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THE POSITION OF PRAYER
In Texas, when a cold air mass moves down from Canada, people sometimes refer to it as a "Blue Northern," and it makes its presence felt! You can feel the wind blow as the high pressure cold air rushes into the warmer area of lower pressure. The greater the difference in pressure between the high and low, the greater the wind speed.
Prayer creates in us a kind of low pressure area as we bow in humility before the Lord. The "lower" we can become through prayer, the stronger the wind will be when the high pressure of the Spirit blows in. He will make His presence felt in our lives and in our cities.
SOURCE: Terry Teykl, Blueprints for the House of Prayer, p. 17
A "Do it yourself" catalog firm received the following letter from one of its customers: "I built a birdhouse according to your stupid plans, and not only is it much too big, it keeps blowing out of the tree. Signed, Unhappy.
The firm replied: "Dear Unhappy, We’re sorry about the mix-up. We accidentally sent you a sailboat blueprint. But if you think you are unhappy, you should read the letter from the guy who came in last in the yacht club regatta."
Hope does not depend on having a blueprint for the future.
And just how effective is the church today at halting this social decline? Not very, according to most sources. The sad reality is that on many fronts, the American Church is struggling just to exist. In the face of real life problems, our churches are anemic and turned in on themselves. C. Peter Wagner states that only 1% of the churches in America are currently growing by conversion growth, and that no county across the nation has shown a net growth in Christianity in the last two decades. Furthermore, in my own denominational conference, over 40% of the churches did n...
“Like a mighty army moves the church of God” may be the blueprint in a familiar hymn, but it has not always been observed. In fact, someone wrote a parody of this particular verse of “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” and it runs like this: Like a halting caravan Moves the church of Christ; We are feebly faltering Toward our timid tryst. We are all divided, Many bodies we, Kept apart by doctrine And lack of charity. Careful, Christian pilgrims Walk in doubt and fear, With the cross of Jesus Bringing up the rear. source J. Vernon McGee
Once upon a time, a congregation outgrew their church building. Everyone agreed that they needed to build a new church; but they couldn’t agree on a blueprint, a budget or a building site. In desperation, the pastor invited everyone to join him for an evening of special prayer. One woman came, bringing her five year old daughter, Lucy. As she listened, Lucy understood that they were asking God for a new church building. She made a silent promise to God; telling Him that she would figure out some way to help the pastor.
The next morning, Lucy was up and out of the house before her mother was out of bed. There was a light snow falling. Lucy’s mom saw tiny tracks leading away from their house. She ran outside in her bathrobe, trailing her daughter down the street. She quickly guessed that Lucy was heading for the pastor’s house; he lived two blocks away.
Sure enough, Lucy’s mom found her little girl talking to the pastor on his porch. She had just arrived; the pastor hadn’t even had a chance to invite her to come in and warm up. Lucy was crying, telling the pastor about her prayer and her promise to God. When Lucy’s mother made it onto the porch, she realized that the pastor was crying, too. He was looking over Lucy’s shoulder. Lucy’s mom turned around and discovered that she had run right past Lucy’s toy wheelbarrow. It was parked at the bottom step of the pastor’s porch. There were two bricks inside.
(Don’t you love it? Kids are sweet, but they can be so silly, too. They don’t understand that you can’t build a church out of two little bricks. Lucy’s idea reminds me of the little boy who volunteered to share his lunch with a few thousand people. That kid actually believed that two fish and five loaves of bread were enough to feed a multitude. Jesus was there, He turned His heart toward that kid…and, well…that ridiculous little kid was right! See Luke 9:10-17)
The next Sunday, Lucy’s pastor held up those two bricks and told the people about Lucy’s generous act of faith. The people were stunned. They grew up, almost on the spot, and they worked out their disagreements very quickly. They wound up with a great new church.
Amazing things will happen when we turn our hearts toward our children.
PROOF OF DIVINE INSPIRATION
The story is told that Frederick the Great of Prussia once asked a court chaplain for proof of divine inspiration of the Bible. The response was simply, "The Jews, sire."
Dr. Adrian Rogers has written that "Israel is God’s yardstick, His blueprint for the world." And, "as Israel goes, so goes the world."
(From a sermon by Jerry Watts, "Reasons To Be Thankful" 2/8/2009)
The video "Transformations" made in 1999 shows stunning Revivals that are taking place mostly in third world countries (Africa, South America, etc) - Revivals that have literally TRANSFORMED ENTIRE TOWNS AND CITIES for Jesus.
It showed how in one Columbian city (notorious as a drug citadel), the church leaders who were hopelessly divided only became unified after a well-known pastor was murdered. Suddenly, through this unity God was able to move. They decided to hold a huge all-night prayer gathering in the city stadium and 50,000 Christians came. Within nine months of this united prayer the drug lords who had dominated that city were dethroned and everything had changed. Since then the Christian community has experienced massive growth and has become a ’beacon set on a hill’ in that place. They continue to hold massive unified prayer gatherings in the city stadium.
In another dark South American town the desperation point again came when a pastor had a gun jammed against his head. This sparked intensive unified PRAYER and the situa...
Sermon Central Staff
Marks of a Healthy Church
Walt Disney was a dreamer. His crowning vision was EPCOT; Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. He envisioned the perfect city of 20,000 using all of the most modern advances technology. One problem, Walt Disney died before his cream was ever realized. His dream was so big and complex and outside the box that no one else in the Disney company ever caught the dream and had no idea what to do after Walt was gone. What Walt Disney intended as a living breathing perfect city turned out only to be a entertainment center. Disney’s world would only become a place to visit.
Jesus left a blueprint for His church so vast, so marvelous, and so innovative. A living breathing expanding organism that would permeate and transform the whole world.
The problem is, that as time went on, His followers lost the vision and couldn’t wrap their minds around such a magnificent plan. Rather than a community of loving, passionate follower of Christ dedicated to demonstrating the power of the Christ-transformed life in a dark world, they began to do what they knew best, build buildings and run organizations and develop entertainment centers that would hopefully draw the crowds to hear the story but miss the transforming power of Christ.
(From a sermon by David Welch, Life Signs of a Healthy Church, 10/19/2009)
Sermon Central Staff
THE MODELER AND THE MODELED
Michael Chesko describes himself as an eccentric mix of engineer, model maker, unofficial cartographer, and most of all, artist. When he was a little boy living in Arizona he would make maps of fictitious landscapes of places like Arizona and then he started to model cities. He would literally fill a room in their home with a scale model city.
Chesko is an eccentric. He sees skyscrapers almost as living things which continue to mold the people who frequent the buildings’ neighborhoods.
In 2008 Michael Chesko unveiled his miniature replica of midtown Manhattan. He used balsa, wood, xacto blades, and fingernail files to create the miniature midtown Manhattan. He based his miniature using a scale of 3/8” equals 100 feet. He hand-carved each piece of the city using blueprints, photographs, digital reproductions, and satellite images. It took Chesko 2000 hours to complete this replica.
Project Midtown Manhattan Photograph
They say that if his model of Midtown Manhattan were full-sized it would be within 5’ of the actual building modeled. (James Woodman, downtown express, Volume 21, Number 8, The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan, July 4 – July 10, 2008)
Businesses like Hobby Lobby have aisles in their stores dedicated to modelers. Serious modelers may create elaborate model train layouts or miniature solar systems. When I Googled "modelers" I was immediately taken to the Modeler’s Annual Magazine website where I saw extraordinary scale model replicas of an abandoned caboose, a dilapidated brick building, a rusty 1957 Chevy hardtop, an outhouse and an antique Fordson Tractor project. (FineScaleRR.com/)
There are as many kinds of models are there are modeling interests. Every model is a reflection of the one who modeled it. And it is noteworthy that God reveals himself in Scripture as a modeler as well.
God is a Modeler, we [people]are being modeled.
(From a sermon by Monty Newton, The Modeler and the Modeled, 1/19/2010)