I don't know about you, but I'm still soaking in the choral rendition of Andrew Peterson and Ben Shive's "Is He Worthy" from this past Sunday! What a way to unpack the Gospel, especially that second refrain. He is! He is!
Also, wasn't it a gift to have our brother, Dr. Paul Stevens, launch our sermon series on prayer? An excerpt from Timothy Chester's The Message of Prayer (from the Bible Speaks Today series) came to mind as I was reflecting on our brother's exposition of Matthew 6:9-13. As it has with me, may it further lead you into prayer--communion with our living God.
It was for this we were made: to know God; to be with Him; to enjoy friendship with Him; to share the life of the trinitarian community. 'In obedience the Christian is the servant, in faith he is the child, but in prayer, as the servant and the child, he is the friend of God, called to the side of God and at the side of God, living and ruling and reigning with Him.' 'God does not want us as objects, but as covenant partners, partners who can converse. He desires our conversation input, our spontaneous gratitude, our free concurrence, but also our patient or impatient questioning; and even our vehement protest is dearer to Him than a silent, unconvinced acquiescence.'
To say that we should seek friendship with the One who created the far reaches of the universe, who is the ruler of all history and who dwells in unapproachable light, sounds like outrageous hubris. Yet this is the gospel. Prayer is an expression of the very heart of God's eternal plan to have a people who are His people; to know us and to be known by us. We readily bask in the reflected glory of knowing someone even moderately important or famous--how much more can we glory in friendship with the trinitarian God!
Prayer means conversation with God, calling upon God... The person who has grown up with the traditions of the Church takes this for granted. He is not conscious of the astonishing character, the boldness and "irrationality" of this act.
For this week, we encourage to be in prayer for our church family, particularly for those who need healing, guidance, and encouragement. As I shared at our church business meeting last week, please do keep Monica Gartner (loss of her mother, Agatha), Klara Van Der Molen (her 5-year-old grandson, Caleb, was hit by a car), and Margaret Loden (hospitalized after a fall) in your prayers. From today to Pentecost Sunday (June 9th), we encourage you to consult our weekly prayer sheet to pray for others. Click here to download the prayer sheet.
Please be sure to pray for the Brown family as Anthony prepares to transition into First as our Senior Minister. As of May 8th, he has transitioned out of Hillside Baptist Church. He is now finishing his work with the North Shore School of Mission. Anthony and Helen have set aside the last two weeks of June to rest. He is set to start at First in July.
In prayer with and for you,