Friday, June 27, 2014

The Sunday Set-Up for June 29, 2014

Have you ever experienced what felt like silence from heaven in response to your prayers?  You pray and you pray and you pray, but God doesn’t seem to answer and situations don’t seem to improve.  This all too common experience, for everyone who prays, has led many to believe that God must not be good or that God must not be powerful or perhaps even that God is not even really there.  For many, continuing to pray when God doesn’t seem to answer begins to feel like the proverbial definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Usually this is a bad idea.  However, this Sunday, we’re going to hear a story from Jesus where he calls us to be this kind of crazy in our prayer life.  We hope you’ll come and join us on Sunday as we get permission from Jesus to get a little crazy.

Scripture: Luke 18:1-8

Bulletin: June 29, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

7-7-7 Prayer Initiative

by John Wilson

Some might say “you can't teach an old dog new tricks.” But at 67 years old I can clearly say the Lord is patiently teaching me every day. Three years ago when Barbara's sister Pat Stussie died from cancer after much medical and hospital time and much prayer from our family and many friends at Apostles and beyond, I was mad at God and confused about prayer. The Lord used my questions to open a window into prayer and help me to discover what the Bible teaches us about prayer, what God's promises are and how He wants us to pray.

With support from our pastors and with some helpful teaching from Barbie Burgess and our prayer team I have found incredible blessing from corporate, small group, family and personal prayer. I have found peace, witnessed healing, been blessed through praise and worship and rediscovered the Lord who created me and loves me.

I have also discovered that while God wants to bless us through prayer, Satan wants to discourage us and tempt us to question God and lead us on wrong paths. We need to be prepared for the times we are tempted and challenged.

A great thing is coming in about a week - the 7-7-7 prayer initiative created by Anne Graham Lotz In the 7th month (July), for 7 days (July 1-7) we would pray, followed by 7 hours of prayer and fasting on the 7th day (July 7).

The purpose of the 7-7-7 prayer imitative is:
- For God the Father to restrain, protect, and deliver His people from the evil that has come into our world.
- For God the Son to be exalted, magnified, and glorified in His church, in our nation, and in our lives.
- For God the Holy Spirit to fall on us in a fresh way, compelling the church to repent of sin and our nation to return to faith in the living God, resulting in a great national spiritual awakening.

I’m inviting you to partner with me and many others in Raleigh during the 7 days in July. Please access the website - http://www.annegrahamlotz.com/events/urgent-call-to-prayer/. You will receive a prayer written for each of the 7 days to help unite us in one spirit and one voice as we cry out to God. Please be assured there is no other agenda in this initiative. This is not about promoting anything or anyone. This is all about calling God’s people together to pray, before it’s too late, and judgment falls on our nation.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Sunday Set-Up for June 22, 2014

How much is enough stuff? When have you amassed enough:
  • Clothes
  • Nice Cars
  • Pairs of Shoes
  • Season tickets
  • Pricey vacations
  • Gourmet food
  • Club memberships
  • Bikes
  • Guitars
  • Golf Clubs
  • TVs
  • Computers, iPads and Phones
  • High-end furniture and home improvements
When do we have enough? Jesus goes from preaching to meddling in this week's parable. Storing up stuff is the work of fools. Come Sunday and be challenged to live life for what matters.

Reading: Luke 12:31-21

Bulletin: June 22, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Holy Snares

by John Musselman
The Bible speaks often about snares. The teacher in Proverbs warns his charge about the snares of the wicked, such as violence and greed. Different Psalmists mourn or rejoice about the snares that they have fallen into and escaped from. And somewhere the Bible even tells us that words of a person's mouth can be a snare.

Certainly, Christians today relate to all of these truths. And we can appreciate how purposefully and perfectly the Lord rescues us from the snares of sin that we have fallen into - and still fall into. But something happened this weekend that made me think that God lays snares too...holy snares.

Here's my story...I had just settled into my seat to enjoy a concert with my wife and brothers-in-law, and when I took out my phone to do the obligatory "silence-your-cell-phone" drill, I saw two missed calls from a strange North Carolina number. Then, just a few minutes later, a text from the same number - and not a text that anyone wants to get:..

"This is Detective M. with the Raleigh Police Department. There has been an incident with your car at North Hills Mall."

Turns out that some poor soul busted in my passenger door window and robbed my glove box. All they got was an ancient GPS that I never used anymore. So, at least my car wasn't in a ditch, and nothing valuable had been taken. But there was glass EVERYWHERE - covering the seat, on the floor, across the dashboard, sprinkled on the steering wheel - there was even a shard on the hood! How did it get on the hood?? When I first saw the shattered window I was taken aback by the thought of the sheer force the person must have used to break in. It truly was an act of violence.

But in spite of the character of the act, and the hassle that it caused me, all I could really think was that this was God's way of getting one of his people to pray for the thief. Maybe this guy (girl?) has never had someone praying for them before. Maybe it's a teenager who's just starting to mix with the wrong crowd. Maybe it was an addict who longs to be free of their chains. I don't know. But Jesus told us to bless those who persecute us, and give to those who ask of us. And what's more, I know that Jesus himself had mercy on me when I did worse things, and he didn't destroy me - no, he snared me in His love, and I'll never be the same.

So I can't be mad at this guy. I just pray he gets a good price for my GPS, and that one day he can look back and trace something mysterious, something miraculous beginning to happen in his heart the day he decided to smash the window of a white Mazda 3.

Thank God for His holy snares. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Sunday Set-Up for June 8, 2014

We all know the famous saying about what happens when you assume something. Jesus proved the old adage true for one unlucky pharisee at a dinner party he attended when the guest made a bold assumption for himself. Come to Apostles this Sunday to find out what assumption was made and how you can avoid making the same mistake (and hence avoid making a donkey out of yourself…) 

Reading: Luke 14:15-24

Bulletin: June 8, 2014