Elder's Prayer - September 10, 2017
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
Each summer, my business requires that I travel a great deal. I try not to be gone for more than 2 weeks at a time but I find myself away from home most Sundays during the summer in one of 30 or more different states I travel to each summer. So each Saturday night when on the road, I’m trying to figure out what church to attend the next morning. It’s not an easy task. Over the years, I have refined the tools I use to help make an informed decision while also reaching out to a network of brothers to point me in the right direction especially when I’m struggling to find a good option.
Nonetheless, Some Sunday’s I choose well, others, not so well. On Sunday’s I’ve chosen well, I’m thankful to see God at work in a context different than ours. My soul is encouraged to sing loudly amidst strangers I’ll likely never see again this side of heaven. I marvel at the sufficiency and potency of God’s word rightly divided and explained from different pulpits by different preachers to different people all over this nation. I’m thankful for God’s grace to let me land at a cross-centered, scripture saturated and God honoring church
On Sunday’s I’ve chosen poorly and land at a bad church, it’s a struggle. I battle a critical spirit. I try to answer the question - Why does God have me here today? What am I to learn from this experience?
Regardless of whether I land at a good church or one that needs much help, I’m always looking with an eye for things I can bring back to our church. I’m thinking about things they do well during their service and that maybe we could incorporate of mimic.
I'm regularly considering the experience of the first time visitor coming into our church. About 8-10 times a year, I’m that first time visitor. This is helpful for me. It’s instructive to be a stranger in a place where everyone else seems to know each other. I think it is helpful for all of us to experience what first time visitors experience, so I’d encourage you to attend church whenever you travel.
If you visit other churches, I think you will appreciate this church even more. Every week, regardless of the church I land in, I’m vividly reminded about my thankfulness to God for this church and it’s members. Join me as I offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for this church.
Father God, I’m thankful to you for Summit Woods.
I am thankful to You for the Teaching that takes place here. I am thankful for the all those who teach from this pulpit and other venues in this church. Thank you for their steadfast trust and confidence in scripture and their insatiable desire to rightly understand God’s word so they can effectively communicate this life changing truth to those with ears to hear. Thank you that this church holds God’s word highly, placing a unique, yet biblical, trust in scripture to changes lives as opposed to human schemes.
I am thankful to you for the Leadership You have placed here. I’m thankful for the men who labor to lead this church in a God-honoring way who desire to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. They lead imperfectly and commonly make mistakes but their motives are pure and they serve sacrificially at the expense of time with family and rest. Thank you for calling and equipping men to lead this local body who love you and love your word viewing scripture as both sufficient and supreme.
I am thankful to you for the Music we get to sing here. I thank You for the weekly opportunity to sing congregationally and I’m thankful for those who labor to lead us in singing cross-centered, God glorifying songs. Their musical efforts and skill point us toward God, not toward themselves. The songs we sing are theologically rich lyrics that encourage my soul while teaching and reinforcing biblical truth. What a joy it is to sing loudly the truth of gospel with fellow saints.
I am thankful for the Members you have assemble here to co-labor together. This is a church filled with people who love God’s word and want to be changed by it – not just have their ears tickled. I am thankful for members like this who seek to serve as opposed to simply being served. Many willingly serve our youngest children to our most senior adults. Thank you for the sweet unity of fellowship we enjoy that is marked by the boisterous gathering before service and the prolonged lingering after service. This fellowship extends to the multitude of personal discipleship relationships through Titus 2 groups, Ironman groups and student small groups. I’m thankful these relationships are intergenerational and are motivated by desires to become more like Christ.
I’m thankful to you God for your kind work at Summit Woods. Your grace is abundant and apparent for eyes to see. This church is yours. It is not ours. I pray that Christ is the foundation and the gospel is the motivation for all that we do in this place.
As members of this local body, we love this church, but remind us our love is not as great as Christ’s love for the church. He died for the church. As we serve, may we never serve as owners, but instead only as eager stewards or ambassadors serving to bring You honor and glory.
As a church, may we always be submissive to Christ, grow in beauty before Christ as we both strive AND trust in your Spirit to change us into greater Christ-likeness through sanctifying interaction with God’s word and His people in this local church. Find us to be anxious to obey all that you command in scripture and eager to submit to it. Help us all to love the church as Christ loves the church. Help us to love, care for and be thankful for this local body of believers you have kindly gathered together to bring glory to yourself.