Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Surprised by Reasons for Stubborn Sin

Why Can't I Shake My Sins?
A surprising answer to a stubborn problem.
by Kevin A. Miller

NOTE>>> Read this, then journal your responsive prayer in the comment box . . .
Why Can't I Shake My Sins?

A man came to see me. It was the beginning of Lent, the original "40 Days of Purposeful Repentance."

"Pastor," he said, "I want to confess my sins." And in tears, he spoke honestly and openly about the sin in his life—nothing illegal, most known only to him, yet serious, and he wanted to turn away from it. We talked and prayed together, and he left.

Forty days later, he came back.

"How are you doing?" I asked.

"I haven't made much progress," he admitted, his eyes unable to meet mine.

In his agony was a question I've often asked: "Why does sin so stubbornly remain in our lives?" He and I both want to change more than we have and more than we do.

I've heard many answers, ranging from "You just haven't gotten serious enough about turning away from your sin" to "You need an experience of greater or entire sanctification" to "You need an accountability partner" to "You need to let go and let God." All helpful, to a point, but they didn't seem to fit this man hunched over in front of me.

So I read several classic books of spiritual devotion. Their answer was not what I expected; in fact, it was the opposite.===>Click headline to access complete article . . .


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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Commune Deeper

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Ten Ways to Deepen Communion With God

Note >>> Taken from Doug Small's Prayer Letter ===>Click headline to access his blog . . .

Here are ten ways to deepen your communion with God:
1: Sit quietly. Enjoy the very real sense of His presence. Let him lead. Don't rush the moment. Let his peace renew your soul.

2: Listen. Listen deeply. Tune your soul to His stillness. Listen to the rumblings of your own soul, and let God quiet your inner storms. Be still before Him. "God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer." ~Mother Teresa.

3: Yield to God's action. Let him come near. Let him move around you, encircling you. Put yourself in a "Here am I!" position.

4: Let God speak. Avoid the temptation to break a holy silence. He may speak through scripture, through a life-experience, through the memory of some history you share with Him. Listen for any word the Spirit might bring.

5: Keep a prayer journal. Record you impressions and thoughts. Note scripture references. Write down promises you make to God and those you sensing him making to you. Make notes of action items - things you are led to do; and change points - things you are led to change.

6:The essence of the prayer relationship is love. Let God love you. And then, express your love to Him. Let Him lead with love. Let Him love first.

7: Take a walk. Drop everything. Go and get alone with God. Or, take a drive. No agenda. No list. Just a spontaneous encounter with God.

8: Then go to your secret place. Get your journal. Write. Record the fresh insights.

9: Sometimes you may find yourself at a parallel to some moment in Scripture. What is happening to you has happened to David or Paul, or some other Biblical character. Let the Bible give you language that expresses the depth of these encounters with God. The Psalms are especially helpful in cultivating our prayer vocabulary. Athanasius, the fourth-century Egyptian theologian said, "Scripture speaks to us; the Psalms speaks for us."[1]

10: Sing. Shout joyfully. Dance. Celebrate his presence. Glorify him. Give voice to the deep sense of his presence. Be spontaneous. Be grateful to and for a God who pursues you.
Weep. Weep deeply over the wonderful grace of his embrace. Tears have a way of cleansing the soul. Weep joyfully. Weep over the wonder of why he loves you so.

[1] Quoted by Eugene Peterson, "Praying by the Book," The Contemporaries Meet The Classics on Prayer, ed. Leonard Allen (West Monroe, LA: Howard Publishing, 2003) 53.


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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Time (and a place) to Pray

HARVEST PRAYER RETREAT CENTER

HPC
Need to get away? "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest'" (Mark 6:31).

Two cabins, a lake (bring your fishing pole), peaceful trails and a lovely prayer chapel are just some of the wonderful amenities at Harvest Prayer Center. We are located between Terre Haute and Brazil, Indiana.

Individuals, leadership teams and families have all enjoyed some time away with Jesus in this lovely place!
Prayer Chapel


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Monday, June 02, 2008

Inner~View #40: Prayer Society Revolutionizes Congregation


Praying Pastor interviewed Pastor David Hoffman of Foothills Christian Church


  • Click on photo for Foothills website
  • Click headline for 39 additional "Inner~Views"
  • Call 619-442-7728 (Sylvia) to order this book $10 + shipping)

Praying Pastor ~ David, your story is compelling - Tell us how the Lord revealed that "prayer is the single most important activity in the Christian life" ...

Pastor David ~ I had planted a church with my brother and we had been working extremely hard for approximately 7 years with little results. One morning in my devotion I read 1 Corinthians 4:20, “The Kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.”

It was like a light went on in my spirit. What we needed to be successful for Christ was first and foremost the power of God. I also saw that the Kingdom of God was simply the presence and the power of the King. Where Jesus’ power is His kingdom advances. Without God’s power we really can’t accomplish much (John 15:5). Also, I came to see that if we don’t pray for God’s presence and power in general we’re living without it, we ministering without it. As James said, “You have not because you ask not.” Therefore, pray becomes of utmost importance for any believer.


Praying Pastor ~ You have the heart of a pastor but you ask "why are we failing to win America for Christ?" with the passion of an evangelist. What is the correlation of prayer and our ineffective evangelism?

Pastor David ~ We’ve looked to programs, systems and people to show us how to win the lost, not to God. Each local is different, if we want to win the lost we need to get down our knees and ask God for wisdom on how to do it. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t use ideas that work, only that first we need revelation and vision from God. We need God’s presence and power to show up when we speak to the lost, this happens when we pray.


Praying Pastor ~ One of the fruits of your journey in prayer, is the establishment of a Prayer Society in your congregation. How has it made a difference in both the spirit and growth of your church?

Pastor David ~ Our Prayer Society was started as a way to challenge Christians to pray. In our church we had 1050 people sign up for the latest six month pledge commitment. For six months they pledge to do the following:

1. Pray a minimum of 2.50 hours each week.

2. Attend church regularly.

3. Support the church’s ministry through my tithes.

4. Strive for holiness and obedience to God in my daily life.

5. Pray regularly through prayer lists which will be compiled at the church every two weeks.

Within the first two years of our Prayer Society the church doubled and our facility was too small; after three years we reached our goal of ministering to 1000 children and youth a week. People began to purchase my sermon c.d.’s at a rate we had never seen before. In all areas of ministry the measurable results were astounding.

In the last 14 years our church has grown from a small church of 150 to an average attendance of 2500, 60 ministries, 124 small groups, 24 Bible clubs in our local public schools, 4 youth centers a K-8 school and a high school. We minister to 5500-6000 children and youth a week and 250 college age men and women. Since we started praying, 4 out of 5 City Council members are Christians and 4 out of 5 High School Board Members are Christians. All this in the State of California; hardly what you would call part of the Bible belt!


Praying Pastor ~ You have written "it is vital that we all develop a prayer discipline to increase our prayer lives and our effectiveness." How would you counsel a busy, overworked pastor to begin this journey on a personal basis?

Pastor David ~ As Pastors, we need an anointing from the Holy Spirit to preach, teach, counsel and lead effectively and the way we get this anointing is through prayer. James says if we ask for wisdom we will get it. Prayer and the anointing it brings will help any pastor be more productive, discerning and effective.

Prayer must come first! If I know I have a busy day, a difficult day I know I must spend time in prayer. Why? Because I want God’s anointing and influence manifested in my life.


Praying Pastor ~ We met at a prayer retreat for pastors; over four dozen leaders from a diversity of denominations and generations. Why is it important for a pastoral leader to be in spiritual fellowship with other pastors and ministry leaders?

Pastor David ~We, as Pastors, are the gate-keepers, the watchmen of our cities. There may be times that if we work together we can accomplish great things for God. I’ve found working with other Pastors brings synergy to the cause of Christ in a community. We sponsor a periodic luncheon here at the church to facilitate Pastors getting to know one another. It’s been a tremendous blessing.


Praying Pastor ~ David, please write a prayer for pastors to personally discover how prayer will change their world...

Pastor David ~ Dear Lord Jesus,

Let your power and presence be felt from the pulpit of your Pastors here in America. Convict your servants that in their own strength can do very little. Fill church leaders with great hope for the future if they rely on you. Make all of us depend on you so as to reach our full potential in your kingdom. Come Lord Jesus and remind your leaders that you house shall be a house of prayer



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