Digging in Deeper: Amos 7:1-6

“The Lord God showed me this: He was forming a swarm of locusts at the time the spring crop first began to sprout – after the cutting of the king’s hay. When the locusts finished eating the vegetation of the land, I said, ‘Lord God, please forgive! How will Jacob survive since he is so small?’ The Lord relented concerning this. ‘It will not happen,’ he said. The Lord God showed me this: The Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire. It consumed the great deep and devoured the land. Then I said, ‘Lord God, please stop! How will Jacob survive since he is so small?’ The Lord relented concerning this. ‘This will not happen either,’ said the Lord God.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What is the point of prayer? And just what can prayer accomplish? And what does our prayers’ being answered say about God? All of these are questions raised in this deceptively challenging passage. This morning, let’s think together about what it means that God “relented” in punishing Israel here and what that means for us.

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 8:26-27

“In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

My church is enjoying the blessing of little ones right now. We have hit one of those seasons where we have several of our younger couples all having kids at about the same time. The result is the sheer delight of a number of little ones running around underfoot. This is especially true on Wednesday nights when we all gather for dinner together before our various Bible study groups. There are always at least two or three under the age of four in the room including one sweetheart who just goes around giving everybody hugs. That’s all just to make you smile. Where I’m getting to here is this: With all of these kids running around the church, I have been reminded what one of the most natural and instinctive gestures is for a little one to make. Any guesses as to what it is? Reaching up. Both arms go up over their heads as they reach out to a tall person they know and trust. It may be that they have a need they can’t meet on their own, but it may also be that they simply want to be held. Either way, reaching up is normal. As adults, we don’t make that gesture very often. At least we don’t physically. But as the nation collectively watched a potential tragedy unfold a couple of weeks ago, it seems that we haven’t forgotten how to make that gesture spiritually. Let’s talk for a minute this morning about Damar Hamlin and prayer.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 13:18-19

“Pray for us, for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, wanting to conduct ourselves honorably in everything. And I urge you all the more to pray that I may be restored to you very soon.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Why do we pray? What should we pray for? There is wisdom on this throughout the Scriptures. Here, we see a couple of things as specific examples. With only one more stop on our journey through Hebrews, this morning, let’s take a look at the author’s final prayer request and talk about prayer in our own lives.

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On Vines and Branches

This week, as we continue in our series, Plugged In, we’re talking about why staying plugged in matters at all. Knowing that and knowing why are two different things. We’ve talked about some of the thats and the hows, but the whys haven’t been so clear. In this passage, Jesus gives us three reasons staying plugged in matters so much. Check these out and thanks for reading and sharing!

On Vines and Branches

When we first moved into our house almost four years ago, it was a little like clearing a jungle. I’m not sure the bushes or trees or vines around the property had been trimmed and maintained…ever. Noah’s window looks out the second story on the side of the house over the air conditioning units. You couldn’t see out of his window the bushes were so tall. You could see the front of the house a little bit, but not much. And in the back, our property sits next to a great big field, but you wouldn’t have known it standing on the deck. You couldn’t see into the field behind us because the vines and trees were so thick and overgrown. Several of the wonderful folks here at the church came and helped us clean it up. It actually took two different days because there was so much. I believe Jim hauled off 14 total loads of brush from the yard and somebody finally just suggested we burn the rest of it. I think the remaining pile burned for about three days. It was a mess. But, with the help of this wonderful community, we got it cleaned up. Keeping up with it since has rightly fallen to us. 

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 6:9-13

“Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This week we have been talking about prayer. As Jesus was teaching His disciples and the crowds about prayer, He started with what not to do. That’s what we covered over the last couple of days. We know that prayer is not a means of self-advancement. We also know that prayer should be simple and focused, not wordy or rooted in a false idea about God. As helpful as it is to know what not to do, though, knowing what to do is even better. So then, how do we pray? Fortunately, Jesus doesn’t leave us hanging there. He moves smoothly on to tell us how to do it. Let’s take a look at the Lord’s Prayer together today.

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