Last week we looked at three prayers for the church to pray during these divisive times.
1.Division overcome by our unity
2. Seeking the wisdom from above
3. Becoming James 1:19 Christians
Here are two more ways to effectively pray for the church during divisive and unsteady times.
Pray for the calming of our hearts through growing confidence in God
God is supreme. There is nothing greater or more powerful than God.
“Is anything too hard for the Lord”? (Genesis 18:14; see also Luke 1:37) The answer is NO! Our confidence is based upon God’s nature, not circumstances. May our hearts find calm in the powerful hand of God, knowing that nothing can overpower God.
God is in control. He is the Alpha and Omega. God is not trying to wrangle in a world out of control; He controls all things. Ephesians 1:11: “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
God is near. Philippians 4:5-6 “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious for anything but in everything with prayer and petition make your requests known to God”. God walks with you right now, never departing, even in the valley of the shadow of death. Our great confidence in uncertain times is the reliability of our great God whose presence is constantly with us so that we are never alone.
Pray for growing confidence of the hope we have in Christ.
In Christ, we are delivered from God’s wrath and judgement and transferred into eternal life in the holy presence of God. The greatest danger one can face is not death- its death uncovered, naked, in one’s own righteousness. For the Christian, we stand covered in the righteousness of Christ. His wrath has been removed; His Son judged in our place so we can stand before God as righteous. The worst we can face in life was taken up by Christ in our place on the cross and in the tomb. Because He lives, we have life!!
Christ shattered the fear of death in His own death (Heb 2:14-15). We fear God, not death. We are never more alive than when we face death courageously in Christ, knowing He has conquered it.
Now is the time for steady confidence in God. News reports, social media and sorts play on our fears and divide. The Word of God gives us assurance in the uncertain, steadiness in unsteady times, solid rock among sinking sand of world’s philosophies.
Lines are being drawn. The nation is becoming increasingly divided over national events over proper COVID response, political figures and posturing, and response to injustices. Families are being divided because opinions differ, and tensions are rising. Unfortunately, this has poured over into the church.
The Church cannot succumb to division.
Discussion of these matters is appropriate and encouraged. Dividing over them is not. Quarrelling and dividing is the work of the enemy seeking to destroy the church from within. Over the next several weeks I want to walk through a list of prayer ideas/topics regarding this situation.
1. Pray we would become James 1:19 Christians.
By nature, we are slow to listen and quick to speak, bringing devastating results. Long-time friendships are quickly disintegrated by our tongues (or fingers on social media). Scripture’s ideal for the church is to be a people who are quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Discussion is encouraged. These things going on in the world should be talked about. Unfortunately, social media does not promote discussion; it develops division. And does it quickly!
But when discussing, let it be with marked words, giving careful and caring thought to those we engage. Much tension will be eased as James 1:19 is applied to our life.
2. Pray our unity in Christ would stamp out division, Eph. 2:14-22
Christ has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, uniting all in Christ together as one! We cannot divide what Christ has united. Though we may differ in opinions (and not in essential doctrine), we belong to the same Lord, indwelt with the same Spirit, belonging to the same Body. Unity exalts Jesus. Division within His Body dishonors Him. Pray for our unity as we seek to glorify Him and not ourselves.
3. Pray that heavenly wisdom will infiltrate the Church, James 3:17-18
We need wisdom! Worldly wisdom is self- centered, sin-based, and of the devil. That type of wisdom brings disorder and evil practices (3:16). Heavenly wisdom is of God. He is the source of true wisdom. His wisdom brings godliness. Take a closer look at these attributes: Peace- free from quarrelsome attitude. Gentle- respectful and thoughtful of other’s and their feelings. Willing to yield- listen to and even obey others, convinced when you are wrong and accept what is right or better. Full of mercy- demonstrates mercy freely. Good fruits--- life reflecting the righteousness of God. This is the wisdom we desperately need in this time.
Next week three more will be discussed for our benefit.
Dear Crossroads Church family,
Our Governing Board met on May 12, 2020 prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom for the safe re-opening of the church. Since March 18, under the solemn decision of our elders, our church has not gathered for worship. We responded appropriately to the guidelines and recommendations of the state authorities and the advice of our District Superintendent. We thank you for your patience, prayers, and financial support during challenging time. As a board, we are truly blessed to have incredibly faithful members!
Here is our Safe Plan:
Safe Re-Opening: Since businesses can responsibly re-open, we feel God’s people can responsibly worship together. Our board has decided Sunday June 7, as a responsible date to gather for worship. Please understand you are under no obligation to return at that time. If you feel unsafe and would rather wait, then please continue to join us via livestream (www.thecrossroads.cc).
Safe Programming: Our board’s decision is to meet only for the worship service. All other ministries (Sunday schools, children’s church, nursery, youth group) will be on hold until further notice.
Entry- A deacon wearing gloves will be at the door to open as you arrive, lessening touch points.
Seating- Alternating pews will be taped-off creating safe distance.
For those attending with children and/or grandchildren do not share a pew with others.
All others can share a pew with guidelines: If you rode to church or live together, sit together. When sharing a pew with other members (different households, non-related), please keep 6 feet of space between.
Offering- Plates will not be passed. Collection will be on the back table before and after service.
Communion- We have purchased sealed cups and wafers. No plates will be passed.
Masks- We are not requiring masks. The board is suggesting wearing one.
Greeting- Greeting time has been removed from the order of service. We require the church to follow CDC guidelines on hand shaking and close contact. Your co-operation is greatly appreciated.
Health: Take your temperature at home. Remain home if: temperature is 100.4 (Ohio guideline) or higher, exhibit mild symptoms or been around someone who is sick.
Cleaning: We need a crew to disinfect the church Monday mornings at 9am. If you want to serve this way, please the let the church office know.
Times have been tough. Our benevolence fund is available for help. If you need help financially because of this crisis, please call the church.
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
The Governing Board of Crossroads Community Church
Life is difficult.
If you made a list of all the hardships you are facing right now I’m sure the list would be long. Every one of us faces difficulties and trials in life, Christians are not exempt! Some of the trials on your list probably include health concerns, financial difficulties, worries about your children or grandchildren, a marriage crisis, just to name a few. You are not alone. The hardships you are facing are the same type of hardships the person next to you is going through or has gone through.
As we face hardships in life we become weary. We lose strength. At times we lose sight of who God is and focus more on the difficulty at hand. When that happens God becomes very small and powerless in our eyes while the situation becomes overpowering and quite large according to our perception. What we need in those times is what Israel needed in her time- the Word of God.
Isaiah 40 begins a new section in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah addresses exiles in the future who will be delivered from captivity in Babylon more than a century down the road. While in captivity the discouraged Israelite complains that God has forgotten them (v27). In their situation they feel like God has given up on them or doesn’t regard them in their situation. If that is you, consider changing your perspective.
1. See God as He is- All powerful Creator and sovereign ruler of the universe. There is nothing more powerful than God and there never will be! God never gets worn down like we do. He never struggles. And even when we struggle to makes sense of our situation we can rest assured He knows everything perfectly (V.28)
2. Understand what God is able to do- He gives strength to those who are weary. He is more than able to help us stand firm. And He is willing to do it! (v29)
3. Trust Him- those who hope in the Lord, or trust Him, are the ones who He will strengthen. He does not give up on His people! (v30)
If your life is in a difficult situation, turn to Him and He will give you strength that is needed to patiently endure to the end.