The Covenant Prayer

I mentioned this prayer by John Wesley in Sunday’s Sermon (4/7/19) as a way to pray towards a cross-bearing life. Use it as a way to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow the crucified Christ!

“I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,

exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things

to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”

Making this verse into a daily prayer is a beautiful help, too…

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23

You could paraphrase it by praying something like:

Lord, I do want to come after You, help me deny myself and take up my cross and follow You this day!

If you wear cross jewelry that you put on each day, you could pray this prayer when you do that!

Larry

Men’s and Women’s Roles (1 Peter 3:1-7)

As a follow-up from the message on 1 Peter 3.1-7 (on March 3, 2019), here are some helpful links from Mindy Williams, who leads our Women’s Ministry Team, that explore further the idea of men’s and women’s roles.

Thanks!

Larry


  1. It’s Submission Not Subjection by Tim Challies
  2. Confessions of a Reluctant Complementarian by Rebecca McLaughlin
  3. Leading and Submitting Like Jesus by Erik Raymond
  4. What Biblical Submission Does and Does Not Mean by Justin Taylor/John Piper
  5. I Need a Woman Who Can Mulch (A sweet picture of marriage) by Dustin Coleman
  6. Sexual Abuse in Marriage by Darby Strickland Parts 1, 2, 3
  7. Called to Peace – This is a local ministry that provides education and support groups for women who are in destructive relationships. The founder is SEBTS graduate Joy Forest and she has written Called to Peace: A Survivor’s Guide to Finding Peace and Healing After Domestic Abuse.
  8. The Heart of Domestic Abuse – Chris Moles specializes in working with men who are abusers and has written The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home . Chris also does the PeaceWorks Podcast.

As many of you know, in February several Southern Baptist churches and church leaders were accused of sexual misconduct and abuse. The elders of NW believe such past behavior is unacceptable and should not be hidden or covered up. We also believe that the victims of such abuse need to be heard and cared for. Thankfully, several key Southern Baptist leaders have spoken out and are calling for transparency and change. Below are links to comments by Al Mohler, Russ Moore, and J.D. Greear (the current SBC president). The last link gives practical advice for how victims of abuse can get help.

Ben Merkle

24 Things Love Is and Does

Happy Valentines Day Church! Today is a day that many of us will offer cards, flowers, chocolates or a host of other possible gifts to the ladies in our lives. This is a good reminder for us husbands and dads that it is good to treasure and acknowledge the precious gift that our wives and daughters are to us.

As a Counselor, I unfortunately see dads and husbands choosing to love themselves more than their families which makes Valentines Day a good time for us to take a step back and consider the ways we display love to them on the normal, not-so-eventful days of the year. After-all, flowers and candy can never satisfy the longing for authentic love from a father or husband.

Paul Tripp offers some surgical definitions that help me evaluate my own heart and whether I am reflecting the Heart of Christ to my Family or a Heart of Pride. I encourage you to read his definitions of Love below and ask, “Am I daily reflecting the Love of Christ to my Family?”.  If not, commitment to change is in order and that would be the best Valentine gift you could give those you love.

24 Things Love Is and Does

Craig Morrisette

Letting Your Light Shine, in Wake Forest

Letting Your Light Shine, in Wake Forest

On Sunday, February 3, Noah Joyner preached to us on 1 Peter 2:11-12:

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Noah pointed out that to follow this passage, each one of us must (a) have good deeds, and (b) they must be visible.

Click HERE for the live stream of this Sunday.

Those good deeds will occur in honest labor in our jobs (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12), and in our homes (1 Timothy 3:5, Titus 2:5) and with our families (Ephesians 6:4, 1 Timothy 5:8). But many of those will be close to invisible.

For some of us, God will open opportunities to do good in more public ways. These places give opportunities to serve other our neighbors, and meet our neighbors. The work and relationships can create strain that requires us to depend on God, and allows us to explain why we approach life with hope.

God-Focused Involvement

You need solid reasons — a purpose — to get involved beyond your comfort zone. Some do it for credit here, but please do it for a greater purpose. Only a greater purpose and meaning will be enough to help you through the difficulties of serving others. Here are four purposes that have served me.

Rely on God, Not Yourself

Sometimes you’ll see a need, but not feel capable yourself. That’s the right feeling — because God is the one who works in us. Doing work beyond our comfort zone also calls us to depend on God. Paul describes his difficult experiences, and sees the purpose: to make him depend on God, and not himself.

2 Corinthians 1:9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Few of us have any tasks that are as difficult as Paul’s, but we can learn the same lesson because we have the same God. Since God is able to raise the dead, he can support us in difficult work that he enables us to do.

Look to the Interests of Others

When you join an effort to help and serve your neighbors, you get to live out the God-enabled commands to love your neighbor and to look to the interests of others.

Mark 12:30-31 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Bring Wisdom

God gives wisdom and enables his people to walk in his ways. Another reason we look for public opportunities is to bring the wisdom God gives each Christian to the solve the problems we encounter.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

The “Proverbs 31 husband” was known in the city gates (Proverbs 31:23) — the public place where locals and visitors came to transact business and settle disputes. He offered time and the strength of his family to the difficult matters of life.

Love Practically, Visibly

It can be tempting to love the world theoretically; but public involvement often gives us ways to do good practically. In Galatians 6:9-10, Paul makes it clear that our good is to be done for everybody — including those in Christ, and those not.

Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

James shows us that trusting God will always spur us to actions; and the example action is relieving suffering of cold and  hunger. Here he says it’s foolish hypocrisy to merely wish someone well without doing what is possible to fix the misery.

James 2:15-18 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Public Opportunities

Missio Dei Chicago, a multi-congregational church seeking to bring the gospel to bear upon each of its unique neighborhoods, encourages its pastors to build relationships with local city leaders, serve on community boards, or join the PTA. The church’s Gospel Communities—missional small groups gathered by neighborhood—take part in their communities by caring for refugee families, joining in city farming, and getting active in local events.

Lead pastor Josh Taylor says, “We’re not trying to build a mega-church across ZIP codes. We’re going for the presence of Christ in a specific neighborhood. With no strings attached, we’re seeking to live out of the question, ‘How can we be a blessing to this community?'”CT Pastors

Civic Involvement

The Town of Wake Forest has many volunteer opportunities. For example, volunteer advisory boards are organized to assist in planning the future development of the town, to provide safe and productive places to live.

Schools

Schools have Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) that do work to support the teachers and the students; you can read more about the Wake Forest Elementary PTA on Facebook. If you have kids in school, you can speak to their teachers or school administrators to find out about the volunteering needs.

Sports and Scouting

Wake Forest Parks and Recreation organizes volunteer coaching for baseball, softball, t-ball, volleyball, and basketball. You can volunteer to help on their site. 

Neighborhoods

Many neighborhoods have Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs). These are normally nonprofit that help in invisible ways to care for your neighbors’ by protecting their property and properly caring for the earth God gave us to care for (Genesis 1:26-28).

Know WHY You’re Doing It

I hope you are optimistic at the prospect of doing good and meeting people; of helping your spouse and brother’s and sister’s in Christ in this effort. But the going will get tough.  It’s crucial you know why you are doing what you are doing. Look for the purposes of God for you before you endeavor to be a public light, and while you are in the midst of the challenge.

As John Piper preached, “There is power and strength in seeing significance and purpose in your hardships. If you see the good design of God in the manifold stresses of your life, you gain strength to endure, and the stresses themselves are often transformed into energy-giving challenges.

 

Here are resource recommendations for reading on heaven from one of our elder, Stu Bulman.  Stu is leading our 10:45 class on “the Hope of Heaven” on Sunday mornings.

Randy Alcorn “Heaven”

While this book has been on my shelf for 6 years, early last year I picked up this book to learn more about our eternal destiny. I was so surprised, challenged and deeply encouraged by what I read that it became my focused study for the year.  This book challenged some of my long-held assumptions about heaven and made me hungry for more!  Scripture instructs us to set our heart and minds on heaven to fuel godly living and stimulate our hope in heaven’s glory! (Col 3:1-4) Alcorn teaches with clarity and humility.  This book has significantly changed my day to day joy and enhanced my passion to invest now for an eternal gain!  Every beautiful sunset, every spectacular view or delicious food or pleasant friendship serves as a signpost to fuel my expectations of what is to come. Get this book and study it carefully.  Don’t leave this treasure on the shelf!  I believe you will be richly rewarded from it.

Note that there are several Alcorn resources with similar titles which are subsets of this book.  He also has an audible edition, but it is significantly abridged.  The full version is available on Amazon for $14.89

Joni Eareckson Tada “Heaven”

I have great respect for Joni.  For one who is acquainted with suffering (her own and as her life’s mission many others experiences as well), I expected that she would have significant insights on heaven. The first half of her book seemed similar to Alcorn’s.  However, the second half is very rewarding.  Her passion for Jesus and her pursuit of heavenly gain will encourage you.  While we may not understand the “whys” behind much of our suffering here, Joni will help you with an understanding of the potential gain that you could enjoy for eternity!  The “Worth it!” component of this book is huge!  Finish the Alcorn book, but don’t stop there.  Get this one to grasp the impact of your daily choices toward eternity!

DesiringGod.org blogs

One more resource for you is the Desiring God website —  Get Piper’s (and via him others like Jonathan Edwards) study of the scriptures on heaven. You can type in their search bar and you’ll find lots of encouragement and challenging teaching on topics related to Heaven.