Blog Wisdom

If you asked me, say a month ago, why I blog, I would likely have stammered through a largely incomprehensible answer. Thank-you Abraham Piper for providing me with a superior reply! Rather than parrot Abraham’s post, 6 Reasons Pastors Should Blog, I will simply commend the link to you while imploring my colleagues/friends to join the fray.

What prompted me to blog? Darrin Brooker and Carey Nieuwhof. Very different blog styles, but both are huge sources of encouragement and inspiration for me.

At this point,’I’m all in’……I love blogging! I’d post everyday (many seem to), but I’m just not confident that I can say something sensible on a daily basis (if you don’t believe me, just read the inconsequential things I post as my ‘twitter status’).

I was delighted to have my good friend and colleague, Jeff Loach, recently join the world of blogging. Out of the gates, Jeff is posting very regularly, and it’s great stuff. I wish I had a long list of friends/colleagues who were blogging that I could recommend to you. I don’t. Check my blogroll. That’s all I got.

Friends, blogging is a great discipline. It helps me to think biblically. It helps me to engage the world around me. It connects me with people who are asking similar questions.

If you are a pastor, or a church leader, go check out Abraham Piper’s post. Let’s blog. Let’s encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).

Praying With A Purpose

A few days back I wrote a post entitled, ‘Prayer Isn’t Easy‘, in the midst of my preparation for a Sunday morning message on prayer. Yesterday I delivered that message. Based on Colossians 4:2-6, we examined the manner and the aim of the apostle Paul’s prayers. Paul was focused with his prayers. More than that, Paul was focused on God’s priorities when he prayed.

I don’t mean to be unkind when I say that I fear many treat God as a celestial vending machine for which prayer is the currency. The focus can sometimes slip to using prayer to get something from God. I see something different in Paul. I see in Paul an individual who uses prayer to get into God’s plan.

I want that for myself. I want to engage the world and the people around me in a way that honours God. Prayer is my starting point. Of course, I could pray about all sorts of things, which is why I’m so thankful for Paul’s instruction. Paul’s example narrows our focus and encourages us to pray with purpose.

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Have a listen. Let me know what you think. What are your priorities when you pray?

Sound of Music

I’m just back from an awesome lunch meeting with a hugely talented musician, Cliff Cline. Cliff’s interest in helping us launch The Well is so encouraging, and his enthusiasm for what we are aiming to accomplish is inspiring. Cliff will be our lead musician when we launch on September 7 (I’m hoping to confirm him in that role for the entire month), and he will also be the point person in helping us network with and recruit other professional musicians for Sunday mornings.

You can get to know Cliff by reading his blog, visiting his website, and/or listening to his music (below).

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Prayer Isn’t Easy

The title of this post may sound strange coming from a pastor. But I want to be honest…I find the discipline of prayer to be challenging. There is a sense in which this reality perplexes me. Typically, I find that the more I engage in an activity the more adept I become in that activity. The exception to this rule in my life has been prayer (and golf……but I digress).

I pray everyday and, as I read the Scriptures more and more, I struggle less with knowing what I ought to be praying for. Even still, I find prayer to be a challenge. As I pray, I struggle to focus. I struggle to keep distracting thoughts at bay. I struggle to appropriately engage my emotions for the things I’m praying about. I may pray everyday, but I confess there are occasions when I go for hours without even thinking about my need to communicate with God. That’s not good. I realize that goes against the instruction of the apostle Paul, who writes, “pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:17).

This Sunday I will be speaking about prayer. I really like what I’ve got written down so far. I’m not struggling with my talk so much as I’m struggling with the walk part. I want to pray in a way that matches what I’ll be exhorting others to on Sunday. I want to be focused in my prayers. I want to pray for the things that matter most to God. And I want to care immensely about the things I’m praying for. I don’t want to simply say prayers; I want to pray. I want to wrestle with God’s will, and I want Him to wrestle back, bending my will to His.

I’m excited about Sunday. I’m charged up by the prospect of speaking about prayer. But I wouldn’t want someone to hear me on Sunday and think that this thing called prayer is a ‘piece of cake’. No, prayer isn’t easy……but it is essential. Prayer is our lifeline to God. Prayer is the channel through which grace flows to you and to me.

How do you find prayer? What do you find to be most challenging? Most exciting? Most perplexing? Most rewarding?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. On Sunday, I’ll post mine (in audio form).