Category Archives: Prayer

Let’s Skip the Platt-itudes

The Prayer

By now you’ve probably seen where President Trump made an unannounced visit to McLean Bible Church where the pastor, Dr. David Platt, prayed for him.

You can read for yourself how that Platt and his church were only notified moments before the President was to arrive, so it wasn’t a planned event in order to garner attention. I don’t believe that it was even something that Trump planned on becoming so viral, especially since he showed up with a totally different hair style.

But the prayer, oh my goodness, was a powerful and heartfelt, biblically-sound intercession on behalf of the most powerful leader in the free world. Platt did exactly what any pastor should have done – any Christian, for that matter – with grace and respect.

Click here to watch the prayer and read Dr. Platt’s response to the protesters in his congregation. https://www.mcleanbible.org/prayer-president

The Protests

But not minutes after David Platt prayed, members of his own church – snowflakes resting gently in the auditorium – began to express their disapproval and hurt that their beloved and respected pastor would dare go to God on behalf of (ugh!) The President of the United States.

Yes, even after a God-honoring prayer, along with a calm and clear explanation of what was going on, Platt was hit with protests over what he did. How in the name of all that’s holy is that even possible? . . . If, that is, the members who complained were biblically literate at ALL??

I exhort [that means it’s highly encouraged] therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority [that would include a president]; [Why?] that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

What is there in the above passage that allows for a person NOT to pray for the President? To NOT do so would be to disobey a clear imperative!

The “Apology”

Look, I’ve never been the biggest fan of David Platt, but I am not a hater, either. I greatly respect the man and what he’s accomplished for the Lord and His Kingdom. Therefore, I want to tread very carefully as I write what I’m feeling.

If we take a look at the letter Platt sent out to his congregation at McLean Bible Church, it was a gracious, mature, loving attempt to calm any conflict and keep unity within a politically diverse environment. Believe me, I get it.

However, it’s that one itty-bitty line from his explanation (and not necessarily an apology) that rubs many of us the wrong way…

“I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision.”

Based on what I see clearly defined in Scripture, what on earth could be a “valid reason” for being hurt?

IF it had been me – and it wasn’t – I’d probably been shaking in my shoes being on stage with the President. That’s the first thing. But secondly, IF that had been me, and if I’d had the opportunity to pray for Trump, and if I’d gotten complaints for doing so, I’d likely given my own, genuine apology – yes, an apology – to the congregation, and it would have gone something like this…

“Dear brothers and sisters, some of you have expressed hurt that I prayed for the President of the United States of America this morning. Because of your hatred of the man, you could not reconcile your political ideology with the clear commands of God outlined in His divinely-inspired Word. It was either that, or you simply did not understand that 1 Timothy 2:1-4 applied to anyone but Nero, the man who actually used to burn people like us in order to light the streets of Rome. Therefore, I want to apologize to you for evidently not teaching you the whole counsel of God and leaving you with a deficient understanding of Scripture which has left you with hurt feelings at this time.”

Of course, this is probably why I don’t pastor a church like Platt’s. I’m not much for platitudes these days.

 

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Filed under America, politics, Prayer

Sri Lanka Weeps

The Christians in Sri Lanka weep as they mourn the loss of hundreds of precious lives, and pray for the wounded numbering in the hundreds more.

We weep with them. We mourn with them. We pray for the wounded.

But we rejoice in that the victory has already been won . . . The church will not be defeated . . . Jesus Christ has risen!

Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning! – Psalm 30:5

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, Prayer, Struggles and Trials

This Is Why We Struggle With the Enemy

Pastor, preacher, minister, Christian… if we feel like the Enemy is winning, like he’s not even intimidated, there’s probably a simple reason.Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was a South African preacher and pastor (of Scottish decent). But more than anything, he was a prayer warrior. Some of his theology may not sit well with all of some of us, but one thing is certain: this man had a heart for God like few others.

The following is from his book Living a Prayerful Life:

The Enemy uses all his power to lead the Christian – and above all, the minister – to neglect prayer. Satan knows that however admirable the sermon may be, however attractive the service, however faithful the pastoral visitation, none of these things can damage him or his kingdom if prayer is neglected. – Andrew Murray (p. 28)

I’m not going to lie – I don’t pray like I should. What a waste! What a sin!

I have preached some pretty good sermons and tried to do all the pastoral stuff, but how much more effective could I have been had I spent more time on my knees and less time at a desk?

What if I spent more time talking with Jesus than talking about Him?After all, the whole reason the disciples called for the selecting of deacons was so that they might first give themselves “continually to prayer…” (Acts 6:4).

Preachers, before you worry anymore about your outline for Sunday, your clever illustrations, or your Power Point, spend some more time prostrate before the throne. If we neglect earnest prayer, we’ll have no power, so what’s the point?

Battles may be lost on our feet, but they are won on our knees.

One finger pointing, three back at me.

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Filed under book review, Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Prayer, Preaching

Are You Doing Any Quiet Construction?

Just across the street from the parsonage and the church where I pastor, there’s a house being built where an old one used to stand.

Every morning, and throughout the day, one can hear all kinds of noises coming from that direction, like hammers, saws, and a few unknown tongues. Theses are the common sounds associated with construction.

But what you will not be able to hear are the painters, the finishers, the electricians, and the plumbers doing their work. The loud noises made by the initial builders and framers might be signs something is happening, but much of what must be done before the house is usable happens on the inside … in the quiet.

Meditate on that truth for a while.

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Filed under Bible Study, Christian Maturity, General Observations, Prayer

Qualifications for a Pastor (and a reminder for the rest of you)

There are places in the Bible where the Apostle Paul describes the qualifications necessary to be a pastor (1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5-9).

But there are some additional characteristics I think every pastor should have if he wishes to survive until the next Easter service or deacons’ meeting… and believe me, I speak from experience.

This photo was taken at a bi-vocational pastor and wives retreat. These men were gathering around a fellow pastor who’s son who was a drug addict and missing.

Among other things, a pastor should have a thick skin, a broken heart, a humble spirit, and a hope that rests in the fact that Grace is there to pick up the pieces.

As for you, the congregations they lead, be reminded that the only perfect Shepherd was Jesus; the rest are human.

Pray that the light of Jesus will shine through the cracked vessel which is your pastor.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Faith, grace, ministry, Prayer, Preaching

Street of the Week Commercial

With the help of my daughter, Katie, I put together a new little commercial to promote our “Street of the Week” initiative.

We’ve been doing this for a while, so I know it’s really a blessing to people. Sure, we really want to grow the numbers in our little church, but there’s also a need for Christians to show love to their communities, and this is a non-confrontational way to do just that.

Now, when we go out and pray on a street of the week, we don’t just prayer walk – we try to meet people. But what they don’t expect is for use to give them a bag of homemade cookies and only ask if there’s something we can pray about.

It’s soft evangelism, in a way.

If we can show people we really do care, no strings attached, then maybe they will want to talk about eternal things. But that’s a door the Holy Spirit has to open.

Why don’t you give this a try in your hometown? If you want to know more about the specifics of what we do, I’d be happy to share them with you. Just email me or leave a message below.

Like I say at the end of this video, if you would like to make donations to help in this work (or any other that we are trying to do at South Soddy Baptist), you can go to the church website (SouthSoddyBaptist.org) and make a tax-deductible donation via the “Donate Online” link at the top of the main page.

Blessings!

 

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Filed under Church, ministry, Prayer

Praying for the President

Why can’t more Christians be like Pastor Brunson and pray for the President?

How many times do folks like myself have to remind fellow believers that even if you dislike the man, Donald Trump is the President of the United States, and we are therefore instructed to petition God on his behalf, to pray for him when he might not even recognize his needs, and to thank God for him.

Don’t believe me?

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 CSB

Notice the “why’s” attached to the above commands:

  • So that we may lead a peaceful and quite life.
    Tell me, how in the world is throwing civility out the window helping things? Is our nation peaceful and tranquil? Heck, no! And why not? Could it be that many Christians are guilty of allowing Satan to use them as tools to stir up strife?
  • So that we lead a quite life of godliness and dignity.
    Oh, tell me, how much godliness is there in forcing people out of restaurants and threatening constant incivility? Where is the dignity in screaming at the sky and clawing at the doors of the Supreme Court?
  • It pleases the Lord.
    Newsflash: Rioting in the streets and burning police cars does not please the Lord. Sending hate mail does not please the Lord. Creating an atmosphere of chaos and incivility – even anarchy – does NOT please the Lord.
  • For the sake of the gospel!
    Yes, we are to pray for our leaders so that we might live peaceable, godly, and dignified lives in order that the good news of Christ might be shared with those for whom Jesus died, and that those for whom He died might be saved.

If that’s not enough, and you can’t think of anything good to say about President Trump, Jesus Himself leaves you with no excuse for the hatred and violence.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. – Matthew 5:44-45 KJV

Some of you can’t believe that any Christian would support Donald Trump. Frankly, I couldn’t believe that any Christian could support Barack Obama, the man more hostile to the Church than any other president in history.

But I can tell you this without blinking an eye: I prayed for President Obama.

We should be praying for President Trump, too.

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Filed under America, Christian Living, Christian Unity, community, current events, ministry, Prayer