Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Praying for Men of God
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

As a church planter and as a man devoted to the trustworthiness and clarity of the Bible, I have begged God over the years to raise up men -- faithful men, humble men, Bible-men, servant-minded men. I praise God that He has richly blessed His church with faithful servants to lead, oversee, care for, and minister to the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ! I still, however, eight years into our church plant, pray for the Lord to raise up, equip, bring us men of God!

Like what? What do I pray for? How do I pray for this? Today, for instance, I was praying for the following 5 necessities:

Men Exemplary in Character
I pray for God to give His church men who are exemplary in character. This means they will meet the requirements that God provides for elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. They will be holy men on the inside before they desire to be public men on the outside. They will love Christ, follow Christ, serve Christ, and delight in Christ whether they have a title or not. They are above reproach in their hearts, in their homes, and in their demeanor. I genuinely long for God to raise up more men solid in character, robust in Truth, courageous amidst opposition, and gladdened by grace.

Men Pastoring at Home
I pray for men who prioritize their home lives. If a man is married -- regardless of his age or how long or short he has been married -- he must prioritize his bride as his first ministry. If he has children still in the home (whether infants, toddlers, young children or teens), he makes intentional efforts to be at home with them and pastor their souls. He prays with and for them. He teaches them the Bible and applies it to their hearts. He evangelizes them and invites them into the arms of a loving and inviting Savior. He protects his family time so that he can have meals with his family, lead them in family worship, and remember that that which qualifies him for public shepherd-ministry is how well he pastors in the private ministry in his home.

Men Intentional in Shepherding
I pray for men who take the initiative. They want to dig into the lives of God’s people. With this I do not refer to information junkies or people who have the ‘answers’ to every person’s problems. Rather, I pray for the men who knows he’s filled with all goodness and knowledge and he knows he is able to admonish one another. He genuinely cares for people. It’s one thing to love the position of elder. It’s quite another to love the people that we serve. I pray for men to reach out and ask good questions, not just sit in the pew alone before church and then jet out as soon as the service is done. I pray for men intentional, thoughtful, proactive, and diligent in caring for all the saints.

Men Able to Teach
I pray for men who know God and know God’s Word. The great need of our day is discernment. We need men who know truth and can stand with healthy doctrine, biblical support and courageous convictions. I pray for men to have regular times of communion with God in prayer and in the Word. I long for brothers who grow and excel in their teaching by discipling others, by gathering groups of guys to disciple and teach the Word, by teaching his own home and family consistently. This is not about degrees, it’s about devotion. It’s not about professionalism, it’s about precision in and convictions for the written Word of God.

Men Devoted to Prayer
I pray for men who love to pray, men who need to pray, men who really do pray, men who must pray! Men of God understand that prayer is the life-blood of the Christian life, it’s the fuel that energizes and gives power to Christian ministry. This brother will pray -- though it may be brief -- with struggling Christians before or after service. They will pray in private for their wives and children and church family. They will gather with others and pray and give thanks when the Lord answers prayer. I pray for men to pray in the corporate prayer meeting. I pray for men to pray fervently, specifically, biblically, and believingly.

May God, in His abundant kindness and glorious sovereignty, raise up many men to shepherd His churches in the power of His might and with the grace and servanthood of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Some thoughts on how to prepare for worship.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

In Exodus 19:11, God told Moses to have the nation of Israel ready and prepared for the Lord to come down in the sight of all the congregation on Mt. Sinai. We serve a God who desires that His people ready themselves to meet with Him in worship. How much more should we, blood-bought and regenerated servants of the true God, prepare to meet with Him in worship, praise, adoration and hearing of the Word of God.

Here are some practical ways that you can prepare.

Prepare by reading
Prepare by reading the text that will be read and expounded. Ready your soul by familiarizing yourself with the truths of God in the text that will be exposited and applied. Ask the Spirit of God to give you light as you read and insight as you study and diligence to apply. Prepare by reading the text a few times. You can even pray through it phrase by phrase. You can try to determine some of the main verbs, the main points, the key phrases, repeated words, and theological point that the biblical author conveys. Think of how much more you will get out of the sermon if you come already having read the text, studied the text, prayed through the text, and made observations of the text! Come prepared having read the sermon text beforehand.

Prepare by praying
Joined together with the last point, one very profitable way you can prepare for worship consists of praying for the time of worship. Pray for the preaching of the Word of God to go forth with power. Pray for your minister to have boldness and courage in preaching the “full counsel” of God. Pray for his mind to be focused on pleasing Christ, not men. Pray for him to be faithful to the text and to have freeness in expounding and applying and exhorting with the Spirit’s power. You can also pray for the congregation to be edified by the Truth, focused during worship, free from distraction. Pray for the young children who will sit in corporate worship. Pray for the Spirit of God to do a sovereign work in their little hearts and minds. Pray for the entire Sunday gathering — the Family Bible Hour class, the youth/high school Bible study, the catechism class for our young ones, and for the nursery teachers who will teach and shepherd the little kids. Pray for the music to point to Christ, His Gospel, and His Word. Pray for the fellowship to be sweet. Pray for visitors who may attend to hear the gospel and be open to the Truth, by the Spirit’s powerful work.

Prepare by anticipating
Anticipate great things in coming together to meet with God and with His people. You know from God’s Word, when God is present with His people, great things happen! In fact, the impossible can happen! Indeed, our God can convert souls and sanctify His adopted children! Anticipate a great feeding from the Word of God as the Spirit of God takes His Word and directs it deeply into your soul. Anticipate that God will exhort you, encourage you, convict you, illumine you, grow you, sanctify you, and show you more of Christ and His glory. Anticipate rich fellowship with the redeemed. Anticipate the heaven-preparing joy of singing corporately with the congregation as you magnify Christ and exhort one another to steadfastness and gospel-remembrance. Anticipate a meeting with God.

Prepare by planning
Plan ahead to proactively serve and encourage a few folks in particular. Perhaps there’s a member you’ve not connected with in some time. Seek them out, shake their hand, ask how the Lord has been growing them, and ask how you can pray for them specifically. Then, take 30-seconds and pray for them right then and there. Perhaps there’s a young man or a teenage girl that you can reach out to and share a Scripture text with them to chew on for the upcoming week. Maybe there’s a small child that you can approach and encourage with a high-five and an encouraging word about God and a call to trust in Christ alone for salvation. Plan to encourage one another and minister to the flock. Additionally, plan to arrive early. Arriving right on time and leaving when the final prayer concludes provides you with no time for fellowship and mutual encouragement. So plan to arrive a bit early and stay a bit after the service and see how God may bless your soul in rich conversations. Plan a good question to ask as well. For instance: “How did God encourage you in this sermon today?” “What did God show you about Christ and the Gospel in this message?” “Is there one way that I can join you in intercessory prayer this upcoming week specifically?”

Prepare by prioritizing
Prioritize the worship of GOd. Sundays in our culture have become a second Saturday. Sports, entertainments, hobbies, laziness, yard work and social events seem to always be available and knocking on our calendars. Remember to prepare for worship by prioritizing the sweet worship of God with His people. It is my conviction that nothing is more important — in our week! — than the corporate meeting with the saints when the Word of God will be preached. The Lord’s Day belongs to God. It is His day to worship Him, delight in Him, gather with others who long to give Him praise! It seems obvious to say, but prioritize the gathering of the saints. Worship with joy, with delight, with passion, with focus, and with regularity.

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