Don’t Let Politics Trump Prayer

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

As Christians we are called to pray for our leaders and all those in authority. I hope you prayed for President George W. Bush when he was president. I hope you prayed for President Barack Obama when he was president. And I hope you will pray for President Donald Trump now that he is president.

Why should you pray for your leaders and those in authority over you? One obvious reason is because they make decisions that have a huge impact on your life. But the Bible addresses a much more important issue here in these verses from 1 Timothy.

The Bible instructs us to pray for those in authority so that we may live out our Christian lives peacefully and share our faith with others. Never take for granted that you live in a land where you have the freedom to worship God. Never take for granted that you have the freedom to share the gospel with others without fear of persecution.

It is important to pray for our leaders. We are to pray for our president whether or not we like him as a person. We are to pray for him whether or not we agree with his policies. In fact the less you agree with him, the more important it becomes to pray for him! It’s easy to pray for a president with whom you agree on everything.

So I hope you have already begun praying for President Trump. I know I have. It’s been a rough political season, and not everyone is happy with the new president. But that just makes it all the more important to pray. Don’t let politics trump prayer!

Bible Reading Helps for 2017

Here are some links to help you with your Bible reading in the New Year. The first link points you to a variety of free Bible reading plans. The second link will direct you to some good book resources. And the third link provides recommendations for children’s story Bibles (for families that would like to read the Bible with their children this year). May God bless you richly as you spend time with Him in his Word this year!

Reading the Bible Through in a Year Series:

      1. Free Bible Reading Plans for the New Year
      2. Books to Help You Read through the Bible
      3. Recommended Children’s Story Bibles

Related post: 5 Reasons to Read God’s Word This Year

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 12/18/2016

Sunday’s message was on The Star of Bethlehem from Matthew 2:1-12. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. Consider the heavens
   – Psalm 8:3-4; Genesis 1:14-15

II. Consider the Scriptures (Matthew 2:2)
   – Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Isaiah 60:1-3

III. Consider the miracle
   A. The timing of the star was miraculous (Matthew 2:7, 16)
   B. The movement of the star was miraculous (Matthew 2:9)
   C. Common explanations for the star:
      1) Comet
      2) Conjunction of planets
      3) Supernova
      4) Manifestation of God’s glory

IV. Consider the purpose (Matthew 2:3-6, 10; 28:19)
   – points us to Christ, the only Savior for the world
   – reminds us to share the good news of Jesus with others

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 12/4/2016

Sunday was the last message in our series on Living the Christ-Centered Life through the book of Colossians. The message was called We’re All in This Together, taken from Colossians 4:7-18. Here is a brief outline of the message:

1. Faithful messengers (7-9)
   – Tychicus > fellow worker; carried letter to Colossians
   – Onesimus > runaway slave; subject of letter to Philemon

2. Jewish co-workers and comforters (10-11)
   – Aristarchus > fellow prisoner; from Thessalonica
   – Mark > restored to ministry; wrote the gospel of Mark
   – Justus > fellow worker for the kingdom of God

3. Epaphras, the prayer warrior (12-13)
   – founder of the church at Colosse (Colossians 1:7)
   – always wrestling in prayer (Colossians 1:9, 28-29)
   – worked hard for the churches (Colossians 2:1)

4. Good friends and traveling companions (14)
   – Luke > Paul’s personal physician; wrote Luke and Acts
   – Demas > eventual deserter (2 Timothy 4:10-12; 1 John 2:15)

5. Valued recipients (15-17)
   – Nympha > church met at her house
   – the church at Laodicea > letter exchange (perhaps Ephesians?)
   – Archippus > told to complete his ministry (cf. 2 Timothy 4:5)

6. The apostle Paul (18)
   – personal greeting in his own handwriting
   – suffering for Christ and the gospel
   – letter begins and ends with grace (Colossians 1:1-2)

       You can’t live the Christ-centered life on your own;
                           we’re all in this together!

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 11/27/2016

Our message series is Living the Christ-Centered Life through the book of Colossians. Last Sunday’s message was called On Mission in the World, taken from Colossians 4:2-6. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel (2-4)
   A. Devote yourselves to prayer (be persistent, watchful and thankful)
      – Acts 1:14; Ephesians 6:18
   B. Pray that God will open doors for the message of Christ
      – 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Timothy 2:9
   C. Pray for open mouths to proclaim the message clearly
      – Acts 28:30-31; Ephesians 6:19

II. Live your life in light of the gospel (5)
   A. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders
      – Ephesians 5:15; Colossians 1:9, 21; Titus 2:10
   B. Make the most of every opportunity
      – Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 5:16

III. Guard your speech for the sake of the gospel (6)
   A. Let your conversation be always full of grace
      – Psalm 141:3; Luke 4:22
   B. Let your words be seasoned with truth and love
      – Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 3:8
   C. Be prepared to share the gospel with anyone at any time
      – 1 Peter 3:15-16

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 11/20/2016

Our message series is Living the Christ-Centered Life through the book of Colossians. Last Sunday’s message was called Christ-Centered Relationships, taken from Colossians 3:18-4:1. Here is a brief outline of the message:

General principle: order, authority and submission (Romans 13:1-2)

I. Christ-centered marriage relationships (3:18-19)
   A. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord
         – 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-24
   B. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them
         – 1 Corinthians 7:33-34; Ephesians 5:25; 1 Peter 3:7

II. Christ-centered parenting relationships (3:20-21)
   A. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord
         – Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-2
   B. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged
         – Psalm 103:13-14; Ephesians 6:4

III. Christ-centered work relationships (3:22-4:1)
   A. Workers, obey your bosses (3:22-25)
         – Ephesians 6:5-8; 1 Timothy 6:1-2
      1) in all things and at all times even when they’re not looking
      2) with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord
      3) work with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men
      4) know that there is no favoritism
   B. Bosses, take care of your workers (4:1)
         – Ephesians 6:9; 1 Timothy 5:18; James 5:4
      1) provide them with what is right and fair
      2) know that you also have a Master in heaven

Look at Christ for your example:
   1) Husband/wives – look at Christ and his relationship with the church
   2) Children – look at Jesus who obeyed his parents
   3) Parents – look at Christ and his compassion
   4) Masters/slaves – look at the Lord as the ultimate reward-giver and judge

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

Post 2016 Election Comments in Church

This past Sunday at church I shared a few words with the congregation about the election. I thought I would post them here, too, in case any of you might find them helpful.

I just want to share a few words about the election with you this morning. This has been a difficult election season, and even coming out of the election our country remains deeply divided. I want to encourage you if your candidate won not to be overly excited and if your candidate lost not to be overly discouraged. Every president is but a footnote in history. Our hope is not in princes or in presidents but in Jesus Christ who reigns forever. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House, Jesus is still on the throne. And that’s where we need to keep our focus. When we gather to worship, we do not come together as Democrats or Republicans but as believers in Jesus Christ, united in him and seeking his good together for the world. God is in control, so let us continue to focus on Christ and the gospel and sharing God’s love with the world around us.

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 11/6/2016

Our message series is Living the Christ-Centered Life through the book of Colossians. Last Sunday’s message was called On with the New, taken from Colossians 3:12-17. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. Clothe yourselves with Christ-like qualities (12-14)
   A. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience (12)
      – Deuteronomy 7:6-8; Ephesians 1:4-5; Galatians 5:22-23
   B. Bear with and forgive each other (13)
      – Matthew 18:21-22; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 2:13
   C. Over all these put on love (14)
      – John 13:34; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:22

II. Live as members of one body of Christ (15-16)
   A. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts (15)
      – Ephesians 4:3-4
   B. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (16)
      1) as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom
         – Colossians 1:28
      2) as you sing songs with gratitude in your hearts to God
         – Ephesians 5:18-20

III. Do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus (17)
   A. Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed (17a)
      – Colossians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 10:31
   B. Giving thanks to God the Father through Jesus (17b)
      – John 14:6; Colossians 1:3,12; 2:7; 3:15,16,17; 4:2

“Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14)

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

3 Things to Remember on Election Day

Here are three things to remember on Election Day. (These are adapted from a message I preached back in November 2008: A Christian in the Voting Booth.)

  1. The gospel is bigger than politics: Our faith is in Christ, not in any political party or candidate. Donald Trump is not the Messiah. Hillary Clinton is not the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the Messiah who came to make things right in the world.
  2. The church is bigger than political parties: God is neither a republican nor a democrat. Believers may disagree with each other on many issues, but that should not affect our fellowship in Christ. When we share communion together, we gather not as republicans or democrats, not as independents or libertarians, but as Christians, united together by our common faith in Christ.
  3. God is bigger than elections: (This is a good one to remember not just on Election Day but also on the day after, especially if your candidate does not win.) No matter how strongly you feel about one candidate or another, and no matter how disappointed you may feel if one candidate wins instead of another, God is bigger than all that. If the early church was able to worship God and spread the gospel under Emperor Nero, if contemporary Christians are able to worship God and spread the gospel in Communist China, trust me: we will still be able to worship God and spread the gospel under either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. And whoever is elected president, you need to respect that person as your newly elected leader and pray for them accordingly.

 
God is sovereign. God is in control. Let us pray for the election, let us do our part in voting as responsible Christians, and then let us trust God with the results.

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 10/30/2016

Our message series is Living the Christ-Centered Life through the book of Colossians. Sunday’s message was called Off with the Old, taken from Colossians 3:5-11. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. Get rid of the sinful things in your life
   A. Put them to death (5)
      – Romans 8:13
   B. Remove them like clothing (8-9)
      – Colossians 2:11 (“put off”), 2:15 (“disarmed”)

II. Examples of sinful things we should get rid of
   A. Sexual sins (5) – sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil
      desires, greed/idolatry (Exodus 20:17; Romans 1:24-25)
   B. Interpersonal sins (8-9) – anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy
      language, lying (Matthew 12:36-37; Ephesians 4:29, 5:3-4)

III. Four reasons why we should get rid of these things
   A. God’s wrath is coming because of these things (6)
      – Ephesians 5:5-7
   B. These things belong to your old way of life (7)
      – Romans 6:21-23
   C. God is making you into someone new (9-10)
      – Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 5:17; Ephesians 4:22-24
   D. In Christ all the man-made barriers have been removed (11)
      – 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26-28 (racial, religious, cultural, social)

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 10/23/2016

Our message series is Living the Christ-Centered Life through the book of Colossians. Sunday’s message was called Raised with Christ, taken from Colossians 3:1-4. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. Two commands for those who have been raised with Christ (1-2)
   A. Set your hearts on things above (a new direction or goal)
      – Matthew 6:19-21, 33; Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12
   B. Set your minds on things above (a new focus)
      – 2 Cor. 5:15-16; Philippians 3:19-20, 4:8; 1 John 2:17

II. Three reasons why you should do these things (3-4)
   A. You died with Christ (past)
      – Galatians 2:20
   B. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God (present)
      – John 10:28-30, 17:20-21; Romans 8:39
   C. When Christ appears, you will appear with him in glory (future)
      – John 14:6,19; Philippians 1:21; 2 Thess. 1:10; 1 John 3:2

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

7 Prayer Requests for Unsaved Loved Ones

Sunday we held a prayer service at church for unsaved loved ones. At the beginning of the service I shared the following seven requests we can pray for our friends and loved ones who do not yet know Christ. Each request has an accompanying Scripture to read along as you pray. You will notice that most of the prayer requests revolve around the gospel, because it is only through the hearing and believing of the gospel that anyone can be saved. I hope you will find these requests and Scriptures helpful as you pray for your unsaved loved ones. (Note: Click here for a print-ready PDF handout.)

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Praying for Unsaved Loved Ones

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)

1. Pray that God will draw them to himself.
“No one can come to me unless the Father … draws him.” (John 6:44)

2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin.
“The Holy Spirit … will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8)

3. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel.
“Pray for us that God may open a door for our message … Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (Colossians 4:3-4)

4. Pray that others will share the gospel with them as well.
“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

5. Pray that God will open their eyes to the truth of the gospel.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

6. Pray that God will open their hearts to respond to the gospel.
“The Lord opened her heart to respond to the message.” (Acts 16:14)

7. Pray that they will believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)