What about prayer?

I’ve heard many people say that they don’t know how to pray “out loud.”  It’s made me wonder if they know how to pray at all.  Prayer based in faith is one of the most powerful tools we are given.  With prayer comes forgiveness, healing, growth, wisdom and peace.  Most of the folks I’ve met would like at least one of these, if not all.  I want them.

We need to learn what prayer is, when to pray, how to pray and why we pray.  Prayer is honest, heartfelt communication with God.  It is seeking Him.  Prayer can be praise for His creation, for His blessings, for His being.  It can be a request for something that we or another need.  Prayer can be private or corporate. We should pray when we’re celebrating and when we’re mourning.  We should pray when we get up and go to bed.  We should pray throughout our day as we consider all that is around us.

What prayer cannot be is empty words.  Jesus taught about prayer in Matthew 6. He stated plainly that shouting on the street corners and meaningless repetition were not the way to reach God.  Prayer that is without faith, without love of the Lord will not be heard, will not be answered.  Mark 11:22 tells us plainly what Jesus said. “Have faith in God.” In verse 24, He continues: “For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”

For further learning and clarification on the meaning and purpose of prayer, I encourage you to join us Sunday morning as Pastor Ann continues her sermon series on the Kingdom Keys.  If you can’t make it into the sanctuary, please consider the Facebook live-stream.

You Are Not Your Own

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

— 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

In the contemporary world, the phrase “you are not your own” sounds almost offensive to many people from the post-modern culture. Advertisements keep telling us that we are the owners of our lives, we have to choose the best for ourselves first, and that nobody is allowed to tell us what to do with our bodies or our lives.

What is the apostle Paul trying to tell us in his epistle to the Corinthians and particularly in these verses? Why should we lose some of our freedom and trust our lives completely to God?

Often, people do not want to admit in the first place that they received their lives from God. The reason we exist, live, and breathe is because of the will of God. Even those who do not believe in God live on this planet because of His prevenient grace extended to the whole of creation. When Paul writes to the Corinthians, he reminds them that through the new covenant with God, they become a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. This means that Christians become a part of something much bigger than their individual lives.

In the Spirit, we are united with the rest of Christ’s body in this world.

In some sense, the Spirit creates an invisible net, connecting us to each other and guiding us toward the same goal, which God has ordained for the whole of humanity. When we live as if we are “not our own,” we allow God to use us as vehicles of His grace in this world to bring healing and restoration. 

Metaphorically speaking, we live in a spiritual ecosystem where the lives of all people are interrelated and interconnected. This system does not function as it was supposed to at the moment of creation because it is infected by sin. Through our united actions and prayers in His name, God transforms this world. The truth that we are “not our own” means we belong to the community of believers united by Christ, who bought us at a precious “price”; we belong to the Holy Spirit who dwells in us; we belong to God the Father who loves us.

Therefore, “not our own” actually means that we are not alone in this world. God cares for us, protects us, provides for us, and makes our lives meaningful. He helps us to join His mission and to understand the purpose for which we were created by Him: to bless all nations and bring them to God.

Prayer for the week:

Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding us that we belong to You. Thank You for protecting us in this world. Thank You for guiding us and filling us with Your Spirit. May Your will be done in our homes, in our churches, and in our countries. Show us the areas of our lives that need improvement, and lead us closer to You. Make us vehicles of Your grace. Amen.

Olga Druzhinina is a lecturer in theology for European Nazarene College and M-Power volunteer in Riga, Latvia.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is something all of us want when we make a mistake or hurt another person.  What about when we are the one who is hurt?  How quickly are we willing to forgive? 

When a friend brings us their problem, pain or anger about another person, do we counsel them wisely regarding forgiveness?  Or do we sympathize with their situation without consideration for the other person?

Forgiveness isn’t easy.  Often it’s messy!  Frequently it’s painful, especially for our egos.  None of us wants to admit we are the party that is wrong, even when we are.  Many of us don’t want to let go of the anger and outraged feelings if we are the injured person. 

But we fail to realize that forgiveness brings freedom to us.  It takes us out of our pity party, that jail we create for ourselves.  It allows us to regain our focus on the present.  Forgiveness brings us back into right relationship with our Lord. 

Forgiveness is a key to a better life, an eternal life.  If this is something that you want, please join us Sunday morning at 10:55 a.m. 

KEYS

Keys.  We all have them.   We have keys for our homes, our cars, our places of work.  We have keys for lock-boxes, safety-deposit boxes and even jewelry boxes.  We have keys for locks on yard gates, sheds, bicycles, storage units. 

We use them to gain access to the places we need to go.  We use them to open our treasure troves. 

Those are the physical keys that are obvious to us all.  There are other keys that aren’t so obvious.  What about the keys to our hearts; the keys to our minds; or the keys to our souls?  What about those keys? 

Pastor Ann has been speaking to us for several weeks about God’s Kingdom.  How awesome would it be to have the keys to the Kingdom?  Beyond any earthly keys, His keys hold the power of joy, of peace, of love and of eternity. 

If you believe your key ring is lacking His keys, join us Sunday morning at 10:55 a.m. as Pastor Ann presents His message regarding His keys.  If you are unable to make it to the church, please join us on Facebook as we livestream this message.

Seeking Satisfaction

It’s Family Week at Cove Nazarene! What does that mean? It means that Pastor Ann will be teaching to the kiddos this week as they remain in church with us older folks. For some of us (like me) this is a great deal because the message is simple, straighforward and easy to grasp. So what is she going to talk about?

We all remember playing hide and seek when we were (maybe) younger. Seeking was the more difficult part for some of us because the others we played with were great at hiding. Which part did you excell at? Which part did you enjoy more? If I had to guess…………….. most of us preferred hiding.

As we come to realize that there is something missing in our lives, an emptiness within us that we just can’t seem to fill, we begin to be seekers. Some seek fortune and some seek fame, others seek possessions or status. Not one of these things will fill that hole inside us though.

Jesus told us to “seek the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind.” Why would He say that? Because we are designed to be connected to our God and nothing short of a relationship with Him will ever satisfy us.

Join us Sunday morning at 10:55 in the sanctuary or here on Facebook as Pastor Ann teaches this amazing concept! See y’all Sunday!

Heaven and the Kingdom of God

Is there a difference between heaven and the Kingdom of God? YES! Pastor Ann has been speaking to us about the Kingdom of God recently and will continue that exploration this week as she moves us into understanding this difference.

Jesus left the Kingdom of Heaven to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. In doing this, He provided a way for us, as sinners, a way to become Kingdom citizens. He sought out ordinary men and women, not religious leaders. He brought them into relationship with Himself to teach and model the Kingdom of God on earth. If we are willing to follow His teaching and example we too can become citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Pastor Ann will bring us details of this exciting news on Sunday morning at 10:55 am. Come grow with us!

Ambassadors for Christ and His Kingdom

Ambassador is a word that we usually associate with politics and foreign countries. It isn’t a word we tend to apply to ourselves. But, ambassadors are exactly what we are. We represent our beliefs throughout everything we do. Think for a moment about how you’ve represented those beliefs this week. Are your actions saying something your mouth isn’t?

We, as Christ followers, are called to be His ambassadors on earth. That means His representatives all day, every day. We want everyone who comes in contact with us to see Him working through our lives.

Come Sunday morning at 10:55 a.m. and listen to Pastor Ann share this concept with us.

Alabama cowboy pastor turns hobby into ministry opportunity

By NCN News Staff | 14 June 2019

[-] Text [+]Alabama

David Farris, a church pastor in Alabama, was competing at a Cowboy Mounted Shooters Association event when he was asked to lead a church service. 

The CMSA brings together individuals and clubs in a competition of speed and accuracy as they navigate through a course of 10 balloon targets, firing at each target with a pair of handguns loaded with blanks. 

“These people are from all over the country,” Farris said. “Most of the competitors are gone almost every weekend to a different club or state, so they don’t have a home church but still want to be a part of God’s family.”

As time went on, Farris was invited to more competitions, and in turn, was asked to preach at more events.

“After a few years, we were being invited to more of these events, and it was taking us away from the church,” Farris said. “The congregation was very supportive, and they became a part of this ministry. We knew that God was placing us here for a reason, so we resigned from the church so they could have someone that was devoted to them totally.”

That is when Farris and his wife, Jill, transitioned from pastoring in a traditional setting to pastoring a mobile group of competing cowboys.

“From that point, the ministry began,” Farris said. “I compete on a regular basis and my wife is starting to again also. The people we get to meet and share time with are from all over the country. We don’t have a regular meeting time or building, and some people I see only a few times a year. Most of the time, our cowboy church service is in the arena — sometimes in the barn area or a side room. I have preached from the back of a truck, on a trailer, on the dirt, but mostly from the back of a horse.”

Traveling as frequently as CMSA competitors do can be lonely. Farris not only helps provide spiritual support for the competitors, but he aims to offer a church family for them too.

“Our ministry has been to make everyone feel welcome and share God’s grace and mercy with them,” Farris said. “To those that hunger for a church family while on the road, we have strived to make that happen. To those that don’t know the Lord, we have spent the past few years trying to just become friends with them and share the love and kindness of our Lord.”

Farris wants everyone to allow God to use their passions to reach the lost the way God used his. 

“I encourage those in the body of Christ to take their hobbies and interests and use them to share the wonderful grace of Our Lord,” Farris said. “God has taken what was a hobby and turned it into a ministry and has given us a unique church. We have been blessed with an amazing ministry that God has allowed us to be a part of.”