If you want to go to the next level in your relationship with God, you’ve got to be willing to pray Dangerous Prayers. One of the prayers you must communicate with him on a regular basis is the “Search Me” prayer.
“Search Me” prayers invite God to look into the depths of our hearts and expose anything that conflicts with His holiness.
David prayed a “search me” prayer at the end of Psalm 139. After reflecting on God’s greatness, David invited God to search, know, test, and lead him.
When was the last time you acknowledged the greatness of God?
When was the last time you invited Him to search your heart?
What keeps you from praying “search me” prayers more often?
During the days of Ezekiel, some of Israel’s leaders, who the Bible says had set up idols in their hearts, came to God’s prophet to ask him for advice. These leaders visited the Temple regularly, and on the outside appeared to be worshiping God, but the fact that they had something else as the object of their heart’s devotion proved otherwise.
We have to be careful not to allow anything, or anyone, to capture our imagination, or captivate our allegiance in a way that weakens or diminishes our devotion to God. When we pursue things, or people, with such intensity and passion that it affects our commitment to God, then we have turned those objects of our affection into idols.
Is there anything in your life that you know God is calling you to do, but you’re refusing to do it? If there was ever a person we might perceive as justified for not answering God’s call, Ezekiel is the guy.
Ezekiel was a prophet, so his job was to communicate God’s message to his people. Unfortunately for Ezekiel, God asked him to do some difficult things that didn’t make sense from a human standpoint.
For instance, Ezekiel had to lay on his left side for 390 days to symbolically bear the sins of the rebellious nation of Israel. When his 390 days were up, God told him to lay on his right side for 40 more days to symbolize bearing Judah’s sins. If that wasn’t bad enough, he was limited to eating 8 0z. of food each day, which had to be cooked over cow crap.
But no matter how extreme the circumstances, Ezekiel obeyed and was faithful to the call God placed on his life. Following God’s plan for your life won’t always be easy, but there is no greater honor.
One of the things I’ve realized in my limited experience as a church planter is that some people view the vision God has given me for New Church to be outrageous, while others see the vision as contagious.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several people and share with them that “New Church exists to help people far from God experience new life in Jesus Christ!” Initially, that sounds good to most people, and then it changes for some when they realize the extent to which we are willing to go to reach people far from God.
In an attempt to help them understand what that looks like, I often clarify what I mean by referring to something I heard Craig Groeschel say. “We will do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ.” To some that’s offensive.
When I first moved to Winston-Salem, I met with several area pastors to introduce myself and share with them the vision God has given me for New Church. One particular pastor asked me to explain what I mean by “…helping people far from God experience new life in Jesus Christ!” When I used the Craig Groeschel quote, he chuckled as if I was kidding. When he realized I was serious, he quit asking questions. I haven’t heard from him since that day.
But there are others who are extremely drawn to the idea of doing church for those who have not yet come to Jesus. They understand that Jesus himself described this as his mission.
I’m humbled and grateful that God is forming a team of people like this to help us launch New Church. These folks have bought into the Scripture-inspired vision and are sharing it with family, friends, work associates, and complete strangers.
I’ve learned that when it comes to vision, what seems outrageous to some will be contagious to others.
Want any easy way to remember everything? Try Evernote. I’ve been using it for a few months now, and I highly recommend it.
I don’t always have a pen and paper with me, but because I have the Evernote App on my phone, I can record ideas anywhere. When I save what I record, it automatically syncs the information with my Mac.
And as an added bonus, it’s free!
What is Orange? For one, it was the theme of last night’s New Church Launch Team meeting. But more importantly, it was the question that Jeremy answered as he described the philosophy for what we are referring to as our Next Generation Ministry.
Orange isn’t something we invented, but because it makes so much sense, we’re going to be implementing it at New Church.
Jeremy, who serves as our Next Gen Pastor, did an awesome job explaining the strategy that is Orange, and how it will assist us in “combining influences to fuel faith in the next generation.” Check out the video below to see what I’m talking about:
Your church can grow with or without facilities.
New buildings don’t always result in immediate growth.
Your plans will have to be flexible in order to achieve your vision.
“Your plans will change, but your vision should remain the same.”
Your leadership style will have to change as your church grows.
You must learn to let go and delegate; however, delegation without follow-up leads to disaster.
Not everyone who starts with you will finish with you.
Learn the gift of goodbye.
Release volunteers and staff well.
You will be stabbed in the back, but love them anyway.
Remind yourself that it is not your church.
God is not surprised by anything.
God will provide.
Simple truths–some original, some not, but all are great reminders.