Prayer 3

Thursday’s Thoughts from Pastor David

On the 27th day of the ninth month in the year of our Lord two thousand and eighteen, I pray with great urgency that the presence of God, the grace of God, the love of God, the mercy of God and the abundance of the compassion of God will dwell richly in your heart this day…

I ran across a new definition of Prayer which I wanted to pass on to you this day by Dr. Ralph Martin:

“Prayer is, at root, simply paying attention to God.”

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The Cup


Thursday’s Thoughts from Pastor David

The first Thursday after Easter!

We go back a week to take a look at “The Cup” from which Jesus drank a week earlier (The Thursday before Easter!)

While in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prays – “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’” (Matthew 26: 39)

“The Cup” of which Jesus speaks are those life situations, skills, idiosyncrasies,  circumstances, and calling which has been placed in our path of life with which we must confront, deal with, live with, embrace, and drink.

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Then it was me… #vegasstrong

Pray for Las Vegas

First, it was the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, but it wasn’t me, I don’t live in Oklahoma City…

Then, it was Columbine, but it wasn’t me, I don’t live in Denver…

Then it was the Twin Towers, but it wasn’t me, I don’t live in New York…

Then it was Virginia Tech, but it wasn’t me, I don’t live in Blacksburg, Virginia

Then it was Sandy Hook, but it wasn’t me, I don’t live in Connecticut…

Then it was Charleston, but it wasn’t me, I don’t live in South Carolina…

Then it was Paris, but it wasn’t me, I don’t live in France…

Then it was the Pulse Nightclub, but it wasn’t me, I don’t live in Orlando…

Then it was London, but it wasn’t me, I don’t live in England…

Then it was Las Vegas, but it wasn’t…
oh wait a second…
Then it was Las Vegas, and then it WAS me,
I live in Las Vegas…


Fear not!

Pray without ceasing…


Of all the things Jesus did on this earth, miracles, healings, raising people from the dead, preaching, teaching, debating with the religious leaders – the Disciples only asked Him to teach them one thing… PRAY!

Based on Matthew 6:9-13 (The Lord’s Prayer) and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (Pray without ceasing), this past Sunday’s Sermon delved into that which Jesus taught us how to do: Pray!

Laugh often and Fear not!



Pray without ceasing

One of the best quotes I have ever heard on prayer went like this:

“I never pray for more than two to three minutes…but then again, I never go more than ten minutes without prayer.”

When was the last time you gave some serious thought to the whole concept, idea and practice of prayer?

Has anyone ever taught you to pray?

I find it fascinating the disciples only asked Jesus to teach them one thing.

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Have you ever been “Stung?”


I needed to be back at the church for a scheduled 7:00 pm meeting tonight. I quickly made my way home by 5:20 pm to grab a bite to eat and spend some time with the family before retreating back to the workplace for the night.

My wife Julie was busy with Faith hanging some pictures on the wall of Faith’s newly painted and decorated room. Faith was having her first try at “hammer and nail.” Julie suggested I grab some leftovers from the previous night’s delectable dinner. I made my way to the kitchen and found the aforementioned leftover in the appropriate clear Tupperware container with the pale pink lid. No need to empty the contents onto a plate. Just dig it out of the ready-made pseudo bowl.

Clouds covered the usual clear sky, causing the temperature to drop to a very comfortable 95 degrees. (It’s a dry heat!!!) I asked my son Joshua if he would be willing to join me on the back balcony for some fascinating conversation while I ate dinner out of a Tupperware container.

His response was quick, decisive and very polite, “Thank you for the invitation Dad, but I am going to keep playing “Boom Beach” on Mom’s phone.”

I made my way through the sliding glass door and sat down on the green patio chair that swivels and rocks. To be totally candid, my son’s polite response and rebuff stung.


I am scared to ask this next question.
I believe that if I knew the answer my heart would sink so deep I would wallow in a depressed wasteland for weeks.

Here I go…
How many times has my heavenly Father asked me to join Him for some fascinating conversation and my response has been, “Thank you for the invitation God, but I am going to keep (you fill in the blank!)…..

How many times do I unconsciously or subconsciously or even blatantly say, “Thanks but no thanks” to the Father’s tender invitation to sit with Him ’round the proverbial campfire of conversation?

What on earth could possibly be more important than time spent with the Father of the universes and listen to His voice as He listens to the voice He created in me?

No one likes to get stung…even God.
Oh dear Lord, please take the “stinger” out of me as I carve out time and space to converse with you and others.
It’s going to be fascinating!

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
‘Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,'” (Hebrews 3: 7-8)

Laugh often and Fear not!

Confusion and Clarity

Beth opened the door only as far the chain on the door would allow her, while her two chihuahuas barked incessantly at the would be intruders.
Her eyes darted back and forth as the three of us. Two Elders and the new Pastor stood at her door to bring her “Home Communion.”
Beth recognized one of the Elders from the church that I serve and she quickly closed the door, unlatched the chain, flung open the door quickly enough to step out and close the door behind her before her two little canines could chew our shoelaces off.

We introduced ourselves and as I told her that I was the new Pastor she held my hand longer than a normal handshake. She was very pleased to see that we had come by for a visit.

After letting go of my hand Beth said, “Where is the church?”
We gave her the physical address of the church.
Her response was, “Well, where is the church?”

Beth invited us to come in and we sat around her as she placed herself in her well worn recliner as the chihuahuas closely monitored our movements.

And this is the way it went for the next thirty minutes or so.
Beth suffers from dementia.
She was positive she could drive to church if she could only remember how to drive. Maybe someone could teach her how to drive the car that sat in her driveway that hadn’t been driven for a very long time.
Beth’s husband passed away a few years ago, but she was certain that it had only been a few weeks.

Beth asked if there was anyone who lived close by to give her a ride to church. She lives quite a long way from the church in an area of the city where geographically speaking no one attends our church. We told her that there was no one close by at the moment.
About every two minutes Beth would repeat this same question.
At one point Beth looked at me and asked, “Who are you again?”

The three of us were very patient and kind and sincere in our responses and in our conversation.
But there was no getting around the fact that in Beth’s home and in her mind one thing reigned:


As Jesus did so long ago, we began to do that which Jesus told us to do in remembrance of Him.
We broke the bread of life and we drank from the cup of salvation.

One of the Elders prayed. The other Elder prepared the elements – the bread and the juice.
I recited the words of institution – “On the night in which Jesus was betrayed he took bread…”

Of course, our service of remembrance was interrupted with questions of the location of the church, comments about Beth’s husband who had just “recently” passed away and how Beth was certain she could drive herself to church if she only knew where it was.

We came to the part in the service where we were going to say the Lord’s Prayer together.
We handed Beth a sheet of paper that had the Lord’s Prayer written out in large print.

We began to pray…

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…”

I didn’t need the paper. I have recited this prayer thousands of times. Maybe you have too.
And here was the moment of revelation for me…

I didn’t look at the paper on my lap…
I didn’t look at the chihuahuas lurking around our ankles…
I didn’t even pay attention to the clutter that was around us…
I focused on one thing and one thing alone..
Beth’s lips…

Beth didn’t need the paper either…
With her eyes closed Beth recited the Lord’s Prayer word for word, syllable for syllable…
Without hesitation…
Without interruption…
Without asking a question…
Without confusion…

Only one thing reigned while Beth offered the Lord’s Prayer…

How about we say the Lord’s Prayer today…
Perhaps there is some confusion in your world these days…
Perhaps you don’t quite know your way back to God these days…
Perhaps you are looking for just a glimmer of hope and understanding…
Perhaps and maybe just perhaps…
We can say the Lord’s Prayer together today and discover what Beth discovered yesterday in the midst of confusion…

Would you please pray these words with me…

“Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever and ever.

Laugh often and Fear not!

A special thank you to the two Elders who offered such grace and mercy and love yesterday… Juanita and David.
It was a privilege to serve with you…

The Decision

In a seventy-five minute interview that was broadcast live to millions of television viewers on ESPN on July 8, 2010, basketball phenom, LeBron James, a two time NBA MVP and six time NBA All Star with the Cleveland Cavaliers made the following announcement:

In this fall… this is very tough… in this fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat. I feel like it’s going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win for multiple years, and not only just to win in the regular season or just to win five games in a row or three games in a row, I want to be able to win championships. And I feel like I can compete down there… 

The live broadcast would become known to all of America as – The Decision


On a Thursday evening during a conversation that lasted less than an hour, in front of no viewers, local carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth knelt before God in the garden of Gethsemane and wrestled with the greatest decision in the history of humanity. The stress and the pressure of the decision before Jesus became so intense that the capillaries just underneath his skin burst and his sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44)

The plea and the request and the acquiescence was short and to the point…

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NIV)

What cup was Jesus asking the Father to take away? The cup of death that Jesus was about to suffer for the sins of the world. In less than twelve hours Jesus would endure flogging, being hit and beat and spat upon and worst of all – the 39 lashes with the cat o’nine tails. Jesus would then be crucified…

It’s the greatest decision that has ever been made in the history of humanity.
If Jesus does not go forward with the plan then there is no Good Friday and subsequently no Easter Sunday morning.
If Jesus does go through with it then there is the Crucifixion whereby the Son of God takes on the Sin of the world and he dies.

And subsequently there comes Easter Sunday morning where the tomb where Jesus had been laid is now found empty. Death has been overcome. The last enemy of humanity, death, has been vanquished in the victory of Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday.

Thank you Jesus for making this decision…It has changed the whole course of human history!
I have made the decision to follow Jesus.
It’s changed the whole course of my life…
How about you? What’s your decision?

Laugh often and Fear not!