Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pray Always Again

Last Wednesday I closed our evening prayer service with a challenge to pray on a more frequent basis. We should set aside specific times of prayer on a regular basis, but I was calling for us to live in a conscience state of prayer. Practically this means to pray before, after and even during all activities of life. For example, before you turn on the television pray, as the program continues pray, and when the program concludes pray.

The prayer may be like this, “Lord thank you for television.” Or, “lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.” The prayer may be, “You are an awesome God, this glorious world is just a shadow of your glory.”

The point of the matter is to incorporate prayer as a regular part of your life. There are a number of practical benefits to living life in constant prayer. Below are a few of the benefits that immediately thought of, and I am sure you could add more.

1. Obey God’s command to pray always (1 Thess. 5:17)

2. Protects you from sinful activity (Matt. 6:13)

3. Creates an awareness of God (Heb. 11:6)

4. Allows you to be thankful (1 Thess. 5:18)

5. Minimizes selfishness (Phil 2:3)

6. Helps to prioritize activities (Eph. 5:16)

7. Reminds you that all things should be done for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31)

"praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—" (Ephesians 6:18, NKJV)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pray Always

"pray without ceasing," (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV)

Recently I heard a message on prayer by John Piper. He states that prayer is intentionally conveying a message to God. Piper was very careful with the wording of this statement. He went on to explain that prayer is not necessarily talking because at times conveying a message to God may be not much more than a groan (Romans 8:26). Prayer is not communicating to God because usually communication conveys a two sided conversation. Prayer is addressing God. God addresses us through His Word. Finally the concept of intentionality is important because we constantly address God through our action and attitudes. We may act like He is not important in our behavior, but we are not intentionally trying to send that message. I think Piper provides an excellent definition of prayer.

In the middle of his sermon Piper also said something that caused me to think about prayer a little differently. He said that he would hope people would be in such constant prayer that they prayed before and after every event in their life. Examples were given such as “begin each email with prayer and end it in prayer.” Or “begin watching television by praying and ending by praying.” That is a radical way of living that is worth pursuing. I am not sure to what degree we can actually function in life by adopting that principle, but I sure think it would be worth a try.

Tonight in our prayer meeting I intend to challenge our folks at LABC to consider adopting the aforementioned advice on how they can pray always. I may add that we should not only begin and end events with prayer, but we should also pray during whatever we are engaged in. Perhaps if we followed that model we may actually fulfill the command to “pray without ceasing” from time to time. What do you think?

Monday, March 24, 2008


I just sent an electronic card to a friend of mine. One of the great things about communicating electronically is that you can send cards and letters at the spur of the moment or when you are thinking about someone or a particular situation.

A good friend of mine is dealing with job pressures so I sent him an e-mail of encouragement. In the card I referenced John 14:27 where Jesus said:

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

This is one of those passages that we know is true, yet we have trouble believing. No not trouble believing it to be true in our intellect but rather our in our emotions. In John 14 Jesus was preparing His disciples for life without His direct physical presence. Instead Jesus confirmed to His disciples that He would ensure that they would be directly comforted by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:16-17, NKJV)

The difficulties that you are experiencing may be very troubling. Jesus has promised to provide peace to His disciples. If you are not experiencing peace in the midst of whatever storm you have to endure at this time I encourage you to call on God and pray that He will enable you to see the sunshine of His smiling face through the storms of providence.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

"This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." (2 Timothy 2:11-13, NKJV)

Good Friday is of course the day that many commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross. He paid the sin penalty of all those who through faith died with Him. Good Friday is good not only because Jesus paid the penalty but He triumphed over sin on Sunday.

This Sunday is called Easter Sunday. A better term would be Resurrection Sunday. The resurrection of Christ is the central element to Christianity. The church has a tendency to focus more on the cross than on the resurrection. The cross is an essential part of our redemption, but if Christ did not rise from the dead on Sunday then the cross would be a meaningless act.

"And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!" (1 Corinthians 15:17, NKJV)

Good Friday is good because Jesus has risen from the dead!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Creation Museum

This week our oldest daughter, a junior, had spring break. We decided to redeem the time by visiting the Creation Museum just outside of Cincinnati.

The museum and it was impressive. You can see that they are still adding features and exhibits, but the displays they had available were well worth the visit. Apparently you can enter the front of the museum and watch a twenty minute video presentation with theatrical effects for no cost. You do not present your tickets to the museum until you enter the corridor leading to the displays.

The multi sensory film was worth the price of admission. They tastefully challenged the basic assumptions of evolution and posited creationism as a more sensible solution to answer the questions concerning our origin. The show was in the “men in white” theater. Two young angels dressed in white overalls presented the on screen rebuttal in a very creative way. This is a must see for any teenager subjected to the presuppositions of evolution.

As we continued through the various exhibits I noticed that they were well organized and helped to affirm the positions of creationism. The Noah’s Ark display was very intriguing. A portion of the Ark under construction was shown that helped one get a better feeling of how immense it was. In addition they had several smaller models that helped provide some perspective. The room also included some interactive items such as a touch screen computer for demonstration purposes.

The replicas of the various dinosaurs were well done. Throughout the various exhibits the explanations for dinosaurs and their ultimate extinction was clearly presented. The items on display were factually based and then referenced in Scripture. In fact the whole museum was a treasure trove of Biblical truth.

At this time the displays would be more appropriate for middle school children and upwards. I was told by some of the staff that they are working on more elementary displays with hands on experiences.

We stayed at the Country Inns & Suites which is near the Cincinnati Airport (It is actually in Northern Kentucky). They offered discounted tickets to the museum when we checked in. You may have heard that a lot of people opposed this museum because they taught creationism. But the first thing the hotel asked us when we checked in was if we were going to the museum. We soon discovered that most of the people here at this hotel at least while we were here went to the museum.

Perhaps they may have had a little less opposition if they realized how much this would boost the economy around here…then again maybe not. You really would not want young people realizing they actually were not a result of arbitrary forces or that there is actually purpose and meaning to this life? Or would you?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sabbath Day

"“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates." (Exodus 20:8-10, NKJV)

On Sunday evenings at LABC we have been going through the Gospel of John verse by verse. This week we are in chapter 5. This chapter in John marks a new tone in the book of John. From now on the intense conflict Jesus has with the Jews begins to simmer till it boils over at Calvary.

Chapter 5 begins with the healing of a paralytic man. Instead of rejoicing the Jewish elite were furious because Jesus broke their traditional understanding of the Sabbath. They had a misunderstanding of the Sabbath that caused them not only to miss the joy of the healing of this man but more importantly the joy of salvation. We may have expected them to rejoice, but their wickedness cause them to reject Jesus and persecute him even more.

In our day the Sabbath is still misunderstood by many. During the next couple of weeks we will be discussing the Sabbath with particular reference to this occasion in the Gospel of John. Some of the questions we hope to answer this Sunday are as follows:

1. What is the Sabbath?

2. When was the Sabbath Instituted?

3. Should Christians Worship on the Sabbath?

By the way do you know the penalty for breaking the Sabbath? See Numbers 15:32-35

Monday, March 10, 2008

Slow to Anger

Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.

This text is one those that is easier to look at than live. There are a number of things to get angry about and perhaps have a good reason. The kids just broke your favorite keepsake or a person cut you off in traffic or any of a number of myriad of events that just get under your skin. Every day there is something that seems to cause you to be angry.
Developing a genuine and increasing love for people and for God will help us to curtail our anger towards others.

"And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”" (1 Peter 4:8, NKJV)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Heavenly Worship

I went to heaven! Well not exactly. Actually I am in LA at the Shepherds conference which is hosted by John MacArthur and Grace Community Church. The preaching and teaching has been excellent and the worship music has been a foretaste of glory divine. Last night we were treated to a hundred voice choir with a 30 piece orchestra. Listening to God glorifying worship music presented in this excellent fashion has really been a positive motivation.

The congregation was composed of about 3,000 pastors. When it was our opportunity to sing the song of the redeemed hit such a volume that I suppose this was the first time in my life I could barely hear myself sing. My voice was muffled by the sheer volume of my brothers in Christ. I suppose that heaven may sound something like that only louder. To God be the Glory!

"And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation," (Revelation 5:9, NKJV)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On my way to LA

It is an enjoyable experience to get fly out of Chattanooga. The airport here has a really nice terminal. It has been recently remodeled and provides all the amenities one may need at the last minute. The fact that the airport is relatively un-crowded also makes for an enjoyable departure.

I went right through security with no trouble, boarded the plane, and we pushed back from the gate on time. Unfortunately there was a slight delay in our immediate departure, but the pilot assured us we should be airborne in about ten minutes. The ten minutes turned into a little over an hour. One thing the airlines have not learned to control is the weather.

Storms had been moving through our area and had already cleared by the time we boarded, but the storms were just hitting our intermediate destination, Atlanta. All ground traffic was stopped at Atlanta so we would not be allowed to depart till the flow of traffic resumed in Atlanta.

The pilot said that most of us should be able to make our connecting flight because Atlanta should be way behind. I arrived in Atlanta ten minutes prior to the departure of my connecting flight. I would have to hurry but surely my connection would be delayed. When I got to the departure board I found my flight and unfortunately there was no delay posted.

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; was not the first thought that came to my mind. I was in concourse C and had to get to T which is four concourses removed. I stepped into the train and waited. It was only two minutes but it seemed like two hours before the wheels began to turn.

I hopped off the train and headed for the gate. After about three or four minutes I realized that I had turned to the right and should have turned left. I was walking in the wrong direction. I turned around and this time began to run. I can still move pretty well for a fat preacher, but if it was two feet further I am not sure I could have made it. Fortunately 1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing came to my mind.

I arrived at the gate expecting to be waving goodbye to my flight when an attendant noticed the frantic look on my face and asked me if I was going to LA. Out of breath I could only nod in the affirmative. He quickly scanned my ticket and I walked down the entrance ramp to the plane. There were two people in front of me slowly entering the craft. I was last but made it just in time.

Thank you for your prayers now and always. I suppose I just needed a little exercise of both my physical body and my spiritual body.

Monday, March 3, 2008

In God We Trust

Proverbs 21:1 (NKJV) The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

This presidential election seems to be shaping up to be interesting event. At this point it is hard to tell who will come out on top. Some may get a bit discouraged because their favorite candidate is no longer in the running. Or others may feel despondent because they do not see any of the potential nominees as viable.

Regardless of the outcome God is still in control. In the end even if our favorite choice made it all the way to the oval office we certainly would find ourselves disappointed by some of the decisions that are made.

Our currency still retains an excellent motto that reminds us of who is ultimately in charge.

In God We Trust

Saturday, March 1, 2008


"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John," (Revelation 1:1, NKJV)

This Sunday morning we are beginning a new series on the Book of Revelation. The word “Revelation” is from a Greek word meaning unveiling or uncovering. The essence of Revelation is an unveiling of the glory of Jesus Christ.

Many people have a great desire to know the future. The future of this planet including all its inhabitants has been revealed 2000 years ago. That mystery was disclosed to the last surviving apostle. This mystery was given to him to declare to the churches then and now.

John indicates that those who read, understand, and apply this revelation will be blessed indeed.
"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near." (Revelation 1:3, NKJV)

Join us Sunday mornings and receive an extra helping of blessing!