Day 43: 50 Days of Passion

If you want passion in your spiritual life and your church what are you doing to encourage growth? Do you go to your local church to get what you need out of it? Or do you go to worship and build other believers up, by giving of your time, resources and yourself? Are you more encouraging or critical?

 

 

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5 NLT

 

 

People over the years have come to believe that the “grass is greener on the other side” when it comes to problems in their church. They feel that if things aren’t going their way or they don’t like what’s happening well the church across town does things better and will welcome them with open arms.

 

We all know the truth that it isn’t always greener, yet we have convinced ourselves that what we have is so damaged that nothing can be done to fix it. The grass may be greener on the other side, yet it may be artificial grass. No roots and what you see is what you get. Once you get there you may feel fine, but then pull back a seam and realize that under the turf they were no different then the church you left.

 

All churches are filled with imperfect people with imperfect problems. Every church has people quick to anger, bad decisions being made (in your opinion or otherwise), slow to forgive and broken. No church in itself can meet all you needs as they are imperfect. The one we serve is perfect. The one we go to church to worship is perfect. If he is the focus and driving forces behind your church, then that’s what matters.

 

Grass grows where it is watered. The grass is greenest when it is maintained. If members of the church (not visitors but regulars) are working to maintain the grass then the other side won’t look invite anymore. Invest in your church? Don’t like something pray about it, support it anyways, ask God to use it despite your view on it.

A church that is growing in Jesus, will show its fruit by having new people coming and people giving their hearts to Jesus.

 

Are you watering your grass? Or are you complaining about it? Let’s do something.

 

Jesus, so many of us find it easy to complain. I pray that we start to turn our complaints into action. Let us start build up, maintaining, working and watering our church so that it becomes vibrant and alive. Let us be effective in reaching others for you. The people who are lost matter to you, so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

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Day 42: 50 Days of Passion

 

I am a big fan of the underdog team movies. Most are just lazy and have no chance of winning because their motivation and passion isn’t there. The desire is there but the way to go from desire to being winners is unknown to them. Someone comes in and starts a spark within the team that quickly ignites the passion of the rest of the team to become winners. We can sit in church and expect someone else to be the one to come with the passion or we can work to become that person. God isn’t calling us to warm the seats, we are to be passionate about the faith, reaching others, building each other up.

 

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.”

Romans 12:11 NLT

 

How would you describe yourself as a Christian? A hard worker, a good worker, or just plain lazy? I am sure none of us would ever label ourselves as being lazy. We think to much of ourselves for that. We don’t think of lazy as taking time to unwind and relax, lazy is more using excuses not to do things. Things in life just need to get done and if we continually make excuse why we can’t participate we may be teetering on the edge of laziness.

 

It is very easy to label others as lazy. It is not fair for us to do so as in most cases we do not see ever aspect of a person’s life. We can only work on our own laziness and encourage those around us to join us in our activity.

 

One of the easiest ways for a believer to become active is to participate in your church. There are a multitude of ways you can be involved that you don’t even realize. Most people think about being involved as ushers, singers/players and kids/youth workers. But this limited thinking causes many to back away and not get involved. Church’s have much more going on. Participation in small groups, pray ministry, outreach, home visits, and many others are available to those who want to rise up out of their apathy.

 

If you want to see your life flourish, your passion ignited, you faith and relationship with Jesus grow stronger, participate in what the family of believers are doing. Word hard and with enthusiasm and see what God will reveal in your life.

 

Jesus, let us be a hard-working family of believers. Remove any laziness and give us a desire to work hard to reach others for you. Lay a passion in each believer’s heart to work diligently for you. Bless them for their faithfulness. I pray the each one reading this will be given an opportunity to tell someone about you, a chance to invite someone to church. Thank you, Jesus, for daily reminding me that the people who have not yet accepted you are still loved and matter to you. Keep reminding me and place in my heart that they need to be loved and need to matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 41: 50 Days of Passion

There are some believers who have made a stand against the church and decided that they can go it alone. These are what could be called commando Christians. They feel the church is broken and can’t function properly because of the people there. What they are forgetting is that the church is designed for broken people. It is a place where we can build each other up, and disciple one another in the Gospel. It has been said that no man is an Island. Passion is stirred up with other people, we are motivated by other people.

 

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Hebrews 10:25 NLT

 

The meeting with other Christians at a church setting is not something man made up. Jesus himself told his disciples to meet the upper room and wait for the Holy Spirit to meet them. The church or temple was instituted by God to the Israelite’s back with King David and finished with King Solomon, and even Moses had the people build a tabernacle as God described for him. The buildings themselves were not holy in any sense. It was who dwelt or is worshipped there that made the building or place important.

 

We as believers need to fellowship of other believers to strengthen us. Like a fire if a coal is taken out it won’t be long before that coal goes cold, and forgets what it is like to be ablaze in the fire. I am sure that if you take a moment to think back to someone who once walked with Jesus but now isn’t, you can pinpoint when they started missing church and their faith started to dwindle. They left the fire, their passion for Christ dwindled as they stop meeting with others who love him. If we could only bring them back to the fire it may rekindle the coal and bring them back to the saviour.

 

We can work to encourage these lost brothers and sisters to return. We need to do this in love as the enemy has quickly created a web of lies about the church in the wayward one’s heart. Excuses of hurts and unforgiveness that only Jesus can heal and restore. Isn’t it wonderful that we have a Saviour who loves to restore the broken, hurting and lost? Let’s work today and everyday to encourage, invite and tell others about Jesus.

 

Jesus, we pray for our brothers and sisters who have left the church and grown cold. They have been hurt or lied to and they won’t step foot in the church and have walked away for you as well. We pray that we can meet them, love them and help them work towards a restored relationship with you and your church. Let them understand that people have hurt them not you. Holy Spirit work in their hearts to restore the love that was once their, a passion for Jesus. They matter to you, so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 40: 50 Days of Passion

To believe that the chair you are sitting on will hold you up is a act of faith. You have faith in the one who made the chair that they were competent in their word working skills. You have faith that depending on how old the chair is that it isn’t broken and defective ready to fall out from underneath you. If you didn’t you most likely would have chosen a different seat. We would live a quite a life if we questioned the validity of everything we did even the daily activities. No we quickly learn that we must have faith in things that they will work as expected. So why then can’t we have faith that the promises God has given us can and will be done? Why are we not seeing miracles as frequently as Jesus or the Apostles did? Or when we do see a miracle do we pass it off as coincidence.

 

 

“The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!””

Mark 9:24 NLT

 

This father had brought his son to Jesus to be freed from demonic possession. Likely he had tried everything possible to get some help and his faith in his son ever getting better was at an all time low. Then this man Jesus was in his village, stories were going around that he was doing incredible things.

 

But the track record of other men’s failure in freeing his son had the man down trodden and discouraged. He believed Jesus could do what he claimed yet deep in his heart he doubted that anything really would change.

 

A lot of people in life today are just like this man. We want the miracle and the amazing to happen, yet we can’t push past that deep feeling that if it doesn’t happen well it was worth the shot.

 

Jesus wants us to fully put our faith in him, he promised if we have faith the size of a small seed we can move mountains. Do you really believe that? What mountain is in your way that you need moved? Do you really believe that Jesus can move it for you? Help our unbelief.

 

If you are having a hard time putting your faith in Jesus in the big things let me ask you this: Have you put your faith in him for the small things? Or are you doing them in your own strength. I believe that if we start giving Jesus everything and if needed, start with the small things then when it comes time that we need faith in the big things the foundation is there. We have prepared ourselves.

 

Dear Jesus, we trust and follow you, yet our unbelief in miracles and wonders happening needs to be worked on. We believe that you have amazing things in store for us to reach the lost and I pray that your people will fall to their knees and believing you will do them. Help us on our unbelief. Help us to trust you in the small things and the big things. Amen

 

Day 39: 50 Days of Passion

Do you think God cares about what you say to Him? Does he actually want to have a relationship with you? Why would God in heaven be interested in me?

We wonder these things and many others, but the truth is God desires to have a relationship with you. One that has a two-way conversation. It may seem that God doesn’t speak but if we read the bible we will see that he is talking to us through the written word, and that the more we converse with him in prayer the more he will speak to us.

“I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

Psalms 116:1-2 NLT

 

So, who feels like praying? I mean the Psalmist here writes that he will pray as long as he has breath. I pray and my mind wanders at times to things that don’t matter. Maybe if I didn’t fill my head with tv and movies it would help. Do I really want God to listen to my prayers? Yes, I do, and I am sure you do too.

 

How many acronyms do you know for ways to pray.

PUSH – Pray Until Something Happens

PRAY – Praise, Repent, Anything for others, Yourself

TIP – Thanksgiving, Intercession, Praise

 

I am sure there are more (love to hear them in comments) but it doesn’t matter how you pray, it is your heart behind it. Praying out with selfishness or greed will produce empty results. Love and humility, an earnest desire to do the work of Christ will see prayers answered.

 

Jesus during his time on earth talked about an advocate he would send, to help us. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.” John 14:16.  Maybe we in our prayer life need to spend a few minutes inviting the Holy Spirit to join us in our prayers. If the Holy Spirit is in us, as promised by Jesus himself, then wouldn’t it make sense for us to ask him to stand with us in our prayers?

 

Holy Spirit, we welcome you today to stand with us in our prayers. All to often we come to our knees and petition and pray without you. Sure, we know you’re there, but we want to invite you personally to join us. We love you, and welcome you to move in and through our lives and prayers. Amen.

Will you join me as we pray for the Persecuted Church? Visit me at 50 Days of Pray

Day 38: 50 Days of Passion

Yesterday was the international day of prayer for the persecuted church. Did your church talk about the plight of 200 million believers around the world that are persecuted for just trusting in Jesus? Will you take the next 50 days for focus on the countries that are focused on eliminating Christianity? Join me at 50 Days of Pray as we pray for the 50 most persecuted countries. Pray for the leaders, the law enforcement, government, the civic workers and the people as well as the believers. Lets pray that God will shake things up and that the persecution will change to revival.

 

 

“O LORD, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.”

Psalms 5:1 NLT

“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.”

Psalms 138:3 NLT

 

If you are not praying, you are missing out on the most important tool we have on earth to communicate with our Heavenly Father. We often hear people being called prayer warriors and assume that they are doing enough for the rest of us. This is not okay. We are called to “pray with out ceasing”. This means being in constant communication with God, not walking the streets praying aloud, but centring ourselves so our thoughts are continually on him.

 

We should all be as Christians considered to be ‘prayer warriors’ ready to fall on our knees when called to prayer. This burden to pray can come from others or from the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When you focus your life on serving Jesus, talking to him daily these things will overflow your life. You will become sensitive to the Holy Spirits calling. To be in a relationship with Jesus that is rich and satisfying comes from daily communication and consumption of his word.

 

Finally, warriors of pray don’t last long if they don’t come together with the rest of the army. We need to pray with other warriors. If your church gathers to pray, make a conscious effort to be there. Plan to be there, prioritize your life to have time. All great revivals start in the hearts of those who pray. If you expect God to move in your church or community then you need to pray alone and with others who have the same heart for the lost.

 

Jesus, I pray that your people will not forsake the communication freedom you have given us. We need to come together and pray not only on Sundays but meet during the week. Increase the burden to reach the lost on the hearts of your people, see their hearts ablaze with your love for the lost. They matter to you, so they matter to me. Amen

 

Day 37: 50 Days of Passion

When our prayers move away from me to we, and we focus on the mission of reaching he lost, then we will see passion reignited in our hearts and our churches. Church families can be caught up with ensuring they are getting fed they forget that the church is a soup kitchen where we are the workers whose aim is to feed those who are hungry. We do need to be united as a family and open to creating a bond that is attractive to those who see it. They want what we have, Jesus living in our everyday lives.

 

 

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

 

I wonder how a Sunday morning would go over if the Pastor opened the service by instead of asking the congregation to shake hands, he asked them to turn to one another, confess their sins from the week and pray with one another. I think there would be a few shocked faces and maybe even an uproar from some. But imagine with me if this became common practice in the church.

 

If every Sunday before church the saints met and confessed with one another, prayed before the Sunday service, healing would begin to take place. Then true worship would arise from the followers in attendance producing wonderful results. All to often we wait until the end of a service to confess our sins, maybe after the Pastor has preached a sermon that cut us right to the heart. But if we have already laid our sins at the Fathers feet, we could be prepared to receive so much more.

 

This is one reason I believe in pre-service prayer. Now understand I said believe, not practice, I confess I sometimes barely get to church on time, no excuses. But If I truly and honestly want to see God move in the service among his people and to see the lost who may be attendance changed then I need to start changing my habits. You may say “well I pray at home in the morning before church” that’s great. But there is power in the gathering of the saints with one unity purposefully praying for the move of God. Awesome things will start to happen, people WILL be healed, people WILL be saved, prayers WILL be answered, hardships WILL be overcome, needs WILL be met. Will you gather with others, openly confess your failures and sins, and pray that God will work in your Church, community and city?

 

Jesus, we ask you to forgive our sins. Give us an openness to declare and confess our sins to others, not to create stories to gossip about but so others can pray for us and help us overcome the weakness that we struggle with. Use them to build us up. Jesus we want to see your power move through our communities, city and churches. Motivate your people to take time not only in private prayer but in pray as a family. The people of this world matter to you, so they matter to us. Amen