Four Things in the Book of Acts About the Church that Amazed the Community

There are at least four things we find in the book of Acts about the church that “amazed” the community.  Each of these put the gospel on display.  Each of these will be present in a gospel-centered congregation.

  1. Love and unity in the church
  2. Generosity
  3. Joy in the midst of persecution
  4. Miraculous answer to prayer

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 229-

The Bottom Line Is This

The bottom line is this: We should never give up praying God’s power to break into our lives, but at the end of the day we rest on the love of God demonstrated at the cross, even if we can’t see how it is being manifested at the moment in our circumstances.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 186

What To Do in the Midst of Unasnwered Prayer

What do you do when you are asking for great things according to God’s compassion and you don’t seem to be getting an answer?

  • Keep asking.
  • Understand that God often accomplishes His good plan through our “unanswered prayers”
  • Never stop believing
  • Abide in Jesus

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 179-186

When Charles Spurgeon Prayed for Healing…

When Charles Spurgeon would pray for sick people in his congregation, he felt that [godly] tenderness.  He would often tear up, biographers would say, and say something like “God, I cannot bear to see my children suffer.  How can You bear to see Yours?  If I could help them, I would.  Won’t You show compassion here to Your child?”

Charles Spurgeon was no silly “name it and claim it” theologian.  He recognized that sometimes God says “no” to our prayers, because sometimes God has a better plan than physical healing at the moment.  But that did not keep him from sensing the tenderness of God for people as he prayed.  Spurgeon held up God’s goodness before God and released God’s power into a situation.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 170-171

More Questions to Ponder…

More questions to ponder:

  • Do you pray with a sense of God’s great love for those for whom you were praying?
  • What would your prayers look like if you believed that the cross really was the measure of God’s compassion for someone else?

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 170

The 1 Percent – A Plea, A Pledge and A Promise – The Need and Nature of Prayer

Friends, I am interrupting my usual flow of interesting quotes (which I hope you all find provocative sometimes, uplifting always) to make a plea.  My plea is on behalf of a very close friend, Michael Garrett who just 4 days ago, learned that he may have cancer as a tumor has been discovered at the base of his brain stem.  Tests continue to gain better understanding of the nature of the tumor but as of now, the news has been more grim than hopeful.

So I am making a plea from any who come across this post to take a moment to pray fro Michael in his time of need.  Pray for the 1% chance they have been given that this will turn out to not be cancerous.  Pray that God’s will may become clear for all of us who love Michael and appreciate how he has served his many friends as a doctor (being a patient is not his forte, he likes to give answers and find solutions).  This is the Need of which I speak.

We submit this request to our Heavenly Father in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  This is the very Christ who is one with the Father and the mediator for all who call upon His name as repentant sinners in need of His Grace, first for salvation and then for sustenance in this fallen world.  And we do so because He made a pledge to His followers:

He told them a parable [the parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8)] to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Luke 18:1                                   

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you…You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask, the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 15:7; 16                            

The very One who created all that we see, all that we are, has pledged that the ear of our Father is always open to our request.  And I can attest that Michael is one who abides in Christ and Christ’s words abide in Michael.  Thus, these prayers will not return void.

Outside of the teachings of Christ on prayer, Paul, the greatest teacher and theologian, outside of Christ Himself, has given us a promise that we can trust:

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:5-7                       

As you can see, from the teaching of Paul and Jesus Christ, the nature of prayer is one of hope and peace.  And more than this, God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has given us a Helper, the Holy Spirit (see John 14:26) even knows our needs when we don’t.

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Romans 8:26                               

What a wonderful God we serve.  What a merciful God oversees the needs of His own, even Michael.  Would you join me in praying for Michael, first that the 1 percent chance this is not a malignancy but if it is, then doors would open to treatments (also gifts of God placed in the hands of doctors) that would benefit him whether at Duke or others we may not yet know of.  Lastly, we pray that the Garretts would so feel the love and care of God through this time, that they can rest in the peace promised and the comfort of knowing, whatever may be, it is good, because it is God.

Thank you all.

That’s Kind of a Senseless Prayer

Our prayer should not be “God, if You make a special appeal for me to do something about the lostness of the world, I’ll do it.”  That’s kind of a senseless prayer, because He has already told us what He wants for the world.  Our prayer now should be that God  guide us to our specific role.  Whether we should be involved in the Great Commission is no longer the question.  How we should be involved is the question.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 148