"I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30
We live in some very difficult and trying times. Our children and families are under attack and there has never been a more important time for us as men to pray for our families or as the Bible says in Ezekiel 22:30 to "stand in the gap" for them. We need to pray as never before for our families. With that in mind, Metrolina Christian Academy is inviting all Metrolina dads and granddads to our First annual "Standing in the Gap" prayer rally on October 20th at 7 a.m. in our Family Life Center.
University of South Carolina Football Chaplain Adrian Despres will be here to lead a challenge to be followed by a prayer time for all dads and granddads to "Stand in the Gap" for their families. We will be serving biscuits, coffee, and juice.
Would you join us this day to pray and be challenged to lead our families into a deeper walk with God? Dads and grandads, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with the number that will be attending so we can prepare food for you. We promise you that this will be a powerful time of prayer and we will also have you on your way to work as quickly as possible.
“We will see an explosion of God’s presence as a result of the prayers of His people.”- Dr. Tony Evans
People like to be in on secrets. Most people enjoy knowing something that others do not. Most folks will tell you quickly that they can be trusted to keep a secret. However, that is not what generally happens. Often, those who are told secrets cannot keep that secret to themselves. There is an area of our spiritual life that I cannot wait to tell you more about.
One of the most underutilized spiritual privileges available to all believers is prayer. If I did not know better, I would think that the power and privilege of prayer is a well kept secret because so few really utilize it in their daily lives. However, God never intended for us not to know about prayer and its power for living.
In fact, prayer is not optional for the believer. Look below at these verses to better understand this:
It is an act of devotion
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2 - Everyone is devoted to something, most of us are devoted to more than one thing. When we choose to make something a priority we are willing to sacrifice for it. When you freely give your time to something you are devoted to it.
It is a continual act
“Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 - Prayer is a relationship. Praying without ceasing is like communicating with God on one line while also taking calls on another.
It is an act of necessity
“But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Luke 5:16 - If Christ, God incarnate, found it necessary to often slip away and pray, how much more necessary is it for us to follow His example.
I am convinced that it is time for Christians everywhere to understand the command, the obligation, and priority to pray. It is time for us to get in the battle for our families, our kids, our church, and this culture by getting on our knees and calling out to God.
Most of the great movements of God can be traced to a small group of praying people! For example, the last great awakening in this country occurred between the years 1857-1859. History tells us that this revival began with prayer.
In New York, a businessman by the name of Jeremiah Lanphier started a small prayer group that met daily. It did not take long for this small group to begin to grow. Within a short time, almost 10,000 people would meet daily to pray for revival.
Indeed, spending time with God is life changing for an individual and for a corporate body of believers. Would you join our staff here at Metrolina in praying for our students, staff, and families as never before? Prayer was never intended to be a well kept secret but instead God’s design was for it to be our most treasured spiritual discipline.
“If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” John Wooden
One of the greatest spiritual disciplines that we all must learn is that of stewardship. We hear that word a lot and most times we assume it means how we manage our money. Stewardship is more than just money. Webster defines stewardship as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.”
Time is one of those areas that God has entrusted us with to be good stewards over. Each day that we live on this earth God has provided us 86,400 seconds in which for us to be good stewards with. The Bible has a lot to say about time and how we should use it and view it. Below are a few of the things the Bible tells us about time:
Time is Short - “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14
Time is Highly Valued By God - “Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.” Romans 14:12
Time Cannot Be Regained - “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.” John 9:4
Time is Passing - “And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” 1 John 2:17
Time Defeats Evil - “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” Ephesians 5:15-16
Time is Uncertain - Don’t brag about tomorrow since you don’t know what the day will bring.” Proverbs 27:1
I turned 55 this year and as I look back I am amazed at just how fast life has gone for me. It seems like only yesterday that my children were babies and now they are grown. James 4:14 is right when it says that life is like a vapor or a fog that appears for a short time and then disappears.
My heart’s desire is that I would learn to be a good steward with my time. I want to embrace each day that God gives me with a passion to serve Him and know Him. I also want to be a good steward of the time that God has given me to be with my family so that they might know how much I love and cherish them. I also want to be a good steward of the time that God gives me to shepherd the students of Metrolina Christian Academy.
How are we managing the time that God has given each of us? Are we using the time we have to bring God glory? Are we prioritizing our time with God so that we might grow closer to Him? What kind of stewards are we with our time when it comes to our families?
These are all questions we need to stop and ask ourselves on a regular basis.
I pray we will all begin to practice good stewardship of the time God has given each of us.
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro and throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
We are living in some very difficult days in which we have seen traditional family values and Christianity come under attack. In addition, we have seen the rise of many unthinkable and evil acts against our fellow man. Our world seems in shambles at times. What should be the role of Christians to reverse this trend?
First, I am convinced that we as believers and followers of Christ must individually recommit our hearts completely to Christ. We need to get back in His Word like never before. As well, we must begin to pray as never before. We need God’s direction on how to make a difference in this culture. From time in the Word and time on our knees, I believe that God will give us a vision to impact our world.
Author Chip Ingram has a great definition of vision that speaks to this issue. Ingram states that: “Vision is a God-given burden to see what a person, a place, or a situation could become if the grace of God and the power of God were unleashed on them.”
Can you imagine if we would give our hearts completely to God and then allow Him to work through us to love people and continually share the good news of the Gospel with all around us? If we could get a God-given burden like this, 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us that this is something that God is not only looking for but it is also a burden that He will support.
The truth is that when our hearts are completely His, then we will begin to chase after the pursuits of life that He would have us chase after. Our world desperately needs to see authentic Christianity and the love of Christ. My prayer is that this will be a year in which we as a staff at Metrolina will model this for our students and families as never before.
Also, that we would ask God for a God-given burden for our culture and from that burden we will develop a plan that will allow God to unleash His grace and power. I love studying Nehemiah as a leader. He encountered a culture much like today and I especially love his challenge to his people in Nehemiah 2:17-18:
“But now I said to them, ‘You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!’ Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, ‘Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!’ So they began the good work.”
These verses reveal Nehemiah’s God-given burden to rebuild the city and culture. May God give us that same type of burden for our world. Let’s rebuild together so that we might bring glory to God and hope to our fellow man!
It begins with making our hearts “Completely His”.
“And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.” James 3:4
I find it so fascinating that one of the smaller parts of the ship, the rudder, has such a huge impact on the direction of a ship. This verse reminds us that the rudder can steer the ship in any direction the pilot chooses regardless of how strong the wind is blowing. Our hearts are like the rudder that is described in the book of James.
The focus and affections of our heart determine our direction. A heart that is focused and fixed on the things of this world will follow the cultural winds that are blowing today. The winds of this culture are on a path that takes us further away from God and further away from truth. These winds have led our society to issues such as the highest divorce rate in history, the highest suicide rate in history, and more people who say that they are discontented than ever before.
A heart that is fixed and anchored in the hope of Jesus Christ can help us steer through the difficult winds that are blowing in our culture. This type of heart can lead us to find significance in the only one who can really provide significance to our lives.
I am convinced that ultimately the direction of our lives will be determined by the choices we make daily. Serving and living for God is a choice we must make daily. Submitting our wills and our desires to Him is a choice we must make daily. The little choices we make each day either lead us closer in our walk with God or take us further away.
Why is this important? In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Anchoring our heart to Jesus Christ is believing that He and He alone can provide that abundant life that He promised. I have personally found this to be true. Nothing this world can offer has ever given me the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John. Only living for Him has ever given me peace, joy, strength, contentment, hope, and so much more.
Next, these choices not only have such a huge impact on the direction of our lives but also the direction of our kids’ lives. Our children are watching and will follow much of what we model. I want my children to experience the abundant life Jesus promised. I want them to commit their hearts (rudders) to Jesus so that they too can steer through the storms of this life.
Because of these two reasons, I want my heart (rudder) committed to following Jesus and living for Him. What about you? I had someone tell me recently that they have wasted so much of their life through bad choices. Let me encourage any of you today who feel that way with a quote from Max Lucado:
“The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: ‘grace’.”
Wow! The marvelous grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is there for all of us to have a new start and a new direction no matter the choices we have made in the past. I pray that we will all fix our hearts on Jesus and allow Him to steer us through the devastating winds of this culture.