Saturday, October 3, 2020

Prayers for our Nation #4

 Dear Church Family

 

   We continue to pray for our nation. Today and over the next few days, you can follow these prayer suggestions and prayers along with prayers for the health of our President and those in government who have been affected by Covid-19. Let us also remember the 205,000 plus families who have lost someone at their table or network to this pandemic. Blessings on your effort to keep prayer as the center for this season.

 

Day 9

 

Prayer Points

Thank the Lord for His promise of protection for the servants of the Lord. Ask the Lord to raise up a shield of protection over our nation. In the name of Jesus, resist the Enemy’s attacks on the godly foundation of the United States. 

 

My Prayer 

Father, Your promises are always sure. Thank You that You give Your servants the privilege of walking in victory and refuting every word spoken against us. Now, Lord, help us in wisdom to do this on behalf of our nation. Lord, awaken Your people out of apathy and help us to stand against the attacks of Satan against our nation. Forgive us for our passivity. May no weapon of the Enemy prevail against our nation, but may every one of those weapons come to naught against our Shield and Deliverer!

 

Day 10

 

Prayer Points

 Ask the Lord to reveal clearly to you where your treasure is. Pray for your heart to be clearly focused on the Lord. In Jesus’ name, tear down the idol of mammon (money) that has taken up residence in America today. 

 

My Prayer 

Lord Jesus, You spoke so often about money and the danger it can represent to us. Yet, You also used the wealth of the rich to accomplish Your mission. Help us to walk in that biblical understanding of both the danger and blessing of money. Forgive us for making an idol out of money or material things. Especially, Lord, forgive us when such idolatry happens in Your church. Help us to live lives that are free from greed and coveting, that we might be a prophetic voice to our nation. May we become a nation that treasures You far more than we treasure gold.

 

Day 11

 

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to fill you with His peace. Pray that you will be a person who brings the peace of Christ into the lives of others. Pray that the church in America will live in such a way that the peace of Christ comes into the councils of our nation. 

 

My Prayer 

Forgive me, Lord, when I walk in anxiety and stress, failing to allow Your peace to rule in my life. Breathe Your peace into my heart. Help me to bring that peace with me into every situation I face. Lord, may Your peace so pervade Your church in America that it begins to mark us as a nation. We understand that we live in a time of troubles. You told us it would be that way. Help us in a miraculous way to experience Your peace in the midst of trouble.

 

Day 12

 

Prayer Points 

Ask the Lord to help you learn to wait on Him. Pray for the church in America to begin to model the stable lifestyle of waiting on the Lord. Pray for a movement of the Spirit that creates a dramatic cultural transformation in the United States, bringing about a nation that has learned to put its hope in the Word of God. 

 

My Prayer 

Lord, it isn’t easy to wait. There are so many things to do. Forgive me for not waiting on You and running ahead to do those things that seemed good to me. Teach Your church to be a good model of those who do not rush into every trend or fashion but who have learned to wait upon You. Lord, show us how waiting on You is not inactivity but an active lifestyle of drawing near and of keeping our eyes upon You. May You so transform Your church that it flows over into the life of this nation. Slow us down, Lord. Teach us to wait on You, so that Your purposes and plans might be lived out in America.

 

Butts, David. Desperate for Change: 40 Days of Prayer for America . Audio Ink Publishing. Kindle Edition. 

 

   Please remember to pray for our Global Faith Community as we celebrate World Wide Communion on Sunday. Please remember to gather the bread and juice you wish to use for our virtual celebration.

 

Blessings

 

Pastor Jeff

 

Monday, September 28, 2020

40 Days of Prayer for USA

Dear Church Family

   We are entering an enormous challenge and opportunity within 40 days, the General Election for 2020. This will require a lot of prayer for our nation, leading up to that important moment. I'm writing to you to urge you to pursue with me a solemn 40 day vigil of prayer for our nation. I will be sending, starting tomorrow 9/24, the 40th day away, a letter with some devotional ideas and I hope you join with me in praying the prayers. I will send the next group of 3 or 4 devotionals a couple of days later with more inspiration. I do hope you pray for our country, whether you use these scriptures or not.

   I know we have a variety of opinions and reasons for thinking about the way we are going to vote. In our Methodist world, John Wesley knew we would not all be of the same mind. But he urged us to all want to love one another in the best way possible. So our prayers can be for one another to grow in love, even in the middle of the challenges that are before us.

   One of my great appreciations for our country and our faith is that we have been able to look past our differences and realize we are all children of God. I hope we can keep civility and respect and compassion for one another, even during this awkward time. Some of our troubles have been because  we judge someone who doesn't see the way we do, as  "an evil, horrible, must be destroyed person" and that just isn't Christ like or even basically an attitude of America. So I invite you to pray for civility especially.

   Here are some ideas for starting this journey together. And if you don't mind, let me know your thoughts as we go along this pilgrimage of prayer together.

Day One

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." Proverbs 1:7

Prayer Points

Pray that the United States will repent of its corporate rejection of the Word of God as a basis of law. Pray that a holy fear of God will sweep across our nation, leading us back to a place of wisdom. Pray that courage born of wisdom will be given to Christians in places of leadership in government, the courts, and law schools across the nation so that they will stand for a godly basis for law.

Day Two

"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to turn the hearts of the citizens and leaders of the United States to Himself. Invite the Lord to be your refuge and your stronghold. Pray that our nation will increasingly see that God is our only refuge in the midst of the troubles of this world.

  from 40 Days of Prayer for America by David Butts

This should get you started. I'll share more in a day or two.

Blessings

Pastor Jeff

 


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

An Hour in Prayer #12

 Dear Church Family

 

   Where has the summer gone? A lot like Spring too. It’s after Labor Day, and we are wrapping up the twelfth and final installment on how to pray for an hour with 12 five-minute segments. Tonight we look at Praise and the power it has to help us grow closer to God and to receive the strength and wisdom and help we need to face the challenges and stresses of our lives now.

 

   Praise is to exalt and glorify God, to tell the Creator that you know what God has done and to whom you are reaching out to in prayer. This is a way of saying that we trust the Great I AM with our supplications. Let your Amen be strong at the end and confirm that you Believe God has heard you and will answer you. Amen means its true and sure, so shall it be. It’s a way of saying thank you before you even know how God has answered your request.

 

   Next week we will make AWE a little shorter so that we can share in the book reading Think Like Jesus, a book that helps us see that living as a follower of Jesus in this very complex world with all it’s issues and challenges, will require that we understand what it means to follow Jesus in a way that will help all this make sense. There is a video from Randy Frazee and a discussion book with homework, to help explore the important dimensions of understanding our faith so that we can actually live a Christ like life.

 

   The sessions include: Who is God?, Does God Care About Me?, How Do I Have a Relationship with God?, How Does the Bible Guide My Life? Who Am I in Christ?, What is the Purpose of the Church?, How Does God Value People?, What is Eternity Going to Be Like? All very interesting thoughts we each have at some point in our spiritual journey or pilgrimage.

 

   The class has a companion book for even more reading should you like to explore the topic even further. You can have both for $20. They are in the church office and if you call you can arrange to pick them up, or you can get a Kindle copy of each and read along that way. These topics will also be the theme of the worship services from now through All Saints Sunday. We will move into a Fall, Thanksgiving and Advent season.

 

  

   May God Richly Bless you as we move into this fall season together. Remember we urge you to share this with a friend. See you in Zurch.

 

Pastor Jeff

Saturday, August 29, 2020

An Hour of Prayer # 10 Meditation

 Dear Church Family

   Today we look at the resources for meditation, mindfulness for our spiritual lives, as we continue our series on how we can pray for an hour, looking at five-minute intervals. Today we are up to 10 out of the 12 and it’s meditation. How we specifically slow down and reflect on what God is doing in us and around us, so that we can handle all that this current lifetime is giving us.

 

   I’m going to provide a list of resources for you to consider, so that you can find a place to grow in your meditation and grow in your sensing the help that God can give you for each challenge you are facing.

 

Upper Room.  www.upperroom.org/devotionals   It can be emailed or an app for this

 

Our Daily Bread.  https://odb.org/  it can be email or an app for this

 

Lection 365.  /www.24-7prayer.com/dailydevotional.  There is an App available for this

 

You Version.  www.youversion.com  there are several resources here

 

Biblegateway.  /www.biblegateway.com.  there is a whole bunch of resources here, app and others

 

Back to the Bible.  www.backtothebible.org   app devotions, videos on various topics etc.

 

Heartlight.  www.heartlight.org    devotions, articles, artwork

 

KINDLE resources like

 

30 Day Spiritual Walks.  A summary of famous spiritual giants set up in a 30 devotion, a great introduction to them.

 

Anxiety Elephants.  A 31 day devotional to Help Stomp Out Anxiety. Scripture and exercises and journaling

 

On This Day.  What happened on this day in the Christian world, famous people or events

 

Near to the Heart of God.  A one year devotional the story of famous hymns and their writers or composers

 

Jesus Always.  A One Year devotion on the words and stories of Jesus and how it can encourage you each day.

 

A Year with God - Richard Foster.  A yearlong study of the great characters, themes, passages to grow spiritually

 

Right Here Right Now – Amy Oden.  To develop a mindfulness on Scripture and God’s love for us, eyes to see it.

 

Face to Face – Ken Boa.  Vol. 1 & 2  3 months of daily devotions based on the relationship to God

 

A Year with C S Lewis.  A year full of daily readings from his Classic works, across his set of books

 

   I hope you find something here that might help you strengthen your walk following Jesus and find that your time in prayer is more beneficial to you, providing the strength to endure, and a knowledge that God is with you every step of the way.

 

   Remember both the AWE and the Sunday Morning Worship Zoom connections are the same for each week, unless we are hijacked by an intruder. So keep your AWE and your Flash email in a folder so you can join us. Send it to a friend too.

 

Blessings

Pastor Jeff

Saturday, August 8, 2020

An Hour of Prayer # 7

 Dear Church Family

 

   I’m writing letter # 7 on how to spend an hour in prayer, and this week it is on intercession. Praying for others. Last week as you may recall, we were dealing with petitions, which gives us permission to pray for the things we need, now we are praying for the lives and needs of others.

 

   “Intercession is to pray for others, to concentrate on the needs and distress of other people, to stand in the gap for someone else. When you intercede you stand at God’s side and you work with God for the salvation or benefit of someone else, and you remain standing until you have the assurance that God has heard you and releases your burden to pray for the issue.” From the book, The Hour That Changes the World. By Dick Eastman.

 

   In St. Paul’s letter to the Timothy he says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,” 1 Timothy 2:1-3.

 

   I am so glad that we, the church family of North Bethesda UMC take prayer time and intercessions so gracefully, and that so many are being prayed for by each of us, together in worship and on our own during the week. We hope that you take advantage of our prayer list and those flash emails, requesting prayer for friends, neighbors, family and acquaintances we know, and for the world around us and those who we don’t know. I’m blessed when I hear of the answers to prayer coming back in reports of gratitude.

 

   May we continue to pray for our leaders (local, state, national & global) and all those in authority, that we may live peacefully with each other. May we continue to pray for healing of those who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and all those responsible for caring for them. May we continue to pray for healing for those who have been wounded because of negative attitudes toward one another, and the powerful effect of policies and procedures that have kept people from the opportunity to fulfill their God given tasks and to provide properly for their families, because they happen to have a different skin color or language or background.

 

   I invite you to join with your church friends and family as we explore the Lord’s Prayer over the next five Sundays in worship. There are 5 basic petitions that Jesus gave his followers for their prayer lives and we will look carefully at each. We ask that God’s glory be extended, we ask that God’s plans would come true, we ask for what we need each day, we ask for forgiveness and to be able to forgive, and we ask for help against temptations of this world and other choices we make. We will look at each one separately in the next few Sundays.

 

   We must pray for our church family to be well during this time. There was a church worship service in Ohio in July where one person attended service and 91 people came down with the virus as a result. Many were in the church service he attended, and others were infected, because they took their contact with him home to their families, friends and co-workers. That is a lot of suffering in that community, and we are trying desperately to avoid the same fate.

 

   Thank you all for your prayers, you truly bless one another when you say a word to God on others behalf.

 

May God’s peace be with you, while we are absent, one from the other.

 

Pastor Jeff

Friday, July 31, 2020

An Hour of Prayer # 6

Dear Church Family

 

   I continue to write to let you know you are all in my prayers several times a day.

 

   An Hour of Prayer number 6, half way through the list, today is Petitions, you get to ask for things you need. Jesus taught in the sermon on the mount, Ask, Seek, Knock, and give us this day our daily bread. We have permission to pray for those things, as a part of others.

 

   On that note, I am asking you to pray about our petition to you for your financial support, and being generous. Especially in this difficult time, we really need everyone to increase their giving. We can continue to make a difference and change people’s lives for the better. There is more to come about this really soon. Watch your mail boxes.

 

   It looks like this pandemic is going to be with us at least through the rest of the calendar year, so I want to offer small group support to as many as would be interested. For August, we will do an old fashioned John Wesley small band/class idea. More details to come,

 

   When September rolls around I would like you to sign up for a small group study, daytime or night time versions, on Think Like Jesus, ways to grow in your faith and understanding for living in a world where we really need to know for ourselves what our faith is all about. It’s the first of a three part series going for about 8 weeks each of Think Like Jesus, Be Like Jesus, Act Like Jesus. This study will match the sermon series in the fall.

 

   We would love to share your talents with our church family. If any of you have recordings of something that happened at our church, it would be great if you send them to me, so I can use them in our zoom worship experiences. Let me know if you have something you would like to share. We can certainly add them to our You Tube Channel.

 

   I’m afraid that we are not going to get back to the way things were in February, so we have to learn new ways of being a church family. It is more difficult than we first imagined, and so we are trying to be a church, much like the first century, that met in small groups, since there weren’t any church buildings until nearly 300 years into Christianity, when Emperor Constantine declared that Christianity would be the official faith of the Roman Empire and designated buildings for that purpose. Partly to make sure that all the citizens where actually going to worship. We don’t live in that kind of world anymore.

 

   I used to joke that being the pastor of a church was like playing chess on three different levels at a time. I saw that once on Star Trek, but now I’m convinced it’s even harder than that because we can’t do church the way we had gotten into the habit of doing. We are letting the Holy Spirit, show us a whole new way of thinking. We are still in the business of making disciples. So your thoughts on how can I help you be a better follower of Christ is what I’m trying to figure out, and then help you with that.

 

Blessings and Peace,                        Pastor Jeff    

Friday, July 24, 2020

An Hour of Prayer # 5

Dear Church Family

   Here is the fifth week of our learning to deepen our prayer lives during this pandemic. It seems our need for prayer is increasing with the rising number of Covid-19 cases. Three days in a row now, over 1,000 people have died from it across the country. Please pray for the families of those who have died, for the first responders who are again being overwhelmed with responsibilities and pray for the development of a vaccine, soon. See we have a hard time waiting because we know we want the cure now.

   Those comments can help us to think about what to pray for. By watching what is going around us we will see what needs to be prayed for. Watching will also give us a glimpse of what God is doing to help sustain us in this time.

   Watching is a time of spiritual observation (perception), to be on the look out, to be spiritually aware of matters to pray for. Ask God for insight, discernment, wisdom, to know on what to focus, and what your priorities should be. Ask the Lord what is on God’s heart and on God’s agenda. An opportunity to do what Jesus said “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and everything else you need will be provided.”  Matt. 6:33.

   Watching is also a way of learning so that we can grow in our spiritual journey with God. Jesus often asked the followers to come and see what he was doing. To come and see where he was staying, so they could learn from him by being present. I’m watching several webinars to help improve my skills at leading our church in this very different time than any of us had anticipated. Watching how to help us raise the money we need so that we don’t close down our ministries. Watching how to do zoom meetings, so that they can go better. I’m very close to learning how to do a Bible Class all online in zoom and will be doing those shortly.

   Watching is also how we will discover that God is creating again, new things that will bless us as we go along. On Sunday I’m sharing some ideas about how we can watch what God is doing in other places, that will benefit our life together as God’s family. I’m inviting you to watch our zoom and to invite as many people as you can, to watch along with you. When the Zoom information goes out on flash, you are encouraged to mention this to your friends and neighbors, those in your apartment complex, your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, your children’s friends etc. so they can join you in seeing what God is doing to help us in this time of stress and discouragement.

   Pay attention to how God is working around you, so you too can say, see what new things God is doing, it is marvelous in our eyes. God’s blessings be upon all of you, while we are absent, one from the other.

Pastor Jeff