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!

While I Pass by In Safety

While I Pass by In Safety

“Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

Have you ever heard the old saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change.”?  Well, I believe there is a similar understanding when it comes to the spiritual opposition we face as ministers of the gospel.  I would word it something like this – if you haven’t encountered a dirty plot from the enemy, just wait a short while, it’ll come.

There should be a sign that is perpetually out in front of us that reads, “Ministers beware; traps ahead.”  Truth be told, as Ephesians 6:12 warns us, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  This tells me the spiritual world is more influential than the physical, and if we are not mindful of this, we will find ourselves under the heavy hand of a ruthless adversary.

C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, said about the evil in our world, “One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin…Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is…I know someone will ask me, ‘Do you really mean, at this time of day, to re-introduce our old friend the devil…’Yes, I do.’…If anybody really wants to know him better I would say to that person, ‘Don’t worry.  If you really want to, you will.  Whether you’ll like it when you do is another question.’”

My aim in this article is not to give elevated attention to our enemy or to evil in general.  Nor is it to give fear any credence or space to function in our hearts and minds.  Quite the opposite in fact.  My desire is to simply recognize that there is an opposition to all we do as followers of Christ and as leaders within the church and, to encourage our heeding the warnings found in scripture while standing in faith as we press forward into our callings.

As leaders at New Life Church within Groups and Section Community, I think it’s important that we remember that we still operate in a fallen world where sin and evil persist.  Our little isle of Christian comfort can lead us to forget that the enemy, as is read in this article’s opening scripture, is as real as ever and is in constant search for those who will give him space to work.  He is particularly fond of preying on those with churchy influence.

Therefore, in building on what was written last week in regard to intercession, praying on behalf of others, this week I want to point you to and encourage you in the prayer of Psalm 141, which is an honoring praise for God and a prayer for personal protection from that which the enemy uses to bring harm.  I encourage your reading and praying the entirety of the chapter, but in particular I want to share the final three verses.

But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death. Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.”

David, the author of Psalm 141, new he was as weak in his flesh as any other person.  He knew that he was susceptible to evil’s inglorious ways.  He knew that there was a way that was far from God and that would ultimately lead him astray.  Thus, he prayed in anticipation of his enemy’s plans, in preparation for the encounter of evil traps and snares.  The goal?  To pass by in safety, without a scratch, or even a hint of sinful affect or physical impairment.  He knew his only hope was in the Almighty One and, thus, he pressed in.

1 Peter 5:8 also provides us a quick hint into our practical role in avoiding the enemy’s wiles.  It tells us to “Be alert and of sober mind.”  Essentially, we need to be vigilant in keeping our eyes and ears open for those things that can trip us up.  As well, to be sober minded means to ensure that we are always in a position to think clearly.  Sin clouds our minds, hinders our vision, deafens our ears, and impairs our judgment.  When we allow sin to linger in our lives, or even those elements of temptation that tend to lead us into sinful decision making, we are essentially opening the front door of our home to the very one that wants to steel our things, kill our lives, and destroy our property (John 10:10).  Sin builds on itself and will eventually lead us into deaths vice grip (James 1:15).  Sin will bring death to our ministries, to our hope, to our faith, and potentially even to our physical bodies.

Remember, you can “pass by in safety” if you remain “alert and of sober mind” and if you seek first the kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6:33) of the One who came to give us life and life abundantly (John 10:10), who gave us freedom for freedoms sake (Galatians 5:1), and who leads us not into temptation but delivers us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13).  For “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31)

Go Deeper – Grow Stronger

“I love you, GOD—you make me strong.”

“I love you, GOD—you make me strong.”

(Psalm 18:1 MSG)

 

Psalm 18 is one of my favorite chapters found in scripture. I absolutely adore the imagery it presents of a loving and protective Father defending and securing His vulnerable child. I write from that chapter this week due to a series of occurrences in which the sites and sounds of the never-ending advances of life’s troubles have confronted me. I have spoken with friends who are facing the fierceness of their foe. I have met brothers and sisters in Christ who are desperately searching for the slightest glimmer of hope and understanding. I have even found myself confronted by the enemy’s familiar schemes. Reminders abound, that complacency in our walk, distraction in our faith, weakness in our flesh, our tendency to follow fallen humanity, and our propensity to attempt the digestion of poisonous secular influences, can lead us unto the dark murky swamps of a false and lifeless world.

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New Life Groups: Sharing Our Stories

Scripture tells us in the book of Revelation (12:11) that God’s faithful find victory over the enemy through the fearless and honest sharing of the powerful and redemptive work of Christ’s blood in the church and in the lives of His saints. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
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1st Wednesday Services and New Life Groups: A Joint Effort

“The doctrine of the Spirit is buried dynamite. Its power awaits discovery and use by the Church. The power of the Spirit will not be given to any mincing asset to pneumatological truth. The Holy Spirit cares not at all whether we write Him into our creeds in the back of our hymnals; He awaits our emphasis. When He gets into the thinking of the teachers He will get into the expectation of the hearers. When the Holy Spirit ceases to be incidental and again becomes fundamental, the power of the Spirit will be asserted once more among the people called Christians.”

  • W. Tozer

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