Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Explanation & Commentary on CFBC’s Order of Worship
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

At Christ Fellowship Bible Church [CFBC] we deliberately format the worship service so that all that takes place serves to exalt God, engage the mind, point to Jesus Christ, and edify the saints with the gospel of God’s sovereign grace. All that happens serves to enhance the revelation of God from His Word and then the believers’ response in worship.

Though not every corporate worship gathering follows the exact same format, the following elements are included in the worship time. We spend time in prayer as we thoughtfully put this together so as to exalt God and edify His people.
Announcements — This is placed at the beginning so the people can immediately hear what’s going on this upcoming week and if there are any practical needs that they need to be aware of. People need to arrive on time to hear the announcements. We have found this to be best at the beginning when we can especially greet visitors as well.
Public Scripture Reading + Pastoral Prayer — In obedience to 1 Timothy 4:13 we give attention to the public reading of Scripture. Often it supplements the text that will be preached. Other times it comes from a psalm and functions as a call to worship. Still other times we work through books of the Bible and read section by section each week. The pastoral prayer is the time when the man who reads the Word intercedes on behalf of the flock to God and prays the Word back to God. He models a God-exalting, Triune, gospel-centered prayer. He confesses sin. He reminds the congregation of God’s love and forgiveness in Christ. He prays interceding on behalf of the flock in bringing everyone before the Throne of Grace at the outset of corporate worship.
Songs — We carefully and intentionally pick songs that thread together around a common theme. That theme could be the sermon’s main point, the gospel, the Triune God, heaven, grace, repentance, holiness, or something of the like. We include both hymns and worship songs. We carefully look at the content of each song so that the words and the theology is lofty, biblical, mind-engaging, and accurate because we know that songs ‘teach’ and we want our people to be engaged with a majestic God.
Prayer before the Sermon — One of the elders leads the congregation in a time of silent prayer before the message begins and then he himself prays for the unction of the Spirit and the power of God to go forth with the heralding of His Word.
Sermon — The messages are expository as they all are sourced in the Word of God, derive the meaning of the text and make that the main point of the sermon. The sermon provides the meaning of the text, proves it with cross-references, instructs the mind with sound theology, and engages the heart and will with specific, clear, powerful application points. The sermon has as its goal to glorify Christ in the declaring of His Word so that the lost would repent and the saved would be changed as the Spirit works the Word deep into their souls so that they are formed more into the likeness of Christ. The expositions predominantly work verse-by-verse through books of the Bible and last for at least an hour.
Songs — Often we respond to the preached Word with music. Worship is defined as a response to God’s revelation with all that we are. So when we hear from God (=preaching) we are to respond to Him in adoration or consecration (=song). If there is a hymn that has been written to that particular text/theme, it may be appropriate to sing it as a song of response to re-engage the heart and re-commit the heart to obedience.
Prayer after the Sermon — After the preaching has happened, an elder leads the congregation in a time of silent application of the sermon and then he concludes with a prayer reminding the people of the duty to be hearers and doers of the Word. True blessing comes to those who read, hear, and obey the Word of God. This concludes the worship time so that all people have had time to consider the preached Word and so that they can leave with specific points to implement in their lives.

It is not every week that these important elements are included in the times of worship, but we want to speak to the following important elements of worship. We believe that the two ordinances that Christ gave to His church (baptism and communion) are vitally important and we take them very seriously at CFBC. They are reserved exclusively for true believers.
Baptism — At CFBC, we believe that baptism is only for believers who have made a profession of faith in Christ and want to obediently speak of God’s working in their lives and how they’ve been buried with Christ and have been raised to new life in Christ. We baptize by immersion and happily lead those interested in a baptism class and we baptize during a corporate worship service and allow each person to share the testimony as to how God saved them. What a picture of the gospel this is!
Lord's Supper — We see the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper as vitally important to CFBC. We have taken communion twice a month and at other seasons of the church we have partaken one time a month. The Lord’s Supper is that fellowship meal reserved exclusively for believers to remember the body (life) and blood (death) of Christ who died in the place of His elect. It is a supper where believers fellowship together with the risen and interceding Christ as the gospel is proclaimed to the others who may be present that this is a sharing meal with Christ, with believers, and by it believers are strengthened and edified in this essential ordinance that Christ gave to His church. We spend a considerable amount of time fencing the table by explaining the meaning of the supper and warning those of partaking in an unworthy manner. We instruct nonbelievers not to partake of this meal as they would be eating and drinking divine judgment upon themselves in so doing but at the same time we invite the lost to repent of their sin, trust in Christ, and embrace the Savior freely and savingly!
Testimonies — From time to time we love hearing testimonies of people in the flock as to how God has saved them and also how we can come alongside of and pray for those in our local church.
Missionary Updates/Letters/Video — With some regularity, we mention missionaries who serve locally and globally and explain to the congregation what is going on in that particular ministry and some needs that they have. It is a delight to share with the flock how God is working cross-culturally through the glorious gospel and through the preaching of the Word for His glory. Our people love hearing about missionaries and praying together for them on Sundays and in the mid-week prayer meetings.
Corporate Prayers for Revival  — From time to time we will invite the entire congregation to come to the front and we will kneel together in corporate prayer and beseech God. We have done so and pleaded with God to abolish abortion and to have mercy on our ministry at the abortion mills. We have earnestly called on God and begged for revival in our nation. We have pleaded with God before large evangelistic outings (Gay/Pride, Mardi Gras, 4th of July, etc.). We count it a joy to kneel together, humbly, boldly, corporately, and believingly as we pray to God and ask Him to hear and answer our prayers as a local church.
Open Sharing/Testimonies  — Periodically an elder will come forward and lead the congregation in a time of open-sharing. This is carefully led so that the congregation is aware of what to share. Often there a number of opening statements that prompt the discussion time so that folks can share how God is working in their lives, people that they’re evangelizing that the flock can be praying for, what people are learning in Scripture, and how we can be praying for one another. These have been very fruitful and encouraging times when we have done them at CFBC.

In all that we do, we want the Word of God to drive our worship so that God is the dominating focus, Christ is the exalted theme, and the Word of God is constantly engaging our minds and hearts throughout. We want the gospel of Jesus Christ to permeate the entire time so that the lost who may be present are confronted repeatedly with the saving gospel of redemption and so that the believers may be built up and strengthened by these magnificent truths. We want believers to be edified and the lost to hear the gospel so that the Spirit can work in their souls and regenerate them. We never cater to the lost or water down the message or seek to make it a comfortable environment for the nonbeliever. We seek preeminently to exalt Christ and proclaim the gospel of salvation in all that we do. Herein lies the power of the gospel, the power of the church, and the effectiveness in edifying the converted and in saving the lost. May God use the otherworldly, transcendent, biblical, God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-empowered worship of CFBC for His glory! We worship Him in spirit and in truth. To Him be the glory!
From James Montgomery Boice in his commentary on Psalm 136:

"One of the saddest features of contemporary worship is that the great hymns of the church are on the way out.  They are not gone entirely, but they are going.  In their place have come trite jingles that have more in common with contemporary advertising ditties than the psalms. 

The problem here is not so much the style of the music, though trite words fit best with trite tunes and harmonies; rather it is with the content of the songs.

The old hymns expressed the theology of the Bible in profound and perceptive ways and with winsome, memorable language.  Today's songs are focused on ourselves.  They reflect our shallow or nonexistent theology and do almost nothing to elevate our thoughts about God.

Worse of all are songs that merely repeat a trite idea, word, or phrase over and over again.  Songs like this are not worship, though they may give the church-goer a religious feeling; they are mantras, which belong more in a gathering of New Agers than among the worshiping people of God!"

(Commentary on Psalms, volume 3, p.1184)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Discipling Children
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

This brief write-up includes the 5 predominant features that we seek to incorporate in our family’s discipling and training of our children. We want them to know God, to behold Christ, to embrace the gospel, to forsake the things of this world, to live supremely for His glory -- regardless of the cost!

I take each of our children out individually each week so I can instruct them in the Word of God & shepherd them toward God-glorifying conduct. So when we take each of our children out individually for ‘discipleship’, we incorporate the following elements.

Every time we go out together for discipleship, I want my children to know one thing: we will pray. Indeed, we must pray! I want my children -- many years down the road -- to look back and remember one thing even if they’ve forgotten all else, that we prayed together every week. I teach them how to pray. Sometimes with the little ones, I’ll pray a phrase and have them repeat it verbatim after me. Sometimes we’ll hold hands. Oftentimes, I’ll have them sit on my lap. I want them to feel the tenderness, warmth, love, and care that I have for them and the similar intimacy that believers enjoy with our heavenly Father. So we pray and thank God, we’ll pray through the truth we just learned from the catechism or books of the Bible. We’ll pray for each member of the family, or the church, or confess sin, or adore God’s attributes.

Books of Bible
Another element that I believe is very important in training of children is an understanding of the books of the Bible -- by name and in order, and to know them well. So we memorize the books of the Bible and I’ll have them repeat it to me frequently. I want them to know their Bibles and where books are in the Bibles. Furthermore, we have a document that has a one-phrase, simplified summary of every book of the Bible. I want my children to all know the basic gist, the big picture, the summary of every book of the Bible -- from Malachi to Matthew, from 1 Kings to 1 Corinthians, from Ruth to Romans.

We have a church catechism which simply functions as a way of teaching biblical theology through question and answer format. The catechism is 14-pages in length and has 146 questions. I want my children to master this document. I want them to know this theological truth even as young children as their minds are so competent to memorize truth word-for-word. So we go through the document till they’ve memorized it well. Then, once we’ve finished that and they have memorized it, we go back through it a second time, a bit slower, and for each answer they give, I give them one supporting verse to memorize as a proof of that answer. This way they are learning theology, they’re hiding God’s Word in their hearts, and they’re downloading into the minds and hearts why we believe what we believe. This is the foundation that I work hard to lay. I want them to know God, to know Scripture, to know Christ, to know theology, and to know themselves and their desperate need for the gospel.

We have an additional document that we’ve compiled that works through systematic theology. We begin with bibliology, then move to theology proper, then on to Christology, anthropology, soteriology, pneumatology, angelology/demonoloy, Satanology, ecclesiology, Israeolology, eschatology. I want my children to know biblical-theological truth. I want them to know God, to know the gospel, and to know biblical, objective, unchanging truth. I want this to be the foundation for their lives. As they grow and mature in their minds, I want to lay the foundation that will guide them in their thinking, their worldview, their actions, and their life.

Practical life issues
We have a document that we have compiled where we instruct our children in practical life issues. The document contains topics such as the urgency to examine your soul, personal holiness, service and church ministry, guidance and knowing the will of God, dealing with various aspects of daily life (the opposite sex, alcohol, drugs, etc.), and other practical topics of instruction (e.g., hygiene, gentlemanly conduct, protection of women, table-manners, church-conduct, family worship conduct, sexual purity, sports, etc.). This provides ways for me as the father to shepherd my children in the ways of God, in the Word of God, and in thinking biblically about real life issues.

I fully understand that I am discipling children who from the youngest of ages are desperately in need of God’s regeneration. I get that. I fully acknowledge that I could instruct them in ‘good conduct’ and yet if I neglect the gospel I would raise Pharisees that are full of knowledge but devoid of the Spirit. I fully acknowledge that. So my goal is to reach the hearts of my children. From the youngest of ages, as they even can begin to communicate, I want to download biblical truth into their minds. I think of it like this: I want to gather the wood of instruction constantly. I want to gather, and then gather more, and then pile it on top of each other so that when the Spirit of God comes with the supernatural fire of regeneration there’s much wood with which to burn. I teach and instruct my children and I fully acknowledge that all is vain unless God supernaturally, sovereignly, mercifully, graciously saves my children. And this drives me to earnest, frequent, daily, desperate prayer. O how we must pray our children into heaven. Let us pray frequently, fervently, tirelessly bring them before God and ask for His saving mercy to impart divine life to their dead souls. May God, through His sovereign grace and through the means of the proclamation of the gospel to their hearts, bring our children to saving faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The Sovereign King
soul-ravishing truths for Christians.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The most comforting doctrine to my own heart is the sovereignty of God. That God reigns as the sovereign King over all stirs my heart to worship, humbles my soul with trembling, and comforts my being with assurance. The God of Scripture is absolutely sovereign over everything. And for that, He deserves all glory, honor, and praise. And for that, we must worship Him, trust Him, adore Him, enjoy Him, delight in Him, and live for His glory!

1. The Lord is the ETERNAL King. 
God’s kingship never began nor shall it ever end. God rules as King as human leaders come and go. As the earth rotates and totters and as nations rise and fall, He remains constantly eternal, never changing, and never ending.

2. The Lord is the UNRIVALED King.
God shares His kingship with no one. No one can rival Him for He alone rules over the infinite galaxies and over all gods. He is Lord over the nations and God over all creation. None can rival Him, compete with Him, or triumph over Him.

3. The Lord is the POWERFUL King.
To be the sovereign King over all, the Lord must have power. And this He does! He is all powerful. Every ocean wave comes and goes at His direct decree. Every star remains in its place at His perfect command. Every person lives and moves and dies in God’s unchanging plan. Every molecule in all of existence is owned, formed, carried, and directed by the active power of God.

4. The Lord is the MERCIFUL King.
Many kings in history were ruthless and arrogantly violent. Our God, however, is a King of mercy. Full of mercy, full of tenderness, full of kindness, full of love, and full of undeserved, unabashed, unlimited, undiminishing mercy!

5. The Lord is the UNCHANGING King.
Human kings change. They are born, they age, they change, they die, they’re forgotten. But not the Lord! He rules as the always-ruling King. The Lord ‘reigns’, the psalmists say. He never began to reign. Nor shall He ever cease reigning. Indeed, He cannot change His kingship. He always reigns since Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is unchanging in His sovereign rulership.

6. The Lord is the EXCLUSIVE King.
When the Apostle John was carried to heaven in Revelation, he was gripped by a throne. And the throne in heaven had one who was seated upon it -- God. He shares His throne with no one. No rivals, no rulers, no rich leaders, no renegades can share the sovereign throne with Christ. He is the Lord, there is none other. He is the Lord alone. He reigns alone as the exclusive King!

7. The Lord is the PERFECT King.
Human kings make foolish decisions, act foolishly, and many may die because of the. Not God! He is absolutely perfect in His ways because He governs all His ways by His perfect character. He is perfectly good in His nature, in His essence, in His joy, and in His actions -- all of them. His Kingship is governed by his perfect goodness. This comforts the believer’s heart. Our King is perfect in His character and in His dealings with the affairs of men.

8. The Lord is the ABSOLUTE King.
God reigns absolutely in that His kingship is total; it’s not qualified or diminished in any way. He reigns absolutely over every thing that has ever happened. He has entire, absolute, pure, perfect, supreme authority over all things! He reigns always and ever as the absolute King over everything!

9. The Lord is the PROTECTIVE King.
A king is to protect his subjects. And so it is with God. Our God, the sovereign King,protects all His own. What glorious, soul-ravishing comfort to know that this sovereign King over all creation protects me since I’m hidden in Christ and united to Him inseparably and eternally. Every moment of my existence is under His sovereign protection and fatherly care.

10. The Lord is the SAVING King.
The Lord is the King who saves. This King stooped in humility to save selfish, vile sinners by His own sovereign love. He saves -- not just from an invading army. He saves His people from Himself -- from His own future wrath. What a God! What a King! This King deserves worship who saves sinners for His glory!

11. The Lord is the HEAVENLY King.
Every other king who has lived was confined to this world -- to space, time, and one location. The Lord has fixed His throne in the heavens and His sovereignly rules over all. He, as the heavenly and sovereign King, does whatever He pleases in the heavens, on the earth, in the seas, and in all deeps!

12. The Lord is the CONDESCENDING King.
What human king would ever humble himself to associate with the lowest of the low and then die for that humble, low, unattractive rebel? None! Yet our God, the King of the ages, humbled Himself by taking the form of a man and became obedient to death, even death on the cross to take divine punishment in the stead of His own people. What overwhelming and condescending love!

13. The Lord is the INTIMATE King.
Few people could have such intimacy with a mighty King. And every child of God enjoys the everlasting intimacy with God Almighty -- the one, only, true King of heaven and earth. We can approach this King with confidence, speak to Him with boldness, address Him as our Father, and find comfort, provision, and love from Him as precious Savior. He is our infinite and intimate King.

14. The Lord is the ACTIVE King.
God reigns actively. He never stopped reigning. He never ceased His active, perfect governing of the affairs of the universe. Every situation falls under His direct and sovereign decree for His glory. None can bump God off the throne or occupy His thought so as to distract Him. His eye always rests upon His precious ones whom He loved and died for. He actively rules over all!

15. The Lord is the FAITHFUL King.
How many kings and rules of this world made promises but never kept them and lied to get their agenda to succeed. But not God. He is the God of truth and always is a God of truth, of faithfulness, of trueness. Every promise He makes to His people, as the perfect and able King, He faithfully keeps them.

16. The Lord is the GLOBAL King.
It would be little comfort to a person if the king only had power over a particular district of the land. But consider, O believer, our God reigns as sovereign King over the heavens and the earth. None can stay his hand against God and thwart His purposes. He globally rules. There’s not a leaf of a tree, or a drop of rain that falls, or an insect that roams the dust of the earth, or a giant meteor that falls outside of His perfect power. Indeed, no man at any place can ever thwart God’s will or resist His purposes. God is globally good and globally God and globally King!

17. The Lord is the VICTORIOUS King.
I suppose that everything so far would be good but if God was not the victorious King then there might be the possibility that He could fail, or be overthrown, or triumphed over by a bigger and greater threat. But no! Our God is the victorious King! He is King of kings and Lord of lords and He, alone, holds the divine scepter so all nations fall beneath His feet in submission and will bow at the name of Jesus Christ! Our God reigns victoriously! Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty … You exalt yourself as head over all! (1 Chron 29:11).

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How to Encourage Your Pastor
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Every pastor needs encouragement. The man in ministry who faithfully invests himself in the study of God’s Word, in the counsel of God’s people, in the shepherding of his family, and the diligent-examination of his own heart is a man desperately in need of encouragement. When David ran for his life from Saul, Jonathan came to David and, at one point, encouraged him in the Lord. What a marvelous example for all of us to follow! Let us go to one another and encourage them in the Lord. But how, practically, can you encourage your local pastor-shepherd(s)?

1. Live out the Word
The first way that you can encourage your pastor consists of the simple truth of heeding what you’ve heard, doing what’s been declared, practicing what’s been preached. The servant of Christ who has preached the truth of God from the pulpit has worked hard in his study and in his proclamation. So it should be with every hearer. Every hearer should work hard at listening to the Word and in the diligent application of the Word. So, live out the Word and by you intentionally, deliberately, carefully doing this, you will encourage your pastor.

2. Pray daily for him
The second way that you can encourage your pastor is to intercede on his behalf and to bear him before the majestic Throne of grace regularly. As he meets with God in prayer, bible study, Bible-interpretation, exegesis, and sermonic work, he desperately needs illumination. Your pastor covets your prayers. He needs your intercession. Pray for faithfulness in his study and proclamation. Pray for purity in his own heart and mind. Pray for a fervent and singular love for his wife and her alone. Pray for faithful pastoring of his own ‘little flock’ in the home. Pray for his heart to be warmed by the tender love of Christ and the awesome communion with the Spirit!

3. Write a note of thanks
The third way that you can encourage your pastor may include writing a periodic note of thanks to him. And the more specific you can be, the better. That sermon that was preached at that time that covered that topic which convicted you of that sin which led you to implement change in that particular way is what you may choose to include in that note. This will encourage him beyond words. Seldom to pastors receive these notes. But, in the awesome and timely providence of God, He usually brings those encouragements to shepherds at just the right time. Perhaps God will stir you up to write him a note of thanks that will bless his soul, encourage him when he’s low in weakness that particular week, or full of sorrow because of a sinning churchmember. Lift him up! Bear him up! Bless his soul. A simple note can be used in tremendous ways!

4. Serve his wife & family tangibly
A fourth way that you can encourage your pastor is to creatively think of ways to serve his family. You may not think that serving his family serves your pastor but it does. He and his wife are a team in the ministry. They are joyful together and they mourn together. She helps him, encourages him, supports him, comforts him, and holds him in hard and trying times. Bless her and the children. Perhaps it’s coming over and cleaning the house. Perhaps it’s watching the children in the home for a few hours so the mother can get out and go grocery shopping, or go read her Bible somewhere without distraction, or perhaps it is to provide a date-night (once a week for a month), or better yet, gathering folks from the church to help provide date nights for the pastor and his wife regularly throughout the calendar year. Think of how you can encourage both your minister and his wife. She is the unseen blessing. She labors at home so he can labor in the pulpit. She labors in private so he can labor in public. They are a team -- working together in harmony and tirelessly. Find ways and think of ways to bless the family.

5. Intentionally focus conversations after sermons
A fifth way that you can encourage your pastor is to engage in good conversations at church especially, but even throughout the week with God’s people. Think about it, in faithful preaching: God has spoken! God has addressed His people through His mouthpiece, your pastor. This is no lightweight responsibility. We have heard from God Himself! The mouth may be that of your minister but the voice is God’s! So encourage your pastor by taking God’s truth, or a principle from the sermon, or a thought-provoking, heart-searching question and engage in faithful, Christ-exalting, sermon-applying conversations. Perhaps you approach the person sitting alone, or the visitor, or that quiet couple, or the lady sitting by herself who looks dejected, or the man who is a bit odd in personality and you engage them in good conversations. Perhaps you ask: how did God show you Himself in that sermon and in that text? Or, how did the Spirit convict you of your sin in that sermon? Or, where do you need to change in light of the truth just preached? Or, in light of what we just heard, provide for me one specific way I can pray for you right now and throughout the upcoming week. Be creative. Be thoughtful. Ask good, thoughtful, intentional questions.

6. Share what you learn with him
A sixth way that you can encourage your pastor is to follow Paul’s guidance in Galatians 6 and share all good things with those who teach you. Your pastor labors hard in the study. So share with him if you benefit from that laborious work! If God shows you a facet of His character in a message, share that with your minister. The more specific you can be, the better! The more thoughtful and heartfelt you can be in what you share, the better. If you learn something about Christ and the gospel-work that He accomplished at Calvary, share that with your shepherd! If you were studying the Word throughout the week and God blessed your soul with something specific from the Word, bless your pastor by sharing that truth with him. Perhaps it’s a hand-written note, or an email, or a text, or even a meeting with him for coffee just for the purpose of encouraging him in what you’re learning through God’s Word as he faithfully exposits the Scriptures. Be careful, however, that you don’t bombard your shepherd on Sunday one minute before he gets up to preach. His mind is focused and he has that terribly awesome conflicted feeling of excitement to preach and fear of speaking for the living God. Be thoughtful in when you approach him. But don’t let that stop you. Encourage him. Approach him. Bless him. Share specifically with him what you learn from him as God uses him as His spokesman to deliver the unspeakable riches of Christ! May God use you to encourage your pastor in this way.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Pastor’s Prayer on Monday
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Every pastor who faithfully studied the Word and exerted all his energy in proclaiming God’s Word faithfully on Sunday feels drained on Monday morning. Preaching God’s Word consists of one of the greatest, most noblest, privileges a man may have. So he preaches. He finishes. He greets people. He hears feedback from the service or sermon. He goes home. Then he goes to bed. His work is done. In all actuality, his work may be done, but the real sermonic application wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God continues. But what does he pray for on Monday? How should be pray?

In this brief essay, I want to help by providing six ways that we as pastors might consider praying on Monday.

1. Pray with faith.
Men of God pray with faith. Prayer without faith is like a conversation without believing the person to whom you’re talking is listening. To pray without faith is to distrust God. After the truth of God has thundered forth, the minister’s work has not finished entirely. He still should pray. He should still pray in faith. He should pray and believe -- confidently believe -- that God is working and that He will work through the heralded Word. Even when there is little visible fruit and when the sermonic interaction after the service is meager or, at times, discouraging, the man of God must come to the throne of grace, in faith, with confidence, by the Spirit, to find mercy and grace for the soul.

2. Pray for eternal-mindset.
Rising early on Monday morning to meet with God is one of the most rewarding, refreshing and re-focusing events in a pastor’s week. He can quiet himself with his Bible and with his God and call upon his most-gracious and ever-available Father. On Mondays, the man of God must reorient the eyes of his heart to gaze upon eternity and to fix his attention upon the eternal truths that have been conveyed through the preaching event. In this early morning time of communion with the Lord, the minister of the gospel may pray that Christ would plunge his heart into the unlimited extremities of eternity as he remembers the high calling of pastoring, the unspeakable gravity of preaching, and the eternal worth of souls.

3. Pray for implementation.
The public work of proclamation is finished. On Monday morning, the pastor-shepherd knows that the private work of soul-application and personal-implementation amongst his flock is happening. There is a mighty, invisible, and often unknown work that God the Spirit is doing as He drives the preached Word deeper into the hearts of His people as they meditate on and re-preach the message to their own hearts. The man of God prays for great fruit in implementation. He earnestly and desperately begs God the Spirit to produce fruit from the preached Word. He is unsatisfied with a sermon with no effect. He prays for believers to be sanctified and to be seized by the glory of Christ. The true minister prays for His people to put the Word to practice through regular and heart-searching examine mixed with fervent resolutions to serve Christ and walk in nearness to Him.

4. Pray for families.
In meeting with the Lord in private prayer, the minister should remember to intercede on behalf of the families. He should pray that God would produce much fruit and bring much good from the preached Word as it continues to reverberate through the home throughout the upcoming week. The pastor should pray for the fathers of the church to be faithful in applying the Word to their own hearts and then to teach the Word faithfully to each of the children as appropriate given their ages. He should pray for the fathers to be leaders in repentance over sin, humility because of grace, and holiness in pursuing Christ. He should also bear up the mothers as they instill the divine truths into the hearts of the children as they teach and instruct them. He should intercede for the mothers to be strong in the unchanging character of God and in the supreme and powerful grace of Christ in the midst of busy and tiring days. He should pray for the children to heed what they’ve heard and to respond to what has been revealed from Scripture. He should pray for unity in the home and harmony in marriages. Let him pray for strong families!

5. Pray for vigilance.
Undoubtedly every minister is so prone to forget that an enemy rages against the souls of those to whom we minister. How easy to believe his subtle lies that we failed in preaching, that no good fruit could possibly come from such a weak exposition, that no one was paying attention and that no one cared because no one gave helpful feedback after the sermon! No! Don’t believe his lies. Every minister should meet with God on Monday before meeting with men to pray early and earnestly for vigilance -- for himself and for every soul in his flock. He must remain vigilant against the enemy’s schemes and he must intercede for the church that the believers may stand strong against the enemy and his wily and cunning darts that are sure to come. The shepherd is to pray that their faith would not stagger, that their trust would not waver, that their hope would not dwindle, and that their zeal would not wane. Let him pray -- and pray earnestly -- for protection from the evil one!

6. Pray for stirring.
Every shepherd wants the truth to penetrate deep into every heart so that the Spirit would bring greater holiness among the saved. For this reason, the minister presents faithful and fervent supplications to God asking that God would stir up His people to love Christ more, to follow Christ unreservedly, and to behold His beauties daily. The pastor should pray for the meat of the Word to provide the sustenance needed for the believers to walk in the good works that God has prepared for them. He should pray for a stirring up of God’s people to take hold of God in prayer, to disciple each other with God’s Word open, to involve themselves in intentional gospel-centered relationships, and to seek opportunities to care for one another in the flock. After he has emptied himself in the proclamation of God’s Word he knows that the people of God are filled full from the proclamation of God’s Word. So he prays for a Spirit-granted, Christ-enthralled, and God-fueled stirring up of the elect to win souls for Christ, to serve God with sacrifice, and to engage in private and public prayer. Let the ministers of the gospel rise early on Mondays -- weary from Sunday’s work and yet, perhaps, unsure of how God will exactly use His Word -- to meet with God in the joyous, heavenly, and heart-warming duty of prayer. The minister on his knees is a mighty weapon in God’s hand.

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