How do you pray for the young man who date-raped your daughter?  How do you pray for the terrorist?  How do you pray for the kids at school who are pressuring your son to try drugs?  How do you pray for the uncle who is abusing you?  How do you pray for those unreached people who tortured and killed your missionary husband?  How do you pray for government officials who authorize the persecution of Christians?  When you suffer evil, how do you pray? Read the rest of this entry »

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“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

– Jesus | John 14:27

Heavenly Father, our hearts are troubled and we are afraid.  Please grant peace to Boston and to us all.  We turn to you in the name of your Son, who was killed and rose again.  Amen.  

Evangelistic Prayer

September 20, 2012

It is no small thing that the apostle Paul, uber church planter, would ask the churches to pray for his effectiveness in spreading the gospel.  I never had a course in logic, but I figure if Paul needed the Spirit’s help, then we do too.

Below are Paul’s evangelistic requests, summarized in four key words.  We can’t go wrong adopting his requests as our own.  We should pray for:

OPPORTUNITY

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ. (Col 4:3)

CLARITY

[Pray] that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
(Col 4:4)

BRAVERY

[Pray] that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel. (Eph 6:19)

RECEPTIVITY

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you. (2 Thess 3:1)

Father, please open a door for me to speak of Christ today.  And when that door opens, give me the boldness to walk through it and the ability to make the gospel clear.  Finally, grant a receptive heart in the hearer so that your word may be honored through repentance and faith.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Why does the apostle Paul tell a church full of men and women to “act like men” (1 Cor 16:13 ESV)?  We could press modern feminism onto the text and charge Paul with chauvinism.  Or we could learn to think more biblically.  I think there are three answers to why Paul would tell both male and female believers to “act like men.”

First, it is unlikely that women would have heard this very masculine term as excluding them.  The word “act like men” functions much like the word “brothers” two verses later, which includes believers of both genders.  Paul wasn’t thinking only of Bill and Bob and Bubba when he issued this command.  He had in mind Betty, Barbara, and Bobbie Sue too.

Second, the word for “act like men” in the Greek Old Testament is consistently translated as be courageous.  Moses exhorted Israel to be courageous upon entering the land (Deut 31:6); the Lord exhorted Joshua to be courageous in leading the people (Josh 1:9); David exhorted Solomon to be courageous in building the temple (1 Chr 28:20).  Whether male or female, living as a faithful Christian requires courage.  The battle lines may be drawn in different places for women than for men, but regular displays of courage in the cause of Christ are no less necessary.  In this sense all believers are to “act like men.”  As a pastor, I have seen men who could learn a few things from the women in this regard.

Third, the church at Corinth was a mess.  Factions, boasting, sexual immorality, lawsuits, doctrinal compromise — you name it, they did it.  Here was a congregation filled with spiritual “infants” (3:1) who had not yet given up their “childish ways” (13:11).  Can you imagine a more fitting conclusion than for Paul to challenge this group to “act like men”?  Like an earnest father Paul is grabbing this church by the shoulders, looking them square in the eye, and telling them that it’s time to grow up.  To show courage in the gospel.  To act like men rather than kids.  Truly this message is for all believers, men and women alike.  We must all grow up into maturity in Christ.

Paul was no chauvinist.  His choice of a manly term was to convey a strong call for gospel courage and maturity.  “Act like men” is a call to be heeded just as much by the women of the church as by the men.  The call is for you, Christian, whether you are a husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, widower or widow, unmarried male or female.  The call to “act like men” is for us all.

Through obedient faith in THE MAN, Christ Jesus, let us answer the call.

I want to propose that glossolalia should be defined as a vocalization pattern, a speech automatism, that is produced on the substratum of hyperarousal dissociation, reflecting directly, in its segmental and suprasegmental structure, neurophysiologic processes present in this mental state.

Let me interpret: hahahahaha.

The above quotation is cited by D. A. Carson in Showing the Spirit (page 184) merely as an example of physiological explanations of tongues-speaking.  Don’t be scared.  The rest of Carson’s book is not only intelligible but immensely helpful in sorting out 1 Corinthians 12-14.  Regardless of one’s position on the continuation of the so-called charismatic gifts, Carson’s book provides solid argumentation that deserves a hearing.

But that quote.  Man, that quote is really something.