A Blessing for Church Members

Consider the grace God has shown in your life. Blessings abound, and each new challenge brings depth and understanding to your relationship with God.

That has certainly been my experience. What I have found, though, is that there has been no greater area of blessing on my life than that of the Church. I've especially been meditating on this of late because a friend encouraged me to write out my prayers for the church as a starting point for a project we're doing. I hope this blessing will benefit you in your reflections and meditations on your own experience with the church.

A Blessing for Church Members

Dear friend, my prayers for you are these;

I pray that you enter a church for the first time with fear and trembling, wanting to be loved but afraid of being unwanted. May you find big smiles, warm handshakes, and maybe even an invitation to lunch.

I pray that you experience relationships, that the process of opening yourself up would be continual. May each new face be a new opportunity to be vulnerable, be known, and be loved.

I pray that people recommend books to you, especially of the old variety. A few will be cheesy, but that's ok. You'll learn from all of them.

I pray that you will be led well in the beginning, and will lead others down the road. Nothing will grow you like good leadership, and nothing will mature you like leading.

I pray that you will be teachable. Everyone has something to offer, and it's your job to listen. May you realize, too, that each conversation you have is also an opportunity for you to teach others.

I pray that you will get hurt or put out financially by your service to the church. I especially pray that nobody will know about it, or at least that praise won't be your motivation. May you look at the walls of your old church and remember problems and conflict in a personal way. Love that requires nothing of the giver is no love at all.

I pray that you will experience chastisement, maybe even discipline. It will show you that the church is doing its job in helping you fulfill your commitment to Christ.

I pray that you will spend hours on a committee arguing about seemingly minor things. It's not real service until you've taken bureaucratic tedium in stride.

I pray that delight will brighten your heart when another member shares their joys, and I pray that your stomach will drop with a sickening thud when you hear of their pains. I pray for the reverse as well… you will have the hard times and need sympathy, and you will want others to be excited when you share your triumphs.

I pray that would grow to love the sacraments. The beauty of remembering Christ's death and resurrection and the joy of regeneration symbolized are as wonderful as they are meaningful.

I pray that you would participate in making your church a light in the town and in the world. Anything else would be small, and would disregard obvious commands. May the entire community bless God because of His obvious work in you.

I pray that you would give. Money is a fleeting thing and you'll be embarrassed by every penny you fail to put to good use. May God's ministry of meeting real needs be shown clearly in your life.

I pray that hours would be spent in tears, distressed by the sheer ugliness of your sins. I pray, too, for the joy that comes when you remember God's amazing grace.

I pray for prayer, bible study, worship, service, relationships, evangelism, and all the other things that go with being a true servant of the King.

I pray that you would see souls repent of their sins, turn away from themselves toward God, and be radically changed by his offer of salvation. It is the miracle of all miracles, and it should never lose its freshness.

In fact, I pray that the gospel would continually refresh you as well, that its power would be reinforced in your mind. May you be aware that this is a gift that cannot grow old.

I pray that God would be glorified. I pray you realize that your commitment to His Bride is the vehicle He prescribed to accomplish that purpose. I pray that you will forever be a part of the body, and never a part of nothing but yourself. I pray that God would be honored by your life, and I praise God because He has promised that it shall be.


Contend for the Faith

I hope I'm doing what's right. Sometimes I struggle with uncertainty over the seemingly minor things I find myself contending for. Do I really need to witness to her, when she's a part of the Pentecostal church? Is it really necessary to rewrite the statement of faith? Is the Emergent Church really swaying toward heresy?

I enjoy the role God's given me, but I'm afraid I struggle with the responsibility. I would never want to lead my friends astray. So, I put hours and hours of thought and study into understanding my faith, hoping that I can account for as many things as possible. I want to be sure that I'm not saying something that will hurt their understanding of how to serve God.

As my blog quotes, though, what is required of a steward is that he be found faithful. In my time at MSU and now UBC, I have tried to be faithful. It has been imperfect, certainly, but I have tried. There can be no other standard. As long as I feel God's Truth is at stake or being challanged, I have no choice but to speak clearly in its defense. Of course, the Word doesn't NEED my defense, but that doesn't remove my responsibility to contend for it just the same.

I hope and pray that it has been to God's glory, and not mine. God help me.


A True Mentor

Well, I've been a little lax in my postings recently. Hopefully I'll improve, but we'll have to wait and see.

Have you ever had a true mentor? This person would be someone who knows you well, and can give thoughtful sympathy and advice. They can anticipate your weaknesses and inner struggles, and help you see the right way out.

Most of us would say no, because we rarely have the opportunity to let someone with more wisdom than we have get that close to us. Today, though, I'm especially thankful for my books, because they provide that same wisdom. Great authors pour out their hearts and minds, and I get to listen and consider and be changed by their wisdom.

Are you open to what books can teach you? Or do you really believe that you don’t need help from anyone in seeking wisdom?