What’s Happening this Week at FBC?

We are in the middle of a challenge that will occupy our attention for most of the rest of the year. Our challenge is called This One Thing. This One Thing is in reference to Jesus’ admonition, “My house will be called a house of prayer.” I am asking us to take 3 actions steps to help our church become a “House of Prayer.”

  1. Pray with us each week about This One Thing—a specific prayer petition that we will announce each week.
  2. Prioritize October 8-11 for four days that we are calling a Prayer Revival.
  3. Personally accept one more prayer challenge. Several ideas are listed today with an opportunity to make a commitment.

This week we are praying for UL. Every day I think about the significance of 19,000+ students being right around the corner from us at the University of Louisiana. Join me this week as we pray for these students.

We are scheduled to host for the Louisiana Baptist Convention on Saturday an event called PreTeen Invasion. This is a one-day event bringing pre-teens together from all across Louisiana. We are praying for safety of those who travel to us and for a great day of worship and fun.

Want to Learn to Pray? Just Follow the PATTERN of Jesus

Luke recorded in Luke 11 an occasion when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray.

The teaching is the result of a question, but they asked the question out of observation. They observed Jesus’ habit. Jesus exemplified a practice to follow.

But, then Jesus gave them a pattern to follow.

As Max Lucado noted in his book Before the Amen, “When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer.”

Let’s observe the prayer and so observe the pattern.

• We approach God out of relationship but also out of reverence.

He is accessible out of this tender relationship, but we keep that relationship reverent, because He is unequaled and unrivaled. And when it comes to prayer, we need both. We need a God who is relational, but we need a God who is capable to do all things beyond what we might ask or think.

• We acknowledge His coming Kingdom.

Our temporal requests make more sense in the context of His eternal will. Acknowledging His coming Kingdom ought to bring a perspective to our requests.

• We ask God about both the physical and the spiritual.

God meets our physical needs. I heard a story about a woman who believed God for everything. She prayed about everything. She prayed for her daily bread. She had a neighbor who was an unbeliever. He resented the fact that his neighbor, the woman, spoke of God in such personal ways. He resented the fact that she praised God for everything. Wanting to prove to his neighbor that her trust in God for her provision was in vain, he went out and bought the lady a sack full of groceries. He put them at the door, knocked on the door, and hid in the bushes. When the lady saw the groceries, as was her habit, she began to thank God for the blessing. The man jumped out of the bushes and said, “God didn’t provide those groceries. I did.” Immediately, the woman prayed again, “Thank you God for providing these groceries, and even using my neighbor to provide the groceries.”

We can count on God, our Heavenly Father, to provide our physical needs.

And we count on God for our spiritual needs. The prayer references two of our greatest spiritual needs—forgiveness and deliverance from the things of this world that tempt us.

What do you need from God today? Just begin to tell Him.

Want to Learn to Pray? Just Follow the PRACTICE of Jesus

Luke recorded in Luke 11 an occasion when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray.

The teaching is the result of a question, but they asked the question out of observation. They observed Jesus’ habit. Jesus exemplified a practice to follow.

They observed the place. One might argue that there is nothing special about a place of prayer, but a place often brings discipline. A place, though not necessarily theologically relevant to the answer of prayer has the potential to become for you practically relevant to the experience of prayer.

John Maxwell tells about his father’s place of prayer. His father was a Christian College president. When he retired, all of his furniture was moved out to welcome a new president with new furnishings. As they were showing the empty office space to the new president, he remarked at the sight of a worn place in the carpet, “Oh, this must have been the place where Dr. Maxwell had his desk.”

The person giving the tour said, “Actually, no, that is the place where Dr. Maxwell spent hours upon hours in prayer.”

But, mostly the disciples observed the power. They believed and made the connection that the praying of Jesus was the source of the miracles, ministry, and message that they observed and heard.

We are encouraging our church to pray in a way as never before in the history of our church. Why “This One Thing?” Why is prayer this one thing? Why not evangelism, or preaching, or music, or ministry, or missions, or fellowship? Because, where we are right now as a church and as a nation tells me that all of these things follows prayer. If all of us pray as we see outlined in Scripture, my preaching ought to be better. Our fellowship ought to be better. Our evangelism ought to be more productive. God will call out missionaries. Everything follows, and the disciples saw that.

Where do you start? Start where you are. Do you pray? If not, start! How? Here. In the pattern that Jesus taught. Our father…”

Have you grown lax in your prayer life? Jump start your prayer life. Get a place. Get a plan. Get a partner.

(This post is based on the message “Learning to Do This One Thing” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

The Beginning of D.L. Moody’s Ministry

D.L.Moody

D.L.Moody

Many who read this will know the historical name of D.L. Moody. Moody was a well-known evangelist in the latter half of the 1800’s. Moody Church, Moody Bible Institute, and Moody Press are all associated with him.

Recently, I read a small excerpt of the beginning of his ministry. At the age of 21, Moody was involved in his local church, inviting people regularly to church. He believed he should be teaching Sunday School and asked the church leadership about teaching. The leadership told him that they had no problem with him teaching, but they felt as though they had too many teachers at the moment. They told him he could teach only if he recruited his own class among those who were not attending. He went out and found 17 young people to begin his class. In some little while he had over 1,000 coming to his class.

Wow! There is so much to this story. First, I’m not sure I have ever been in the situation when we had more teachers than we needed. Second, this story reminds us that if God is in it, the endeavor will be successful.

When we get serious about evangelism and discipleship there is always someone to talk to about Jesus.

Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. 36 When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”  (Matthew 9:35-38)

Convicting Words about Our Time in the Word

Adrian Rogers once preached:

How many of you believe the Bible is true? How many of you believe everything you read in the newspaper is true? Now, having answered those two questions, how many of you spend more time reading the newspaper than you do reading the Bible? Think about that, as believers, we spend more time reading that which we have doubts to be true than reading that which we say we believe to be true.

Today, we could change the word newspaper to online articles or even social media and make the same point. What about you? Have you neglected the God-breathed, authoritative, true Word for that which entertains, at times purposefully is fake, and actually is filled with that which does not honor God.

Psalm 119 is one of the most beautiful chapters in the Bible in both form and meaning. The form is very structured. The content is a meditation on all of Scripture. Let’s first understand the structure. In many editions of the Bible you will notice some strange looking words at the beginning of every 8 verses. (Aleph, Beth, Gimel, etc.) These words are the Hebrew alphabet. In the original Hebrew every verse in that “8-verse” section begins with that Hebrew letter. For example verses 1-8 begin with the Hebrew letter “aleph.” (The English equivalent of “a.”) Verses 9-16 each begin with the Hebrew letter “beth.” (The English equivalent of “b.”) This structure continues throughout the entire psalm using each Hebrew letter.

Is there any reason for this structure? We cannot be certain, but perhaps the Psalmist intended this form to serve as a memory aid for reciting the chapter. Children today in our Christian school learn a Scripture memory verse for every letter of the alphabet. In much the same way, Hebrews could have memorized this chapter with the aid of their own alphabet.

Why don’t you read Psalm 119 today and look for all of the benefits of reading the Word of God?

I will start you with one. “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against God.” Psalm 119:11

What’s Happening This Week at FBC?

Do you want to hear some really good news? We had our largest Sunday School attendance in well over a year last Sunday. In fact, we have to go all the way back to September 2015 to find a Sunday when we had more folks in Sunday School than we had Sunday. What a great way to start the new school year! But, here is what I honestly believe. The best is yet ahead! Join me this Sunday for Sunday School and worship.

If you missed last Sunday, let me encourage you to read about our fall initiative called “This One Thing” at fbclaf.org.  I am challenging all of us to take three action steps in the area of prayer.

1. Pray along with us for “This One Thing” each day for a week. This week’s “One Thing” is to pray for our Christian School, First Baptist Christian School.

2. Prioritize October 8-11 for a Prayer Revival.

3. Participate in at least one more personal prayer challenge. We printed a list of what some of those possibilities are.

Now, we want you to know one other thing about this coming Sunday. Wear red! We want to welcome back all of our UL students. Wear something red this Sunday to show them in a small way that we love them, are praying for them, and are here for them.

Dare2Share Coming to Lafayette

dare2shareliveWe are excited about hosting a national simulcast on Saturday, September 23, and we want to invite every youth group in Louisiana to join us. Pass this along to someone in youth ministry and encourage them to go to www.dare2share.org where you can buy tickets which are $20.

We would love to have several hundred teenagers equipped and inspired to share their faith. We want parents to come with their teenagers.

I am encouraged by this movement of training teenagers to have Gospel conversations with their friends. Please pray for a move of God.

The event is from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Doors will open at 10 a.m.

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This One Thing

Yesterday, I introduced to our church a prayer initiative that we are calling “This One Thing.” A the heart of the challenge is Jesus’ words, recorded in Matthew 21:13, “My house will be called a house of prayer.”

According to the New Testament, the Church has several important purposes. The Church is to be a place of worship, evangelism, prayer, teaching (or discipleship), fellowship, and ministry. Out of all these Biblical and practical purposes, Jesus chose one to speak about as He cleared the temple this day as recorded by Matthew. Of all that the Church is supposed to be, on this important occasion, Jesus said that the Church is to be a place of prayer. The challenge for the Church to be a place of prayer still faces us today. I want to call you to become a person of prayer and do your part in helping your Church become a people of prayer.

Any measurement of a church and a disciple must include how we are doing in this area of prayer.

A Specific Challenge—So What?

I am challenging our church to 3 specific action steps as we seek to be a church that is a House of Prayer.

1. This One Thing—Each week we will have a church-wide specific prayer objective. This week our central prayer objective is praying for First Baptist Christian School. So Pray. Pray, every time you pray, for this one thing.

2. Prayer Revival—October 8-11—This is a specific set of days given to prayer. Unlike most revivals where a guest revivalist (evangelist) is enlisted to lead us, we are inviting guest prayer leaders to lead us in prayer. I am asking that you prioritize these dates on your calendar. Protect these dates. Be here those days. Let’s have a prayer revival.

3. A Personal Prayer Commitment—In the coming weeks, we will be unveiling week by week, personal prayer activities. One will capture your attention and you will commit to this being your personal prayer activity.

(This post is based on the message “A Pastor’s Challenge” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

This One Thing

My house will be called a house of prayer…(Matthew 21:13 NIV)

According to the New Testament, especially as enumerated in Acts 2, the Church has several important purposes. The Church is to be a place of worship, evangelism, prayer, teaching (or discipleship), fellowship, and ministry. Out of all these Biblical and practical purposes, Jesus chose one to speak about as he cleared the temple as recorded by Matthew. Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” Of all that the Church is supposed to be, on this important occasion, Jesus said that the Church is to be a place of prayer. The challenge for the Church to be a place of prayer still faces us today.

In Luke 11, as they have witnessed Jesus praying, the disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Again, out of all the things the disciples could have asked Jesus to teach them, they asked Him to teach them to pray. They never said to Jesus, “Teach us to feed the multitudes.” Not once do we read that the disciples asked Him how to heal the sick. They did ask though how to pray.

You are not alone if you feel overwhelmed by the task of prayer. After all we are taught to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to “pray about everything” (Philippians 4:6), and to “pray for everybody” (1 Timothy 2:1). How are we going to do that?

Let me offer a couple of simple suggestions.

1. Establish a priority for praying. What does the example of Jesus praying say about our own need to pray? If Jesus needed to pray, how much more do we need to pray?

2. Establish a place of prayer. A particular place does not assure the answer to prayer, but your place might just become that holy place for you.

3. Establish a plan of prayer. Get a notebook. Get a list. Get a guide. Get a partner. Do something to plan to pray. I always do better when I have a plan.

Remember the Nike slogan! Just do it! Let’s stop talking about how much we need to pray and pray. Let’s stop reading about how to pray and pray.

I am asking the Lord to teach me to pray better and more, and then lead our church to do the same. Would you join me? At First Baptist Church, Lafayette, beginning this Sunday, we are going to begin praying more. We are going to do this in a variety of ways, but one way is simply agreeing together that we must do more.

We welcome you Sunday at 9:45 a.m. or 11:11 a.m. and in the evening at 6:00 p.m. We are located at 1100 Lee Avenue in Downtown Lafayette.

Surprises about Prayer

George Mueller was a Christian evangelist in England in the 1800s and operated orphanages. He is well known for prayer.

When he died, his children found his prayer journals. As they began to go through them they noticed underlined markings. Soon they discovered that the underlined markings were Mueller’s way of noting answered prayers. They divided up the journals so as to count the answered prayers. When the count was done, they could note 50,000 answered prayers, which equated to 1,000 answered prayers a year for 50 years.

When we think about prayer, two things ought to surprise us. First, we ought to be surprised that the God of this universe invites us to pray. But, He does, not only inviting us to pray, but commanding us to pray. The second surprise is that given the first surprise, we don’t pray more. One would think that we would spend much more time asking the Father about the many things that concern us.

I am asking the Lord to teach me to pray better and more, and then lead our church to do the same. Would you join me? At First Baptist Church, Lafayette, beginning this Sunday, we are going to begin praying more. We are going to do this in a variety of ways, but one way is simply agreeing together that we must do more.

We welcome you Sunday at 9:45 a.m. or 11:11 a.m. and in the evening at 6:00 p.m. We are located at 1100 Lee Avenue in Downtown Lafayette.