by Marcus Herbert

We want the values of partnering, stewardship and faithfulness to be deep in our hearts. We’re going to look at these topics in 2 Timothy 1 and 2. For us to take on the bigness of what God’s called us to, where it’s going to break down is in our relationships and our misunderstanding of relationships; and too often, in the body of Christ, our abuse of relationships. But if we can sort this thing out in our great call and our common set of visions and values, we’re going to declare a future over ourselves.

2 Timothy sees Paul at the end of his ministry. He has run the race and is nearing the finish line. He realises he has been a drink poured out on the altar of God. He’s given everything and now writes to Timothy and he calls him, “My dear son.” (You can see he also uses this term of affection with Titus.) You can see a passion; a compassion and desire to want to set the next generation up for victory. That’s what it’s about – continuity and multiplication. It’s about taking on the bigness of what we’re called to together, with no misunderstanding, working our relationships out and therefore getting to do what God’s called us to do.

But we also see something tragic in this passage of scripture – two men who bombed. A whole region deserts Paul and he uses one man, Onesiphorus, to show us what it means to be faithful. In our partnering, there’s a heart of faithfulness that God looks for.

With all this in mind, let’s start to look at the passage:

2 Timothy 1: 1, 2

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

2 To Timothy, my dear son:

“My dear son.” How many of you have wished for that? I have. My past experiences with family have been restored in my relationship with God, but there’s still one thing I’ve always longed for and that is for someone to write to me and say, “My dear son.” There’s not enough of that in the body of Christ. We don’t connect in a healthy, relational way today – but rather we connect to websites, to teachings, to philosophies and a whole lot of pseudo-nonsense. Yet God has designed it that we connect in proper relationships and in partnering and connecting we take on what he has for us.

There are too many orphaned churches and too many orphaned individuals in churches. We can be in great big local churches which have a good heart, but we’ve got to choose to be sons and daughters. It’s not that I must come to you and ask, “Will you be my son?” No, I have a heavenly Father and choose to be a son or daughter in this house.

You can see that Paul knew Timothy intimately. He knew he was a nervous and timid guy and said to him, “Have a little wine for your stomach’s sake.” (1 Timothy 5:23.) He knew details of Timothy’s life. It’s wonderful; I love it. This is the depth of relationship that God calls us to. I don’t mean that we camp in each others’ houses all the time, but I’m saying we work out these relationships properly. You know why? The relationship is not the goal, it’s the partnership we’re after – it’s about what God has called us to do together.

Put aside that attitude of yours and work on your heart for the sake of the call of God. That’s partnership. We’ve got great horizons in God – enormous things he’s called us to do. We can’t do it alone, those days are over. The days of one man and his ministry and his TV channel, heading off to his preferred future, are over. It’s now the days of a nameless, faceless army of God – the biggest army of God rising, with the priesthood of all believers working together, with a healthy understanding of leadership in the whole process. See, local church is still God’s vehicle that he is using in the world today.

Let’s continue with the passage of scripture:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

Can you feel the encouragement there? Wouldn’t you like that? Someone remembering you in their prayers, night and day? That’s partnering. That’s not me and my mission, that’s not me doing my thing. This wasn’t a one-way thing where Timothy said, “I’d love to be on your team, Paul. People recommended it when you came to my home town and said I can trust you.” It was the other way as well – there was a genuine concern with Paul for Timothy. Paul had the heart of the Father, wanting to see his sons rise; it’s not just about the son making the father look good. Rather, he’s praying for this man.

Let’s continue to look at this passage:

4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.

There’s the clear call of God today – joining in suffering for the sake of this Gospel. Not a Gospel preached for our comfort or some kind of personal gain, but a Gospel we’re willing to die for. I love it – Paul calling this young man to lay his life down for this Gospel. And incidentally, history tells us that later on there was a riot in the streets of Ephesus while people were parading their idols. Timothy ran out to protest and call them to the one true God and they clubbed him to death. So this man did lay down his life for the sake of preaching the Word.

Now, from verse 9:

9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Now Paul comes to his practical lesson, his illustration in verse 15:

15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.

If you’re thinking of baby names, don’t use these! These names mean “uselessness”. How would you like to meet them in heaven? They have one verse about them – they deserted Paul.

But here’s a good name for a boy:

16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.

When you read about this man and how he partnered with Paul, call your son Onesiphorus. Decide in your heart to call yourself Onesiphorus. Paul says that he “often refreshed” him. How’s that? I love it. When you think of those you’re in a team with, think of this: we refresh each other. That’s partnering! This is joy! Not vying for position!

17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.

This man searched hard for Paul when he was in prison. I’ve been to old Rome and I’ve seen Paul’s prison. In those days, the prison was on street level – they used to sweep up the dirt or any mess on the streets into the prisons. If you went to visit a prisoner like that they sometimes wouldn’t let you out for weeks or even months, because you were associating with a criminal and maybe you were also bad news. But Onesiphorus didn’t mind the shame of that.

Followership is “Come follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1.) We have very shallow values when it comes to that. But this man was not afraid – he went and found Paul and served him in Ephesus in many ways.

2 Timothy 2: 1 – 2

1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people [ESV says ‘faithful’ people.] who will also be qualified [or able or fit] to teach others.”

This is the key text – it’s about faithfulness and followership; about building. So let’s back up and remember the context of this lesson – first we see two men deserted Paul but then we see how Onesiphorus was faithful. Paul is trying to give Timothy some practical handles on what it means to partner.

In our context, how are we going to go forward with what God has called us to do? Faithfulness. Reliability. These are good qualities. They’re not old fashioned; they’re not last season! These are what God is looking for today – flesh and blood relationships that develop into partnerships and are built on faithfulness.

Let’s read on:

3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. [Here we see more about faithfulness] 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Paul is teaching his dear son about faithfulness and how he can build for the future. Paul’s a real father. He’s isn’t only interested in what’s happening now but looking to the future. And after he has finished with his lesson he says to Timothy that he should reflect on this and the Lord will provide insight. In other words, if there are heart attitudes that need to change, change them, for the sake of the future together.

We need to take this to heart. Too often the very thing God has called us to never happens because we have a break-down in our relationships. In the process of some of our transitions, nations were dropped. Doors into them were closed and those there were crying out, “When are we going to see you guys again?” What was that about? Relationships. No understanding, very little understanding, or shallow understanding of reliability. See, reliability is a quality God’s looking for.

Remember this lesson was written under the inspiration of the Spirit – it’s a revelation of God and through it God is teaching us about partnering. It’s not a complicated lesson. There’s one Paul and he has raised up many spiritual sons. We know he stayed in Ephesus for three years and he taught and preached the Gospel and the whole region was impacted through it. As we unpack that and mix it with a bit of church history, we know that he trained up men and women – apparently about seven, including Onesiphorus and Timothy – and he sent them out to plant churches. So Paul poured his heart into faithful men and women. He had a team that he worked with and there was a great relationship – it was intimate and he had a good knowledge of what was going on in their lives.

But did they see each other every day? No, they travelled once or twice on trips and thereafter he sent them to different regions and cities. So, with this background, we see here that his instruction to Timothy was that he spends his time with faithful men and women. See, don’t just pour yourself into anything. God is going to give you insight, not only to preach the messages that raise the crowd up, but he’s going to give you insight into who they are.

So we see the lesson – Timothy must entrust the message to reliable people, who in turn will do the same with others. There will be others. This father, Paul, is looking three generations down. Too many of us are only interested in “making it” for ourselves. But the only way we’re going to get to our futures is to partner. We need to have the right attitude, else we won’t make it. So we look to be reliable and faithful and then we won’t drop the baton.

We’ve seen over and over how the second or third generation see the baton drop and then we have to rediscover all over again what we’ve been called to. It’s reliability that enables us to hand it on. So Paul hands the baton over to Timothy who must then hand it over to others.

What is the baton? Dudley Daniel’s manuals? Tyrone’s manuals? Cornerstone’s foundation manual? No! It’s the Gospel – the King and the Kingdom. There weren’t any extra things added here. It’s simply the Gospel.

Notice that there is multiplication in this passage. I am trusting God, in our partnering together, that we’re going to see thousands saved at a time and God adding to our number daily. But we won’t see that unless we work on the background stuff – it’s the relationships that hold it together.

God needs more of us who are looking down the generation line and have a passion to see them rise – we may not even know who they are. Paul said he prayed daily for Timothy and he was setting him up.

Many people say, “Well at least Timothy had trustworthy men and women.” Or they might say, “It’s okay for you to say this in your churches – you’ve got trustworthy men and women.” But you know why Paul had trustworthy men and women? Because he was trustworthy. I will breed what I am. You can say what you want and preach what you want, but trustworthiness is something people will catch and if you don’t have it they won’t catch it.

Here are several areas that we need to be faithful in if we want to partner together well and move forward in what God has for us:

1. Faithful to God (1 Timothy: 1 – 5)

We have no future outside of our relationship with God. We constantly need to come back to being faithful to the King in everything. We need to look for his approval in our serving. We don’t serve looking for others’ approval. We live in the shadow of his grace. We need to be devoted, like was see in Acts 2:42 where it says the people devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer. It’s out of our faithfulness to the King that we’ll have the ability to do the rest.

2. Faithful to each other – our relationships (1 Timothy: 3 – 5)

Paul called Timothy his son but also his brother and faithful worker. Timothy was a partner. This had nothing to do with, “Who’s your daddy?” where the church gets divided up according to who it is you’re tucked under. That’s nonsense! We’re talking about a heart here.

Believe it or not there is a competition going on at the moment where we measure our success on how many downloads we have on our website, and so on. No, I’ll measure my success by my buddies and if we can make it through the storms. Can we make it through that fourth watch of Alan’s without killing one another on the boat? Saying to one guy, “Well, this was your idea,” and chucking him out the boat?

No, we hang in there through it. We do not relate to NCMI – we relate to the people in NCMI. It’s about relationships. The only reason why NCMI is registered is so that we can operate legally in countries. Can you name a Paul or a Timothy that you’re connected to? God is looking for us to be connected.

3. Faithful with the gift / deposit from God (1 Timothy: 6,7)

Every single one of us has a deposit of grace and we’re called to be faithful with it. Have you wrapped up your talent and hidden it away? This season is not about one man on a platform and the rest sitting there and being a good audience. It’s all of us together using our gift. That’s partnership.

4. Faithful with the Gospel (1 Timothy: 8 – 12)

We’ve got to take ownership of this. It’s my salvation, my conduct, my message. There’s no other message but the Gospel. It’s the power of God; the grace of God; it’s the calling to a holy life – we have our ministry identity in and through the Gospel. Paul could say that he was appointed as a herald, apostle and teacher of the Gospel. And I thank God for that. And then ultimately we’ll be called to pay a price for the sake of this Gospel.

5. Faithful to what God has put in us through discipleship

This is where one of the true tests of faithfulness comes in. Paul basically says to Timothy, “Guard the good deposit that I put in you, that I taught you. I spent years of connecting and teaching and raising you up.”

Too many sons just gap it. Like the prodigal, they say: “Let me go and grab my slice of the pie, if you don’t mind.”

No, we’re called to be faithful. If everything here that’s been said about partnering and faithfulness and passing down the baton to reliable people is not of God, then get out of it. But if it is then you are a steward and will be held responsible for your stewardship (1 Corinthans 4:2). You’ve been given a deposit and you need to be faithful with it.


Honesty is what God has called us to and it’s how we partner. We can challenge each other in love. We can work out these relationships in a robust way, where iron sharpens iron.

I’d love our relationships to be defined by a refreshing, not shame, where we’re searching hard for each other and serving each other. Then, as we’ve seen in 2 Timothy 2:2, we replicate this faithfulness.

A simple challenge

Every single one of us is not called to go from a Paul and then let things drop with a Timothy. God, as he looks at you, is looking down the line at that fourth generation and he wants them raised up full of fire, so that we can take on the bigness of what we’re called to. And he wants to multiply, everywhere, everything he is about. If he is in it, it will grow.

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A Culture of Invitation (JHB City Celebration)

TITLE: A Culture of Invitation
PREACHER: Tyrone Daniel
DATE: 9 MAY 2013 – JHB City Celebration

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Read the transcript of this message here.

Photos from All Sites Celebration with Keir Tayler

We had a great time at our All Sites Celebration with Keir Tayler last night. Baptisms, salvations, joy and the presence of God in such a wonderfully tangible way.

Keir spoke about the reality of hell and the reality of choice. We need to make a choice – do we believe in Jesus or not? If we choose not to, there are consequences that include judgement and hell. This is a big part of our message to the world and an important reminder of the urgency of the Gospel message.

You can follow our Twitter feed and scroll back to get some live-tweeting of the event and get an idea on what was preached. Even better, download the message here.

We’ve posted some photos at our Facebook page. Check them out here.

Hell No

TITLE: Hell No
PREACHER: Keir Tayler
DATE: 26 MAY 2013 – Sunday PM

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Kingdom Culture: Finances Part Two

TITLE: Kingdom Culture: Finances Part Two
PREACHER: Marcus Herbert
DATE: 26 MAY 2013 – Sunday AM

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TITLE: Faith
PREACHER: Keir Tayler
DATE: 19 MAY 2013 – Sunday PM

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Pamela Zucchi’s Celebration Service – 23 May

Pamela Zucchi’s Celebration Service

I’m overwhelmed by all the wonderful messages of love and support concerning the loss of my lovely mom, Pamela Zucchi! Thank you so much.

Goodbye to a brave soul, our beautiful mom who remained strong and dignified to the end. Gone to be with our Heavenly Father May 20th, 12:30am (same day as my dad’s birthday would have been). We know she is already flying with the angels and will fulfil her desire to join in the heavenly choirs. So glad the fight is over for her but so shocked at how fast this all happened.

‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55 NIV UK)

We will be having her Celebration Service (she did not want a mournful memorial!) at Cornerstone Church Bedfordview at 2pm this Thursday, 23rd May.

For a map to Cornerstone Church Bedfordview, click here.

– Ian


Kingdom Culture: Finances Part One

TITLE: Kingdom Culture: Finances Part One
PREACHER: Marcus Herbert
DATE: 19 MAY 2013 – Sunday AM

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Please Pray

by Shaun Mackay

I take nothing for granted and I don’t know where you’re at as I present two small words as the title of this message – a simple title but one that is difficult to live by – Please Pray.

Have you ever wondered what it was like for Jesus to pray the whole night? What was going on there? Was it like one of our church prayer meetings? What was he saying? Did he say one word over and over again? It doesn’t seem as if he prayed in tongues. What was happening when Jesus stood at a tomb and said only one sentence: “Lazarus, come out!”

And before that he reveals something else. He prays, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” Then, “Lazarus, come out!” and Lazarus comes out. What was going on there?

I wonder what your prayer life is like. What happens when you stand to pray for someone? Are you concerned with your words? Worried about prayer? I wonder what it was like for Jesus – getting up early in the morning; praying the whole night. Have you prayed the whole night? I wonder how many can last for an hour – most of us pray for five minutes and it feels like an hour. (There are those seldom occasions when one hour feels like five minutes.) Although we all know that prayer is an essential part of the Christian life.

Jesus teaches some foundations in Matthew 6. I take nothing for granted – I don’t know how easy or difficult it is for you to pray. I just want to encourage you to do it for the rest of your life. And to grow in it and deepen in it and see God take you where you and all of us need to go, with prayer intact and happening.

Jesus says in Matthew 6: 4b:

“…and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

 He’s busy talking about the secret life, the things we do that no one sees. Then he says:

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

 Then possibly his most profound statement here:

8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this…

 There are two things I notice here and three ways of praying I’d like to touch on:

1) The unseen things in the Christian life carry a lot of weight

When you listen to yourself pray it tests you to your core. I listen to the prayer requests people have and mostly it’s practical needs. There’s nothing wrong with that. But not once have I ever had anyone ask me to pray that they would be able to pray. In my ten years of ministry I’ve had four people ask me to pray that they would be able to reach the lost.

I’ve prayed for a thousand jobs and that’s okay. But the deep, hidden, spiritual things of the Christian life – it seems those things don’t matter so much these days. Wrestling with the depths of God in prayer is what’s on offer here – the deep Christian life, the satisfaction of God, the knowledge that you and God are working together; living with God, experiencing him. This is all on offer.

2) God offers reward

In parenting, I wonder if you’ve heard this idea that we shouldn’t manipulate or coerce our kids with some kind of reward. So don’t offer them sweets for good behaviour. Don’t say to them, “If you do this, I will…” But have you noticed what God does here? The Father says, “If you come and you pray, I’ll reward you.”

So badly does God want us to talk with him that he says, “If you do this, I’ll give you something for it. If you come and you sit with me and spend time with me; if you come and talk with me; I’ll give you something for it.”

I think mostly he’ll give us himself. The deep things of the Christian life are on offer here. He’ll give us a sense of knowing that he is there and a real, personal knowledge of who he is and we’ll grow deeper in this knowledge of him. But so badly does he want this from us that he’ll reward us for it. Isn’t that a motivation? What a great motivation.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of J. John – he is a well known British preacher. He went to India and spoke to a lady there with a well known gift of the Word of Knowledge. He asked her to tell him whatever God says to her. She replied, “I have one thing to say to you. God enjoys that you spend one hour a day with him. He’d really like two.”

It didn’t hit him at that moment. But he says that his life has never been the same since. Everything has been different since then.

Getting this right

So how do we get this thing of prayer right? Not everyone finds it easy. We have ups and downs in it. But we can see in this passage that Jesus teaches us, at first, to consider very carefully who it is we’re talking with.

There are so many balances when it comes to the Lord. At times you’ll be speaking to the sovereign One who is in control of everything. And when you approach him he listens. At times you’ll be speaking to the One who is tender, with whom you can share everything on your heart – you can say to him whatever you want.

But consider who you’re talking with. If I really knew that God is actually who he says he is, I’d speak to him differently, I’d trust him differently, and I’d speak to him way more often. If I knew he really cared; if I knew he was really powerful; I’d go and talk to him. I’d consult less other voices. I would go straight there and I’d wrestle it out with him, knowing he is listening, ready to act.

Think of Psalm 18. God hears a cry and the Scriptures don’t just say, “God answered” but instead give us phenomenal picture language – he tore the heavens open; he took a burning arrow and shot it down. All to answer what was being asked. Wow. I’d ask him a few more things if I knew that would happen.

Jesus teaches in this scripture two good ways not to pray and one good way to pray. Let’s look at these:

1. In verse 5 we see prayer that is concerned with prayer

5 ‘And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.

Our world is obviously different these days. No one stands on a street corner to pray while people listen! But what he’s teaching us is there is prayer that is concerned with prayer. We’ve all done that. And we feel the pain of it and it demoralises us. It’s when you’re worried about your words. It’s when you’re very concerned with your sentences and how they’re flowing and whether it’s all sounding good.

The teaching is so simple that sometimes we miss it. He says we should not be overly concerned with language. Jesus is saying we must simply talk to our Father. Fair enough, he’s not your average friend – he’s not your your ‘bru’. But he’s also not the Queen. You just talk to him. You just act naturally. You say what you want to say.

I wonder if you sometimes take examples of prayer from too many preaching prayers? Have you heard those? I’ve heard so many. I wonder if people are talking to God or trying to tell me something, trying to teach me something. “Please would you just pray” is my question. I wonder if you don’t have the spiritual language that seems to be required? I don’t have a clue where you are in your walk with God, but I want to encourage you to just pray nevertheless.

Sometimes we believe there are special mantras. Have you noticed this? It doesn’t really matter what you say, as long as you finish the prayer with, “in Jesus’ name”.

I’m not joking, but it seems as though some people tend to believe that this phrase carries the most power. But that’s not the idea of praying in Jesus’ name. The idea is that you pray in the name of our saviour, this redeemer, this Jesus, who comes to rescue and says, “You can now talk to the Father and I’ll take your prayers, just as you are, and you say it the way you want to say it, as best you can, and you just talk. And while you’re praying, at some point you realise, I’m the one who’s authorising your prayers and you’re praying in my name as if the Father is listening to me.” It’s as though you’re standing there with Jesus, and the Father is willing to listen to you just as he would his Son, and there you are, praying, talking in simple language.

Sometimes prayer is too concerned with prayer. Is my hand in the right place? Am I saying the right thing? I’ve said ‘be healed!’ four times instead of three, so now I don’t know if it’s going to work.

There are lots of problems we have that puts us off. But Jesus says we must get away from formulas. Please just pray.

2. Then there is prayer that’s concerned with self

Jesus says in verse 7, “Do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” I wonder if you spend time talking with the Lord and you just feel as though you shouldn’t be there, that you don’t have a right to be heard? It’s dirty conscience prayer; anxious prayer. God will have to help us with that. He’ll have to clear our consciences and tell us that we’re able to come and talk with him.

Sometimes we also indulge in impersonal prayer. We go into a prayer mode, we blurt it out and get it over with and then afterwards ask, “Who was I talking to right there?” Or we think, “Wow, that was a really good prayer.”

Or sometimes we’re very worried while we’re praying and we want to know how we can get God to answer. We think, “I don’t know how to get him to listen to me. Maybe if I cry, or maybe I’m supposed to shout now – yes, if I shout, I’ve seen other people say that that works… Or maybe if I go on my knees God will hear and see I’m serious.” It’s all this prayer that’s concerned with self. We’re asking, “What do I have to do to get this God to listen to me?” If that goes on for longer than a week you get very discouraged. Please push through it. Please pray.

3. Then there’s prayer that’s concerned with the Father

Jesus says you shut the door, you bring all your faculties together, and now you talk with your Father. Concentrate on who it is you’re talking with. Weigh your words carefully with him. It says in Ecclesiastes 5 that we should make one thing clear: God is in heaven, we’re on earth. Sometimes, a few words are enough.

“Lazarus, come out!” I want to pray a prayer like that one day. I so badly want to say those three words to someone. I’ve prayed for two people who were dead, neither of them were raised, and I was stuck in prayer worried with self and prayer worried with prayer. They didn’t get raised from the dead. I’m working on this one. Will you join me?

This is my last thought on talking with the Father: Most Christians have the biggest battle with prayer because they believe that God orders the world. And they’re right. They believe that God will do what he wants to do. And they’re right. They believe that even when you make your own plans, God will work it out his way. And they’re right. So their question is, “Why on earth should I pray?”

I’ll give you one hint that will bring these things together: God will do what he wills to do but what he will do is, along the way, reveal to you what he wants to do and he just wants to hear you ask for those things.

So the day that something is burning on your heart and you can’t stop praying because you so badly want this thing to happen – you’re trusting that God will work this thing out – the very reason you’re so desperate to ask is he wants to hear you ask. He wants to do it anyway. So no need to be worried, you just ask him. What’s on your heart? You ask. You go, you question, you trust, you talk, you be yourself, you bring him your language. Maybe the thing you want to happen so badly is the very thing he is going to do, it’s the thing he wants to do. So ask.

Romans 8 highlights one weakness in prayer. Sometimes we won’t know exactly what to ask. And that’s where you and I have to go deeper. What are we to ask? What does God need in this situation? The minute you ask the right thing he does it. That’s why we see that all of Jesus’ prayers were answered. He asked the right thing at the right time and God did exactly what he wanted to.

I want to encourage you to pray and continue in this. You may consider it infantile. I don’t at all. I know too many pastors who can’t pray for more than two minutes in a week. I know too many people who struggle with prayer. Please continue in prayer. Please will you pray.

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Ministering with the Holy Spirit

TITLE: Ministering with the Holy Spirit
PREACHER: Paul Firth
DATE: 12 MAY 2013 – Sunday PM

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