Archive | September 2014

Virally Going Global

September 7, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “All My Day: A Summer of Prayer”

Inspired by Marcia McFee

Sermon 10 of series-

Global”

Psalm 67 NIV Bible

Isaiah 56:4-8 NIV Bible

Virally Going Global”

Let us pray… (Pray for God’s illumination…)

Have you ever seen the stuff they have on YouTube these days? Some of it is pretty funny but some of it is really not very nice. Some of those videos make fun of others where as some of them are pretty cute. You can actually put something on YouTube and it just goes crazy…some of those videos are like a virus and just spreads all over the world with “likes” and such. There’s one that come to mind and it is of this cat. The owner asks if it wants a bath and the cat sounds as if it is saying “no”…No, no, no, no, no… It is pretty cute. But why does so much well…stupid or mean stuff go so viral? There are some videos that have such meaning to it but humanity doesn’t think it is important enough to have it go “viral”…so to speak. Where is humanity’s priorities?

Last week…I was saying all we have to do is just pick up a paper or watch the news and we hear about bombings, war, famine, hunger, disasters, killings…the list just goes on. And how it is a little overwhelming to me. I talked about how God does have a plan and it begins with His people…it begins with Christians…it begins with you and me…praying for others. We need to remember those around the world and pray for them and what they may be going through.

This summer, we have been working though the prayer beads that were made and learning a different way to pray…a way that helps remind us what we should be praying for. I hope we have learned a few things as we have been going through the beads on the string. Let’s see…the Gold Bead…which reminds us to begin with adoration ….the bumpy beady….that is to remind us to let go and let God….the embrace of silence with the “holey Bead” …the steeping stone bead…our journey of faith…the black…the black and white…the gray bead…we are to bring our spiritual struggles to God….and the green bead, represents concern…not worries but concerns. Remember the red bead from last week? We are to pray for the lovable and not so lovable people in our lives…even those who do us harm. And last week we talked about the three purple beads on the string…the ones that remind us to pray for those “who are standing in the need of prayer.” And we are not just limited to the three beads..they are there to remind us that there are those who are needing…waiting…for our prayers for and about them.

The next bead is the Blue Green/ Blue/ Green Bead. It is there to remind us to pray for the world. God gives us a glimpse of what is going on in the world and what we need to pray for by us watching the news and reading the paper. Now I myself have trouble with this at times. I see all the evil in the world and I just don’t want to hear about it. I just want to block it out. But…but…how can you and I know what is needed in the world if we hide from it. We as Christians need to be “on top” of what is going on in the world around us because we are not of the world but we are in the world and need to be part of it only in the fact that it is in the need of our prayers.

The scripture I read this morning is all about praying for the world. It is about Christians…about you and me, praying for God’s Kingdom come…here on earth. This is a call to intercessory prayer for the world, not just those in our circle of friends and family. We are praying for the nations and all people and that they would come to know God as their God and Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We are calling for the nations to praise God for who He is and the blessings He bestows. We are calling down the blessings of God on all of His creation…We need to be virally going Global in our prayers.

In the book of Isaiah, chapter 56 verses 4-8, we hear about what can and will happen as we pray of others and pray for the world.

Isaiah 56:4-8 New International Version (NIV)

4 For this is what the Lord says:

To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,

who choose what pleases me

and hold fast to my covenant—

5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls

a memorial and a name

better than sons and daughters;

I will give them an everlasting name

that will endure forever.

6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord

to minister to him,

to love the name of the Lord,

and to be his servants,

all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it

and who hold fast to my covenant—

7 these I will bring to my holy mountain

and give them joy in my house of prayer.

Their burnt offerings and sacrifices

will be accepted on my altar;

for my house will be called

a house of prayer for all nations.”

8 The Sovereign Lord declares—

he who gathers the exiles of Israel:

I will gather still others to them

besides those already gathered.”

As we virally go Global in our prayers, people and situations in the world around us are changed. But there is a catch…it may not happen in our time…in our vision…but it will happen in God’s time and in His vision. We just need to trust in His word… As I said last week…maybe God will use our prayer to show His glory. As we persevere in prayer God will hear and changes will begin. If we give up on the world…if we stop praying because of what is seen in the temporal world, how can the eternal things come to pass? If we concentrate only on the brokenness around us…how can there be healing?

Maybe…just maybe…as we pray for world, it will change. Perhaps if we persevere in prayer the glory of God will be seen. My prayer partners in Christ, can we agree here? Can we step out with one another and pray for the world around us…not just our own backyard? Maybe if you and I begin this journey others will join. Maybe just maybe it will be like that old Faberge commercial “And they tell two friends and so on and so on and so on.” Maybe we can cause our own virus as we virally go Global with our prayers. But…but…it begins with you and me as we agree that the prayers of God’s people will be heard and God will act on His promises. Let’s start a virus for our God and our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ and see how infectious we can truly be. Maybe just maybe, we too can hit over a million likes as we virally go Global in our prayers. Perhaps others are waiting to share our “Prayer Tube” on their “FW”…their faith walk with Christ… Perhaps maybe if we just…

Let us pray…pray about the world and it’s people…

Amen

Standing In The Need Of Prayer

August 31, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “All My Day: A Summer of Prayer”

Inspired by Marcia McFee

Sermon 9 of series-

Intercessory”

Luke 18:1-8 NIV Bible

Ephesians 6:10-18 Disciples’ Literal New Testament

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/hollies/heaintheavyhesmybrother.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl5vi9ir49g

Standing In The Need Of Prayer”

Let us pray… (Pray for God’s illumination…)

The road is long

With many a winding turn

That leads us to who knows where

Who knows when

But I’m strong

Strong enough to carry him

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

All we have to do is just turn on the News or pick up a News Paper and get our news about what is going on in the world in which we live. I’m telling you, it is scary out there. We hear about bombings, war, famine, hunger, disasters, killings…the list just goes on. It is a little overwhelming to me. How can I help? Where is God in all this? What does God want me to do? The list of questions is never ending when I see the state of the world. But God does have a plan and it begins with His people…it begins with Christians…it begins with you and me…

This summer, we are invited to pray “All My Days” and to make a habit of prayer wherever you are. Each Sunday in worship we have focused on one of the steps of the prayer beads. My continued hope is that our Summer Sermon Series “All My Days: A Summer of Prayer” will help us learn a way of prayer that will bring us closer to the maker of all we see.

I hope we have learned a few things as we have been going through the beads on the string. Let’s see…the Gold Bead…which reminds us to begin with adoration ….the bumpy beady….that is to remind us to let go and let God….the embrace of silence with the “holey Bead” …the steeping stone bead…our journey of faith…the black…the black and white…the grey bead…we are to bring our spiritual struggles to God….and the green bead, represents concern…not worries but concerns. Remember the red bead from last week? We are to pray for the lovable and not so lovable people in our lives…even those who do us harm.

This week…it’s the three purple beads on the string. Now these beads are to remind us to pray even more about those who are standing in the need of prayer. You know…there are three purple beads but I don’t think it should stop at only three. I believe it represents all those people and situations that come up in our lives and we all know it usually is more than just three…

So on we go

His welfare is of my concern

No burden is he to bear

We’ll get there

For I know

He would not encumber me

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

The scripture I read this morning is all about praying unceasingly. We are called to continue in our prayer even when we don’t see anything happening. You see…God is always working out His plan. God is always answering our prayers. We have seen a lot of prayers being answered within our church but there are also those prayers that we may never see answered in our life time. But…but…God always answer prayer. He has said it and I believe it. Believing is seeing and through our believing we shall see the glory of God…

In the Epistle of Ephesians, we hear more about this praying without ceasing type of prayer. But it goes even further than that. It tells us the tools we are to have in our lives…it tells us of the “Weapons of Warfare” that God gives you and give me in this battle of Good over Evil. It is found in Ephesians 6:10-18. Let me read to you about our battle armor given to us by God for His glory…I am reading from the Disciples Literal New Testament Bile this morning. I think it really tells us of the strength that we have as we do battle in the world…

Ephesians 6:10-18 Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)

Finally, Put On The Full Armor of God So You Can Stand Against The Spiritual Forces of Evil

10 Finally, become-strong in the Lord and in the might of His strength. 11 Put-on the full-armor of God so-that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, 12 because the struggle for us is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evilness in the heavenly-places. 13 For this reason, take-up the full-armor of God in order that you may be able to resist on the evil day, and having worked everything, to stand.

Stand Armored With Truth, Righteousness, And Faith, Wielding God’s Word And Prayer

14 Stand [firm] therefore, having girded your waist with truth, and having put-on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having sandaled your feet with the readiness of the good-news of peace, 16 with all these having taken-up the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, 18 praying with every-kind-of prayer and petition at every opportunity in the Spirit, and keeping-alert for it with all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints—

I think in reading this scripture we have a question to ask ourselves. Now…we are told to pray with perseverance for all the saints right? Well…it is my thought that we should also pray for those who are not saints…yet. Who are these would be saints? Who is our brother, our sister, our mother, our father? It is the child in Bangladesh who lives in poverty and hunger. It is those in our family’s that have not yet come to Christ. It is the drug addict that just can’t seem to get to the other side. It is the mother who is raising her children alone. It is those who do us harm. It is those who we love and are sometimes not so lovable. It is anyone or anything that goes against God’s “perfect order” of things. The list is endless.

If I’m laden at all

I’m laden with sadness

That everyone’s heart

Isn’t filled with the gladness

Of love for one another

People and situations in the world around us are standing in the need of prayer. Are we going to sit idly by and watch? I was once told by someone who I thought was someone who would pray for others no matter what. I was told that they only pray for someone only if they knew Christ as their personal Savior. I asked them what happens when they don’t. They told me they give them a chance to accept Christ and if they don’t they won’t pray for them. What! If they don’t know Christ how can they come to Him if we don’t pray for them? Maybe God will use our prayer to show His glory to them and then they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Who are the saints? Who are the saints of the future…?

Maybe…just maybe…as we pray for people and situations out of our “realm of friends” there will be a change in the way things are going in the world. Perhaps if we widen our scope of prayer God will use us to bless others. Church of Jesus Christ…we have a mission from God and that is to pray for others without ceasing…even pray those in who are not part of the body of Christ. We are given the tools we need within His Armor and strength to conquer all things if we just are persistent like that widow who was looking for justice…just as our sisters and brothers are looking for justice in their lives and have no way out. Perhaps we can pray them out of their situation and the glory of God will be seen here on earth as His glory fills heaven. Maybe…just maybe… Who is standing in the need of prayer waiting for you?

Let us pray…pray about those needing our intercession…

It’s a long, long road

From which there is no return

While we’re on the way to there

Why not share

And the load

Doesn’t weigh me down at all

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

Amen