With the affluence of technology such as email and text messaging, handwritten letters are quickly growing out of style and practice especially among the younger generation. I myself am included in this and the evidence is in my rapidly deteriorating handwriting. Likewise, as affluent Westerners with access to everything and any anything within the free two-day shipping window through Amazon, our dependence on a sovereign and loving Lord becomes less appealing and necessary. As a result, our prayer life becomes less used and therefore out of style and practice.
However, prayer is not reserved only for the moments when we need something, but rather is best understood in the context of a relationship between you and a Holy God. Although your methods of communication between friends and family have changed, the nature and purpose of your communication has not. We still communicate with those whom we love, need and intimately understand us.
Reignite your prayer life with this encouraging and grace-saturated sermon, “The Practice of Prayer”, from Matthew 6:5-15.
If you’re anything like me, I want to be on the winning team, or at the very least, rooting for the winning team. I like to win as much as anyone else. I don’t consider myself a sore-loser, but seriously, who really enjoys losing? I can lose and still respect the winning team, but I would rather be standing in their shoes, basking in the glory of victory by overcoming the opposition.
Our walk of faith and approach to God is often pitted in a win-lose situation. We struggle to walk by faith because we doubt God’s ability to win the battles of adversity, hardship and suffering we encounter in our lives. We assume because we encounter trials, struggles and pain, somehow we have already lost. But have we even watched a single game of football in our life? Pain is part of the game. Whether you win or you lose, you are bound to take a hard hit as part of the struggle to reign victoriously at the end of the fourth quarter. Our problem is simple: we doubt God’s ability to win the battles in our life despite the necessary pain that comes with winning in a fallen world.
If you need encouragement today over the battles in your life, then hear this: God always wins! The following is Part 2 of a sermon series looking at the life of King Hezekiah.
Just the other day my son snapped a new toy of his in half. It was a small motorcycle that he was enjoying “zooming” along every piece of furniture that he could find. He apparently became curious to discover how the plastic parts came together, and well, because he’s only two and half years old, *snap*. There’s no denying that we live in a world where things break. Nothing is meant to last. My attempt to fix the toy with superglue was only a temporary solution until my son decided to test the strength of the glue.
Even our very lives are immortal and fragile, subject to the crushing weight of struggle, pain, suffering and sin. There isn’t enough superglue, surgeries, treatment plans, diets or counseling sessions in this world that can truly and fully restore our lives from our fallen condition. Only in the power of the gospel can true redemption be found. The following is Part 1 of a sermon looking at the life of King Hezekiah and learning the lesson that God does restore broken lives.
Our modern affluent lives revolve around the things that fill us up. Coffee, Netflix, sports, dinner parties, weekend getaways, smartphones and shopping. We long to be filled with something that promises power and purpose in our lives, but these things always fall short and last only for a moment. Thankfully, God has already provided a perfectly fulfilling power and purpose that begins today and lasts for eternity – the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not some cheap digital app that’s meant to improve our lives by helping us become more productive, organized or healthy. The Holy Spirit is God’s eternal power, purpose and promise given to every believer in Jesus Christ.
I’m proud to be part of a church that is intentionally seeking out missional partnerships and breaking down barriers that would typically divide rather than unite. Despite some of our differences, we’re united in the core principles of the faith and our commitment to the true gospel as given to us in Scripture. However, the church as a whole hasn’t had a great run historically speaking. It’s safe to say that our divisions have helped foster disbelief among a watching community and world. Look no further than the two churches that sit next door to one another and never talk, discuss, collaborate or exchange a friendly wave in front of a watching world to sense the lack of community and love that we Christians love to brag about.
Unity for the sake of unity is not a sufficient response. Instead, we need to look beyond the superficial and see the true means and purpose for unity among gospel-centered churches in a world that is craving a sense of meaning and belonging more than any other time in history. The gospel unites God’s people and his church so that the world may believe.
If there is one thing that I’ve learned over the years, it’s that we were made for community. We need others to laugh with, cry with, complain with, bond with and just to be with. However, it’s true when they say “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Who we live with often determines the person we become.
The role of a gospel-preaching church is to encourage and equip others to live in a vibrant community that is centered on the very message of hope and the pursuit of holiness that can only be found in Jesus Christ. We need communities that are committed, loving, gracious, truth-telling and redemptive. We need communities that are focused on the gospel.
If you’ve ever felt discouraged, weary or tired in your journey of faith, know that you’re not alone! This message from Psalm 134 will be an encouragement to you and your faith, irregardless if you’re just getting started, been on the journey for a long time, or have completely fallen off the track. Know that God has already finished the race and promises to carry you through to the end!
This message was recorded at Grace Community Bible Church on November 26, 2014.