Archive for the 'Pastors' Category
Every pastor deals with a certain reality every single week. I’ve heard it referenced as the “relentless return of Sunday.” You preach your heart out, pour yourself empty, and exhaust yourself physically and emotionally only to wake up on Monday or Tuesday and realize the process begins for another week. In many ways, it is equivalent to writing and presenting a research paper every single week.
Any honest pastor will tell you there are days when you stare blankly at a certain passage of Scripture and have the thought, “How do I preach this?” We question how to make it into an outline. We wonder how we can apply this to our people’s everyday lives. Sometimes we even wonder what in the world the passage means!
I’ve discovered a secret that has been more helpful to me in sermon preparation than any other principle. I also believe it’s the key to personal discipleship, to counseling burdened people, and even to sharing the Gospel with a lost friend. Here’s the principle: Just say what the Bible says.
That may sound overly simplistic. In fact, I bet when you read that statement, you thought it was an extremely elementary thing. I understand that. I really do. I also believe that sometimes we complicate preaching, discipleship, counseling, and evangelism. I want to encourage you to begin implementing this simple principle in your everyday life. Here’s how this statement affects the following areas.
There are passages that are difficult to preach. Shocker, right? Some texts are hard to understand, difficult to work into an outline, or tough to try to apply to a group of people. My guiding principle throughout this is to just say what the Bible says. I believe it was Paige Patterson who once said, “Expository preaching is getting your people to read their Bible.” There is perhaps no better way to implement expository preaching than to just say what the Bible says. No more, no less. It’s important to notice that the most important question in sermon preparation is not, “What does the commentary say?” God wrote a book. Let that book speak to the people of God.
What is successful discipleship? People would probably answer this in a myriad of ways. I believe all successful discipleship has one thing in common: an intensified passion and focus on the Word of God in the life of the person being discipled. If that happens, then it truly will affect all other areas of his life. In other words, if we can get that person to begin to just say what the Bible says, we have helped put him on the path toward an abiding walk with Christ.
The Word of God affects all of counseling. It doesn’t matter if it is a professional counseling environment or one friend counseling another over coffee. We have all had those difficult times in the midst of counseling someone else or simply giving advice to a friend where we have come to that line. You know, THAT line. Do I take a step out and tell him what he really needs to hear? Do I tell him what God’s standard is for his life? Or do I cower back in fear and just say something to appease him? We should maneuver through these times by simply saying what the Bible says.
The reality of heaven and hell are tough things for a lost culture to grapple with. If we’re honest, it is a difficult message to deliver to people who don’t believe the same way we do. Some, in an attempt to be loving and inclusive, change what the Bible says to make it more palatable to a lost person. How unloving! The most loving thing we could ever do is say what the Bible says. The Bible speaks of repentance, of faith, of surrender, of taking up your cross, of following the Lord Jesus Christ. Those words are life. Just say what the Bible says.
I truly believe that if you’ll begin to practice this principle in your everyday life, you’ll see the Lord do some amazing things. God loves to work in the lives of those who hold His Word as the source of life and truth in the world. Will you take God at His Word? Will you just say what the Bible says?
Lead Teaching Pastor, Staff Leader, Cross Church
This article was originally published on December 5, 2017 at TheologicalMatters.com. Used by permission of the author.
So, what is your prayer plan? If you do not have a plan that helps you stay current, on task, and specific, then I suggest you consider trying this one.
Your iPad and prayer
I use an iPad and iPhone, which came with an app called Notes. I have turned my iPad into an intercessory prayer list through the Notes App. If you have an iPhone, it will sync with your iPad, providing you accessibility on either device. If you have an Android or other device, they have something similar, or you can even download an app that works for you. The brand of the product is not what is important – it is the functionality it provides.
Why I use my iPad for prayer
1. Simplicity: The Notes app is very simple to use. Access to my iPad and saving my prayer list on the Notes app is very simple. Simplicity usually increases usability.
2. Change: It is simple to change this kind of electronic prayer list. It is simple to adjust any part of the list or all of it.
3. Relevance: In the past, a challenge of using a prayer list has been keeping it current and relevant. With the Notes app, I can easily keep my list current. I can add to my list upon hearing a need, wherever I happen to be at the time. A current, relevant prayer list increases the usability of such a list.
What is on my daily prayer list?
I have used all kinds of prayer plans through the years. Nothing keeps me more focused, on task, and effective in prayer than a current, relevant prayer list.
For decades, I have begun each day with a personal time with God. You can read about my morning commitment here. Because of this, I have grown spiritually through the years, and my desire is that the Holy Spirit will navigate me through this list each day as He so desires. As with any plan for prayer, it always needs to be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. My daily prayer list is lengthy; therefore, I will only share a few of the commitments I have in daily prayer.
Personal preparation: Daily, I make myself available for God to prepare me to pray. I spend moments praising God, followed by moments thanking God for what He has done for me. I then move into a time of spiritual evaluation, confession of sin, and acknowledging His finished work on the cross for forgiveness of my sins. From this point, I approach God asking for His spiritual covering and armor upon my family and me. I call out the names of my family, asking God to put on His armor of protection upon each of us.
Filling and anointing of the Holy Spirit: I believe in the filling of the Holy Spirit daily and even momentarily. While I do not understand fully the anointing of the Holy Spirit, I know I need God’s anointing upon my life and in everything I do. I ask God to anoint me for preaching, teaching, leadership, decision making, vision, writing, relationships, and with His gladness.
Empowerment to walk in the authority of the Great Commission: I believe in the Great Commission and committing the rest of my life to do everything I can so that each person in the world is told about Jesus Christ. Therefore, I pray for God to give me the authority to personally fulfill it; pastorally, in leading my church; nationally, leading the National Day of Prayer Task Force, and globally, through writing, sending, speaking, and influencing others to reach the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Asking God for a mighty spiritual revival in my church and in America: I believe God wants to send a mighty revival upon His church and ignite a spiritual awakening in America. I plead with the Lord, asking Him to pour out His Spirit upon us powerfully.
Asking God’s leadership upon the leaders of our nation: I believe in praying for the leaders in our nation. Daily, I call out the names of our President, Vice-President, our state’s Governor, Senators, Congressmen, and the Mayors of the major cities in our region of Northwest Arkansas.
Asking God for wisdom and favor upon the leadership of our region: When the economy really turned sour years ago, I began to pray for forty to fifty leaders in our region who help shape the financial future of our region, even our state, some in America, and a few globally. Therefore, I keep this list current and for several years have prayed for some of Northwest Arkansas’ prominent leaders by name.
Asking God to provide healing and restoration upon people who are ill and those who have lost loved ones: Prayer is powerful and we need to believe God to heal people. Some need it physically, others emotionally or mentally; however, no one can bring healing like God. This list is very current and keeps me accountable to pray for people with major needs. As soon as I hear about them, I place them on this list, with 90% of these people never knowing unless I tell them.
There is much more, but that’s enough for now …
There are many more things I work through in prayer daily. However, this gives you some ideas about how to transform your iPad or other device into an Intercessory Prayer List.
Try using this – I really think you will like it
Its simplicity, usefulness, and relevance will be refreshing. Plus, do not forget, it can change easily as the Spirit of God leads you.
Now is the Time to Lead and to Pray,
Ronnie W. Floyd