Monday, January 21, 2013

What Happens When the Church Stops Praying?

We are almost at the close of our series “Building A New You” and our plan this week is to teach about “New Knees” in essence that we must become people of “personal prayer” we must become passionate about communicating with our Heavenly father… I read this article by Pastor Mark Batterson he is the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., a multi-site church in the nation’s capital. Meeting in movie theaters and Metro stops throughout the D.C. area, if you have not read his book “Circle Maker” you need to order it from Amazon today. Can I ask you to read this article and PRAY with us that this series we are in will Change and Motivate our Church to move into not necessarily new heights but perhaps New Depths of relationship and power with our King!

Live Big! Pray Big!

What Happens When the Church Stops Praying?     by Mark Batterson

We’re not trying to grow a church, we’re trying to bless a city, and when you bless a city then God grows His church. And I think that’s gotten into our DNA as a church. You know how you can read a verse in the Bible a thousand times, but then one day the full force of it hits you and it’s like this revelation. This little statement Jesus made, “I will build my church”… I’ve heard that a thousand times, but I think it hit me this year.

My job is not to build the church.

It’s a little thing, but it’s been big for me. We need to remind ourselves, it’s His church—He’s the one who will build it, and if we can stay out of the way, then some great things are going to happen.

Prayer has also played a big part.

I feel like prayer is the difference between the best you can do and the best God can do. So if we’re not praying, then the best we can do is the best we can do, and that’s not good enough. When we get on our knees, the Holy Spirit does the heavy lifting. Prayer creates the culture and gives people a heart for evangelism, because when you get into God’s presence, you start to get His heartbeat.

That’s been the game-changer for us. 

You can delegate a lot of things, but you can’t delegate prayer. The Lord convicted me out of Acts 6—when the church leaders were delegating stuff so they could be in the Word and in prayer. I love conferences. I’m a conference junkie, but I’d rather have one God-idea than a thousand good ideas. You can go to conferences and get a good idea, but you’re not going to get a God-idea there—you get that by being in the presence of God and getting into prayer.

When my book“The Circle Maker” came out, I had this thriving personal prayer life, but I realized I hadn’t led the church corporately into that. So we started doing these 7:14 a.m. prayer meetings (based on 2 Chronicles 7:14), and I realized it was changing things. I don’t know if it took me writing a book on prayer to realize how far short I had fallen—to kind of wake up to the reality. I felt a sense of responsibility that I better make sure I’m not just leading the way in my personal prayer life—I better be leading the way corporately. 

What happens if “The” Church (Any Church) stops praying?

Wow! I think the very first thing that comes to mind is we would get bored. SorenKirkegaard said boredom is kind of the ultimate sin. I don’t think you can live a Spirit-led life and be bored at the same time. So when you stop praying it takes the supernatural element out of what we’re doing and the church becomes a club.

There’s no conviction of the Holy Spirit, no miracles—then the church stops being a movement and becomes a museum to what God has done in the past.

If you want God to do something new, you can’t keep doing the same old thing. You have to do something different, and I think prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you. So if we stop praying, we’re on our own and I don’t think we’re going to get very far. When you start praying it begins to create some of that momentum you can’t manufacture—it’s God beginning to move.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Your Opportunity to Be a Ground-Breaker

One of the most necessary attitudes of a groundbreaker is being able to view problems as opportunities and setbacks as temporary annoyances. This positive attitude also welcomes change as helpful and is not upset by surprises, even negative ones. How we approach challenges and problems is a critical part of our decision-making process, whether in our professional or our personal lives. In environments in which criticism, pessimism, cynicism, and motivation by fear prevail, an attitude develops that leads to avoiding failure at all costs. The trouble with failure avoidance is that at the same time it creates avoidance of success, which depends on big risks.

Improvement and creativity are impossible when people are in fear of being punished for failure. Early experiences often imprint on us that failure is to be avoided at all costs. This began in early childhood, when we ran into our first "No!!" It grows like a wild plant when we are criticized by our parents, other family members, our teachers, and our peers. It leads to connecting ourselves with our mistakes, and to a self-image of clumsiness and awkwardness. Therefore, as adults, not wanting to be criticized or rejected, we seek security rather than risk looking foolish or giving the impression being awkward. They quietly ride with the system, not rocking the boat.

All lasting success in life is tied up with problems, hardship and disasters which require imagination and improvement. Winners turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

In the 1920s, when Ernest Hemingway was working hard to perfect his craft, he lost a suitcase containing all his manuscripts. The devastated Hemingway couldn't conceive of re-doing his work. He could think only of the months he'd devoted to his arduous writing—and for nothing. But when he lamented his loss to poet Ezra Pound, Pound called it a stroke of luck. Pound assured Hemingway that when he rewrote the stories, he would forget the weak parts and only the best material would reappear. Instead of framing the event in disappointment, Pound cast it in the light of opportunity. Hemingway did rewrite the stories, and the rest, as they say, is history.

As this New Year unfolds before you, focus on framing your challenges as "opportunities to grow" rather than "disappointments and problems." Learn from the past, but don’t lament, there is a reason it rhymes with cement. Step into 2013 knowing that God is with you, in the present, but He has also been in your future. He knows what is down the turnpike of life and has already made arrangements for you to “Make It Through.” An attitude touched by Faith in a God of today and tomorrow is like carrying around a Jack-Hammer nothing can stop you, things may slow you down, but you will smash through! Pray through! Get through anything. In Jesus Name!