Instituting a Healthy and Unified Plan and Vision

“Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the

one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” – Proverbs 29:18

Finding a needle in a haystack really wouldn’t be that difficult if there was a team oriented strategy involved.  Certainly, the challenge of finding such a small item in the midst of an overwhelming chaotic mess would remain.  However, if a team were willing to investigate the circumstances, consider their realistic options, identify the most appropriate tools, and formulate a workable and well communicated plan, then finding that needle may not be as difficult as history has suggested.  I certainly do not think it to be an impossibility.

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The Most Powerful Prayers are Prayers of Thanksgiving

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Let’s face it, we do not and cannot know or understand everything about God.  We cannot fully grasp Him.  To say God is big, is a massive understatement.  Through scripture, spiritual experience, and relational connection with Him (and isn’t it wonderful that we can have such a relationship) we can gather a lot about His personality, His ways, His requirements, His plans, and so on.  And we should endeavor to do so; learning evermore the wonders of Him.  However, I would say that what we have and will learn about Him during our earthly lives is not even one one-hundredth of a percentage point of His fullness.  In reality, it should be considered an absolute unviable, and almost silly impracticality for a finite being to ever endeavor towards fully grasping an infinite God.  For it is an utterly infeasible impossibility to ever measure or understand the depth of His eternally existent capacity with our limited and sin-stained flesh.  To actually accomplish such a feat – if so doing was an actual capability –  would be far greater than holding the sum-total of the oceans water in a single cracked red Solo cup.

I bring this up to draw you contemplatively toward God’s greatness.  Certainly, we already know He is, but to meditate on this fact from time to time can do wonders for our faith – inspiring a fresh genuine awe within the secret places of our soul.

What we do know about God is that He is good and He is powerful.  I love the description C.S. Lewis uses in his book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Here, Jesus is presented allegorically as Aslan, “a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”  Susan, a young girl who has entered into a new and magical world through the backside of a cloths-filled wardrobe, is befriended by a number of talking animals with human characteristics.  One such character, Mr. Beaver, satisfies Susan’s curiosity as to whether this Aslan, the great Lion, is safe.  He tells her, “Safe? …Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”

God is not safe, but He is good!  He is great!  He is might!  He is wonderful!  He is lovely!  He is the King!

The scriptures are full of stories and descriptions of Him.  They tell us, within the confines of our limited understanding, who and how He is.  Both in the written Word and in our lived-out faith we begin to see the limitlessness of His dangerous but good personality.  We see our smallness, our incapableness, our weakness, our brokenness enveloped and overtaken by His vastness, His marvelousness, His supremacy, and His absoluteness.  In it all we cannot help but to say, Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name” (Psalm 103:1).

Our Knowledge of God should lead us to understand that His blessings aren’t simply limited to the golden nuggets we find placed in our hand, or even the burning coals that have been removed from said place.  They are also the unseen things He has guided us to or from.  They are the traps our feet have never found, and the encounters we’ve never encountered.  I am sure as we sit in His Holy presence, in our eternity yet unseen, we will be told many stories of thing we were completely unaware of in our earthly lives.  We will be awed in learning of how His grace and mercy truly guided us along the visibly limited path of our physical existence.

Therefore, I state a thought to consider.  Prayers of thanksgiving are the most powerful prayers we can ever pray.  New Testament scripture is full of thanksgiving statements from the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us.  They make it clear that what was, what is, and what is yet to come is to be seen, experienced, and expected in a faith-filled heart beholding worshipful gratitude.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:15-17

Thank you, Jesus!

Go Deeper, Grow Stronger

A Prayer for Group and Section Leaders

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’’

– Matthew 6:9-13

Heavenly Father, hallowed by your name.  You are mighty and you are glorious.  You are true, and you are lovely.  Thank you for who you are.  We are in awe.  You are worthy of our praise, worthy of our worship, worthy of our adoration.  God, you are worthy!

Jesus, in your mighty name, we seek your kingdom and your will over the lives of every leader serving in Section Community and in Groups here at New Life Church.  Lord, in all your sovereignty, will you lead them in their ministry and their care for others?  May their eyes and ears be fixed upon you; what you are doing and what you are saying.  May they follow in your footsteps and repeat what you are speaking.

Lord, bring them today their daily bread.  Whatever they need in life and in ministry today, Lord, would you provide it?  Will you touch their lives with your hand of provision?  In your faithfulness, will you meet them where they are at?  As they pour out the ministry within them, would you replenish them and fill their cup to overflowing?  Would you anoint them with strength, wisdom, and understanding?  Would you also lead them into timely rest?

Lord Jesus, if there is anything within the hearts of our leaders that is hindering their ministry, would you draw their attention to those things?  In your sweet counsel, will you guide them to a place of forgiveness and freedom?  Father, will you speak your words of life over them that they would walk in and with a grace filled presence?  May the knowledge that they are sons and daughters of the One true and living God ring ever true in their hearts and minds, resulting in the confidence that as forgiven and forgiving members of your household, there is nothing that can harm them or subdue the ministry which you are fulfilling in them.

Holy God, would you protect these leaders?  Would you guide their paths and keep them safe from the enemy’s traps?  Would you cover their heads, guard their hearts, and guide their hands and feet?  Lead them, Lord, away from all that can tempt them or entice them.  Would you deafen their ears to the voice of the enemy and remind them always that they bear the image of their Creator and that they carry with them the armor of the great and mighty God?  May they walk in the confidence that victory and vengeance belongs to you.  May they lean upon you, Holy Spirit, taking refuge in you, finding shelter in the shadow of your wings, and running to you in times of trouble.  Would you deliver them, Holy Spirit, from the evil one, and all his plots and schemes?

You are the King of kings and Lord of lords.  You reign forevermore.  We worship you, Jesus, and we say thank you for loving us as you do.  For being mindful of us.  For never leaving us, nor forsaking us.  May your blessing be upon us all, and in particular, may your blessing be upon the Section and Group leaders who faithfully serve, who courageously lead, who lovingly disciple, and who tenderly care for the members of your body at New Life Church.

We seek you, Jesus, that we may Go Deeper and Grow Stronger in our relationship with you.

In your mighty name we pray, Amen!  So be it!