Recently I was reading the first part of the book of Ephesians, and I was struck by the use of the word ‘in’ - have you noticed it before? I would encourage you to grab your Bible or a Bible app and take a minute to check it out.
The word 'in' is just a small word but it is amazing how it reminds us and reassures us.
In Ephesians 2, Paul reminds the believers that in their trespasses they were dead. Separated from Christ, without hope and without God. Remember, he says, because you were inside a life of sin you were outside of a relationship with the Heavenly Father.
But Paul also uses the word in to reassure us. Paul says to the Ephesians, “But now in Christ Jesus we who once were far off have been brought near” (Ephesians 2:13). As believers we are in Christ Jesus, and being in Christ is a pretty amazing place to be! Look at what Ephesians 1 says about being in Christ:
In him, we were chosen
In love, we were predestined for adoption
In him, we have redemption through his blood
In him, we have forgiveness of our sins
In him, we are lavished with grace
In him, we can know the mystery of God’s will
In him, we have an inheritance
In him, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit
In him, the Holy Spirit is our guarantee of inheritance, to the praise of God’s glory
In our sin we were cut off and shut out, lost forever. But now in Christ we can enjoy a loving and right relationship with God the Father.
I’m so thankful for the small word in. Are you?
Director of Administration, Communications & Frontline Ministry
“Aaron, there is a fine line between pastoral manipulation and motivation, make sure you stay on the motivation side and leave the other side to God.”
As a young pastor, these words were drilled into my head by my mentor. It was a truth that was to be lived at every turn when it came to pointing people to Jesus. When you think about it, using guilt to get someone to do something is always the easy means. We can get anyone do to anything if we guilt them into doing it but then we motivate them to grow in Christ, then Christ does the work and produces results that only the Holy Spirit can do.
All this to say, whenever we talk about prayer and our need to reengage in the practice, it’s super easy to dive into the guilt/manipulation world. It’s really easy to bring the hammer to feel the sting that we don’t pray like we should and that we could always resolve to do better.
I want us to understand that this is not the tactic that we are going to take when we talk about prayer this month. God wants us to do better than guilt; He wants us to come to Him because our hearts are inclined to Him. He invites us to come. My task as your pastor is to motivate us all to see the beauty that exists in communication with God. Not for what He will do for us but for what He wants to do in and through us.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
How’s that for motivation? The writer of Hebrews motivates us to see the confidence that we can have in coming into God’s presence in prayer! Building on this, starting January 14, we want to spend four weeks motivating and encouraging us in the area prayer in our church.
Prayer is integral to the of the life of our church. If we want God to move in power in our lives and in our church then it has to begin with prayer. To supplement the weekly preaching and worship ministries on Sunday, some of events that we are looking forward to are:
- A 24-hour prayer day (1 hour shifts/signup)
- Encouraging weekly prayer huddles across our region
- Evening concert of prayer & worship
- Daily encouragement prayer emails over the series
- List of requests
- A social media campaign (#thechurchthatpraystogether)
- Using the PrayerMate App as a tool to help us
No matter where you are in your prayer life, it’s our vision to take the next step in growing in our discipleship at Calvary. I am looking forward to the journey. I know you will also. I think 2018, by God’s grace could be our best year yet! Let’s come together in prayer in see what God does in our lives and in the life of our church.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” 1 Timothy 2:1
Pastor Aaron Groat
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