Monthly Archives: April 2020

Using Jesus’ model prayer to guide us in praying

Here is the prayer guide we used last night for our Zoom Prayer Gathering


A Prayer Gathering

April 29, 2020

Using Jesus’ model prayer to guide us in praying.

Matthew 6:9–13 (ESV)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

  • Elohim – “The Strong One” (Genesis 1:1)
  • El Elyon – “God Most High” (Genesis 14:19-20)
  • Adonai – “Lord” (Genesis 15:1-8; Exodus 4:10-16)
  • El Shaddai – “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1-2)
  • Jehovah Jireh – “The Lord will Provide” (Genesis 22)
  • Yahweh – “The Self-Existent One” (Exodus 3:1-15)
  • Jehovah Rapha – “The Lord who Heals you” (Exodus 15:22-27)
  • Jehovah Nissi – “The Lord is our Banner” (Exodus 17:8-16)
  • Jehovah Mekadesh – “The Lord who Sanctifies you” (Leviticus 20:7-8)
  • Jehovah Shalom – “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24)
  • Jehovah Sabaoth – “The Lord of Hosts” (1 Samuel 1:10-11; 17:45-46)
  • Jehovah Rohi – “The Lord my Shepherd” (Psalm 23)
  • Jehovah Tsidkenu – “The Lord our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
  • Jehovah Shammah – “The Lord is There” (Ezekiel 48:35)

Praise God for who he is and how he has revealed himself to us.


“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

  • Pray for greater vision, faith, and confidence in God
  • Pray for our city, state, and national leaders
  • Pray for upcoming elections
  • Pray that God will guide our elders as they lead our church
  • Pray for the finance board as they manage our money
  • Pray that God gives us wisdom to evaluate our ministries
  • Pray that we would discern where God is at work and what he wants us to do for his kingdom
  • Pray that we would become more outward focused
  • Pray for our ministries that reach into our community—Awana, Lord’s Pantry
  • Pray for our ministries that help people grow—Sunday School, Small group Bible studies, women’s ministries, youth group
  • Pray that each attender will be fully engaged
  • Pray that we would be fruitful and effective, rather than busy
  • Pray that we would be willing to change and adapt, rather than hold on to the past
  • Pray that God would give us a spirit of generosity

“Give us this day our daily bread,”

  • Pray for financial provision
  • Pray that God raises up people who are willing to serve
  • Pray that God would add new believers to our church
  • Pray for greater boldness and open doors—church, missionaries
  • Pray for personal needs—health, finances, jobs, wisdom, energy


“forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”

  • Confess personal sins
  • Confess corporate sins
  • Confess national sins
  • Pray for broken relationships


“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

  • Pray for our staff, elders, deacons, deaconesses, worship leaders, board and committee members
  • Pray for purity
  • Pray for willingness to say “NO!” to temptation and sin


“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (While not found in most early manuscripts, many of us learned the prayer this way.)

Praise God!


B.C. – Before Coronavirus

Who knew the Far Side was so prophetic?

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Posted by on April 30, 2020 in Far Side


Run with endurance

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Posted by on April 29, 2020 in Hebrews, Scripture, Videos


Live boldly

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Posted by on April 29, 2020 in Quotes, Tim Challies


Texas Food Pyramid

Having spent four years in Dallas, TX, my wife and I can testify to the accuracy of this diagram.

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Posted by on April 28, 2020 in Culture, Fun


Making sense of the Coronavirus instructions

Here’s a video that sums up the many different instructions we’ve been given recently for what to do during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Posted by on April 27, 2020 in Culture, Fun, News stories


Restaurants Take Out Strategy

The comic strip, Non-Sequitur, has come up with a new strategy for restaurants to do take-out during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Posted by on April 27, 2020 in Non-Sequitur


Becoming a Seeker of God

The treasure of Oak Island. Indiana Jones. Buried pirate gold. Dirk Pitt. Benjamin Franklin Gates. The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. Real life treasure hunters, literary characters, movie heroes, urban legends—they all captivate our attention. We dream of being the one to discover the mother lode. However, the lure of buried treasure does not always result in it being unearthed.

In contrast, we have the promise of Scripture that if we seek God, we will find him. This promise was given to King Asa in 2 Chronicles 15:2, “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” Asa’s life and reign as king reflect both sides of this promise.

Asa, the great-great-grandson of King David, became the king of Judah in 900 B.C. and he reigned for 39 years. During the first half of his life, he sought God and was blessed by him. However, during the second half of his life, he began to slide. In the final three years of his life, he turned his back on God and deserted him.

As you can see in the chart below, the pattern of God’s promise played out in Asa’s life and kingdom.


If You Seek Him

If You Forsake Him

Obstacle Military: Zerah the Ethiopian (14:9) Military: Baasha, King of Israel (16:1) Health: Disease in his feet (16:12)
Relies on God (14:11) Ben-Hadad, King of Aram (16:2-3) Doctors (16:12)
Result Victory (14:12-15)

Blessing (15:1-2)

Constant war (16:9) Death (16:13)
Response to God Obedience (15:8-18) Anger (16:10) Rejection (16:12)

From Asa’s life, we can see five key principles that answer the question, “How can we seek God?”

Obey God’s instructions (15:8, 12). In 15:1-7, Asa was told to be strong and not to give up. He responded by restoring the altar of the Lord (15:8) and renewing the covenant (15:8). Asa reestablished the worship of the nation, and he reaffirmed the importance of the Law. What God commands, we should obey. What God promises, we should believe.

Remove the hindrances (15:8, 16). Asa removed the “detestable idols” of the land (15:8) and even deposed his grandmother from her position as queen mother because she had made a repulsive idol (15:16). What holds you back from following God?

Seek him with others (15:9-15). After Asa’s great victory over Zerah and God’s blessing, five of the tribes of Israel gathered together in Jerusalem. The people of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon make a sacrifice (15:11), renew the covenant (15:12), made an oath (15:14), and rejoiced (15:15) together. The Christian life was never meant to be lived alone.

Commit yourself wholeheartedly (15:12, 15). The people entered into the covenant with all their heart and soul (15:12) and Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. Since the heart is considered the center of being and personality, it means a whole heart is one which is undivided and focused.

Count the cost and pay the price (15:11, 16). Together, the people slaughtered close to 8,000 livestock and sacrificed them to the Lord. In addition to the financial cost, Asa paid a personal price as he cut off his relationship with his grandmother (15;16). We must be willing to do what it takes to follow Christ.

God desires that we seek him with every fiber of our being. He wants us to want him. He is waiting for us to ask, so that he might share himself with us.

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that he may strongly support those whose heart is completely his” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NASB95). May your heart be fully committed to seeking God.

This is the synopsis of a message preached online to First Central Bible Church on April 26, 2020. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.


Becoming a Seeker of God – Video Sermon

First Central Bible Church online – 4/26/20. The video begins with a five minute countdown, followed by a hymn. Pastor Mark starts speaking about 10 minutes. There is a testimony from Roger & Lois Luce after the message and then another song at the end.


The Audience of One

Whose approval do I seek? Do I preach in order to receive the “Nice sermon, pastor” from people, or do I focus on the “Well done, good and faithful servant” from God? Am I motivated by the applause of the crowd or by the affirmation from a heavenly judge?

These are difficult questions when ministry is “normal.” They are even more challenging when you are preaching to a camera during the COVID-19 crisis. It is one thing to preach to a half-filled sanctuary and quite another to preach to an empty room with only one cameraman in attendance.

I am reminded of what the apostle Paul wrote on two separate occasions.

Galatians 1:10 – For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 – but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

The concept of preaching to an audience of One has taken on a whole new meaning during this present crisis. It once again reinforces the importance of being faithful since it is near to impossible to measure success by the usual criteria of numbers and attendance.

Since I cannot measure my success by the number of people in the pew, I have to trust that God will measure my success by the motivation of my heart.

May I keep my focus on pleasing God. May I be found faithful. May I seek to pleasure the audience of One.

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Posted by on April 25, 2020 in Character, Personal growth, Scripture