Easter Thoughts – The Hard Prayer

This is a time of year that is ripe for reflections on those that have followed God’s call to be shepherds.  We (at least I know I do as well as those that mentor me) often look to the example of Jesus in all we do. How we disciple, how we discipline, how we preach, how we teach and how we even pray all come from how the Son did all of those things. What I spend hours reflecting on is the latter of those things during this time of year.

Jesus prayed that hard prayer. His disciples already know He is the Son of God and is a deity in flesh. Does God really need our help to pray? Yet, He asked for it as he did of those followers (Matt 26:36). He even carried His closest three friends deeper into the garden to pray hoping their presence would assist Him in this hour of need. Did the God part of Jesus need this support? I would think not. Yet, we believe He was also fully man and that flesh part does need support. Its why we often look to a body of believers for help with prayer requests. The book of Matthew (26:36-46) describes the frustration He had with His friends as they slept His hour of need away. Luke describes His stress was so heavy that He cried tears of blood (22:44). That is some tough praying right there! As it seems, these drops are only the first of many He will shed for our sins and transgressions.

Take a moment and think of the agony and frustration wrapped into that time of prayer. Maybe someone reading this has had or is in similar times of agonizing prayer. We may or may not know what lies ahead. We get frustrated that those who we consider close to us do not prioritize the anguish we are experiencing. The flesh side of Jesus desired the pressure (or in His words the “cup”) to be taken. The God side knew this must happen to confirm prophesy and save souls like yours and mine. Jesus finished His prayer with the words: “Not my will but yours be done.”

Ponder what that means for a moment.

Even if it hurts me, God’s will be done. Even if it requires a sacrifice. If it costs some of those comforts I am used to. If it gives me something I do not want. Not my will but yours be done, Father.

See friends, Jesus did not make this up. He originally taught His disciple how to pray and used the same context as He taught in Matthew 6. “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” His will here as He would have it in heaven. This is the hard prayer.

Are you praying the hard prayer? Would you like someone to be awake and pray alongside? Let your body of believers pray with you. But, be willing to submit to His will, whatever that may be.

The Bitterness of Humble Pie

I deserve better. I am owed this. I have earned it! God wants me to have the best in life!

These are all commonplace phrases that run rampant in today’s society and the last one can be heard in many a TV preacher prosperity gospel message. Yet, this lesson is not a new one nor will it be one that is perfected anytime soon. Continue reading The Bitterness of Humble Pie

Take ’em to Church

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“I don’t want to force my kids to go to church.” “I want them to make that decision on their own.” This is a common point of view today. One may blame the progressive left, and another may blame the alternative right that loves to live against restrictions and law. How about we remove all points of view except for the Word of God! This is a little more than a point of contention with me – as a father and a pastor. Continue reading Take ’em to Church

Instant Gratification vs. Time and Effort

For those that know me, know I love to cook. Now, I would not call myself a baker or one who loves to slave away in the kitchen. No, I am talking about manly cooking! Fire, coals, and meat are what I love to do. I can remember growing up and watching my Dad cook on the grill. This is where this passion was born. Now, I may give him grief about cooking on a gas grill versus the charcoal I prefer, but the passion was born because that is what he would do on the weekends. We would mow the yard, do the outside chores and he would barbecue chicken or ribs or a couple of steaks for that Saturday dinner. My wife converted me to the coal and I have not looked back since! One thing I have learned about grilling with coals versus gas is the preparation time. You cannot rush it. Continue reading Instant Gratification vs. Time and Effort

Choices

coffeeWe all have them. Every day, it seems is full of thousands of choices. Drive through has a mirage of choices to choose from. Go through the drive-through of your favorite coffee shop and see how things have changed. It used to be served black, with cream, or sugar or both. Now there are choices to skim, light on the foam, heavy on the foam…  you get it; much more than your usual black with 2 creams and a sugar! Continue reading Choices

Bacon of Job

I struggled to sit down and write this post. As my initial post indicated, I am not one that enjoys this art and I contribute the delay to a case of the “I don’t-wannas” and procrastination brought on by hereditary conditions! Now, I know my Mom will be reading this and hopefully, she will deflect this to my Dad’s side of the hereditary contributions. It is likely she will read it before he will! Continue reading Bacon of Job

The Journey Begins

What in the world is “Biblical bacon?” I have to admit, I am one that admires the taste of food. If someone were to give me an option at a free meal, I would look for that close James Beard Award winner! My wife once had a conference in Denver where there was an event that spotlighted the world of bacon (and another certain beverage). Throughout the Mile High Stadium, there were different types of this golden goodness. Plain, infused with seafood, cooked into chili, dried into jerky or in the pork belly form. I know, I am starting to sound like Forrest Gump with shrimp! We are a family that likes bacon. It can have that ability to bring a meal together and come on, who doesn’t love the smell and taste of this goodness? Continue reading The Journey Begins