Friday, July 11, 2014

6 Prayers I No Longer Pray


There are some prayers I no longer pray. That's right. There are some prayers I simply do not pray anymore. If you want to learn how to pray, here are 6 prayers I no longer pray:

1. "God, please be with me today." - Wait a minute! Jesus promised he would be with me to the very end of the age. I'm taking that as truth. So I've stopped wasting breath with asking the Lord to be with me on my day-to-day journey. I'd prefer to thank him for being with me on the journey.

2. "I bind that demonic spirit and send it..." to a specific place, like a desert, or a mountain range, or to the feet of Jesus. Look, I still bind the demonic and you call me a wacko for that if you want, but I just don't see that God calls me to 'send the demonic' to a particular place. Actually, after the meal I had at a particular fast-food restaurant I should cast them there... Or maybe that's where they already spend their time. Ahh, I digress...

3. "God if it's your will to make this person better..." Hmm... Now I'm going to play semantics for a minute and I must admit I still pray this occasionally, but surely IT IS God's will to make this person better. At least it is, if you take an eschatological view and understand there will be a time where there will be no pain, and no tears in the eyes, after God brings in a new heaven and a new earth. I prefer to speak to the sickness to be gone, in the name of Jesus. Well, some people have been getting healed in my local context; that convinces me to be a little more direct in my prayers. To be honest, I still pray in different ways for healing for people, but I think God appreciates some faith when we pray, that is, to pray in a way that actually believes God is able to and wants to initiate the answer to your prayer.

4. "God, help me grow the church." You of course know where I'm heading with this one. I still pray this at times, but I keep reminding myself, "GOD GROWS the CHURCH!" Yes, I am telling myself this, just as much as reminding you. Now, I have to say, if this is true, which I believe it is, then I partner with God in the extending of the Kingdom of God, and I plant and plant and uproot and plant and water... and watch God grow the meagre effort on my part. I can fertilize a plant and water a plant but I surely cannot grow it.

5. "God, please join us as we worship you this morning..." Wait a second?! If I do not pray this, am I suggesting God will not be with us in our gathering? God is present. Be reminded of the scripture in Matthew where the gospel writer suggests that where two or more are gathered, he's with us. He is in the midst. I believe it's called: omnipresence. Now, I would pray, "God, let the Holy Spirit move in a powerful way this morning," but that's different than asking the Lord to not forget to 'rock up'.

6. "Please bless Uncle Jeremy with his bad attitude. It really stinks Lord." Come on and admit it, you've prayed prayers like this! Instead a praying a blessing upon your relative or work colleague you end up giving God a rant about the imperfections of the one you are praying for. Be challenged. Why not pray, "God start a work in me..."

There you have it. 6 prayers I no longer pray.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What Every Salvation Army Corps Needs to Embrace

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What Every Corps Needs To Embrace
by Captain Peter Brookshaw

God can do immeasurably more than anything we ask or imagine. Yes, that is true. Most of us know these words inside and out, quoted regularly from the letter to the Ephesians. We nod in agreement, and give a wry smile. We’ve heard it all before.

I wonder though, whether we actually take heed of such words?

Let me suggest for a moment, that if we truly believed God was omnipotent, then prayer meetings would be overflowing, altars would be jammed-packed and Salvation Army corps gatherings would be bustling. But we don’t and they aren’t.

God can do immeasurably more than anything we ask or imagine... 

TO READ MORE, please click here to go to the JOURNAL of AGGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY article.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Why Australians No Longer Go To Church

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Australians no longer attend church. Let me state the obvious. 

McCrindle research on Christianity and spirituality in Australia suggests that only 9% of Australians regularly go to church (at least once a month). This is a far cry from the scores of people who attended religious gatherings one hundred years prior.

So, why do Aussies no longer attend church?

Let's say, I think it's a western world thing. The issue is not confined to Australia, but it is a true observation to say that the church is in decline also in the UK, in the U.S.A. and in most parts of Europe. Though why?

Churches are no longer relevant to the majority for a start. Churches used to be where people gathered, where they found meaning and purpose and where a sense of community existed. Over the last few decades the community has found purpose in other endeavours/groups like sporting clubs, dance clubs, pubs, bars, etc. While the community at large has still yearned for purpose and hope, the church has not been a place where the community perceived this to be available.

With the breakdown of the Christendom era (where Church was the centre of society and religious observance was key), the church has continued to live out the ministry of Jesus within the confines of church walls, while Australians have sought meaning and spirituality from outside the walls.

The churches in Australia, who believe Jesus is Lord, have a challenge before them. If 91% of Australians don't go to Church and there is no reason why that is going to change, how will these people ever hear or respond to Jesus?

Let me offer you a list of reasons why Australians (for the most part) no longer go to church:
  • The church in Australia has become irrelevant to their lifestyle (whether perceived or actual)
  • The church in Australia has not fulfilled the great commission of Jesus, 'to go...' but have continued to adopt the opinion that they, 'should come'. 
  • The church in Australia has not wrestled with the missiological impacts of a culture that lives in a postmodern worldview.
  • The church in Australia have fallen into the same laissez faire outlook as the majority and thus have not called Aussies to a higher calling.
  • Australians have grown increasingly wary of religion in any form, particularly because of the terrible misrepresentations of the gospel from ministerial leaders, and the seemingly increasing emphasis on these misdemeanours from the media at large. 
  • See also: 10 Reasons Why People Don't Go to Church
The significance of the hope and meaning that comes through God's son, Jesus Christ has not changed. Salvation is still freely available; though if the Australian church fails to change the way it operates and lives out its faith, the church in Australia will have a slow painful death.

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