Preparing Our Hearts for Worship, 07-01-2012

This Week’s Songs of Worship:

Each week, we want to give the members of Grace a chance to learn the songs we will be singing on Sunday. Please use these lists as a way to ready your heart and mind, to come willing and able to worship our God in spirit and truth.

  1. You’re Worthy of My Praise – Passion version | Listen
  2. NEW! Furious – Jeremy Riddle | Listen
  3. Only You – David Crowder (original melody)
  4. Oh Lead Me – Delirious | Listen /
    It Is Well with My Soul | Listen
  5. In Christ Alone – modified Matt Papa version | Listen

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Prayer Tip #63: Starting Over – Is it Possible?

[From Lauris Shepherd, one of our Elders]

Have you ever made such a mess of life that you’d like to start over?

If not our self, we all know someone in that mode.  The main way people try to do that is physically move (some stay on the move..), even join the Army.  Sometimes moving to a new location/situation is necessary to start fresh, but that alone will not do it.

I heard it said once, “Wherever I go, I go too; and that spoils it all.”

What is needed is a new me, a new perspective, a new way of thinking and doing things.

II Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

When  praying for things that involve people (is there anything that doesn’t?), don’t just pray for changed circumstances, pray for a changed person, a whole new life if necessary.  This particularly applies to self.

It’s called repentance.  For the not-yet-believer, it’s repentance leading to a new you – conversion to new life.  For the believer, it’s repentance leading to a new view – from God’s perspective.

For more information on the GBC Prayer Team, visit
For more information on GBC, visit

Behold His Glory

[Guest blog post by Lindsey Watson]

I’ve never been one to “claim” Bible verses, although I know it’s not unheard of to use them as mascots for Theme Years, sports seasons, political campaigns, spiritual retreats, or basically every other human endeavor.

But one verse really leapt off the page when I read it a few months ago in the course of completing some Bible study homework. And ever since then, it’s come to mind as the answer to almost every question or personal dilemma I’ve struggled with since then. It’s been so striking that I’m tempted to dub the past few months as The Spring of II Corinthians 3:18.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to another.”

Do you see it? As we look upon the Lord, we become like him. It’s so simple, but so powerful (and yet, so difficult…)!

Struggling to love others more than yourself?
Struggling to hate sin more than you love it?
Struggling to say no to temptation?
Struggling to feel and show compassion to others?
Struggling to do the good you know you ought?
Struggling to trust God through suffering?

Look at Christ.

Seeing the glory, the beauty, the completeness of the Lord brings everything into focus. When I look at him and then look at sin, it’s rightfully ugly. When I look at him and then look at my own complaints or insecurities, they’re rightfully petty. Jesus is the ultimate perspective; he’s the ultimate standard of what is really “worth it,” and there’s no problem I might encounter that could not be solved by being more like him.

I can only scratch the surface of the many ways this verse could be applied to daily life. But the most basic is to look at my day and consider how I can dwell on Christ more. What occupies my mind all day? Dirty dishes, toddler games, Chick-fil-A nuggets, e-mail responses, that running list of to-dos jotted down on the front of the fridge. But Jesus? He might get a few distracted minutes after Abby goes to bed, or a mention in that song where he “loves the little children.” But I find that usually I’m too busy putting out the fires of the urgent demands to give him much thought.

And yet…he is the one with the power I need to love those around me. He is the one with the wisdom I need as I parent. He is the one through whom God has given me “everything I need for life and godliness.” There’s no need for me to whirl through the day running on empty.

But short of checking myself into a monastery (and don’t tempt me, some days!), there’s no easy answer for how to be faithful to my daily responsibilities and still spend an adequate amount of time in spiritual thinking. Here are a few of my ideas on how to keep Christ as your companion throughout the busyness of the day; I’d love for you to add your own suggestions in the comments!

  • Listen to hymns and quality podcasts in the car or when doing housework. (Often I’m interacting with Abby during this time, but if she’s occupied with her own music or with an activity in the other room, I can listen even when my hands are busy.)
  • Look at Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter less. It’s amazing how those minutes add up!
  • If you are on Twitter, subscribe to “pastoral” tweets; even better, get them to post as alerts on your phone. Nuggets of truth can make a difference in recalibrating your thoughts throughout the day. (@John Piper, @DailyKeller, and @ScottyWardSmith are some of my favorites, but there are many, many more to choose from!)
  • Post reminders to yourself on the chalkboard over the kitchen sink, on the bathroom mirror, over those rarely-referenced gauges on your car dashboard. You can’t say much in a small space, but think of it as a little diving board for your brain, to get you thinking about something important and true. (For example: “I need Thee every hour.” “Come, thou Long-Expected Jesus!” “By His wounds we are healed.”)
  • Consider using one of those short reminders for often-used computer passwords. (Or use variations on names for Christ, for shorter options)
  • Prioritize a time in the day for focused Bible study. My best time is the 30 or so minutes immediately after I put Abby to bed. I sit at the table with my Bible before I go get on the computer, start cleaning up the kitchen, or turn on a TV show. Mornings, lunch breaks, or naptimes might be better for you…decide when is the most reliable time for you, and then stick to it!

In other words… “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

[Originally posted at]

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Prayer Tip #62: Commander of Victories

[From Lauris Shepherd, one of our Elders]

I recommend 31 Days of Power by Ruth Myers to help you pray scripture.  Here are a couple of excerpts pgs. 14-15:

Ps. 44:4 You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob.

 Thank You that prayer and praise give me constant opportunities to be on active duty in the spiritual war that surrounds us.  How glad I am, my King and my God, that through prayer I can influence You to command victories near and far – in my own life and service, in the lives of those around me, and in those laboring for You in the far corners of the earth.

I John 2:15-17 15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

 II Corinthians 12:9  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

So I take my stand in You as the One who is sovereign over all evil influences.  I count on You as a shield around me.  I stand against the works of the flesh and the enticements of the world that so easily distract me and hinder my prayers.  I choose to put off the filthy clothes of fleshly living – the selfishness, the lust, the distrust, the neglect of my privilege of prayer.  As Your chosen child, I put on the beautiful garments You’ve provided through the life of Christ in me.  I give You thanks for my weakness, and I glory in the truth that Your strength is made perfect in weakness – that out of my weakness You are making me strong.

(You can find used copies on Amazon fairly cheap.)

For more information on the GBC Prayer Team, visit
For more information on GBC, visit

Preparing Our Hearts for Worship, 06-24-2012

This Week’s Songs of Worship:

Each week, we want to give the members of Grace a chance to learn the songs we will be singing on Sunday. Please use these lists as a way to ready your heart and mind, to come willing and able to worship our God in spirit and truth.

  1. Thy Mercy – Caedmon’s Call version | Listen
  2. Greatly to be Praised – Fee | Listen
  3. From the Inside Out – Hillsong United | Listen
  4. You Alone Can Rescue – Matt Redman | Listen
  5. Mystery – Charlie Hall | Listen

For more information on Grace Bible Church, visit

Prayer Tip #61: What Should I Pray?

[From Lauris Shepherd, one of our Elders]

One approach to take in discerning what to pray, particularly for individual needs, is to consider what the natural person in me (my flesh) desires … and then consider the opposite.

Galatians 5:16-17  16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

When we experience discomfort (that can mean pain, sorrow, fear, confusion, anger, frustration, doubt, rejection, etc.) our immediate reaction is to pray for relief – “God, change that person, deliver me from these circumstances, take away this pain, fix it or get me out of here…).  Rather, ask God how He wants to change you/grow your faith/perfect His work in you/accomplish His purpose through the situation and ask Him to do it.

“In every situation of our lives – in times of obvious blessing or in times of trial, large or small – God has a purpose in mind, and so does Satan.  Basically, Satan always wants to bring about the opposite of what God has in mind.  God wants to draw us closer to Himself; Satan wants to draw us away.  God wants to strengthen our faith; Satan wants to weaken it,…  God wants to purify our character; Satan wants to corrupt it.  God wants to liberate us from worldly values; Satan wants to entangle us, to whet our appetite for the things that grieve God and dilute our passion to honor Him and please Him.   God wants to increase our love for people and our readiness to forgive offenses; Satan wants to nurture bitterness and resentment.”  – 31 Days of Power by Ruth Myers p. 9

Wait on the Lord while asking the Holy Spirit to pray through you.  And then pray.

For more information on the GBC Prayer Team, visit
For more information on GBC, visit

Prayer Tip #60: Help in the Day of Trouble

[From Lauris Shepherd, one of our Elders]

I’m sure glad that God is available to help in the day of trouble.  Tragically for many, that is the only opportunity they take to pray.

Consider Psalm 50:14-15…

14 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving And pay your vows to the Most High; 15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”

I like the promise of rescue when I call.  But look more closely at the conditions of the promise and ask yourself:

Do I offer to God sacrifices of thanksgiving in the day of trouble?  Is it with a grateful heart that I call?

Have I been keeping my vows to God in daily living such as loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength?  Meditating in His word day and night?  Delighting in keeping His commands?

Am I careful to honor Him in worship, praise, and thanksgiving with my words and actions?  Particularly giving Him glory for rescuing me out of trouble?

God’s invitation to call upon Him is repeated often in Scripture.  What a privilege to do so as sons and daughters of the Living God!  He never gets tired of hearing our call.

For more information on the GBC Prayer Team, visit
For more information on GBC, visit