THE PASTOR’s PEN January 13, 2019
Dear Church Family and Friends,
Read this with me. 2 Timothy 1:5-7 (KJV) 5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
In this the last epistle of Paul, you read about a young, discouraged man who desperately needed his mentor to impart wise counsel. In the context of a valley of discouragement, the Lord uses the apostle Paul to speak into young Timothy words of affirmation and principle—words that endure throughout generations. The entire book is laced with power phrases that remind us that God is at work to do something new in our lives. It would be a good book for us to read and “Think About” as we enter 2019.
Most often the work God chooses to do is preceded by months, if not years or decades of preparation. There were people who went before us who had a vision burning in their hearts for a great new work of God.
One example is Joel, a young church planter in Montreal. According to many missiologists, Montreal is the most unreached city in North America. Masses walked out of organized religion and vacated church buildings after the Catholic church priesthood scandal. However, while it is still embryonic, there seems to be a movement of God among evangelicals in the city.
Church planters are quick to point to prayer as the reason young adults are moving toward God once again. “We stand on the shoulders of others who have gone before us,” Joel said. “My dad was one of those who prayed and fasted for a movement of God. When I was a small child, I watched him kneel beside his bed and cry out to God. I asked him why he didn’t go someplace more comfortable.” His dad’s answer was that when Joel was older, he would understand why he knelt and prayed. “It was not until after I was twenty-three that I understood spiritual warfare is hard work,” Joel said.
While church planters are working in darkness and brokenness, they are finding a spiritual hunger exists with people in Montreal, and truth is satisfaction to the craving soul. On their knees, the people who have for decades called on the Lord find new strength to persevere and claim a city for Christ.
The Place to Start Is Prayer
It may take decades to see results, but the most important strategy for reaching lost people and impacting a culture must begin with bended knees and humbled hearts calling out to the Lord who desires to transform lives. Oh that God would bend our knees for the lost of Henardtown, Hawkins County, our state and the world.
When we are discouraged and our faith seems weak, the place to begin is prayer and especially intercession for lost people. Remember, it is the will of God that people be redeemed: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
The Passionate Pursuit Is Prayer
What is God most passionate about? While He certainly loves His bride, His passion is for those who are lost. He knows their destination. Unless there is a remnant of faithful people who care about lost people like He does, there is no hope. Do we pursue what He loves or what we love the most?
We have discovered just about every method to persuade people to come to our churches, and yet they do not come. Could it be there is a vast difference between what God values most and what many American churches are doing? While He is focused on the lost, are we are too heavily vested in programs and ministries that simply gratify ourselves?
“But lost people are different than we are,” you might say. True. They are probably about as different as we were to the generation before us. Styles change. The truth of the transforming gospel does not. That’s why to reach people with different values, different languages, different worldviews, different skin colors, different ages, we must humble our lives and yield our selfish flesh to the Lord Jesus. Instead of looking for a silver bullet to help our church’s organizational processes, let us stay humbled before Him in prayer until God’s love for lost people floods our hearts and renews our minds (Rom. 12:1–2).
The Penetrating Strategy Is Prayer
There are lost people in every city of our state, every town, every village, every neighborhood, every apartment complex, and every institution. With each government guideline or court ruling, it seems that our capacity to openly share the gospel is evaporating and eroding. We must recapture the most important element in God’s strategy for pushing back the darkness and bringing light to the lost. That strategic, rudimentary process is intercessory prayer. Can you imagine the impact of two believers calling out for months to God for one person who needs to receive Christ?
These are the most urgent days in human history. Such days require extraordinary measures like interrupted to-do lists, death to our insecurities or fears, and broken heartedness over the spiritual condition of a coworker, a neighbor, a fellow student, or a relative. The God who makes all things new has an agenda. It is prayer! He is working in the lives of believers all over the globe to bring His people to a renewed urgency for prayer and intercession for the lost. He has made this year as an opportunity for you to join Him. Our association is planning a prayer conference this spring to help us make prayer a priority. We are also looking to an Evangelism Rally on March 10th with David Greene at First Baptist Church in Rogersville. Let’s begin now to join God’s agenda and pray!
I hope you will participate this year. You will have fun, and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.
To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer.
5. Upon what mountain did Elijah defeat the prophets of Baal?
6. What Patriarch went out not knowing where he went?
7. When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, to what city did Jonah try to flee?
8. What was Abraham’s point of origin?
Until next week, Love and prayers,
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Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.