For God's Glory
Throughout our lives we have been so blessed with friendships and ministry opportunities. This blog is meant to show what God has been doing in, for and through us. We do this for the purpose of GLORIFYING GOD and HELPING OTHERS GLORIFY GOD.
Prayer Week 2
In this morning's class, we looked at 1 Thessalonians 5:16 - 25.
Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, and reject every kind of evil.May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
“The Christian life is characterized by the constant, active expression of joy in the Lord—the crucified and risen Lord Jesus. This rejoicing isn’t mainly an emotional high or good feeling. Rather, it means finding our souls satisfied in knowing the one true God and taking pleasure in experiencing His good gifts. It’s noteworthy that Paul addresses believers in Thessalonica that have experienced significant adversity.” [D. A. Carson (2014). Praying with Paul Bible - Study Guide. LifeWay Press.]
Prayer for ministries and the work of the church usually focuses on increased numbers and a smooth event. However, the primary focus should be on spiritual growth and sanctification.
Guaranteed Prayers that will be answered:
Prayers that focus on the glory of God and the growth of believers.
This morning's note page had 12 Reasons You Should Pray Scripture by Andrew Neselli
Here is the article that contains a more detailed explanation of each of the points - www.thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/12-reasons-you-should-pray-scripture/
At the 2023 Church Ministries Conference, I had the privilege to do a workshop on the Church and Parachurch with Rochelle Visser
The basis of the workshop information was birthed out of 9Marks April 2011 journal - "Church and Parachurch: Friends or Foes."
|Click Image for the full journal|
During the workshop, we wanted to share some basic information and also have some discussions with ministry leaders about how to build partnerships. I love the growing, not perfect, relationship Trinity Baptist Church has with various parachurch organizations, so I wanted Rochelle, who actively serves at Trinity and also at Camp Michawana, Bible Club, Community Kids, and various Pro-Life Organizations.
If you want more about the practical side of the workshop, contact Rochelle, or me, or leave a comment on this post.
Some of the topics and issues discussed but not solved were adoption agencies, college campus ministries, and things to consider in doctrinal statements.
Now here are some things shared during the workshop.
The key word to remember as we talk about healthy church and parachurch relationships is PARTNERSHIP.
Here are two descriptions to consider:
- A healthy church is about sharing the Gospel and equipping believers for the glory of God.
- "A healthy parachurch ministry knows that it exists primarily to protect the church." J. Mack Stiles.
To continue this PARTNERSHIP theme there are three words to consider:
The church is essential because it is biblical. The church is not a man-made construct.
The church is referred to in scripture as the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-27).
As the church, we are adopted (Galatians 4:4-5) brought into the family of God (1 John 3:1-12; Galatians 4:6-7).
You may have heard it said the church is not the building, the physical location and address of the church building. However, the Bible does say "in [Christ] you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit." (Ephesians 2:22, see also 1 Peter 2:4-5)
Finally, the church is a body. First Corinthians 12:12 says "just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ." Romans 12:4 says "for just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function."
"[Parachurch organizations] serve churches in a variety of practical ways that allow those churches to focus on and fulfill their primary responsibilities." (John Bloom, What is a Parachurch Ministry?) Recent history demonstrates how parachurch organizations have helped Christ's Church with ministry to children, youth, missions, translation work and so much more. Because something is not in the Bible doesn't mean it un-biblical and antibiblical. However, it does mean it should never take the place of Biblical things.
So which of these two is harmful? The church or the parachurch? I pray you would not believe that God's bride and plan - the church - is not harmful. You may want to say that the parachurch organizations are harmful. I believe the harm and problems come when the church or parachurch do not understand their roles. When a church gives up its role to another organization that is a problem. When a parachurch organization oversteps its role, there is a problem. Carl Trueman's 9Marks journal article, How a parachurch ministries go off the rails, is a good resource to check out.
- One of 9Marks' journals is specifically about this relationship. Here is the link to the whole journal, followed by some specific articles - https://www.9marks.org/journal/church-and-parachurch-friends-or-foes/
The Vine Movement: Supporting Gospel Growth Beyond Your Church,
- Review of the book - https://au.thegospelcoalition.org/book-review/the-dance-church-and-parachurch/
- Ordering the book - https://matthiasmedia.com/products/the-vine-movement?fbclid=IwAR1fxi_P0-XVs2Z-d6qq0UYMzPydIg1O-hQRmcw_1LXpkySKCnh7LcIy4lQ
- What is a parachurch ministry? - https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-a-parachurch-ministry
Prayer is a very hard thing to do because it seems like we aren't doing anything, but it's also hard because it's a humble act. We must humble ourselves before God's mighty hand regularly and cast our cares on Him.
When we view prayer as just another ministry program of the church, it becomes a burden or one of many different options.
However when we understand that prayer for the believer is like breathing for every human. It is absolutely needed for life. It is not an option.
Our lives need to glorify God. Depending upon Him for everything is one of, if not the best way to glorify God. Prayer shows our dependence upon God.
Church Ministries Conference Pre-Conference Video -
- Trinity blog post: tbcgrkidz.blogspot.com/2022/11/praying-with-dependence.html
- Podcast: anchor.fm/truth78/episodes/Praying-with-dependence-on-Gods-sovereign-grace-e188mjo
- Journal - Prayer In Church: www.9marks.org/journal/prayer-in-the-church/
- Journal - Corporate Prayer: www.9marks.org/journal/corporate-prayer/
- Article -Difference Between Families and Soccer Teams: www.9marks.org/article/parachurch-know-difference-between-families-soccer-teams
- "We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all." (Oswald Chambers) -LINK
- Prayer crowns God with the honor and glory due to His name, God crowns prayer with assurance & comfort. The most praying souls are the most assured souls. (Thomas Brooks) - LINK
- Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude—an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God. (A.W. Pink) - https://www.challies.com/a-la-carte/a-la-carte-march-19-4/LINK
- "To pray rightly, you must make God your hope, stay, and all. Right prayer sees nothing substantial or worth being concerned about except God." (John Bunyan) - LINK
Prayer Week 1
To keep this illustration going, prayer is the wheelbarrow that carries our burdens and praises to the Lord.
Prayer is like breathing. Dependence upon God is evidence of a deep, necessary trust in God.
It needs to be constant and we are to be spiritual healthy.
In 1st Thessalonians 5:17, the Bible commands us to pray continually. This continual prayer is a life of dependence on God. Trusting that he saved us from our sins and continuing to call out to Him throughout our lives.
As we think about how our lives should be marked by prayer, let us remember the 1st Adam and the 2nd Adam.
The first Adam, in Genesis 3:8, sinned and hide from God because of sin.
Then he began the blameshifting. "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." The first Adam sinned and then blamed the woman and God.
The second Adam in Mark 14:36 had no sin and humbly submitted to an undeserved death for the glory of God and good mankind.
Our communication with God needs to be Christ-like, humbly asking and ultimately submitting to God's plan.
Friday night's post, after my Prayer workshop at the Church Ministries Conference (https://churchministriesconference.com/), will have more about the importance of corporate prayer.