Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Morning Musings ...

Yesterday was a hectic day that had some great moments. In fact it was another very good day. The hectic was that we returned to have Sunday School on Sunday mornings so schedules were thrown off and there was a lot of scrambling to be done, mainly by me. I had gotten used to the pattern when Sunday School was not in the morning and I just forgot how different my own schedule was on those mornings. So I was sprinting more than usual.

Worship went well. We were missing half of our band. A couple of them were out of town on trips and another got paged for a fire run a little before the service began. People seemed rather lethargic as the service began, but got more engaged as the service continued. I was really moved as watched our worship team leading us and realized that half of them were teens. We nearly always have some teens in our worship teams, but this time it just really touched and encouraged me. God is really doing some great things in our youth ministry. Jody and I had a great conversation with a teen on Saturday who is really seeking to do what God desires.

The message was part 2 of a 5 part series (those who know me well are aware that the length of a series is always subject to change). The series is entitled "Changeover", in seeking to know, understand and do the changes God is desiring of us to do his will. Our foundation is Isaiah 43:14-44:5. In review: your focus determines where you will go and how you will live. We are to focus on what God is doing now. We are to focus on God's perception not our selfish perceptions and we are to focus on being ready to follow God's way.

To be ready to follow God's way will require that we are following God's disciplines. This week we focused on reading God's Word and prayer. God keeps reminding us of his words. In our foundations passage there are 3 verses that say "this is what the Lord says", and another that asks you to "review" with him. God has already given you the answers in his Word. But we must read the Word to find the answers. You cannot depend solely on someone else teaching them to you. The challenge was to read the Bible everyday and to read all of it within the next 1 or 2 years. Most people who claim to follow Christ rarely read their Bible outside of attending church. That won't cut it. I shared several different Bible reading plans from which people could choose. The bottom line is get in the Word. Start with a little, because I know that the more of the Bible you read the more you will want to read.

We also focused on the discipline of prayer. I mean really praying about the needs and concerns in your life and the lives of those everywhere. Prayer is a conversation with God and a conversation is not a monolog (that doesn't look right, is that how it is spelled?). There must be listening as well as talking. We listen as we read the Bible and we listen for his still small voice while we pray. This is a personal and corporate need. The challenge is to pray everyday. How long is not the critical factor in your praying, however the more you pray the more you will want to pray. Some tips that help me: Write it down. I do much better when I write, or type, my pray list. I guess the visual helps cement it for me. Find a spot that is somewhat a regular spot, a chair, a room, a closet, a tree, the spot doesn't matter but it helps to focus you on praying. Find a time for some regular prayer. Without scheduling it you are less likely to continue it. However, don't be limited by your spot or time, but be in an attitude of prayer. Be specific in your prayers, then you can really see God at work. Make sure you are including praises. Share some of your prayers and needs with others. If you say it is only private then it is easier to not do it because no one knows. Pray for others more than yourself, this includes praying around the world. I have also been very encouraged this past year by having a day (or time) each week for some extended prayer. I have dramatically increased my prayer life this past year because of having a time of extended prayer nearly every week.

Will you accept the challenges? If so, when? Don't just say yes and leave it. If you say yes then answer the question of when you will begin. Otherwise you are not likely to to actually do it. I am praying for you as you accept the challenges this week.


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