Sunday Morning Prayer

Over the last several weeks all of the classes at West Cannon Baptist Church has been doing a study called "Theology Matters."

In preparing to teach my class and helping Zach, WCBC's pastoral intern,  I have been reminded just how big a task it is teaching others about how big God is.

LORD God, Almighty,
The maker of heaven and earth.
Sovereign one, who is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?

We are thankful this morning for the opportunity to gather together to sing your praise, hear your Word and care for one another. 

We are also thankful for other Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching, Spirit-empowered churches in Grand Rapids and around the world who have met, are meeting and will meet to glorify your name. 

This week especially, LORD, I am thankful for those here at West Cannon who serve in our children’s ministry.  I am thankful for their ministry to so many different families and I am especially thankful for their ministry to my family. 
As we prepare for the AWANA awards time this Wednesday, we pray that even more than the kids being honored, we pray that your name would be glorified. 
We know that as we gather this morning there are people in this room who have faced challenges and difficulties with family, with health, with finances and with other circumstances of life.  Help them during this time to lean upon you and your strength and not themselves.  God, we pray that if there are specific ways we can come alongside them, help us to see that.

We also know that there are people in this room who have been blessed and encouraged this week.  Help them to give you the praise you deserve. 

In everything, in every circumstance, help us to glorify you and help others do the same. 

Finally, we are thankful for Jesus Christ and the truth of the Gospel, which
is from You
comes through You
and leads us to You
We want to find our rest and deepest, truest joy in you God.


Jesus Centered Weekends Prayer

The Compelling Community: Where God's Power Makes a Church Attractive (9Marks) by [Dever, Mark, Dunlop, Jamie]

Today’s prayer request is Jesus-focused weekend services.

As Christ-centered prayer requests and resources are shared throughout this week, here is an article to help you understand what Christ-centered means - https://www.paultripp.com/wednesdays-word/posts/what-is-a-christ-centered-life

Hebrews 10:23 - 25 reads
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The meeting together is connected with stirring one another up to love and good works 
holding fast the confession of our hope, which is found in Jesus Christ.

Here are two helpful reviews of The Compelling Community, which serves as a great reminder that community in our church must be Gospel-focused, not demographics-focused.
In praying for this weekend's service, here some quotes to consider.  After the quotes are some prayer requests.
"Your church needs more than the Sunday morning sermon.  Nurturing the community requires saturating your people in God's word."  (87) 
In a Word-saturated congregation, a sermon doesn't stop when it reaches the ears of your people.  Instead, it continues its ministry through them day after day, all through the week."  (96)
"Teach your congregation their responsibility for the preaching they hear.  Specifically, they have responsibility in three areas.
  1. Responsibility for what preaching they support.
  2. Responsibility to change.
  3. Responsibility to help each other change."  (96-97)
"Pray for our witness of unity in diversity." (111)
"Pray that we would see relationships in the local church as part of what it means to be a Christian." (111)
"Pray that we would understand the need to make our relationships at church transparent, to be willing to tell embarrassing things about ourselves adn to ask awkward questions when needed." (111)
"Pray that we would think it important to encourage each other with Scripture."  (111)
"Pray that we would see part of being a Christian as being a provider, and not a consumer."  (111)
 General Community
 “Community is the togetherness and commitment we experience that transcends all natural bonds—because of our commonality in Jesus Christ” (13)  
"Scripture teaches that the community that matters is the community built by God. We may cultivate it, feed it, protect it, and use it. But we dare not pretend to create it. When in our hubris we set out to 'build community,' we risk subverting God’s plans for our churches—and I’m afraid this is something we do all the time." (14)
Some more specific things to pray each Sunday.
Pray for the person preaching that morning.  Pray that he would clearly deliver the truth of the Bible.  
Pray for those who will hear the sermon and be part of the service.   Pray that they would live out the truth of God's Word everyday. 
Pray for you.  "Walk into church praying about where you should sit. Yes, it is that simple. And it has that much significance."  How to Walk Into Church 

For more Theology Matters prayer resources click HERE 


Jesus Centered Equipping Ministries

Biblical Counseling talks a lot about equipping the church to do the work of the ministry.  This is not some new catchphrase today.

It is a Biblical truth found in Ephesians 4:11-16

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."

Today, on this year's National Day of Prayer, it is especially important to remember this equipping statement.  This year's theme is UNITY and the verse is Ephesians 4:3 "Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  As we pray for our country and specifically for "the next great move of God in America," (taken from www.nationaldayofprayer.org/theme_and_verse) let us remember that real, eternal life change comes from God through Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit works in and through the church.  This work in and through the church is done as individuals work together for God's glory.

  • Pray that we along with other God-glorifying, Gospel-focused, Bible-preaching churches would equip church members to share the Gospel and make disciples.
  • Pray that we would walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called (Eph. 4:1)
  • Pray that we remember that the truth of Ephesians 4:3 is rooted in the truth that there is one body and one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:4, 5)
  • Pray the saints would be equipped "until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13)  
  • Pray that we would love others (Luke 10:25-37; 1 John 3:14-17), love our enemies (Matt. 5:43, 44)
  • Pray that churches in the United States of America would remember to pray for our country, but even more than that, we would remember the context of this year's theme verse.  Paul, while imprisoned by the government, tells the church to maintain the unity of the Spirit which comes because of Christ for God's glory.  


Several years ago the Biblical Counseling Coalition posted a series of articles entitled Equipping Counselors in Your Church.  I would encourage you to read at last the last post "Why We Need to Equip and Be Equipped."

Here is a link to the article
In this post, I included one of the seven responses to each of the questions

Why Must Ministers Equip?

Equipping magnifies Jesus’ cosmic victory over evil. Paul’s reference to Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:8 puts Jesus’ incarnation and ascension into focus as the mission to save the church and defeat evil. In Ephesians 4:10, Jesus is said to “fill all things,” which is a reiteration of Ephesians 1:22, where He is exalted over His enemies as the church’s ruler. Further implications of Jesus’ victory over evil are seen in Ephesians 6:10-20, the armor of God passage based on the warfare language of Isaiah 11:4-5 and 59:17. Equipped ministers (and all believers) stand on the edge of eschatological battle against evil knowing victory is immanent (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9). The days are evil, live Spirit-filled (Ephesians 5:16).

Why Must Members Be Equipped? 

Being equipped forces you to grow in holiness and hatred of sin. Paul describes that the church is able to live united because ministers equip the congregation to do the work of the ministry which binds all believers together in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-16). He then describes implications of a united church. Believers live holy together by putting away sinful living and putting on their new life (Ephesians 4:17-32), live together in love (Ephesians 5:1-6), living in light (Ephesians 5:7-14), and living wisely (Ephesians 5:15-6:9). Equipped members can help bring about the holy, loving, and wise church that Christ intends for his people to have.

For more Theology Matters prayer resources click 


Telescope or Microscope?

Here's a question for you to think about tonight:  Are you are a microscope or a telescope?

A microscope makes “small things look bigger than they really are. 
A telescope makes a big thing BEGIN to look as big as it really is.”
With a microscope, tiny bugs look BIG!!
With a telescope, a huge moon or planet that looks so small because it is far away looks a little bigger.

Tonight at our AWANA awards night we are going to give out awards for scripture memory and service BUT I want you to remember something

First Corinthians 10:31 tells us why we should do AWANA awards nights and why we should do anything we do.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
KIDS, I am so very thankful that you learned God’s Word and cared for others this year.
Tonight, though, our focus should not only be on you and what you have done. 
Tonight we want to remember and honor God.
We want to continue making God look as great as he really is.
Remember this night is really about God.

Now how do we do this?
  • Thank God that he gave you the ability to memorize Bible Verses.
  • Thank God that he gave you the taste buds to enjoy the snacks we had this year.
  • Thank God for the leaders we have had this year.
  • Thank God for the truth of God’s Word.
  • We especially want to thank God that even though we were God’s enemies, sinners, He sent His Son to die for those who trust in Him.
Making God great means that we need to humble ourselves.
Here is a definition of humility we try to review with our kids:
To pursue humility means choosing to accept the fact that your knowledge and abilities are limited and in light of that, you are regularly seeking help and graciously receiving advice and correction.
KIDS, you don’t know everything and you need help.
PARENTS, you don’t know everything and you need help.
Remember, KIDS no matter how many verses you have memorized, awards you have received, or good things you have done, you are in desperate need of God’s gifts.

First, the gift of salvation which comes through Jesus Christ who came to earth, died on the cross, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is coming again.

Second, the gift of the power to live the life God wants you to live which comes from the Holy Spirit, the one whom Jesus promised and God sent. 
You cannot save yourself or live the life God wants you to live on your own.

Remember, PARENTS no matter how many people you have helped, how many sinful things you didn’t do, how many times you go to church, or how much money you donate to good causes, you are in desperate need of God’s gifts.

First, the gift of salvation which comes through Jesus Christ who came to earth, died on the cross, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is coming again.

Second, the gift of the power to live the life God wants you to live which comes from the Holy Spirit, the one whom Jesus promised and God sent.
You cannot save yourself or live the life God wants you to live on your own.

I want you to remember these two truths from God’s Word:
  1. Romans 5:8.  "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

  • 1st Peter 5:5-6.  “’ God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." 

  • There are really are only two ways to live.
    The first way is to keep saying 'No' to God and pretending to be your own king. But if you do that, you won't win, because God is God. God will shut you out of his kingdom forever. 
    Do not think you bigger than you really are. 
    The second way is to stop saying 'No' to God and to ask God to forgive you. God will forgive you and welcome you as his friend. Because Jesus died to take your punishment, God promises that he won't be angry with you anymore.   
    In your life, make God as big as He really is.  He is the one who created you.  He is the one who rules over all creation.  He is the only one who can save.
    John 3:36 says
    Everyone who trusts in the Son has eternal life.  But everyone who rejects him will never share in that life.

    At the beginning of this time I asked you a question:
    Are you are a microscope or a telescope?
    Be a telescope.  Feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as he really is. 
    Feel the weight of your sin.
    Know that your sin has broken your relationship with God.
    Act.  Recognize the fact that Jesus Christ is the one and only solution to your sin problem. 

    Another way to ask that same question is "Who will be king?"
    You or God?

    As you think about your answer to that question, remember there is only one king and creator of the world.
    And you are not Him!!

    To find out more about these two ways to live go to 


    I originally heard about the illustration of telescopes and microscopes at Desiring God - www.desiringgod.org/messages/i-will-magnify-god-with-thanksgiving

    Jesus Centered Families Prayer

    As Christ-centered prayer requests and resources are shared throughout this week, here is an article to help you understand what Christ-centered means - https://www.paultripp.com/wednesdays-word/posts/what-is-a-christ-centered-life

    Pray for the AWANA awards time tonight.

    I am looking forward to sharing a devotional entitled "Are You a Microscope or Telescope?"  
    The goal is in five to seven minutes begin to make God look as big as He really is.
    I will post the devotional tonight.

    A great resource to help parents and teachers make much of Jesus and the Gospel in their teaching is Show Them Jesus.

    A reviewer summarized Klumpenhower's book with the following statement:  "Adults treasuring Christ in turn lead children, and by grace, they too will treasure Christ."  HERE is the full review.

    Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids by [Klumpenhower, Jack]

    There are many narratives in the Bible that are difficult to teach to children.  

    The story of Achan is one of those stories.
    Klumpenhower shares how he taught this story to elementary students.
    A few years ago I was teaching a large group of elementary kids from the book of Joshua. I taught how God brought his people through the Jordan River and toppled the walls of Jericho. From there, the curriculum I was using skipped a chapter—the story of Achan.  
    Achan was an Israelite soldier. He spurned a direct command from God by taking some of the plunder of Jericho for himself. His sin was uncovered when God caused the Israelites to be routed in a subsequent battle. To reveal whose sin was responsible, God used a dread-filled process of picking first the tribe, then the clan, then the family at fault. The members of the guilty family came forward one by one, and God picked Achan. So the people stoned Achan, along with his wife, children, and livestock. Then they set them on fire and heaped stones on their charred bodies. Only after that did God turn from his anger.  
    Well now, it’s easy to see why that story gets skipped. 
    What should I do? I don’t like picking through the Bible for just the cheery parts, but my group of kids was fairly young. I was worried that the lesson might be too scary. I finally decided I could teach about Achan—if I made sure that the good news of Jesus was my theme.  
    One of my helpers that day was also the mom of a student. Just before class she asked what the lesson was, and when I told her she became worried. Her daughter got nightmares, she explained. Tense stories often brought them on. I got a sick feeling. Surely I’d been stupid to think I could teach such a lesson to little kids. But there was no time to change it, so I taught about Achan. Dead soldiers. Selection process. Stoning. Fire. The whole ugly scene.  
    As I taught this, the concerned mom looked even more worried. So did some of the kids, who were particularly bothered that the other soldiers, family members, and animals got killed too. What had they done to deserve that? It was a good question, so I had the whole group gather around me as I sat on the floor with them.  
    “Yes, many were killed,” I told them, “but that’s what we should learn from this.” I read to them the Bible’s own commentary on the incident: “Didn’t the LORD’s anger come on the whole community of Israel? And Achan wasn’t the only one who died because of his sin” (Joshua 22:20, NIrV).  
    “You see,” I said, “just one man sinned, but many died. That’s the lesson.”
    The kids gave me confused looks. It wasn’t the sort of lesson anyone was expecting. I had their attention and pressed on.  
    “What if you sin? Or I sin? Does God punish us like he did Achan? Does anyone else get punished too? Or has God made a way to punish sin that has a better ending than this story has?”  
    The kids weren’t sure. Several knew that God wouldn’t be holy if he didn’t punish sin. They also knew that God forgives. They weren’t certain how it all fit together.   
    “The idea that a person might die for someone else’s sin is very important,” I said. “In our story, one man sinned but many died. But what if later in the Bible we found one man—just one man—who never sinned in his whole life, but still got punished? If that man never sinned but still died, then many could live.”  
    They knew I was talking about Jesus.  
    I went on to tell how Jesus lived the sin-free life each of us don’t. I told how out of all the tribes and clans and families of the world, only Jesus is not guilty—so God picked him. To die. To take our place. God selected Jesus to take the punishment we deserve so we don’t have to stand sinful and quaking, waiting for judgment like Achan did.  
    “Your sin is very bad,” I told the kids. “It can hurt many people. But God loves you so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to become a man and die for your sin. Jesus was hurt most of all.  
    “I wasn’t sure I should tell you this story because I thought it might be too scary. It’s about the scariest thing ever—getting punished by God. But when you know the whole story, it isn’t scary. If you belong to Jesus, he took your punishment and God becomes your Father. So I hope you won’t be scared. You don’t have to be scared of anything. Jesus makes the scariest thing of all go away.” 
    I knew I’d done okay once it was over because the worried mom thanked me. She loved the story. The real surprise, though, came a few weeks later. The mom came up to me with a huge grin and told me her daughter’s nightmares had stopped. The girl insisted it was because she knew that, due to Jesus, she didn’t have to be scared anymore.  
    Well, that’s the kind of result a teacher very rarely hears of, and my first reaction was skepticism. Could a little lesson about Jesus really cure such a problem? The nightmares would probably come back in time. But months went by and the mom remained delighted.  
    I finally came to see that I was the one who lacked faith in the power of the good news. In spite of teaching it, I never expected it to work so wonderfully. It was all due to Jesus, of course, who lived the story I had the privilege of repeating. There’s no story like it. I should have expected such results. 
    When the account of Achan is taught at all, it’s usually with the moral point that stealing is wrong. Okay, but that girl needed to hear the larger biblical point: that sin destroys life with God. Then she needed the biggest point of all—the theme of the whole Bible: that wherever sin destroys, Jesus heals.  
    That girl learned about Jesus and believed. She also discovered that belief in Jesus is life-changing, that he truly is better than anything else.
    Klumpenhower, Jack. Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids (Kindle Locations 181-232). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition

    HERE is another review of the book.

    To order the book on Amazon, click https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011MP1QVS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    For more Theology Matters prayer resources click HERE 


    Jesus Centered Leadership Prayer

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    From The Pastor's Justification
    We didn’t do the work; someone else did. 
    That’s the Christian life. That is pastoral ministry. The work is not ours. It’s Jesus’s. Jesus did the work we were unwilling—and unable!—to do. He killed sin and murdered death. And that is freedom. Knowing we’re not at the center of the story of our church keeps pastoral ministry in perspective; it makes the yoke easy and the burden light because Jesus is bearing them. 
    This is the key to confidence: we can work because the work is already done. We give the daily pressure of all the anxiety of the church to God.
    Wilson, Jared C.. The Pastor's Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry (p. 82). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

    Please pray that your pastors, leaders and staff will remember that this is God's Work.

    Rather than sharing one list of ways to pray, I want to share with you a list of articles on the topic of praying for pastors and leaders.

    This introduction and list were originally posted at  www.challies.com/articles/pray-for-your-pastor/
    If the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “You also must help us by prayer” (2 Corinthians 1:11) so that he could endure the hardships of ministry, how much more do you think your local church pastor needs your prayerful support? I’ve been noticing a lot (an awful lot!) of articles lately that call on people to do this very thing. What interests me is that nearly all of these have been written by pastors. The point is clear: Pray for your pastor!
    Pastors see the reality of the spiritual battle they face and they long for prayers–your prayers. Here are just a few of the articles that may help with the specifics of what you can pray about:
    1. How to Pray for the Pastoral Staff” by John Piper
    2. Praying for Your Pastor” by Ligon Duncan
    3. How To Pray For Your Pastor As He Steps Into the Pulpit” by Stephen Altrogge
    4. How to Pray for Your Pastor” by R. W. Glenn
    5. 31 Days of Praying for Your Pastor” by Revive Our Hearts
    6. Praying for Your Pastor” by Joe Thorn
    7. Please Pray for Your Pastor” by Julian Freeman
    8. How to Pray for Your Pastor” by Todd Benkert

    For more Theology Matters prayer resources click HERE 


    Jesus Centered Outreach



    Missions:  How the Local Church Goes Global is a great short book on the Great Commision and the church.

    HERE is a link to a conversation Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman on how every Christian and every local church should be involved in global missions.