the way and ask that the spirit of God would reveal to you areas of repentance.
Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance,
a horror of sin, a dread of its approach.
Help me chastely to flee it
and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.
Give me a deeper trust,
that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee,
the ground of my rest, the spring of my being.
Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself
as Saviour, Master, Lord, and King.
Give me deeper power in private prayer,
more sweetness in Thy Word,
more steadfast grip on its truth.
Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action,
and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.
Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman,
that my being may be a tilled field,
the roots of grace spreading far and wide,
until Thou alone art seen in me,
Thy beauty golden like summer harvest,
Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.
I have no master but Thee,
no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself,
no wealth but that Thou givest,
no good but that Thou blessest,
no peace but that Thou bestowest.
I am nothing but that Thou makest me.
I have nothing but that I receive from Thee.
I can be nothing but that grace adorns me.
Quarry me deep, dear Lord,
and then fill me to overflowing with living water.
From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett.
I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.
- CH Spurgeon
We will learn today in church that God has designed us as interactive creatures. The purpose of our interaction is to promote the praise of our God.
What voices are you listening to?
Who are you influenced by?
Do these voices and influence help or hinder your praise? Who are you influencing?