(click here for the video) The Apostle Paul includes a prayer over the church in Ephesus in one of his prison epistles. This prayer has shaped my life as a pastor for 30 years. It is one of Paul’s crowning jewels in prayer over a little church 2,000 years ago. It’s applicable today in so many ways. Paul prays with a confidence that comes from knowing we can enter into God’s throne room at any time and God will hear us. God’s desire is that we utilize the power of God in our daily circumstances so that we might grasp just how unfathomable are the riches of God for us. If we were to realize the full measure of grace God has granted to us in Christ Jesus, we could change the world. This is Paul’s prayer, that we could know the riches of God in Christ. My prayer for the church is that we might move past ourselves and begin to comprehend our location in the heavenly realms in Christ. Nothing can stop the one who believes in the full measure of God in us.
Tag Archives: security
The Apostle Paul is now thanking the people who helped him get these letters out to churches, while he sits in prison in Rome. What would be your goal, when sitting in prison? Would you want to reach out to people you don’t know, and share the gospel like Paul did? Paul thanks those around him for their part in his ministry with local churches. I spent the week at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey learning about the Art of Transitional Ministry, and in this video teaching I share with the church the teaching I learned. There are many things a church can do, and many things a transitional pastor can do when leading a church.
Paul is in prison, and writes about how we can encourage one another in the faith. He gives us admonition to be ready to answer anyone for the faith you believe. He recommends that our speech always be seasoned with salt, rather than vinegar. He asks the faith community to pray that God would open doors for the gospel to be shared. I think this “praying for open doors” is a ways of saying we all can look for opportunities to share our faith in God. The clear vision of Paul was that the gospel is relationships and that gospel is life saving in relationships, and that in relationships God is opening doors for His Kingdom to grow and flourish. How are you praying for open doors and open hearts in the lives of your friends? Keep the main thing the main thing, and keep sharing your love for Jesus in this dark world. You never know what God can do.
Pastor Reid Olson of Crossroads Church of Greeley teaches on Colossians 2:16-23, where the Apostle Paul warns the small home church on Colossae to walk by faith in Jesus, rather than be bound by all the Jewish laws and regulations of faith.
Rules and regulations don’t save you from your sin. Rules don’t have the power to save or to heal. Only a life found in Christ can bring healing and restoration from a broken life of sin. Do you find yourself bound by rules in religion, and restricted by the attempt to “keep all the rules” for God? If so, you can find more freedom in letting Jesus have influence in your life and submit to his leading. You can receive this power of God today by letting Jesus enter your life and surrendering to Him alone.
Paul the Apostle is writing a letter to the churches near Collosae and wants them to know how much he is personally suffering for their sake. He has committed his life to serving them, no matter the cost, so that they might mature in their faith in Christ. What does mature faith in Christ look like to you? Does it mean that God answers your prayers? Does it mean that you receive healing when you’re sick? Does maturity even have anything to do with the blessings you receive, or does maturity mean we look to bring God’s blessing to others? God is always pouring out his blessings, but are we submissive enough to receive blessings in obedience to Jesus?
See, in our day, as in theirs, it is easy to learn about religion and play all the right games with church. This game is not what Paul had in mind. He was empowering his people to no longer live in the darkness of the world, rather to live in the light of God. Jesus has redeemed us to be light in this dark world, and it has nothing to do with us, it’s all Jesus. This portion of Paul’s letter makes a stand that he wants people to grow up in God, and be joyful in thanksgiving, so that we truly live into our real identity in Christ. Maybe these words are foreign to you, if you don’t understand where your identity lies. Maybe you need to realize that in Jesus, you are a new person; transformed for God’s good work in the world. This is what Paul is talking about.
Now the spirit of fear is real, but it’s false, in the sense that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God did not give us that spirit of fear, or timidity. Young Timothy was pastor of a church and needed encouragement to be bold in his faith. Where do you need to be more bold in your faith in God, rather than being defeated by a spirit of fear? Is your mind captured by fear of something, someone, some loss, or rejection? God hasn’t given you that fear. You can overcome fear by naming it, acknowledge it, take away its power by claiming it for God, and then trust God for the results. You live in a world where fear runs rampant around you, but fear is a liar. You can claim your life for God and give your fear to Jesus.