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Spiritual Development - April 2019

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                            “Steps to Strengthen Prayer” by Bonnie McKernan

1. Set prayer apart. The more we pray, the more we want to pray. To do this, you need to build it into the rhythm of your day any way you can: set alarms, leave notes, put it in your day planner. Prayer is a practice that requires discipline and perseverance, and we should own the cost. Prayer is the greatest act of our day, and we must fight for it. And not just in times of need. It matters how we train and prepare for the battle.

2. Learn to withdraw. Pull away from distractions — the phone, the computer, the TV, the constant noise of modern life — and find a way to separate yourself so you can be and feel “shut in with God.” Your car on lunch break, a quiet corner in the office, a closet in between meals or feedings or naptimes, or simply the quiet of your heart if that’s all you can muster.

3. Have a posture of prayer. Do what you need to help you focus on what it is that you’re doing. Kneel, stand, close your eyes, look to the heavens — when your body is focused, it’s often easier for your soul to follow. If able, pray out loud. I’ve found that just softly whispering during my private prayer time is quiet enough that it doesn’t inhibit the flow of my praying, but loud enough that it keeps my mind from wandering.

4. Pray fervently. Praying should be active. We cannot truly come into contact with God and not be a different person, at least in some small degree, by the time we say, “Amen.” Struggle in prayer, wrestle with it, and let the Spirit move. Answers to prayer are a blessing, but prayer in and of itself is meant to be a blessing.

5. Pray specifically. Vagueness can be the death of prayer. Not that we can never be general, just not at the expense of praising God’s specific attributes, confessing specific sins, or thanking him and asking him for specific things. We must learn to pray specifically and boldly due to the status we have through Christ, while simultaneously being completely submissive to God’s will. Bold and expectant faith coupled with humble submission is a powerful thing.

6. Pray for and with others. Prayer is meant to knit together the children of God, oftentimes, people we have never even met. We share a Father, we are family, and we should bear each  other’s burdens in prayer. We become invested in each other’s struggles and triumphs. We start to care more about the people we pray for and less about ourselves. What a beautiful thing to come before our Father of one accord with the same appeals out of love and care for each other. Prayer binds the church together.

 Recommended ResourceThe Disciple-Making Parent by Chap Bettis
Parenting in today’s culture can be exhausting, scary, difficult, challenging and… well, pick your own adjective. Moreover, your desire to raise children as a Christian parent in accordance with the Bible’s truths amplifies those adjectives to an entirely different level. You bring home that beautiful little  baby made in the image of God from the hospital, and you look at your spouse and say, “Now what do we do?” That question never goes away for the Christian parent. Your baby grows to become a toddler, a child, a pre-teen and a teenager, and as your baby grows in each of those stages of life, you look at your husband or your wife again to say, “Now what do we do?”

The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow  Jesus Christ seeks to help us answer that kind of question. This book ranks as a top contender for a book that every parent should read as they seek to honor Christ by parenting their children faithfully.  You will read this book and be convicted that you need to do better at making a disciple of your child. That’s a good thing. We all need to be convicted that we should take our God-given task more seriously and faithfully. With The Disciple-Making Parent, you will be better equipped to answer the question, “Now what do we do?”

 

Posted by Nick Scott with

Worship - April 2019

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Church Family,

 In a few weeks, we will gather together for a Night of Worship on Friday night, April 20th at 6:30 pm. This night marks the date of Good Friday, which is the reason for our gathering. We will come together on this evening to contemplate that Cross that Jesus died on. We will look deeply at our sins which put Him on the cross. We will sing, pray, respond together. This will be a powerful evening and I pray that you and your family will make plans to attend!

But before we get to that night, have you ever asked the question, why do we call it “Good Friday?” We are contemplating Jesus’ death on this night. Why don’t we call it “Bad Friday?” The cross was a dark event, which lead to Jesus’ death and his suffering. So it’s understandable if you’ve ever wondered, why is it so good? What makes it good? Well I believe we find the answer in the person of Jesus, and his purpose on Earth. This was no ordinary man who died on that cross. But who was Jesus? We know and believe this to be true - That Jesus was God in the flesh, who knew no sin, and became sin in our behalf. Through Jesus’ death, we find life. Good Friday begins the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. On Friday, Jesus was put to death. And he would have stayed there, if he would have remained in death, this would have been a very bad Friday.

But we know that this Friday, led to Sunday, the greatest day in the history of the world. Jesus rose. He defeated death. He defeated sin. Sin and death had power no longer. Praise be to God for his power through His son! This is very good news for us. While we were dead in our sins, God made us alive through His son Jesus. But in order for that to happen, Jesus had to go to the cross on Friday. He willingly suffered and died, for us.

So where does this leave us now? On Good Friday, we will contemplate the cross together. We will contemplate our sin. We will look at our sins, which placed Him on the cross. And God willing, we will contemplate Jesus, who He is, and we will respond and turn to Him through worship and repentance. And all of this leads to Sunday, April 21st, when we will gather together on  Easter morning, and celebrate what made Friday so good. Jesus is not dead. He is alive. And we worship a risen savior. I pray you will join us! I love you all, and I will see you on Sunday!

In Christ,

Posted by Jared Mitchell with

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