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Good Morning! 

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday! We get to celebrate the greatest event in history: the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead!

Worship begins at 10:15 am. There will be special music and a children’s sermon (no Children’s Church). I will preach about the resurrection and how it can make a difference in our lives based on Matthew 28:1-10.  

He is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!

Pastor Bryan

…Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15)

May God Send Revival!

“History confirms the truth that wherever evangelical and vital religion flourish, there lives
the earnest gatherings for social prayer.”

~ J. B. Johnston, The Prayer Meeting and Its History

Yesterday evening, I returned home to Omaha, NE from Michigan. I went deer hunting with five other men in the north, central part of the state. We set up “deer camp” which was a fifth-wheel RV. The living quarters were a little tight, but we had a wonderful time. Unfortunately, we did not see many deer. Thus, I was unable to fill my out-of-state deer tag. Oh well! There is always next time.

I did pray a lot during those many hours when I sat in my deer blind. I also prayed a lot when I laid in bed. I prayed myself to sleep and I prayed when I woke up in the middle of the night.

I prayed that Jesus would be glorified in my life!

I prayed that we would be kept safe as we hunted.

I prayed that revival would come to Harvey Oaks Baptist Church.

I prayed for the November 17th Sunday School and worship service.

I prayed for my wife and children.

I prayed my relatives who need Jesus in their lives.

I prayed that God would heal people.

I prayed that God would restore broken marriages.

I prayed for all the widows at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church.

It was  good to be away from the computer and television and for the most part, my phone (we used our phones to communicate with one another, but the reception was not always that good!)

Let us continue to seek the Lord through prayer.

“Continue steadfastly in prayer…” (Colossians 4:2).

Heavenly Father,

May revival sweep across America as millions of Christians gather on this Lord’s Day for worship and fellowship. Even now, hours before the church doors open, summon your people to pray for their church and for revival!

In Jesus’ Holy and Precious Name!

Amen!

…for this day. Though it was very busy, and at times uncertain, your presence gave me peace and joy. Lord, I look forward in worshiping you tomorrow on the Lord’s Day with my brothers and sisters in Christ!

In Jesus Precious and Holy Name, Amen! 

The Equipping Verse for the month of May is Colossians 4:2. It is a verse that focuses on prayer: Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. It is easy to read this verse and apply it to our personal prayer life, and that is okay. Yet, we need to take in mind is that the letter to the Colossians was written to the church in the city of Colossae by the Apostle Paul. Thus, Colossians 4:2 is a call for the local church to pray together.

The local church is to continue steadfastly in prayer… The Greek word that is translated continue steadfastly is in the plural and in the imperative mood. Therefore, this is a command from God for the church to pray together. The word can be translated, “busy oneself with, be busily engaged, be devoted to…” Christians then are to be devoted to corporate prayer within the local church.

Praying together is essential for the local church. The same Greek word in Colossians 4:2 was used elsewhere in the New Testament in regards to prayer. Acts 1:14 says, All these in one accord were devoting themselves to prayer… Also, Acts 2:42, And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

In the J. B. Phillips New Testament, Colossians 4:2 reads, Always maintain the habit of prayer: be both alert and thankful as you pray. Robert W. Wall, in his commentary on this verse wrote that Christians are to possess a “gritty determination not to give up until God’s response comes.”

If Harvey Oaks Baptist Church is to experience the power of God and the fruit that last forever, then we are to possess the courageous determination to be devoted to the corporate times of prayer in the life of the church. This determination is to be especially displayed during the periods when the church is not seeing much spiritual fruit. At Harvey Oaks Baptist Church, there are several opportunities for corporate prayer:

  • “Sunday Night Storm” that meets at 6:00 PM on Sundays.
  • The youth group that meets on Mondays at 6:30 PM
  • The women’s Bible study that meets on Tuesdays at 10:00 AM.
  • The men’s Bible study that meets on Tuesdays at noon.
  • The weekly Bible study and prayer that meets on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM.
  • The men’s Bible study that meets on Thursday mornings at 6:30 AM.
  • The monthly elder’s meeting. The first part of the meeting is always spent in prayer and anyone is welcome to come and pray.

Since corporate prayer is commanded by God, which opportunity or opportunities will we be devoted to? Even if we are uncomfortable praying out loud, we can still come and pray in our hearts and minds. Corporate prayer is the only way for God to work powerfully among us. The future of Harvey Oaks Baptist Church depends on it! Jim Cymbala wrote in his book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire:

If we call upon the Lord, He has promised in His Word to answer, to bring the unsaved to Himself, to pour out His Spirit among us. If we don’t call upon the Lord, He has promised nothing—nothing at all. It’s as simple as that. No matter what I preach or what we claim to believe in our heads, the future will depend our times of prayer. This is the engine that will drive the church.

May the spiritual engine at HOBC become larger and more powerful!

Pastor Bryan

I still have my marble! And I continue to keep it my pocket! Terry Caffey spoke at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church on February 17th. During his sermon, he told the story of the marble he kept on him to remind to pray for his daughter, who is still in prison.

At the end of his sermon, Terry Caffey gave an invitation for anyone with a specific prayer request to come forward and take a marble out of a bowl. That marble then was a reminder to pray. Dozens of people came forward to take a marble or two out of the bowl. I also took a marble and it has been in my pocket ever since.

Each time I reach into my pocket and feel that marble, I immediately begin to pray. Prayer is to be like breathing. The Word of God is very clear that consistent prayer is to mark every follower of Jesus.

Colossians 4:2 says…Continue steadfastly in prayer… 1 Thessalonians 5:17 echoes that truth: Pray without ceasing!  Psalm 88:1 also says: O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you! Day and night, we are to cry out to God in prayer! Wesley L. Duewel, in his book, Ablaze for God writes:

All Christians believe in the duty of some prayer each day. Most, however, have an ordinary prayer life except in emergencies. Too often they have never realized the thrill and excitement of communion with Jesus and prevailing in prayer for others (183).

According to Duewel, the more consistent we are in prayer, the more “thrill and excitement” we will experience in our fellowship with Jesus. Moses is a good illustration of not only close communion with God through prayer but also the impact such fellowship with God has on the individual. Exodus 34: 29 says:

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.

If it takes a marble to remind us to pray, so be it! What is important is that we actually prayer as often as we can and to pray about everything so that we can experience the joy and the peace of the Lord!

…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Amen!

Terry Caffey is the co-author of the book, Terror by NightThe back cover of the book summarizes Terry Caffey’s story…

Terror by Night is the emotionally gripping story of a daughter’s ultimate betrayal, a father’s unfathomable forgiveness, and a miraculous discovery that would destroy one man’s faith, spare two young lives, and restore peace to a small Texas town 

Terry will speak at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska at 10:15 AM on Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dave Butts has written a chapter in the short book, My House Shall Be a House of PrayerThe name of the chapter is, Prayerless Leaders = Prayerless Church. Butts began by describing the Brooklyn Tabernacle, the church built around prayer, pastored by Jim Cymbala:

Recently, when I I visited the Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Tuesday night prayer meeting (with more than 2,000 in attendance), it impressed me that the first three rows in the sanctuary were roped off. These rows were reserved for the leaders of the church. They were expected to be there–down front–and visible to the rest of the congregation. That was their place as leaders of prayer for the church

Brooklyn Tabernacle understands that godly leaders need to step out by faith in the direction that God lays out before then, and the people of God will follow–especially in the area of prayer. The local church will not become a house of prayer until its leaders become people of prayer. When prayer has its proper place in the life of the church leaders, it will move to a place of centrality in the rest of the church  (My House Shall Be a House of Prayercomplied and Edited by Jonathan L Graf and Lani C, Hinkle, 32).

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