Prayer Matters

WHAT DOES THE SEED BEING PLANTED IN THE PRESENT SAY ABOUT YOUR FUTURE?

“The seed of the future is in the womb of the present.”  Quote from Dr. David Busic, Chairman of the Board of General Superintendents for the Church of the Nazarene, as stated in the report to the 2017 General Assembly for the Board of General Superintendents.

I sense that God is planting fresh seed into my heart and mind in these days.  My wife Leslie and I had the extreme privilege of attending the evening worship services of the General Conventions for the Church of the Nazarene in Indianapolis on Friday and Saturday evening this past weekend.  On Saturday evening the Revelation Song was sung in several different languages by Nazarenes from different world areas.  I will never forget that moment.  It was exceedingly rich and moving!!  We concluded our time in Indianapolis by participating in the service on Sunday morning that opens the General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene (that runs throughout this week).  It was amazing to receive communion along with 10,000 plus Nazarene’s from around the globe.  In case you have no idea what I am talking about General Conventions and Assembly take place every four years in the Church of the Nazarene.  It is a global gathering from all nations, a family reunion of sorts, a time to attend to important decisions that further our mission to make Christ-like disciples in the nations, and a time to recalibrate and renew the mission and vision of this beautiful body of believers called Nazarenes all wrapped up into one.

My heart has been challenged by these past few days.  Our local church, Fenton Church of the Nazarene, is a local expression and an integral part of all that I participated in while in Indianapolis.  I was reminded by one of the messages that we cannot talk about the church in generalizations.  The church is always expressed locally in a particular place.  We are the church!  One great reminder from Dr. David Busic’s report this morning was that we are not just a church with a mission we are a mission.  Along these same lines the report challenged us to become a movement of God once again.  General Superintendent J.K. Warrick challenged the church to put the “move back into movement.”  But the statement that has riveted my attention more than any other is the one with which I opened this blog:  The seed of the future is in the womb of the present.”

So, what kind of seed is being planted in our hearts, in our homes, and in our church in these present moments?  And, what will the seed being planted in the womb of the present yield in the future?  Are we allowing the seeds of our culture to be sown into the womb of the present, or are we allowing the seed of God’s living presence, hope, power, and love to be sown?  Are we allowing the seeds of our own self-doing, self-assessment, self-directed hopes, self-empowerment, and selfish interests to be sown, or is it God’s doing, God’s leading, the hope of God, the power of God, and the self-giving and self-sacrificial love of God that is being planted?  And most importantly, if we are not allowing God to plant seed into the womb of our present what can we do to change the kind of seed that is being planted?   If you are looking for a place to start we are challenging each person in our faith community to pray 15 verses from Ephesians 1:15-23 and 3:16-21 for 15 minutes @ 12:15 each day.  We believe that these two prayers are revolutionary.  As we pray these 15 verses together our hope is that God will plant the seed of His abiding presence, living hope, almighty power, and amazing love in our hearts.  We pray that we will be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.   We are praying for a move of His Spirit that will move our hearts, homes, and faith community.  So, set your phone alarm for 12:14 P.M. every day (so you will be ready to pray with us by 12:15 P.M.), take your 15 for 15 @ 12:15 Bookmark to your prayer place and allow God to plant fresh seed in the womb of the present that will revolutionize your future, your family’s future, and the future of this wild and beautiful family of faith called Fenton Church of the Nazarene!

#prayermatters,

∼ Pastor Ron

 

 

#prayermatters Preview

In a few days, we’ll be kicking off a new series focused on prayer called: #prayermatters.

As we gear up for this important series, preparing our hearts for a few weeks’ focus on prayer, I want to share with you a story that illustrates the great joy I have in being the youth pastor at FCN. Last night was our final study in our 8-week journey through James’ NT letter. And if you’ve ever read through James before, you know that he ends with a final plea for his readers to always be in a spirit of prayer, regardless of their life’s circumstances, which for many of his readers was the daily reality of persecution and death because of their belief in Christ.

Knowing that this would be our focus, and knowing that on Sunday we’d be beginning our #prayermatters series, I told the kids that it’d be remiss of me if we didn’t spend an extended amount of time in prayer…you know…to actually apply James’ message to our lives…

And so, after a hurried lesson, I had the students engage in different prayer areas around the room. There were posterboards up on wall labeled School, Praises, Requests, and Our World, as well as sticky notes for prayers of Confession. And while it excited me to see them respond to the prayer prompts, I soon saw something else that brought me incredible joy. In the midst of walking around the room and writing things down, I saw students coming together to cry and pray and encourage one another, all without any prompting from me. (Side note: this is not the first time I’ve watched them do this for one another)

As I watched them, and as I prayed over them, I couldn’t help but think…this is what it’s all about!!! For a generation that I feel is all to easily written off as needy, entitled, disengaged millenials and Gen-Yers, it filled me with such pride to see them loving and caring for one another. And, I see their realness and rawness, and their not-caring what others in the group may think or say about them. This is what it’s all about!

And yet, at the same time, I’m filled with a wonder of why it’s so difficult for us to do the same thing on Sunday mornings (myself included!). I know I’m not a genius, but I’m fairly certain that not every one of us is doing alright…pretty good…great…or “insert your general polite response here… on a Sunday morning. Our lives are full of ups and downs, highs and lows, mountaintops and desert valleys, happies and crappies…

And so, as we prepare for the launch of our #prayermatters series, my prayer is that we are neither afraid, nor held back, by our pride to share with others the matters for which we pray, because, after all…prayer matters.

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
– James 5:16 (The Message)

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
(Hebrews 4:14-16, The Message)

following His leading,
~ Pastor Joe