Tom’s Midweek Greeting
Are you praying?
I was touched yesterday by the number of Crossroads people who let me know they were praying for Angi during her emergency surgery. Angi and Shane are home now, and Angi is on the mend! Thank you for praying for her and for each other.
I was impacted by a message I heard this week on the subject of “Why People Don’t Pray.” Very interesting to think about, isn’t it? What stops you from praying? Here are five really honest answers given in a message by Erwin Lutzer of the Moody Church in Chicago:
- Because we don’t feel like it.
Sometimes we’re not living close enough to God for Him to lay any particular burdens on us in the first place; so we feel no compulsion to pray. That’s honest, isn’t it? I hadn’t previously thought in those terms about a lack of desire to pray.
- Because it seems boring to us.
We hear ourselves and others saying more/less the same things in prayer over and over and over. How can we bring freshness to our prayer life? Surprisingly, the answer lies in praying through the things we find in God’s Word!
- Because it seems to be one-way communication only.
We think God is listening, but we don’t get a response. One-way communication is hard!
- Because we don’t really believe in prayer.
A funny story is told about an entrepreneur who opened a bar next to a church. The people in the church began to pray that God would cause the new business to fail. One night, during a thunderstorm, a bolt of lightning hit the bar and burned it to the ground. The bar owner decided to sue the church, claiming they caused the destruction of his business. The church lawyered up, denying they were responsible for the fire. At the beginning of the case, the judge said, “I don’t know which way this is going to go, but one thing is clear: The bar owner believes in prayer, but the church doesn’t!”
- Because we’ve lost the meaning of prayer.
We’ve become cynical. We think prayer is getting a reluctant God to finally do something. Actually, the main purpose of prayer is not to get our wishes granted; rather, it’s about fellowship with God. God delights to be with you! You are blessed when you connect with Him!
One person who texted me today about Angi said, “I hope there are many women in the church who pray for her daily.” What a tremendous call to prayer that is! Are you willing to pray for one, or some, or all at Crossroads on a daily basis?
Erwin Lutzer pointed out that the Apostle Paul’s prayers in the New Testament were always for people’s spiritual health, not for physical healing, nor for the resolution of crises in their life. While prayers offered for physical health and well-being are important, I think there’s a good lesson to be learned from Dr. Lutzer’s comment. Paul believed if people were rightly relating to God, they could deal with anything that came their way!
How to help someone in need?
Surgery requires healing, and healing takes time. I was thinking yesterday about the care we give to each other when someone is in need, either physically or in some other way. As I thought back to the time of Diana’s illness and passing, these were the things that were most helpful to me when people wanted to help:
- Rather than asking, “What can I do to help?” or saying, “If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know,” just doing something was always better. Food was always welcome … brought in containers that I didn’t need to wash and return(!). And if some cooking was needed, keeping that as simple as possible was best.
- A card or a text message may go further than you realize … with no expectation of a response.
- Some surprise yard work, or a task done around the house — without bothering the person recovering — was much appreciated.
- A gift card that could be used at a later date was always cheerful and helped make possible some special times to look forward to.
It’s not easy to know how to help someone who is ill or in need. Many times less is more ; in other words, some small gesture may have the greatest impact.
Coming Up at Crossroads
A good time of worship, teaching, and fellowship is planned for this Sunday morning, 10:00, at the Y. Hope to see you there ! If you’re not able to be with us in person, the sermon will be posted on Facebook and YouTube no later than Saturday evening.
Crossroads Connection Cook-out, Sunday, June 6, at the Y, following worship. Please sign up, or contact Michaela or Kim, if you can bring a side dish. Meat, buns, and paper supplies will be provided.
Church Night at the Griffons game, June 6, 7 pm, Lyons Field. If you’d like to sit with some folks from Crossroads, meet up in the Y parking lot between 6:30 and 6:45.
Monday Night Bible Study starts June 7, 7 pm, live on Facebook, or in-person at my house. “Christian Urban Legends” is our theme — things Christians may believe that aren’t necessarily entirely true! Join us!
Don’t forget to sign up, or speak to Heather Hall, if you’re interested in attending the Women of Joy conference in Branson in October. Sign-ups are due in the first week of July.
We continue to be in discussion with the members at the Church of God (Holiness) in Deerfield about the possible use of their building for Sunday worship this summer. I’ve enjoyed our contact with the members of this church, but at the time of my writing this email it’s looking less likely that this may work out for us. Would you please continue to pray that God would open a door for us (literally) somewhere. The Y has notified us that they will be going to a 24-hour operation by the end of this summer. I’m encouraged by the words I read today in the story of Nehemiah, where the Jews who had returned to the land were remembering their history. The words “compassionate” and “compassion” show up a number of times in relation to God’s faithfulness toward His people:
- “You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; and You did not forsake them” (Nehemiah 9:17)
- “You, in Your great compassion, did not forsake them in the wilderness” (Nehemiah 9:19).
- “You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion You gave them deliverers who delivered them …” (Nehemiah 9:27).
- “And many times You rescued them according to Your compassion” (Nehemiah 9:28).
Thank you for praying, caring, serving, and trusting! I look forward to seeing you Sunday at the Y at 10:00 for a great time together!