Every Wednesday morning from 6:30am – 7:30am, there is a small group of people gathered in the Worship Center for prayer. We spend the hour praying for the needs of our church, our community, and our nation. You will be glad to know that there are dedicated people who come every week to pray and believe God will do miracles in and through our fellowship. The Bible tells us that Jesus often went away by himself to pray. His life was filled with times of prayer. Jesus would not have been able to function without this dedicated, daily time of prayer.
As we make prayer a priority, our relationship with the Father deepens. It is as if we familiarize ourselves with the voice of God and are able to discern when He speaks. As we link our hearts together and form a chain, our prayers form a complete circle as we embark upon the throne room of God. It is through prayer that we discover how much we are connected to God and to one another.
From time to time as a church, there seems to be a season of many incidents that remind us of our need of the Lord each and every day. Several have had physical ailments come upon them as well as major life changing diagnosis and incidents that will forever change the way people live from here on out. Through it all, the Lord reassures us that He is in control. But there are things we must go through to get to that place.
It is during these times that I feel like the disciples in Luke 11, “Lord, teach us to pray!” We have had these prayer times on Wednesday morning for several years and in one sense it feels like we have only begun. Can I remind you today to spend time, during this Advent season, quieting your hearts before the Lord and just talking to Him as you would your best friend.
I love Christmas. I love the songs, the snow, the chance to serve together. I love it even more when I take the time to slow down and enjoy the Giver of the greatest gift of all – sending Jesus to save His people from their sins. May God continue to speak to you as you seek Him with all of your heart.
Be sure and invite your neighbors and loved ones to the services this weekend and to our Christmas Eve Service at 4pm or 6pm. Let’s embrace the unexpected…
Joy in Jesus!
13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. - Psalm 27:13-14
To have confidence is to hold a firm belief – to feel certain about something. David writes that he is confident he will still see “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (verse 13). With this conviction he takes heart while waiting for the Lord to work it all out. It is as if he is going through a very difficult time and is reminding himself that God has greater things ahead.
This can be applied to our church, our nation, and our families. Let me talk to us as a church. Are we confident that we will see “the goodness of the Lord in our lives? Will we once again know the joy of his presence? There have been some discouraging things that have happened this fall at our church. From challenging issues in relationships, physical ailments and diagnosis, discouragement, and problems families connecting with others – it becomes apparent that we are experiencing some heavy spiritual warfare.
In The Great American Revival (1934) Arthur Strickland wrote, “The history of the past gives us a chart for the future. What God did in the past shows us, as Saint Augustine puts it, ‘the direction in which the will of God operates.’ History repeats itself. This encourages us to believe that there will be another great revival. Although the spiritual tide may be far out, the ocean of God’s limitless resources is in no danger of going dry. The tide will come in again.”
Take heart, the church is not on the eve of perishing, it is on the eve of revival according to Scripture. Revival always follows a time of purging, persecution, or sickness. There is nothing more certain than this. So the question should not be, “Will we recover?” The question ought to be, “When will we recover?” And then we keep praying to be faithful till that time has come. It is during these upheaval times that God brings us closer together and helps us to realize who is in this for the long haul. So I say all of that to say, “Hold on church, the day is coming when the Lord will show us that He has been with us the whole time.”
I am looking forward to this Sunday as we look for the “Unexpected” in our Advent series.
Joy in Jesus!
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Speaking truth from the heart”? It is all about integrity. It concerns motivation, honesty, and truth all rolled up in one. Do you live an upright life when no one is looking? If you had the chance to get away with something that you know is wrong, would you do it if no one would ever found out? It all boils down to integrity and living a life pleasing to the Lord.
1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? 2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart. Psalm 15:1-2
David reminds us that we are to be blameless in order to dwell in the Lord. It means that you cannot even be accused of any unrighteous acts. It reminds me of when the Lord appeared to Solomon in 1 Kings.
9 When Solomon had finished building the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, 2 the Lord appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 The Lord said to him: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 4 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ 6 “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 8 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’” 1 Kings 9:1-9
In verse 6 when it says, “you,” it is plural in the Hebrew which means, “You all.” Pardon my Tennessee talk. The following Biblical conclusions about integrity fall from this passage.
Chew on this today and thank the Lord that He provides the means necessary to love and follow Him with all of our heart.
This Sunday in the 2ndSunday of Advent. The first service will be in the Worship Center and the second service will be in the Family Life Center with a family ministry flare to it. You will want to be sure and come to participate in the Unexpected during this season of wonder.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene