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“Prayer can never be in excess.”

~ C. H. Spurgeon

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The Prayer Life Of an Above Average Leader


Prayer Life of a Great LeaderI’ve never considered being called average a compliment.  I think it means you’re just as close to the bottom as on top.  I don’t believe that God meant for you to be average.  I don’t think God meant for you to live a so-so or bland, mediocre life.  As a leader, I don’t think God intends for you to be an average leader.  I believe that every human being was designed for excellence, that you’re not one in a million, you’re one in five billion and as the book In Search of Excellencestates, “The average person desires to be excellent in many different ways.”  There is no one else like you in the universe.

As Pastors and Christian leaders, one of the key elements in our pursuit of being an above average leader is having an above average prayer life. I want to share some big lessons from the life of Jabez about the prayer life of an above average leader.

Jabez is a man who literally stood out in a crowd.  There isn’t much written about him in the Bible.  In 1 Chronicles 4, you find a couple of sentences about him in the middle of a bunch of genealogies.  In the middle of 600 names God singles out one man for special recognition.  He stands above average.  He’s like a redwood tree in a forest of Bonzai’s.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 it says, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.  His mother had named him Jabez saying, `I gave birth to him in pain.’  Jabez cries out to God, `O God, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory and keep me from harm so that I would be free from pain.’  And God granted his request.” 

Out of those two obscure verses, we learn that there are three secrets to his life as an above average leader. What can we learn from Jabez?

You Need a Great Ambition

Jabez didn’t want to be ordinary.  He wanted to excel and grow.  In other words, he was a person of vision and dreams.  He wanted something special and something great from his life.  Most of all, he wanted God’s blessing in his life.

A lot of people never achieve the leadership level that they could achieve in life because they just drift through life with no ambition, no master plan, no real purpose, no dream that pulls them along.  It’s what I call haphazard living.  You’ve got to have a dream if you’re going to be a great leader.  And in looking at Jabez’ prayer life we’ll find that his prayers actually came out of his dreams.  When you stop dreaming, you start dying.  If you have no goals, you have no growth.  You were designed by God for great dreams.

You Need a Growing Faith

Jabez had a deep trust and belief in God.  It is obvious from his prayer that he recognized that the source of his blessing was the Lord.  It reminds me of William Carey who said, “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.”  In these two verses, we notice a couple of things about Jabez. If you’re going to live above average, you first need a great ambition and second, you need a growing faith.

For the rest of the article…

by MATT SMETHURST

Are You Praying for Revival?

Since finishing Iain Murray’s superb biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones last week, I’ve been pondering the topic of revival. The life and ministry of the Welsh pastor leaves me no option. As Murray, who also authored Revival and Revivalism, observes: “True zeal for revival is nothing other than zeal for the glory of God in the conversion of many.” Or, as Tim Keller explained at TGC13, revivals are “seasons in which the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit are intensified.” (For more on gospel revival, see chapters 4 and 6 in Center Church or A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir by Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge.)

While such statements may sound harmless enough, are they true? Some evangelicals today are certainly uneasy with revival talk. Revival is God’s concern, they insist, not ours. Are they wrong?

TGC Council members Kevin DeYoung, Bryan Chapell, and Richard Phillips recently sat down to tackle this knotty topic. “In a true revival, you’re not adding human manipulative techniques to a biblical ministry,” Phillips explains. Rather, you’re “doing biblical ministry, fortified by prayer, and the Holy Spirit is giving you a great harvest.”

Moreover, Chapell points out, “True revival is often very disruptive to the traditional church.” As a result, many churches “want revival until it comes.” On the other hand, DeYoung adds, some don’t desire to see revival unless it occurs in their church.

To be sure, the history of revivalism is shot through with examples of well-meaning people seeking to engineer what only God can do. As Lloyd-Jones warned:

Pray for revival? Yes, go on, but do not try to create it, do not attempt to produce it; it is only given by Christ himself. The last church to be visited by a revival is the church trying to make it

For the rest of the post…

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

It is so sad when a local church ministry is built on a man instead of on prayer and the Word of God.

Warren W. WiersbeSomething Happens When Churches Pray9.

The Book of Acts contains as least 30 references to prayer in many settings. The local church rises or falls with its praying. If you ask the average  member, he will say, “No, the church rises or falls with its preaching.” Preaching is important. But praying was behind the apostles preaching in the Book of Acts. You’ll find that the Apostle Paul was a man of prayer. Peter was a man of prayer. The early church believed in prayer. The local church and its ministry will rise or fall with its prayer life. 

Warren W. WiersbeSomething Happens When Churches Pray9.

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).

by KEVIN DEYOUNG

Maundy Thursday

Like millions of Christians around the world, we will have a Maundy Thursday service tonight. If you’ve never heard the term, it’s not Monday-Thursday (which always confused me as a kid), but Maundy Thursday, as in Mandatum Thursday. Mandatum is the Latin word for “command” or “mandate”, and the day is called Maundy Thursday because on the night before his death Jesus gave his disciples a new command. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

At first it seems strange that Christ would call this a new command. After all, the Old Testament instructed God’s people to love their neighbors and Christ himself summarized the law as love for God and love for others. So what’s new about love? What makes the command new is that because of Jesus’ passion there is a new standard, a new example of love.

There was never any love like the dying love of Jesus. It is tender and sweet (13:33). It serves (13:2-17). It loves even unto death (13:1). Jesus had nothing to gain from us by loving us. There was nothing in us to draw us to him. But he loved us still, while we were yet sinners. At the Last Supper, in the garden, at his betrayal, facing the Jewish leaders, before Pontius Pilate, being scourged, carrying his cross, being nailed to the wood, breathing his dying breath, forsaken by God-he loved us.

To the end.

To death.

Love shone best and brightest at Calvary.

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Father, the American Church is in great need of spiritual revival. On the first Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem in order to pay the price for our sins on the cross. On that day, Jesus wept over the sins of the people of the city. May we wept over our own sins and for the sins of the church. Come Lord Jesus Come!

Amen!

Prayer is the engine of Transformational Churches

~Ed Stetzer & Thom S. RainerTransformational Church125

November 2017
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