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Tag Archives: Prayer

Betty’s Trip to India

One of the ladies at Northwest, Betty Massie, is getting ready to go on a mission trip to India.  I would encourage you to be praying for her during her three week trip.  William, her contact in India has provided her with some pictures of their congregation and orphanage and I put them in a slideshow to share with you.  I already know that praying for her is going to be a challenge for me.  Growing up, I prayed every single night for Neil and Betty Massie in Australia (where they were missionaries at that time).  I already know that every night for the next month I am going to catch myself saying, “God, please be with Betty Massie in Austra….ah….India.”  Anyhow, excited for March for Missions at church today.  Be praying for Betty and all of our missionaries.

Click on the link below to check out the Prezi for Betty’s trip:

http://prezi.com/eemm0jn6bc4b/betty-massie-india-mission-trip/?kw=view-eemm0jn6bc4b&rc=ref-26018501

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Hot Topics

 

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James 5 – Prayers for Mom

I am not one to bury the lead, so I want to actually start with James 5:16 and the power of prayer and talk about wealth at the end.  This chapter was very important to my family when we first found out that Mom was sick.  The doctors had told us that Mom had brain tumors that required brain surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.  I found out some time later that the doctors thought Mom had about six months.  Prayer had always been important to my family, but it took on a whole new role at this point.  Based on James 5, my parents asked the elders at church to come and lay hands on Mom and pray for her healing.  It was a powerful experience to have that group of men pray for my Mom and my family.  (However, nobody said anything about anointing with oil until Mom afterwards said she wanted to do things exactly as James 5 instructed so the elders actually did it again the next Sunday at church, that time with oil.)  My parents also wrote a note to the church asking that everybody take a moment and confess their sins to God, because James 5 says that Christians should confess their sins to one another so that they could powerfully pray for healing.  I don’t pretend to know exactly how God did or didn’t answer those prayers, but Mom ended up having multiple sclerosis (and not brain cancer) and lived for six more years.  I have a lot of great memories from those years.  I tell you this story because of the heritage of faith and belief in God’s Word that was given to me by my family.  Anytime I read James 5 I am reminded of those important moments in my family’s life when we really did depend on our faith.  I will never forget that my family also called on others to join us in our prayers.  And if you were one of those people who prayed for us then thank you.  You will never know what a blessing to us you were.

The beginning of James 5 is the second half of a conversation James is having about wealth.  At the end of James 4, he writes to merchants who travel from city to city, making their own plans and relying on themselves.  Their confidence and faith is in their own ability to determine the future, which is foolish when only God knows the future.  In chapter 5, it transitions to talking to rich people, which is different from merchants.  This is the nobility, the people who own land and have servants who work the soil.  They have mistreated those who work for them and a guilty of valuing their wealth and possessions over people.  James focuses on how people handle possessions and wealth on several occasions, but this section makes it clear that when wealth causes people to trust in their own ability to determine their future they are in trouble.  When people put their confidence in money, insurance, jobs, retirement funds and don’t put their trust in God, they are in trouble.  When people take advantage of others for personal gain they are in trouble.

On the other hand, Christians should in every area of their lives seek to bring their thoughts, values, and actions into alignment with God’s thoughts, values, and actions.  This includes what we do with our money and our possessions.  It doesn’t mean that you have to be poor or give away everything you have.  What it does mean is that your priorities need to be brought into alignment with God’s priorities and how we handle our money needs to reflect that and be rooted in that.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in James

 

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A Prayer for Prisoners in Pelican Bay

A few weeks ago I came across an op ed article by Shane Bauer in Mother Jones.  You can read the article here.  You might remember that Shane was one of three Americans held prisoner by Iran for over two years prior to his release in early 2012.  Last month he wrote this article for Mother Jones about his visit to Pelican Bay State Prison in California.  He writes of the thousands (11,000 in California and over 80,000 nationwide) who are kept in isolation, away from any other human.  They sit alone in small cells without contact with other inmates or the outside world.  Journalists are not allowed to contact them.  Many of their cells do not have proper facilities.  Shane describes how the conditions these Americans live in while imprisoned in American prisons is worse than what he experienced in Iran.  

I don’t necessarily intend for this to be a political piece.  I am sure that there are violent and dangerous criminals who are best kept away from other people for reasons of safety, security, and crowd management.  What struck me as I read this though was how this group of criminals have no voice.  And I don’t mean they have nobody to talk with.  I mean they can’t speak for themselves, have little or no advocates, and cannot appeal for justice.  It’s a dangerous thing when any, even the dangerous in society, have no voice, and no few number of the writings of the Old Testament Prophets would agree with the need for God’s people to stand up with the broken, give voice to the voiceless, and to seek justice for all.

I do hope that you will take a few moments to do what Christians are instructed to do in Hebrews 13:3 and “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourself were suffering.”

Please take some time to pray for all of those in prison.  I would ask you to remember two friends of mine, Daniel and Kris (Kris is Ryan’s brother) who are currently incarcerated, and also that you would pray for all of those who suffer in isolation throughout our country.  Even if just for a day, that our voices could be lifted up on their behalf.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Hot Topics

 

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Lift up Prayers From Every Nation and Tongue

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Prayer Wall in Christ’s Church, Oxford

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Ephesians 6:18

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Photos

 

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Praying for Bill

As many of you know Bill, the preacher at Northwest, spends much of October and November in Athens, Greece.  While there he teaches future ministers at the Athens International Bible Institute.  He is also able to work with a number of the Christians and churches he knows from his time spent in Athens as a missionary.  Truly, Bill is uniquely gifted to be a blessing to the students, Christians and church in Athens so please pray for his work, his safety, and good travel.

For Ryan and I, this gives us an opportunity at church to work in ways that we don’t always get to and we love it.  It’s fun getting to spend time in the pulpit, in different classes, and just doing some different things. It also presents some challenges from time to time as we juggle our own normal tasks with some of our bonus responsibilities.   Unfortunately our daily blogging has become a casualty to this reality.  I hope to get three posted today (last Thursday’s and this Tuesday’s in addition to this one).  Although, being missed is a good indication that you’re doing something worth missing.  So anyhow, here’s a flyer for a speaking engagement Bill has in Greece.  Please keep him in your prayers!

 

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Hot Topics

 

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Colossians 4 – Pray and Pray Again

There’s not a lot to this chapter since it’s mostly greetings and the like.  But there is a repeated emphasis to pray.  Pray with watchfulness and thanksgiving.  Pray for Paul and his message.  Pray that he speaks clearly so that the message reaches those who need it.  Later, Paul talks about how Epaphras prays for the Colossians frequently.  The repeated emphasis on prayer is not accidental.  At the end of this letter, Paul wants to leave them with the poignant reminder that prayer matters and that they need it and he needs it.

Another interesting thing that is partially speculation, but I will mention it here nonetheless is that Paul mentions the letter to the Laodicians. He first instructs the Colossians to forward their letter to Laodicia once they are done reading it.  This clearly shows that Paul understands this letter to be of benefit to people in multiple locations, times and contexts.  At the same time, he tells them that they should read the letter to the Laodicians.  Now here’s the potentially interesting thing…this could be the book that we know as “Ephesians.”  In ancient manuscripts of the letter to the Ephesians, there are a number of early manuscripts that actually have the letter addressed to Laodicians.  Much like the letter to Colossi, it is very likely Paul sent the letter to several congregations and we most associate it with Ephesus, but perhaps this is the same letter Paul speaks of here in Colissians 4.  We certainly don’t know, but it does show us that Paul recognizes that his writings are of value to all of God’s people and he desires them to have access to it.  Okay…maybe it’s not quite as interesting as I suggested, but I thought it was.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in Colossians, Pauline Epistles

 

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