Follow (Week 7): “Following Jesus Transforms Everyday Life!”

Main Scriptures:  Mark 1:17, 1 John 2:6, & Mark 5:1-20
 
Big Word #2 is “FOLLOW!” A guiding image of this series is the children’s game: “follow the leader.”  
 
Who are we to follow? A politician, a celebrity pastor, a sports hero or famous actor, a favorite author or musician… There is no end of the list of people who want you to “follow” them, but there is only one invitation that transforms everyday life. There are so many people making promises, but only One who can deliver on all His promises! Listen to Jesus’ invitation to FOLLOW. Listen closely because it comes with a promise: “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men'” (Mark 1:17).  
 
Jesus invites us to become His disciple/apprentice/learner. Jesus’ call to those original fishermen was pretty obvious. Jesus stood there and looked them in the eyes… in response they dropped their nets and followed Jesus, meaning they walked where He walked, learned what He taught, ate what He ate, and tried to do what He did. A disciple is a person who FOLLOWS Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior.
 
We see this clearly taught by John in 1 John 2:6, “By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:5b, 6).  
 
To follow is to be on a journey with Jesus, one step at a time. In the church, we call this discipleship. Discipleship is simply the process of becoming… of being under construction… Discipleship is a life-long journey of a person following Jesus to become more and more like Jesus Christ from the inside out. The invitation of Jesus Christ is to “Follow Me” and the promise of Jesus is that He will transform us along the way. Jesus transforms us as we follow Him, but He also transforms the world around us [how?] through us!
 
Following Jesus transforms everyday life! Last week, the elders discussed with us the importance of leading like Jesus Christ. They talked about how we are to lead like Jesus in the church, but they also talked about how we are to live like Jesus in everyday life. Scott Underwood, one of our elders, introduced three points about what it looks like to walk like Jesus. Jesus is practical, intentional, and relational as He walks with us.  
 
Following Jesus transforms everyday life! We live differently when we are practically, intentionally, and relationally following Jesus Christ. Because every time you attempt to practically follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit asks you do something for someone in the real world. Because every time you attempt to intentionally follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit is going to lead you into a very real situation to show that God is real too. Because every time you attempt to relationally follow Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is going to ask you to love a real person who you can see and touch, and who is possibly not as easy to love as the God you cannot see but claim to be following. The rubber must meet the road somewhere and with someone if we are truly following Jesus.
 
Following Jesus transforms everyday life! Now, let’s take a snapshot of Jesus’ life to see what it looks like to be practical, intentional, and relational. Please turn with me to Mark 5 to watch Jesus at work.  
 
Read Mark 5:1-15. Jesus starts by meeting the practical needs of the man who was stuck in his lifestyle. This means we practically meet people in their daily needs and concerns. In the counseling ministry that I am blessed with here in New Castle, this means that when I can I help people with their “presenting problem” before I go to their deeper need. We all have “presenting problems”, but we don’t all have the same ones. I very intentionally try to help people where they are. Yes, all people are in need of Jesus, but let’s treat them like individuals (relationally) and build a bridge (intentionally) into their lives because each person is made in the image of God who deserves basic human dignity. People feel looked over when we go straight to our evangelical agenda and don’t meet them where they are.
 
Let me illustrate from Mark 5 by looking at what Jesus did in this story: “Presenting problems” can be ugly! The needs of this man were very off-putting (to anyone!). Mark 5:2-5 describes, “When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.”
 
The “presenting problem” was dealt with as evidenced by Mark 5:15: “They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the ‘legion’; and they became frightened.”  
 
You’ve heard it said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It’s true! This is why we must be intentional. We must know why we do what we do. We are building stronger bridges between us and others for Jesus!
 
Listen to the story as it continues, from Mark 5:16-18, “Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. And they began to implore Him to leave their region. As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him.” While the city was more concerned about the swine and their economic well-being, Jesus had a bigger purpose in mind. Jesus got a foothold (e.g. D-Day beach head) into the town that rejected Him. He left as they asked him, but not in defeat or by their leave! Jesus left the man behind to do that which only a man of the town could do (This was D-Day and Jesus knew V-Day was coming). Just because you aren’t called to the other side of the globe doesn’t mean you aren’t called to the work of missions.
 
You have heard me say that the Kingdom of God is a relational kingdom. Did you notice that Jesus sends us to do His work even in places He has been disinvited? Listen to the conclusion of this story from Mark 5:18-20, “As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. And He did not let him, but He said to him, ‘Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.” But this is not the real end of the story! Jesus did not deny this man’s request out of exclusion, but for the sake of this man becoming a human bridge between himself and others for Jesus! He was the foothold!
 
This one formerly demon-possessed man would go on to impact his town and the whole region. Matthew 4:25 teaches us that later, “Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan” (cf. Mark 7:31-37). You are called to transform your everyday world by being practical, intentional, and relational. What does this look like? Husbands help with the dishes. Wives say thank you and tell them they did a great job. Children love your parents. Parents listen to your kids and do not provoke them to anger. We are commanded to love one another in practical ways. You can make a difference!
 
The mission of God may begin around your kitchen table, but it must leave the building. Just like at church, the mission of God may begin with the people in your pew or small group, but you shouldn’t contain your love for Jesus by keeping it inside the four walls. Christ sends us to those in our homes, churches, workplaces, schools, sports and hobbies, neighborhoods and communities. There are no boundaries for Jesus when He has you! You are the foothold in the schools, workplaces, government, clubs and organizations, families…
 
As we leave the four walls of our homes and churches, go and love your neighbors by being a blessing and not a curse. Bring thriving to our community be helping people along the way. Show the world that God loves them by you loving them in practical, intentional, and relational ways. Keep your eyes open to the needs that are presenting themselves. Meet “presenting problems” in order to build a strong bridge into the person’s life.
 
Let us, the people of God, build stronger bridges, not higher walls.
 
Why?
 
Because that is what Jesus Christ did for us when He went to the cross. Jesus is the bridge back to God. He is the mediator between sinful humanity and a holy God. As we follow Jesus, let’s strengthen that bridge by the way we follow Jesus in everyday ways.
 
 
Listen to it here.
 
 
November 25th, the last of this series, is the Thanksgiving Table of Blessings hosted by Pastor Ken each year.  It is a time of sharing from members who have many reasons to give thanks to God!
Listen to it here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read more...

Follow (Week 6): Lead Like Jesus

The Elder Team
Mark 1:17 & 1 John 2:6

Chris Logan

Welcome A story about Daniel. With that welcome I know that the term “elders” has been a touchy subject at various times in our 110 year history There are many pragmatic/practical reasons a church might have elders.
  • Help the pastors carry the burden of pastoral ministry
  • Bring a variety of expertise through various ages, experiences to bear on the issues every pastor faces
  • To hold the pastors and each other accountable
The list can go on and on of the helping ministries elders can perform according to each person’s abilities
With that said I would briefly like to share what the Bible says about Biblical eldership.  I would say the best and only reason to have elders in a New Testament church is that the New Testament says to.
 
Titus 1:5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you.
 
Acts 15:12 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.
 
Acts 14:23 When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed
 
Ephesian’s 4:12-13 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
 
1 Peter 5:1-4 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
 
There are many more passages that speak to the New Testament church and being elder lead.
FBC exercises a plurality of elders (def.; more than one) if anyone or group would like to discuss these Scriptures please reach out to us, none of us know what you are thinking unless you tell us.
 
We have open elder meetings the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 anyone is welcome
 
Closing:  Peter and Paul remind us that the churches we shepherd are not our own. We are overseers of Gods church, God’s flock. And so it is God’s Word that must have the final say. Jesus created the church. He died for the church. He is its only King and law giver. If we are committed to shepherding Christ’s church, and not our own, then we must be willing to do it his way.
 

Ed Bell

 
(This is a brief outline of what Ed shared)
When I was much younger I was shot by Debbie’s former boyfriend.
I grew to hate that man for what he did to Debbie and me.
You can’t follow Jesus if you hate someone!
Corey Ten Boom struggled with many things in life, one of which was fleas.  She learned to love fleas when God used them to keep the Germans from finding a hidden bible.  She also struggled with burdens in her life that were too big for her.  Her father taught her to let him handle those burdens.  He was built for them, she was not.
 
We try to carry burdens that are too heavy for us.  Like forgiving those who persecute us.  Those who hurt the ones we love.
G. Gordon Liddy says there are two kinds of people in prison and they are both stupid.  The convicts who deserve to be there and the prison guards.  The convicts did stupid things to get there.  The guards voluntarily choose to be there in a high-risk situation for minimum wage.  They choose to go to prison every day.  They are more stupid.
 
When I hold a grudge against someone who did something stupid I  “go to their prison every day” I am being stupid.  I am being more stupid than the person who hurt me.  When I carry that burden, I am shaming my Father who wants to carry it for me.  I am not built to carry that kind of burden.  I need to give it to Him.
 

Scott Underwood

(Scott did not get to share all of this because of limited time:)
Jesus was
Practical – met people in their daily needs and concerns, which lead into spiritual needs
Intentional – Jesus went where people were, specifically for the reason to engage them
Relational – Jesus acted in ways and used circumstances to build deep relationships with people.
 
Calling of Simon and Peter, James and John – from their boats –Matthew 4: 18-22
Calling of Matthew and Zaccheus – from the tax tables – Matthew 9: 9-13, Luke 19: 1-10
 
Practical, then Relational
Washing of the feet – John 13: 1-20
Cooking them breakfast – John 21: 1-22
 
Practical, transactional, but life changing and relationship starting
Woman at the well – John 4: 1-26
Healing lepers – Matthew 8: 1 -4.  Healed him, encouraged him to follow God’s commands
Restoring sight – John 9: 1-38
 
Scott shared about how he saw a man who looked destitute looking through a dumpster. he imagined getting out of his car, talking with the man, sharing the gospel, giving him some money and helping him on his way.  It was probably the Holy Spirit nudging him, but Scott never got out of his car.  He drove on.  Then he called on Tim to share a better example…
 
Tim Martin shared how God nudged him to pray for a lady he say in a restaurant.  He fought the urging for quite a while – until it was almost too late.  But he obeyed…and God blessed him and the lady (and her husband).
 

Daniel Kinnaird

(Outline)
Passage: Philippians 2:5-8
– Jesus patterned his life and leadership in a way that is completely the opposite of they way our culture teaches us to live.
– Temptation of power: most of us believe that we leverage power to accomplish important goals and causes.
– Example: daydreaming about winning the lottery — I dream about everything I might accomplish if I had power, authority, and money.
– These methods are flawed because we are broken people. We are corrupted by our own pursuits of worth, confidence, and value in the eyes of others.
– These methods are not the way of Jesus.
– christian leaders (and christian people) will look very different than the world if they pattern their lives from Jesus.
– The way of the christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross” -Henri Nouwen
– Leadership in the church moves from leadership built on power and into a leadership in which we listen and discern together where God is leading his people. It requires deep trust in God and trust in brothers/sisters in Christ.
 
(This is a summary by admin)
Philippians 2:5-8  You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,  but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.  He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross!
 
What kind of blueprint for life or leadership is this?  It is not a good one!  Who starts at the top with all the power and say that is not the way I want to lead my life?  The temptation for power, the temptation to feel important and be important is real.   I have been high and I have been lower than low.
 
I have been in places we would consider unimportant.  We all want to escape that kind of situation!  We all dream of being in a different place.  If only we had money, power and authority, we would do such good things.  That seems to be the reality of all of our lives.
 
But the way of Jesus is different.  His way is in opposition to money and power.  He voluntarily laid aside His God-hood and that is the invitation to all of us in our life and in our leadership.  Whether we carry a title or not we are all leaders:  of our lives, in our families, our friend-groups, in the places we work, and at school.  We influence ourselves and we influence others.
 
The way of Jesus is not the way of humans.  It’s not our way.  There is an author that I love who said, “The way of the Christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross.”
 
The way of Jesus ends in death.  We talk about it figuratively like death to ourselves, death to our dreams, we lay that down for the sake of Jesus.  I think Jesus actually lived it literally.  I don’t like to think about it that way.  I really don’t!  It’s hard to think about that.  But that was the way of the one that we follow.
 
So I want to encourage all of us, as we live our lives, to look and to read scripture and model our lives after Jesus who lived lived completely differently – upsettingly differently than the way that we live our lives.  I want to invite all of us, including the leaders and elders to live in a way that sets down power and authority and trades it for love!    That we voluntarily forsake what seems to make sense, what would give us leverage to accomplish awesome things, good causes…that we lay that down in order to follow Jesus.
 
Because leadership built on power is not the way of Jesus and it can’t be the way we lead in the church.  We need to move from leadership built on power to leadership in which we discern together where God is leading His people.  That requires trusting each other and it requires humbly seeking God’s face in everything that we do.
 
Daniel then shared how God is pulling him out of being an elder and into Young Life where he can minister to young people.  He sees the leadership of Jesus in the hearts of those who work there.  They don’t do it perfectly because this is hard, but he sees how they sacrificially give of their time, that they lay down the power to love other people, make time for other people and make space in their lives to love other people who are sometimes very difficult to love.
 
Chris Logan then closes with a few comments.
 
Listen to it here.
 
 

Read more...

Follow (Week 5): Life On Mission

Pastor Jerry Ingalls & The Mission Team (Tiffany Lee)

Luke 19:1-10

 
Pastor Jerry shares about following Jesus and living Life On Mission. He shares from the story of Jesus calling Zaccheus to change his life. Tiffany Lee shares from the mission team for the National Day of Prayer and some upcoming events for the church sponsored by the Mission Team.
 
  1.  An introduction by Pastor Jerry Ingalls about being on Mission by Following Jesus.
  2.  Pastor Jerry shares about Zaccheus’ story of transformation when Jesus looked up and called him.
  3. Tiffany Lee then shared the following:
 
  • Pray for the persecuted brothers and sisters. Pakistan

 New Study Opportunity

WURMBRAND

The Voice of the Martyrs

Starting: Sunday January 6,2019

Time: 9am-10am

About: This is a six-session video(Tortured for Christ) curriculum based on the lives of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand. That will help you be equipped and encouraged to become as bold as the Wurmbrands were themselves. Be inspired by the examples of the Wurmbrands and other persecuted believers as you learn to love and forgive your enemies and become bold witnesses for Christ. Through prayer, Bible study and purposeful fellowship with other believers, you will begin to see opportunities for the advancement of God’s kingdom all around you – even amid your own trials and tragedies. https://www.persecution.com/graphics/lp_specific/lp_201809_GS_trailer_preview.mp4

  • Missions Trip to Dominican Republic 2019

June 29th-July9th

Next meeting; November 27 @ 6pm

Location: Sandy Jones home

Deposit Extension Date: Nov. 18th

$200.00 Non-refundable deposit

Please contact Sandy Jones @ 765-524-4912

 

  • Matthew 28:19-20

            Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of age.

  • Acts 1:8

            But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

  • Romans 10:13-14

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

  • Chronicles 16:23
Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day
 
Listen to it here.
 
 

Read more...

Follow (Week 4): The Love Language of Jesus

Key Verses:  Mark 1:17-18; I John 2:5-6; John 13:4-15
 
SAVE THE DATE:  Saturday, October 19, 2019: 5 Love Languages Conference with Gary Chapman here at FBC.
 
 
 
 

In case you are not familiar with the 5 love languages that are described in Chapman’s book, they are

  1. Gifts
  2. Quality Time;
  3. Words of Affirmation
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch.
 
The first book focuses on the marriage relationship, but he has done follow up books to help us understand how to talk with our teens and children.
 
So from where did he draw his examples? The Bible. And who was his greatest example? JESUS! Think about it. Here is just a few examples” He gave the gift of healing to the blind man (John 9:1-12); He gave quality time to the disciples (John 3:22); He gave words of affirmation to the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-26); He served the disciples by washing their feet (Matthew 26:14-39); and He wanted people to know He was approachable by telling the disciples to let the children come to Him to hold them and bless them (Luke 18:15-17).
 
Over the last three weeks, we have heard that we are not to follow a “brand” or denomination, but we are to follow Christ!
 
We are to know that we can’t do this on our own, but need to listen to and live our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.
 

We are to be people of prayer and in communication with our Heavenly Father so that He can reveal to us what His will is for our lives. We even heard Jesus’ own words in John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.”

 

Reading Mark 1:17-18Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”  And they left their nets at once and followed him.

 

They didn’t hem and haw…at once they left! He didn’t hand them a manual to tell them what His plans were, they followed in faith.   Reading 1 John 2:5-6:  “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”

John had walked with Jesus, followed Him and His teachings, and knew what it meant to remain in his faith in Christ, even during the tough times.
 

So what love language of Jesus stands out the most to me? READ: John 13:4-15

 

Jesus put into action exactly what He had been teaching, showing, living out in front of the disciples as the final exclamation point before He would give His life on the cross! He had even given them a heads up about this after they had heard His parable about the workers in the vineyard. James & John’s mother came to talk with Jesus. They thought He was going to establish His kingdom here on earth by removing the Roman regime, and she wanted to make sure that her boys held good positions when Jesus took over. But He set them straight very quickly.

 

Matthew 20:25-28 “But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”   His kingdom is a kingdom of love and He showed us how we are to live.   You have heard it said that actions speak louder than words…that the world will know that you care when you show that you care.  The Bible even says  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”   (John 13:35)

 

But it can’t be one without the other.  It is BOTH AND…in word and in deed.

 

READ Colossians 3:12-17 We are all different, not just in skin color, or gender, but in upbringing and personalities.  I am thankful for that diversity! The body of Christ would be boring if we were all the same! But the one thing that brings us together so we can live in unity is the love of Jesus. God loved us so much that He sent His greatest gift, His Son, to the world, for each and every one of us. He desires for us to spend quality time with Him in our prayer and bible study time. He uses the written words of the Bible and the Holy Spirit to speak words of affirmation into our lives. He asks us to be His hands and feet to carry out the acts of service and be the physical presence to give a hand up or a hug when someone needs it.

 
We are not to be selfish in living our lives for what we want, but we are to surrender our lives to God and be selfless as we strive to be more like Jesus in our daily lives.
 
Paul writes it best in Galatians 5:13-14

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.  For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Please understand that these are God’s words to us today! If we say that we are a follower of Jesus Christ, then we have to show it in everything that we do. There are many rich people who do good things, but many times, it is not truly costing them anything. We are called to “put some skin into the game”, and to live life with one another while reaching out to a world that is lost and dying without hope.

 
Listen to it here.
 

Read more...

Follow (Week 3): Pray Like Jesus!

KEY VERSES:  Mark 1:17 & 1 John 2:6
 
Big Word #2 is “FOLLOW!” A guiding image of this series is the children’s game: “follow the leader.”
 
It’s important that we review some of the basics. Not just for those who are just joining us, but because there are basics that we all must be reminded of every week. Such as answering the question…
 
Who are we to follow? To whose invitation are we responding?
  • A pastor, a worship leader, a personality or a style…
  • A group of friends… A cultural (tribal) pressure…
  • A denomination or brand loyalty… Family and tradition…
  • A cause to champion… A bandwagon to jump on…
 
We are invited to FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST! Listen to Jesus’ invitation to FOLLOW: “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men'” (Mark 1:17)

 

What does it look like to follow Jesus?

 

Jesus invites us to become His disciple/apprentice/learner. Jesus’ call to those original fishermen was pretty obvious. Jesus stood there and looked them in the eyes… in response they dropped their nets and followed Jesus, meaning they walked where He walked, learned what He taught, ate what He ate, and tried to do what He did. A disciple is a person who FOLLOWS Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior.
 
We see this clearly taught by John in 1 John 2:6, “By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:5b, 6).
 
To follow is to be on a journey with Jesus, one step at a time. In the church, we call this discipleship. Discipleship is simply the process of becoming… of being under construction… Discipleship is a life-long journey of a person following Jesus to become more and more like Jesus Christ from the inside out. The invitation of Jesus Christ is to “Follow Me” and the promise of Jesus is that He will transform us along the way. This is the promise of the Holy Spirit who we learned last week is our Helper. As Jesus taught in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” The Holy Spirit has some tried and true ways to do this work in us and Jesus modeled it for us. He led the way. We are invited to follow Jesus…
 

Jesus modeled definite patterns of prayer in his life and ministry.

 
The goal of our prayer life is not to gain credits to our account. Never forget, God credits (imputes) his favor to your account by grace, not by works. When you accept the invitation to follow Jesus, you come into relationship with Him. Now, prayers are one of the ways to know Jesus better, to talk to Him. You know what it is to want to talk to someone when you are in love; prayer has the same heart, the desire for intimacy—to know and to be known.
 

Over 45 passages in the Gospels record how Jesus often slipped away to pray and there are four simple principles about prayer that can be learned from Jesus’ definite patterns of prayer. Always remember that our goal is to develop a lifestyle of prayer in which we continually share our heart with God; to know Him better.

 

1. Jesus prayed before the important events and decisions of His life.

The Gospel of Luke 6:12-13 records, “It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles.”

Are there any decisions we should make apart from prayer? What is the role of prayer in every aspect of your life, your work, and the places of your responsibilities? How do we make it a pattern of our lives to pray before we make decisions?
 

2. Jesus prayed after the significant achievements of His life.

The Gospel of Matthew 14:22-23 witnesses of what Jesus did after the miracle of feeding the five thousand, “Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.”

Do you pray as much after the time of crisis or achievement as before the events? Do you schedule special times of prayer after you have fulfilled significant responsibilities? Why is this important?
 

3. Jesus prayed when life was unusually busy.

The Gospel of Mark 1:35 demonstrates, “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”

Professor at Moody Bible Seminary, Dr. Bill Thrasher states, “Time alone with God can be one of the greatest time-savers of your life.” How does your personal experience line up with this sentiment, if not practice? What happens to you when you let your busyness take over your heart and mind? How do you invest your time? Do you know the difference between what is urgent and what is important?
 

4. Jesus prayed when He was overwhelmed with need.

The Gospel of Matthew 9:35-38 illustrates Jesus’ lifestyle of prayer and how we are to imitate Him by His own command, “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.’”

No one ever just decides to be a person of prayer. God awakens people to this lifestyle through their sense of needs and through a burden or broken heart for the needs surrounding them. Has God awakened this in you? What burdens you? Where is God breaking your heart?
 
 
Following Jesus means we press into the lifestyle of Jesus Christ. We are to imitate Jesus, and this includes in our most private and personal of places, including our prayer life. Let us end our time this morning by praying together as the Lord Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV): “Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
 
Listen to it here.
 

Read more...

Follow (Week 2): Jesus Followed Someone, Too!

KEY VERSES:  Mark 1:17 & 1 John 2:6   Big Word #2 is “FOLLOW!” Last week, I introduced the image of the children’s game, “follow the leader.” Who are we to follow? To whose invitation are we responding?

  • A pastor, a worship leader, a personality or a style…
  • A group of friends… A cultural (tribal) pressure…
  • A denomination or brand loyalty… Family and tradition…
  • A cause to champion… A bandwagon to jump on…

We are invited to FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST! Listen to Jesus’ invitation to FOLLOW:   “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men'” (Mark 1:17)   Read more…


Read more...

Follow (Week 1): Respond to Jesus’ Invitation!

KEY VERSES:  Mark 1:17 & 1 John 2:6       Big Word #2 is “FOLLOW!” [opening illustration: Have you ever played follow the leader?]   We have learned the importance of why God GATHERS us. We are His Church—the ones who have been gathered by God’s grace, out of the world and into a peculiar community of God’s people. We come by an invitation…an invitation to FOLLOW!   Who are we to follow? To whose invitation are we responding?

  • A pastor, a worship leader, a personality or a style…
  • A group of friends… A cultural (tribal) pressure…
  • A denomination or brand loyalty… Family and tradition…
  • A cause to champion… A bandwagon to jump on…

We are invited to FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST! Listen to Jesus’ invitation to FOLLOW:

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men'” (Mark 1:17)   Read more…


Read more...
^