Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Eternal Outcomes

Eternal Outcomes
Matthew 21:12-13

I really despise waiting in line. If I see a line forming and have an opportunity to do something about it, I either pull into another line that seems to be going faster, or I see if there is a friend I can talk to and use them to get ahead. I hope you know I am kidding on the last remark. I do try to find the quickest line though. Usually what ends up happening is the line I think is going faster becomes slower when I make my way over to it. Most people don’t like the idea of waiting in line for anything for very long.

But if the Son of God were to bodily visit our church and we knew we would have the opportunity to personally talk to him, waiting in line would be worth it all.  It might even give you opportunity to sort through some of your thoughts so you wouldn’t waste His time rattling off a number of more or less self-centered prayer requests.

In Matthew 21:12-13, it says, “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.’” Jesus was not talking as much about what they were doing, but what they were not doing. We tend to focus on the external reality, the thievery. Just like in the above illustration of being in line, our attention quickly jumps to how much time we are losing instead of what we can be doing in the line. Oh how life would be much more meaningful if we could only see the real purpose behind the simple things that happen in life.

There are so many wonderful things happening in our church. Many people are being stirred to be a follower of Jesus Christ and not a fan. There are many new families attending. The Family Life Center is taking shape. You could probably add many more exciting things to the list. When things go well our tendency is to focus on the excitement and forget about foundational issues. If we were to only celebrate and get caught up in the moment, then we would be determining the ultimate outcome of these blessings. The longevity of these blessings only comes by properly giving credit where it is due and bathing it in prayer. All the glory belongs to Jesus because these can only happen when He is Lord. The greatest ministry of the church is prayer. Jesus always preceded every great ministry event with prayer. When people joined Him, the real purpose began to be revealed – to know God more.

Prayer should be the main and defining characteristic of the church not the number of new people we are experiencing. Getting busy as a church on other things and not bringing the ministry of prayer to the forefront only launches us into a busy season with no lasting results. When revival is being experienced in a church, prayer is consistently an important part of what’s happening. Jesus is always present in the church through the presence of the Holy Spirit, but during times of authentic revival people see Jesus through new eyes of faith.

It’s hard to imagine Jesus visiting any church without picturing lines of people waiting to talk with Him. And yes, many would be asking Jesus to help them with their serious concerns. But there would also be those wanting to express their thanks or to ask for forgiveness or to offer fitting words of praise.

As Jesus once said, it is to our advantage that his presence is no longer limited to a human body.  “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7).  The problem of so many people at one time pressing for his attention has been eliminated.  Now anyone can talk to the Lord at any time.

We have revival on the calendar starting October 20. But don’t think that revival will happen without the prayers and desperation of our people. Would you be willing to come and pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our church? Revival sessions will come and go if we let it. But don’t you let it. Commit to praying for the Lord to fall fresh on our church and our families. There will be a time of prayer on Friday, October 11 and 18 from 7-8pm, and each evening 30 minutes before the service. They will be held at the church. Would you make it a priority to come and agree in prayer that you want the Lord to move in our midst? Whether there is a line or I am the only one, I will be there at church. Join me, would you?

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

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