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 -  


Church Parachurch

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:

  1. A healthy church is about sharing the Gospel and equipping believers for the glory of God.  
  2. "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.



The Vine Movement: Supporting Gospel Growth Beyond Your Church,

Desiring God


Prayerful Dependence

During the first night of this year's Church Ministries Conference, I had the opportunity to lead a workshop entitled  Prayerful Dependence on God in Ministry

Here is the description of the workshop.

Prayer is necessary for gospel ministry because Gospel ministry is dependent on God, prayer shows our dependence on God. We can develop the best vision statement, plan to work with parents, choose the best curriculum, and develop an awesome plan. BUT we need to remember that ultimately salvation belongs to and comes from our God. Prayer shows this commitment. This workshop will include teaching on tools for and time to pray for you, your church, and other churches.

Why should we pray?  Some people ask this because prayer doesn't seem to do anything.  Others ask the question because they say if God is sovereign over all creation, why bother.  They are many different ways to answer this question but a very basic, direct one is God commands us to.  First Thessalonians 5:16-18 is one place that has this command.

Rejoice always
Pray continually
Give thanks in all circumstances
For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

The following quote by Tony Merida addresses why prayer is hard and why it is necessary.

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 - 


Quote Graphics at challies.com
  • "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

Is prayer a brick or is it breathing?

The struggle many individuals and churches have with prayer is that it is viewed as an additional burden among so many other burdens.  It is an added brick among so many other bricks.
Prayer is not a brick or a burden.
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.


Gods Glory in Coffee Cups

As we wrap up this God's Glory in Our Story class, I pray it was an encouragement to those who attended and I pray those who attended would be an encouragement to others as they remember what we studies and talked about.

The outline for our last class was 

Personal - Coffee Cups
Biblical - Psalm 78:1 - 7
Historical - Two of J.C. Ryle's books Holiness and Practical Theology

Personal - Coffee Cups

Throughout the Bible, the people of God are given or create reminders of God's faithfulness and holiness.  A stack of stones, a meal, or a ritual.  When can do the same type of things.  I shared with the class a coffee cup reminder I have created in my office to show God's faithfulness to me since 1992.  

The eight mugs in the background represent some, not all, of the key places God has taken me in my life since I graduated from college.

  • Dominican Republic
  • Heritage Baptist Church
  • Baptist Bible College and Seminary
  • Emmanuel Baptist Church
  • Camp Patmos
  • OARBC 
  • Jamaica
  • InOnTime

Whatever coffee cups, life circumstances, you might have in the background, remember the quotes on the three mugs in the foreground.

  • "Preach the Gospel"
  • "Make Your Life Count, Make His Name Known"
  • "I will declare your steadfast love"
Biblical - Psalm 78:1—7

For similar verse graphics go to 

Psalm 78:1–3.  Listen to God and listen to what your fathers have told you about God.

Psalm 78:4a.  Do not hide these things from your children.

Psalm 78:4b.  "But we will tell the generation to come the praises of the LordAnd His power and His wondrous works that He has done.

Psalm 78:5.  What does this verse mean when it says he has established a testimony?  I am reminded of how God begins the 10 Commandments.  They don't start with the commandments.  They start with a testimony of what God did.

Psalm 78:6. One of the reasons God did this is so that the next generations would know God and tell their children. 

Psalm 78:7 "so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep his commandments;

Historical - Two J.C. Ryle's books  Holiness and Practical Theology

We closed out this class session and series with the importance of prayer.

One of the chapters in Ryle's Practical Theology is on Prayer

Prayer is the most important subject in practical theology.

Here are seven plain reasons Ryle uses such strong language about prayer

  1. Prayer is absolutely needful to a man’s salvation.
  2. The habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian.
  3. There is no duty in religion so neglected as private prayer.
  4. Prayer is that act in religion to which there is the greatest encouragement.
  5. Diligence in prayer is the secret of eminent holiness.
  6. Neglect of prayer is one great cause of backsliding.
  7. Prayer is one of the best receipts for happiness and contentment.


2023 Spring Classes

This page was updated on 2/22/2023

As February comes to an end we are looking forward to the Spring quarter classes starting up in March.

Before the class descriptions, which appear at the end of this, here are a couple of statements about why we do classes the way we do at Trinity Baptist Church.  These details help show the connections between discipleship and our classes.

The Adult Christian Education classes are designed for Biblical Discipleship.  Part of this discipleship happens through intentional teaching and meaningful membership - "the commitment Christians make to keep one another accountable for regularly gathering and centering their lives together on the Gospel." (Alex Duke, Crossway Link)

An illustration used to show what active membership/Biblical discipleship involves is the four-chair model.

In this model, the chairs do not represent places of rest and inactivity.  Each chair represents a stage in the growth process.  There is a movement to the right. 
Members of Trinity need to be evangelizing, sharing the Gospel, at their places of work, at their schools, with their neighbors, and in their families.  The message of the Gospel will be preached at church services and it can be shared in so many different places.

The goal of ACE is to provide the education and training needed to establish, edify, and equip believers, never becoming too comfortable with where we are in now.  

Our Sunday morning classes help Christ-followers move along the Establish - Edify - Equip process.  We know that throughout our lives we need to be continually established, edified, and equipped.  

  • Classes that ENGAGE God’s FOUNDATION are designed to establish believers in the basics of the Christian faith and Trinity life.
  • Classes that ENGAGE God's WORD are designed to edify believers who desire to know the Bible better.
  • Classes that ENGAGE God's WORLD are designed to edify believers who desire to know how God's Word connects to our lives and the world at large.
  • Classes that ENGAGE God's WORK are designed to equip believers who are ready to invest and help others grow spiritually.
The classes offered each quarter are intentionally meant to disciples grow and make more disciples. With this intentionality in mind, some classes are REPEATED more often.  This quarter's Prayer class was offered not so long ago but it, along with others like Intro to Theology or Missions/Evangelism, is repeated because the topic is part of Trinity's heartbeat and we want each of us to grow in these areas.

In joining a class you are taking a step to grow spiritually and connect with other believers.  

With that general description of the ACE classes, here are the four classes being offered this spring.

Judges will be taught by Pastor Jason and Tom Hill in the Chapel

The tragic, dark, cyclical nature of Judges reveals much about Israel specifically and people in general. The continual rescues reveal much about God and His faithfulness. This class will look at sin, sovereignty, and salvation as the many OT judges are studied.
Engaging God’s WORD

Prayer will be taught by Don Vogel in Room #2.  Pastor Dave will be teaching for the first two weeks (3/5 and 3/12).

 Prayer in the OT. Prayer in the NT. How do they compare? What differences do we see?
God’s plan, and purpose. Our plans and goals. How does prayer get these into alignment?
Answers to prayer. What are our expectations? Does God always answer?  
Does prayer really matter?  How should we pray?
Engaging God’s FOUNDATION

Church History will be Steve De Man in Room #3

We will study the history of the church from AD 70 to the present day.  We will see how God’s hand of providence has moved throughout history to preserve and spread the message of his gospel around the world.  This class will be the same as last year’s for March and April, in the month of May we will cover from the 1600s forward.
Engaging God’s WORLD 

Contentment will be taught by Paul Vander Mey in the Fireplace Room

Biblical contentment. What is it? How can I get it? How does it affect my personal life and my service to others for the Lord?"
Engaging God’s WORK


Gods Glory Class and Sermon

This morning I had a couple of ministry opportunities - teaching class and preaching a sermon.

Teaching the God's Glory in Our Stories class at 9:45.

We discussed 
last week's sermon - Paul's testimony in Acts 22 (head - what did you learn or were you reminded of, heart - what do you need to be more passionate about, head - what do I need to do) 
heard a couple of salvation testimonies.
At the end of class we very briefly looked at the life of Amy Carmichael.  Here is a link to the Torchlighters resource page - Torchlighters:  Amy Carmichael resources.

Preaching Philippians 3:7, 8 at 11:00 am.

As an associate pastor, I want to make the most of the occassional preaching opportunities God gives me.  This morning I preached this week's Fighter Verses, which connected well with Pastor Brett's Acts 22 sermon last week on Paul's testimony.
Hope in the WHATEVER THINGS is worthless and detestable. 
Our lives need to sing of THE GREAT THINGS God has done especially THE GREATEST THING - Jesus, who conquered the grave, freed captives, is faithful in the storm.



Quotes about knowing Jesus shared very quickly in the sermon:
    • "To know is more than facts about someone. It is an intimate experience."  John MacArthur   
    • "Sinners must know something to be saved, and they also must know someone intellectually  and experientially."  Robert Gromacki 
    • "This knowledge is different from the knowledge we gain through objective academic study, though information is part of our growing personal knowledge of Christ."   Thomas Constable  
    • "Communion with Christ that began at his conversion and had been his experience all the years since then."  Expositor's Bible Commentary  
    • "A believing experimental acquaintance with Christ as Lord."  Matthew Henry  
    • "There is a wide difference between mere head knowledge and experimental thoughts of Christ."  J.C. Ryle  
    • "Knowledge that has to do with personal experience and intimate relationship."  Gordon Fee

 In the sermon I mentioned Jim Elliot's biography.  Here are some resources.


Gods Glory Joshua & David Brainerd

Biblical:  Joshua 23, 24

Joshua 23:6 - 10 contains great truth about who God is and what He has done

Joshua 24:1 - 13 contains 

Joshua 24:14 - 24 contains 

A couple of weeks ago, we did Joshua 23 and 24 with the children.  HERE is a link to the lesson resources.

Historical: David Brainerd

"God is at work for the glory of His name and the good of His church even when rhw good intentions of His servants fail."  John Piper 

"God can and does use weak, sick, discouraged, beat-down, lonely, struggling saints who cry to God day and night to accomplish amazing things for Hs glory."  John Piper 

The Hidden Smile of God click for a free pdf of the book is about the lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd. 

David Brainerd:  May I Never Loiter on My Heavenly Journey!  



God's Glory Podcast

Listen to the podcast at this link God's Glory in Our Story episode

The first question of The Westminster Catechism is "What is the chief end of man?"

The answer is "Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." 

Romans 11:36 says "For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." 

First Corinthians 10:31 says "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Scripture is filled with narratives, poems, and letters that make much of God.


when we read or hear the stories of believers throughout history we should see God's glory


when we tell our stories to one another, they should be filled with God's glory.

In the God's Glory in Our Story episode of the Trinity Life podcast Richard VanVels and I talk about what this class is about and some helps and encouragement for sharing our stories in a way that gives God the glory he deserves.

The class is set up to show where we can and should look for encouragement.

For class-specific posts, click HERE

Look in the Bible. Here are some examples the narrative of Joshua's life, the poetry of David in the Psalms, the account of the blind man’s testimony and Stephen's martyrdom, and the letters written by Paul to Timothy, Titus, and Onesimus. 

Look at the biographies of godly men and women. Here are examples John Bunyan in prison, William Cowper in depression, David Brainerd in sickness, and others like Amy Carmichael, Charles Spurgeon, and Corrie Ten Boom 

Look at our church family. Listen to, ask about, and share testimonies of salvation and spiritual growth with each other. As it relates to personal testimonies remember, if you have been saved by the amazing grace of God, you have something monumental and life-changing to share. Remember your testimony should point to God not you, another person, or an organization.

If I told you my story, you would hear hope, that wouldn't let go 

And if I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up 

And if I told you my story, you would hear life, but it wasn't mine 

If I should speak, then let it be of the grace that is greater than all my sin 





For kids, the Torchlighters:  Heroes of the Faith stories - torchlighters.org 
27profoundly, relevant biographies in the Swans are not Silent series - www.desiringgod.org/books/27-servants-of-sovereign-joy