Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Prayer Week 3: Boldness

This past Sunday, Kristie shared her story with the church. While she was speaking, she used a beautiful analogy for sharing the love of Christ with others. She stated that she likes to think that we are the “calloused hands of Christ.” This statement is beautiful because it reveals that while we are the hands and feet of Christ, we are not perfect. We have problems and imperfections, but these calluses should not prevent us from sharing the love of Christ with others.

Kristie’s story tied in well with the sermon which discussed boldness. In Acts 4:29-30, the disciples were bold. This passage states:

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

In this passage, the people understood that God is all knowing, all powerful, and completely in control. They did not understand God’s plan, but they knew that they wanted to be active participants in God’s plan. So they simply prayed for boldness.

As various people have shared at church, we have learned that each person has a different story. They also each have a different method of sharing the love of Christ. However, instead of getting hung up on whether they are using the right method, or whether their story is good enough, they have simply decided to speak with boldness and share with others.

Another point that has been made is that “boldness” is not standing on the street corner and shouting to strangers. Boldness is having the courage to help and share with those that are near us each day.

This week, reflect on whether you truly want to be a participant in God’s sovereign plan. If so, the challenge is to pray for boldness.

Also, as an outreach, the Refinery will be collecting eye glasses to donate to the Lion’s Club. Please bring your glasses to church and we will deliver them!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Book Club List 2007


Where: Meeting at Panera Bread in Kernersville @ 7:00pm

February 13th: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer
March 13th: “The Memory Keepers Daughter” by Kim Edwards
April 10th: “Boy called it” by Dave Pelzer
May 8th: “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden
June 12th: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
July 10th: “1984” by George Orwell

Monday, January 22, 2007

Prayer Week 2: Praise and Thanks

In Mike’s sermon on Sunday, he talked about why we should “fish” (why we should share our faith). First, he stated that we should share our faith because someone cared enough about us to share with us. Second, he stated that we should share our faith because we can’t help it. (See Acts 4:20 – “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”)

In addition to the desire to share Christ, I think the same can be said about Praising God. I think that we often become so focused on the “I want” and “I need” of prayer that we forget to praise God and say thank you for answered prayers. The problem is that we are so focused on asking God for things that we forget to thank God and praise God. This is not the way our prayer life should be. Instead, we should feel that we can’t help but praise God for the things he has done.

I have been reading C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms. In this book, Lewis has much to say about praise. The book states:

"I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise......The world rings with praise – lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game..... I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation." (p.80.)

The book also says, "The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.”

Lewis is making the point that praising God is not one more item to check off of our “to do list for prayer”. But instead, praise should be natural to us as a natural expression of our appreciation of something.

I would like to encourage everyone to not only submit prayer requests to this list, but also let us know when God answers a prayer. Also, feel free to share praises with the Refinery Church family.

Remember, you can also read the prayer email update at http://bethleann.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 15, 2007

Prayer: Gifts & Talents

As many of you know, I am now responsible for the Prayer Ministry at the Refinery. Along with other changes for 2007, everyone will be receiving the weekly prayer updates and prayer requests. I want to encourage all active members of the Refinery to use the Refinery Prayer Ministry to grow in your faith.

Last week, as I was dressing Jacob, I put a polo shirt on him. He asked to button the very top button. Being stylish, I encouraged him to leave the button unbuttoned. However, he insisted that he wanted to button the top button. Jacob adores his dad, so I decided to encourage him to leave the top button unbuttoned by saying, “Daddy doesn’t button the top button. Don’t you want to leave the top button unbuttoned to be like Daddy?” Jacob responded, “No. I don’t want to be like Daddy. I want to be like me.” Jacob did not realize it, but he made a profound statement. At three years old, Jacob understands that he is an individual, and his individuality is a gift to be cherished, not something to throw away in an attempt to conform to the world around him.

Romans 12:4-8 says:

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

God has created each of us with unique talents and gifts. God has made us with unique gifts so that we can complement one another.

In Mike’s last sermon of 2006, he reflected on the Refinery’s past, present and future. He brought up the fact that we are created to be in Communion (Relationship with Christ), Community (in Relationship with One Another), and Commission (in Relationship with the World). Among other things, Mike asked us to prayerfully consider what our talents are and how we may commit our talents to the work of Christ.
As Mike preached and as the verses above reveal, it is vital that we each use our individual gifts and talents to serve Christ and to complete the body of Christ. This week, I want to challenge each of you to prayerfully consider what makes you unique. Instead of trying to be more like the people around you, reflect on the talents and characteristics that make you special. Ask God to show you how you can use these gifts not only at the Refinery, but to reach the hurting people in the world around you. Pray that God will open your eyes to the needs of others, and that he will show you how you can use your individual gifts and talents to help others.


I have been asked to lead the Prayer Ministry at my church, the Refinery (www.refinerychurch.org). As part of my ministry, I will be sending out weekly emails with thoughts, Bible verses, reflections, etc. I plan to post copies of those emails here.

I hope this is a blessing to people and helps anyone that reads this blog in their prayer life!