Saturday, October 31, 2009

Prayer Is Optional

Pray all the time.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (MSG)

This past week I attended a pastors’ retreat. I received the schedule of the days events and there were a variety of events we were strongly encouraged to attend and then I noticed the prayer time was “optional.” Optional? Interesting.

I know that those in charge of planning the event didn’t mean anything by it. And honestly, I’m not trying to find fault. I just wonder how many of us when we schedule the events of our day we make prayer “optional.”

Prayer is the glue in our relationship with God. And we are commanded in Scripture to “pray all the time.” But too often we wait to pray when we need something. Or maybe when think about it. Or maybe when someone asks us to.

What would any relationship be if you only rarely communicated? Or only talked when you needed something? Simply put, no communication, no relationship.

I want to challenge you to schedule a prayer time during each day. And don’t allow it to become “optional.” God loves you. He wants to hear from you. He may even want to say something to you. Make the time.

Why Does God Allow Pain?

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

Last week the staff and I were able to attend the WYLL 1160AM Pastor’s Appreciation Brunch. We had a wonderful time fellowshipping with pastors and church leaders from across Chicagoland. The keynote speaker for the event was Greg Laurie who will be hosting one of his Harvest Crusades in Chicago in the fall of 2010.

Pastor Laurie’s theme that day was “Preaching Through Pain.” He eloquently shared with us that pain reminds us that we need God. That even through the painful seasons of our life we have to have faith in the plan of God. Pastor Greg reminded us that God never tells us His whole plan, He just tells us that He has a plan.

So why does God allow pain in our lives?

  • It gets our attention.
  • It humbles us.
  • It teaches us truths we would otherwise not learn.
  • It gives us a new compassion for hurting people.

Don’t waster your pain! Allow God to work in your life as you learn and grow through your pain.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Close Enough To Hear God's Whisper

Yet I am always with you;

you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish;

you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

But as for me, it is good to be near God.

I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;

I will tell of all your deeds.

Psalms 73:23-28 (NIV)

There is something about being close to God. But how do you get “close” to God? One way is to make time for God. Corporately, it’s important to make time for church, small groups, and retreats. Privately, we must guard our daily quiet times with God.

How close are you to God? Looking at Psalm 73 are you close enough to God to hold His hand? Are you close enough for Him to guide your steps? Are you “far” from Him in danger of perishing?

The question we should always be asking ourselves is, “Am I close enough to hear God whisper?” Whisper His Name and He will answer you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who Am I?

There are many great Christians who faithfully lived out God’s promise of abundant life. One of which is Dietrich Bonhoeffer who is best remembered as the young pastor/theologian martyred for his leadership against Hitler and the Nazi army. While Bonhoeffer has inspired many with his heroic life, he too wrestled with his identity and the life God gave him. Here is a poem he wrote while in prison.

Who am I?
This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine.

It is comforting to know that even our greatest heroes struggle with the issue of identity. This profound poem teaches us what we have been learning in our sermon series on THRIVE: no matter what happens in our life our ultimate identity must found as a child of God. You can listen to the latest messages on THRIVE at

Monday, October 05, 2009

My Book Shelf – Extraordinary by John Bevere

A brand new book from our friend John Bevere fits our fall sermon series, THRIVE, here at Christian Life. We so enjoyed Pastor Bevere’s series Drawing Near and we believe that he is a fresh voice to the body of Christ. I just obtained his newest release, Extraordinary, and I believe it fits what God is saying to us as a congregation right now.

There’s a question that troubles many believers: “Why am I not experiencing more joy, more hope, more satisfaction, more intimacy, more power, more everything in my Christian life – didn’t Jesus promise that?”

He did promise an abundant life, but too many people are trapped by the curse of “the ordinary.” They have accepted the wrong idea that following God means losing individuality, creativity, and a passion for achieving lofty goals.

Nothing could be further from the truth! John Bevere builds a convincing case, straight from Scripture, for a way of living marked by extraordinary experiences and accomplishments—the life God always intended for his children.

Each chapter provides a guide to understanding God’s incredible plans, and how to enjoy a life where he adds the “extra” to “ordinary.”

You can check out this book and more at John Bevere’s ministry web site