Hello, Crossroads Family!
This feels like an important week in the lives of many at Crossroads, and of course we are made aware every day of great needs and tensions all around us in the world. For those at Crossroads involved in farming, this is a week to assess and try to catch up after all the rain we’ve had this spring. For those in teaching and for students, today brings the end of summer school in Nevada; but for others there are ongoing camps in preparation for fall sports. Some from Crossroads will be involved this week in ministry at the Rodeo Bible Camp at Riverside Cowboy Church. There are many other comings and goings, and everyone is working hard trying to keep up with the rising cost of living. Please pray for each other, and remember especially those in need of work. Thank you!
This is also a week where we have an opportunity to honor and bless dads. In our sermon Sunday we’ll be at the section of Genesis where Jacob is in the prime years of fatherhood. He’s raising a family (a large and unusual one!), moving the family back to his home in Canaan, and dealing with himself as a man. We’ll take a look Sunday at the struggles men have and what it takes to become a great man. (We’ll find that many of the same struggles and principles apply to women as well!)
I look forward to being with you this Sunday morning for worship at the Community Center starting at 10:00! The sermon will be posted on the Crossroads Facebook page (and on my personal Facebook page) if you’re not able to be with us in person.
Our Struggle to Understand Prayer
One of my highlights so far in June has been our Monday Night Prayer meetings at 5 pm at my house. We’ve been small in number, but those who have come have enjoyed refreshing times of … (a) waiting upon God, … (b) praying for others, … and (c) praying for ourselves. (By the way, did you ever think that one of the best ways you can pray for other people is to ask for them some of the same things you’re asking for yourself? What are you asking for yourself? Ask God for those same kinds of things for your neighbor.) I hope you’ll try to join us if you’re able on a Monday night coming up. 5 pm at 628 West Arch Street. We will finish by 6:00.
Sometimes people ask this question about prayer: Why should we pray if God already knows what He’s going to do? There are many answers to that question, but I was struck this week by the context in which Jesus tells His disciples about God already knowing
what we need.
“And when you are praying, do not use thoughtless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
So the main reason for Jesus telling people about God already knowing what they need seems to be to teach that when we pray we don’t need to carry on and on with lots of verbiage! God already knows what we need, so we can ask simply, confidently, and feel at ease in letting our words be few.
Here are some reasons given in the Bible for unanswered prayer which is also often a concern to us. Why isn’t God answering my prayer? Again, there are many answers, but here are a few to consider:
- God may not answer prayer because we’ve failed to honestly confess, or deal with, a sin in our life. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). Honest confession of sin is a part of, and condition for, prayer.
- God may not answer prayer because we haven’t been listening to, or responding to, His Word. “He who turns his ear away from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9). God’s Word, the Bible, teaches us how to pray and what to pray for.
- God may not answer prayer because we’re asking from wrong motives. “You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives so that you may spend it on your pleasure” (James 4:3).
- God may not answer prayer because we’re not really trusting Him. “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).
- God may not answer prayer because we have some domestic or relational problems. “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).
- God may not answer prayer because we haven’t come to Him through Jesus. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life ; no one comes to the Father but through Me'” (John 14:6).
There are other reasons for unanswered prayer too. Unanswered prayer is not always due to something in us. God’s answers to prayer are “Yes,” “No,” and “Not now.” Many times He gives us a “yes” that is different than the “yes” we were expecting.
He invites us to pray. Let’s take Him up on that invitation and approach Him in the ways He prescribes! Prayer is not complicated, but there is a right approach to God in prayer. Prayer is part of experiencing a vibrant spiritual life!
Our Monday Night group has several prayer requests people have submitted and asked that we pray over this summer. Feel free to email or text me if you would like us to pray for a need in your life.
Discipleship is a lifelong apprenticeship with Jesus. Disciples of Jesus follow Him daily : “Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Me” is His requirement (Luke 9:23). There’s great joy and personal growth in doing so. At Crossroads, people are helping each other be disciples. Some who have been apprenticing longer than others are helping the newer ones, creating a chain of discipleship that goes on and on. Recently, Kevin Kompelien, the President of the Evangelical Free Church of America, sent out an article on “Deliberate Discipleship.” I hope you’ll take a few minutes to link to it and read it. I think you’ll be encouraged and stimulated in this area of being a disciple of Jesus. What should discipleship look like in your life ?
|Deliberate Discipleship in a Frantic World — EFCA Blog Partners with the President with John Biegel.|
Missions Prayer Requests
Please pray for the Rodeo Bible Camp which starts today and runs through Saturday at Riverside Cowboy Church. May God’s truths be clearly communicated through word and action. May He provide safety and encouragement and protection from the heat!
See you Sunday!
I’m excited about worship and this Sunday’s message, “How to Become a Great Man … or Woman!” from Genesis 30-32. I hope to see you at 10:00! Come early and enjoy some fellowship before the worship service!