March 2017


We often refer to the prayer that Jesus used to teach us to pray as “The Lord’s Prayer.” However, there is a better example of Jesus’ prayer to give that name to. We find Jesus’s prayer in John 17. In this prayer Jesus prays about His mission, His disciples (who are with Him), and those of us who would believe because of the testimony of these disciples.

Jesus not only gives an example of how to pray, but He begins by showing us what we ought to prioritize in our prayers—God’s direction for our life. When was the last time that you or I prayed for God’s will to be done in our life? Sure we say the words—even quoting the Model Prayer—by saying “Thy will be done.” But think it through, when was the last time that we really, genuinely, and earnestly sought the direction that God wanted us to go?

My guess (including for myself) is that we gave a head nod to God, and went on about our business as usual, without taking time to consider the full impact that God wants to make on the world through us. Nor do we pause to consider the price that following that path of obedience would require.

Even so, as costly as following Jesus is, as difficult as taking God’s direction might be, it is well worth the effort.

Let us, today, pray with our Master, “Thy will be done.”

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”  —Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 6:10

In 2013, Thom Rainer (President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources) released a little book to help churches called I Am a Church Member in which he suggested 6 pledges members could make that would help them and their church to grow. I think that perhaps an appropriate substitute title for the book might be I Am a Disciple of Christ; after all, one would hope that if someone were a member of a church they would first of all be a follower (or disciple) of Christ.

This poses for us the question: just what is a disciple of Christ? A disciple, by definition is a person who follows (as closely as possible) the teachings of a particular leader. Often these followers take on not only the characteristics of the leader, but adopt their name as a label as well. Thus, followers of Christ who are truly disciples have through the ages been known as Christians.

So, what do Disciples look like today? They are committed to Christ-likeness: caring for the poor and needy, loving toward those who may be different from themselves, encouraging in their interaction with other Christ-followers, practicers of integrity at home and in public, and (probably most of all) forgiving of others when wrong has been perpetrated.

If you want to become a better church member, read Rainer’s book and apply the principles encased in the pledge. If you want to be a better Christian, read the Scripture and follow the example given by the Savior.

“And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”  —Acts 11:26b

Revival. There is a word that is used in a variety of ways today. It is most often heard in church circles, and we take it to mean the extended meetings the church holds for about a week leaning heavily toward evangelism. That’s what we are advertising for this week—Spring Revival. In this case the meetings will consist of five services (Sunday morning and evening, then each evening Monday through Wednesday). But at its core, the word “revival” really means a “bringing back to life,” or “coming back to life.”

With this in mind, our special event will be geared toward a couple of ends: renewal of commitment for believers, and reaching out to others with the message of life found in Jesus Christ. Our theme this week is “I Know the Answer” and so we want to focus this week on making sure that everyone at least has the opportunity to find the answer in Jesus Christ. I personally would like to see the revival begin in the hearts and lives of those who already know the answer. My prayer is that my own tired heart will be revived with a renewed passion for Christ. And as a result of the renewed vigor for the answer in Jesus, we want to focus on sharing that answer with people who have not met Jesus yet.

This revival; this coming back to life will then be seen in the renewal of Christians and the re-birth of others who will now have life in Christ. “Lord, send a revival; Lord, send a revival; Lord, send a revival; and let it begin in me.” (Hymn by B.B. McKinney, 1927)

You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”  —Jesus, recorded in John 8:32

I’m an “old dog” so I’m always leery of trying to learn something new. Like most old dogs, I am comfortable with many things the way they are—from my perspective, the way they’ve always been.

However, if I am to take my Savior at His word, Jesus is constantly making things new for me. It is not that the ancient truths have ever, or will ever, change, but that as I grow older, my understanding of the Truth deepens because of my growing relationship with Him (who is in His very essence Truth).

So this old dog wants to constantly learn new things that help him to understand all sorts of Truth.

This is revival. This is renewal. This is what sets old dogs free. Pray for God to send newness to the heart of your city, town, or village—starting with this old dog.

And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” Revelation 21:5a