Viewing entries tagged
prayer

FOCUS ON DISCIPLESHIP

FOCUS ON DISCIPLESHIP

Written by Don Taggart

 

Therefore, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

1 Timothy 2:8

 

 In today’s riveting installment of the shelbychurch.org blog, we’ll be discussing discipleship once more. Discipleship has been a huge focus not only for SCC, but for The Church ever since Jesus uttered the admonition to his disciples “go and make disciples of all nations.”

 

Before we even start to dig in to what the verse in Timothy is trying to convey, we’re already treated to a biblical example of discipleship in action in Timothy himself. He was a young man Paul encountered during his second missionary journey, who was already well thought of as a disciple in his hometown. Apparently, Timothy was so affected by the message of Jesus and a call to The Great Commission, that he decided to drop whatever it was that his life was all about until that point and follow Paul. Paul walked beside Timothy and mentored him in person for several years before sending him out on his own. These letters (1st and 2nd Timothy) were Paul’s way of communicating with Timothy in a phase of his maturity in which Paul could trust Timothy’s leadership. Aside from the occasional instruction and encouragement of a letter, Paul eventually deemed Timothy ready to lead and teach on his own.

 

Paul’s discipleship model to Timothy is still, not shockingly, the way most good discipleship happens today. Walk closely beside for a season and slowly taper down the unidirectional leadership as the disciple becomes a mentor and leader for others.

 

So… back to our verse: Paul is laying out some instructions for worship. Obviously, anytime we see “Therefore” at the beginning of a verse we need to check the context by reading the stuff leading up to that. To paraphrase the several verses prior to verse 8, Paul exhorts people to pray, intercede, give thanks, etc. because it pleases the Lord, and that Jesus gave himself as ransom and now is the mediator between God and mankind… THEREFORE, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

 

One could read 10 different commentaries on this verse (I did) and get 10 different takes on it, but that’s the beauty and the mystery of the Bible. If we’re intentional to ask, the Holy Spirit will help interpret and amplify the text in a way that affects each of us in a personalized way, even on the off chance that we’re not fluent in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic.

 

My interpretation of what Paul wants Timothy to teach his disciples, which by the transitive property (math joke) includes all of us, is as simple as this-

 

·      ALL of us are to pray (as a normal part of our minute by minute life)

·      lifting up (either literally or figuratively, either in praise or need)

·      holy hands (hands resolved to say no to compromise and sin)

·      without anger or disputing (with a peaceful forgiving heart)

 

So, Father, let us become the disciples you desire for us to be. Let us be like Paul when you want us to be and let us be like Timothy when you want us to be. Use us to further Your glory by helping us to be a little part of the Great Commission. Help our hearts and our minds, in the spirit of 1 Timothy 2:8, to embrace praying constantly, praising You always, living without compromise, and loving without offense. Amen!

 

FOCUS ON COMMUNITY

FOCUS ON COMMUNITY

Written by Laura Jobe

 

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  1 Timothy 2:1-2

 

Today’s passage is from Paul’s first letter to Timothy, one of his faithful disciples. Paul appointed Timothy to pastor the Ephesian Church.  In this new role, young Timothy faced all kinds of battles –particularly the issue of false teachers spreading different doctrines (1:3-7).  In today’s economy, this would be similar to self-proclaimed experts spreading fake news.  Paul knew that Timothy would need all the prayer and pastoral coaching he could get!  Let’s look at Paul’s advice to Timothy…

 

In verse 1, he begins by issuing a call to prayer.  Notice his use of the words “first of all” –giving prayer top priority.  We’re to do it first –before anything else. Do you make prayer your first line of defense and a top priority for your day?

 

Now take a look at how Paul emphasizes the broad scope of prayer. He tells what type of prayers to pray and who we’re to pray for, “all people”.  “All” means everyone and reflects God’s love for all people everywhere –He “wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” (v. 4).  As believers, we’re to have the same heart as our loving Father.  As intercessors (those who pray on behalf of others), we’re to pray beyond ourselves –even for our enemies (Matt 5:44). 

 

In verse 2, Paul says to pray for “kings and all those in authority.”  Because of severe persecution under Emperor Nero, this would have been a very tough thing to do!  Compare this to what’s happening today with overseas terrorism and all the hatred being hurled at the leaders in our own country.  What should our response be?  We’re to pray for them so “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives.”

 

God in His sovereignty has chosen to release His power through the prayers of His people.  What God wants to do on the earth –in our homes, neighborhoods, Shelbyville, Houston, and Brazil & beyond –He’ll do through believers like you and me.  How amazing that the God of All Creation has chosen us to do His work through our prayers!  IF WE PRAY, we can become God’s “change agents” having influence to affect circumstances and the course of events.   Are you putting God to work with your prayers?

 

PRAYER APPLICATION:

Lord, thank You for choosing to work through our prayers to accomplish Your purposes. As You are calling SCC to increased involvement in our community, give us a greater heart for You and for all the people You love.  Help us to pray like never before to change ___.  (Ask God to reveal a specific need or circumstance to you. Visualize how it might look if God were to change that circumstance.  Pray that it will become a reality).

 

 

 

FOCUS ON FAMILY

FOCUS ON FAMILY

Written by Vince, Christina, Isabella, and Abigail Bradburn

“Daddy, why are they talking about Halloween?”

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.  
Matthew 6:9-13

When the girls were toddlers we needed a bedtime routine for our sanity!  So, we followed the exact same routine every single night. We would start with bath time, followed by saying goodnight to every single stuffed animal in the room and we would end with reading a simple and cheap (they did still like to eat books!) illustrated version of the Lord’s Prayer. At first, like any other story, they were focused on the pictures.  Abby would often point out the bread (she loved to eat) and Bella made sure we didn’t skip any pages because the pictures had to come in order or the world didn’t make sense!  Innocent questions like “Daddy, why are they talking about Halloween?” from our three-year old referring to “hallowed be” in the Lord’s Prayer, provide insight into the great responsibility we have as parents to explain how and why we pray to our God.

Something we’ve learned as parents is that it’s ok for God to be a wonderful mystery.  It’s also ok that our children are simply memorizing big words within verses for application later in their prayers.  The most important task we have as parents is to make prayer as common as brushing teeth and bath time; to make it less mysterious and formal and more like the daily hugs and kisses we give them.    

Even a prayer as formal as the Lord’s Prayer can carry meaning for our kids.  Each stage of development can add a layer of meaning. At three years old, “hallowed” meant “special”, at ten years old, it now means “holy”.  The village of adults who we have around us teaching our children about God have made this growth possible.  We’ve also learned that we can’t do it by ourselves.  We’ve come to value and appreciate the shared role that we and our church family have in helping our kids talk with their God.  

As a family, pray the Lord’s Prayer together several times in a row.  Each time, encourage a family member to use the words that make the most sense to them in the prayer – the ones that will carry the most meaning.  “Give us our daily bread” can be “Give us what we need today.” Meaningful prayers with children start with allowing them to pray to their God in their own words.  Just make sure you explain that it’s “hallowed be” and not “Halloween”!