March Newsletter

Pastor’s Ponderings


” The Power of Prayer”

I’ve prayed all my life. Sometimes my prayer life has run hot and sometimes not. We often hear people speak of the power of prayer, but how often do we experience it in our lives? I am not big on New Year’s Resolutions, though I try to change something in my life every January. Our minds are more open to change then, so I decided I would change my morning routine. Looking back, I don’t even remember what my morning routine was, but I sure know what it is now! When I wake up, I check the time. If it is 2:00 AM, I go back to bed! But if it is 5:00 or later I move to a recliner and begin reading the Bible and listening to podcasts of preaching. Sometimes this “Quiet Time” lasts for thirty minutes and sometimes for two hours. My wife’s morning routine has also changed. She got a new Bible for Christmas and sits in her chair reading and praying. Before, we always had the morning news on, and I don’t think we have watched it yet this year. I don’t write this to boast! I write it to say that I have been renewed, refreshed, and revived. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have trials and difficulties. In fact my trials and difficulties are very strong (more about that later). My life is not any easier because of this new routine. But when I pray, instead of asking God for a smoother trail, I ask Him for better shoes. ******************** Did you notice the 18% jump in Sunday morning attendance between January and February? ******************** I have spoken many times about something I firmly believe God laid on my heart last year: Discipleship! I usually do not speak like that. I have seen so many who have justified their sinful actions and bad attitudes by claiming that God wanted them to act that way. Thus, I rarely talk about God “speaking” to me. But I write this with a firm conviction: God is leading me to lead this church into discipleship. We began with one small group of four (you gotta start somewhere). It has been exhilarating studying God’s Word together, memorizing Scripture, and seeing God’s Word as “quick and powerful.” The deepest spiritual conversations I have had in 2019 have been in that small group. We have prayed together, encouraged one another, and learned more clearly what God wants in our lives. One of the group said he has looked all the way through the material and is excited about some future lessons dealing with the scriptural way to treat one another. But I have one fascinating reason I believe this is God’s will for my life and for Calvary Baptist Church: trials! I have been hit harder by the devil in the last nine months of my life than I have ever experienced before. I have been “troubled on ever side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:7-8). Do not interpret this as whining. I used to run from trials and difficulties. While I still don’t welcome them, I understand better how they shape my Christian life. ******************** On Sunday nights in February we looked at several passages that contained prayers. They didn’t simply say, “So and so prayed.” They contained actual prayers Paul prayed for first century believers. The first week was Ephesians 3:14-21, and I present the prayer as I pray it every morning. “Our Father in heaven, I bow my knees before You and our Lord Jesus Christ, asking that, according to the riches of your glory, You would help me to be strengthened with might by Your Spirit in my inner man. “I pray that Christ would dwell in my heart by faith, and that, since I am rooted and grounded in Your love, I would know and comprehend with the saints the entire breadth, length, depth, and height of the love of Christ which passes all knowledge. “I ask You to fill me with all Your fullness, believing that you can do exceeding, abundantly above all that I ask or even think by Your power working in me. “I give all the glory to You in the church by Christ Jesus until the end of time. Amen!” ******************** I have asked from the beginning for you to pray for me and my family in five areas. Thank you for doing so, and please continue to plead with God that I would have: 1) Courage 2) Wisdom 3) Strength 4) Victory 5) Vision