Saturday, February 19, 2022

02/19/22 Praying With JESUS: 40 Days Toward Church Revitalization — Day 24

“Those who believe God is able to bring about remarkable things lead REVITALIZED churches. But make no mistake: God’s level of blessing typically rises to the level of our expectation. Look at pastors in history who led REVITALIZING churches, from McCheyne to Spurgeon, from Baxter to Criswell. These men all had a compelling vision to do something for which only God could be given credit… Sometimes we are so afraid of being presumptuous in our faith we end up believing God for little to nothing. What is happening in your life and ministry just now that can only be explained by the fact that Jesus rose from the dead?” --Alvin Reid, in REVITALIZE Your Church Through Gospel Recovery (pp. 42, 44-45)

Matthew 17:14-20 (ESV)
14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him,
15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water.
16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.”
17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.”
18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

FAITH… Jesus’ frustration in this passage is not about the “size” of the disciples’ faith, but the kind of faith they lacked – believing, vibrant, living faith! Jesus said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation…” (17:17), and, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed…” (17:20), you will be able to see miracles occur! Again, it is not your size of faith that matters as you seek God’s REVITALIZING, restoring power in your church. It is a matter of heart-felt, vibrant, living faith in the God of the impossible, even as small as a mustard seed!

PRAY… Father, I believe You alone are God; there is no other! You are the author of our salvation and You are the means by which REVITALIZATION will happen in my life and in our church. I join the cry of the convulsing boy’s father when he cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Strengthen my faith every single day to keep trusting You alone to do the miraculous in our church! I believe You are more than able to do more than I can even ask or imagine, so please do it as you build my faith every day. In Your Son’s Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, February 14, 2022

02/14/22 Praying With JESUS: 40 Days Toward Church Revitalization — Day 23

Matthew 20:20-28 (ESV)
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something.
21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”
22 Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.”
23 He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,
28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus describes two kinds of leaders in this passage. See if you can find the defining characteristics each kind of leader demonstrates: Rulers of the Gentiles and Followers of Jesus. Which do you intend to be?

WISE LEADERS… Alvin Reid writes these words in his 2013 book, Revitalize Your Church through Gospel Recovery, “The wise leaders know they will never be able to lead in their own power and wisdom. They need both the power and wisdom of God and the help of others” (p. 65). Faithful followers of Jesus know that the key to their ability to lead others in doing God’s work is daily abiding in Christ and His Word, and living in obedience to the teachings of God’s Word, fully dependent on God’s life-giving Spirit.

PRAY… Lord Jesus we need leaders who do not try to use human ingenuity and cleverness to bring Your strength back into our church family. We need leaders who depend on You and the counsel of Your Word. Please instruct our leaders daily with Your Word; inspire and motivate them by Your Spirit to obedience and faithfulness. And as we who follow them travel in their footsteps, grant them humility and grant us grace. Restore our church to a Biblical model of servant leadership where Christ is exalted in every decision, and where Your people delight to follow those who follow You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

02/05/22 Praying With JESUS: 40 Days Toward Church Revitalization — Day 22

Matthew 23:1-12 (ESV)
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat,
3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.
4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,
6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues
7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.
9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.
11 The greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

FOLLOW WHO?... “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say things and do not do them” (Matthew 23:2-3). Those who are worthy of being followed, lead others by their own example of humility. They do not strive for their own honor, but to honor others. Those who practice such a lifestyle have earned your confidence; follow their lead as they follow Christ in the process of church REVITALIZATION. Paul told the Corinthian church, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV).

PRAY… Heavenly Father, our church family often has differing opinions about how to address all of the areas in our fellowship that need Your renewing touch. Please unify us around the cross of Jesus, and by Your sovereign grace, to follow those whom You have appointed to lead us through this challenging journey. Help us to walk in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us. Do not allow a single word of criticism or filthiness or silly talk or coarse jesting escape from our mouths, but only the giving of thanks and words of appreciation for those who are guiding us to follow You. In the mighty name of Jesus, I ask, Amen.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

02/01/22 Praying With JESUS: 40 Days Toward Church Revitalization — Day 21

Mark 9:33-37 (ESV)
33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?”
34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.
35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them,
37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

What is the primary characteristic a follower of Jesus should display if they expect to be exalted, or known as a great person in Christ’s Kingdom?


SERVING IN HUMILITY… Those who lead in any local church should first take on the same clothing as Christ in His incarnation. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:3-8). It is not stretching things to suggest that this should be the first mark of anyone who leads in your church family. Do others identify you as a humble servant of others? Ask God to make you more like His Son in this area.

PRAY… Holy Spirit, I plead with You to override my humanity and fill me with Your fruit – love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and faithfulness and self-control – so that in all my conversations, and in all my relationships, and in all my patterns of behavior, I will be a humble and delightful servant of blessing to all the people around me. Within the context of our church family compel each of us by Your grace to be devoted to one another in brotherly love in the same pattern by which Jesus demonstrated His love toward us; and cause us to outdo one another in showing honor to each other day after day. Use our humble serving to restore our fellowship and our witness, and to REVITALIZE our church for Your glorious praise. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.