Just Pray


Have you ever asked the Lord to teach you to pray? How can prayer be so simple yet so difficult at the same time? How can deep abiding prayer be the yearning of our hearts at one moment and the next be so resisted? It’s as if our hearts can go from tender and soft then to cold and harsh within seconds. Often the last thing we want to do is pray when we know it should be our first course of action.  While we are at it, why would Jesus tell us not to pray as the pagans pray by repeating something over and over and then give us the example of the Lord’s prayer; only for us to make it the most repeated prayer of all time? Has that ever-seemed kind of strange to you? Listen to what the prince of preachers had to say about prayer.

“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon

When we pray to God, we are entering a spiritual conversation with the very one who created us. Think about it. You get to talk with God anytime you want.  How crazy is that?

During the month of November, we will be unpacking the “Lord’s Prayer” that Jesus gave as an example of how to pray.  We are calling this short 4-part series, “Just Pray!” As we ask the Lord to teach us to pray, He will take us on a journey of reflection, meditation, and beautiful communion. We get to call our very own Creator “Abba” Father. You don’t have to be good at prayer to pray. You don’t have to be a seasoned pro.  You don’t even have to know who and what to pray for.  Just pray! Try it!  Practice it! Talk to Him! But don’t forget to listen.  Listening is as much about prayer as talking.  I would even go so far as to say that listening is more important than talking, especially if you are communing with your Creator.

Listen to the ageless wisdom that E.M. Bounds gives us about prayer.

“Prayer makes a godly man, and puts within him the mind of Christ, the mind of humility, of self-surrender, of service, of pity, and of prayer. If we really pray, we will become more like God, or else we will quit praying.” – E.M. Bounds

If there was ever time we needed the mind of Christ, it is now.  And prayer will help us to attain that very thing.  Let me close with part of poem I put together.  Maybe someday Ryland can put music to it. 😉 I look forward to speaking to you on Sundays on how to “Just Pray!”

Just Pray

When you feel you have nothing more to say…just pray!

When you’re numb and nothing feels the same…just pray!

When answers all but flee away…just pray!

Remember Jesus promises to stay…just pray!

 

Until the whole world hears,

Pastor Scott

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The Treasure Principle

From time to time I will get out my very old stamp collection.  When I was a kid my Grandma Walker got me interested in collecting postage stamps by collecting them herself. I must say, I have quite a collection of both foreign and domestic stamps! When my grandma passed away I combined the two collections.  One day I will organize them into something I can pass on to my grandkids…if they have interest. As they say, “one man’s stuff is another man’s treasure.”  Do you have any treasures?

To name a few of the most popular things man treasures would include things like money, jewelry, cars, boats and other personal possessions.  What If God asked you to give away your treasures, would you do it?  Jesus did ask the young rich ruler to do this very thing.  And the ruler walked away with his head down because he knew that his treasures were more important than what he sought from Jesus.

How do you view the treasures you possess?  How do you view the treasures that you seek? Everybody has some type of treasure. And everybody has certain treasures they seek.

Beginning on October 8th and going through October 29th, I will be preaching through a series called  “The Treasure Principle.” In 2001 Randy Alcorn wrote a book with the same title.  Many of our small groups will be going through his curriculum.  On Sunday mornings we will be examining Matthew 6:19-21 where it says,

” Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Within these three verses we see the “Treasure Principle.”  The “Treasure Principle” is simple to understand.  “If you try to store up your treasures just for yourself you will eventually lose them. But if you give them away you will be greatly rewarded in the next life.” Or as Randy Alcorn says in his book, “You can’t take it with you – but you can send it on ahead.”

During the month of October, we will be talking about four aspects of giving.

  • The Treasure of Giving
  • The Spirituality of Giving.
  • The Sacrifice of Giving.
  • The Joy of Giving.

The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 verses on faith, and more than 2,000 verses on money. In fact, 15% of everything Jesus ever taught was on the topic of money and possessions – more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined.  Together we will seek the Lord for His guidance and instruction on the treasures He has allowed us to manage for Him while we live out our lives on earth and as we seek to unlock the secret of the “Treasure Principle.”

              In His Grace,

Pastor Scott

 


Fear or Trust: Your Choice

Have you ever been afraid? I was told once that fear is simply: False Evidence Appearing Real. (F.E.A.R.)  There is much truth in that acronym. Most of the things we fear rarely comes to pass. And yet we continue to worry and be afraid. Why do we do this? The Psalmist said, “What time I am afraid I will trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3) Trusting God helps chase away fear. So, what stops us from trusting the Lord more?

Maybe we “fear” because of the number of overwhelming things that are important to us.  We worry about personal issues like family problems, health, finances, and our children. We worry about worldly issue’s like the economy, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, Russia and North Korea. There is no shortage of things to worry about. And when we worry we usually become afraid.

Thank God for the antidote to fear which is “Trust!” Did you know that you cannot Trust God and fear at the same time? Those two things cannot coexist at the same time. One replaces the other. Where one is, the other cannot be. To choose to fear is to choose not to trust.  To choose to trust is to choose not to fear.  It really is that simple.

But how do you learn to trust God?  You must walk with Him. You have to know His Word. You have to apply his principles to your life.  Both trusting and fearing are acquired tastes. You learn both traits over time. The more you trust the less you will fear and the more you fear, the less you will trust.

Life is about making choices. The next time something happens and you must make a choice, choose to trust.  I close with three great scriptures about fear and trust:

  • Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
  • For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7
  • There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear must do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. – 1 John 4:18

Today, I choose “trust.”  What about you?

 

Pastor Scott A. Carlson