Pulse Podcast 008: What is the Gospel?

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Here we go, with episode 8! Neil and Bill examine some ideas and definitions of the gospel — a critical component of our Revitalize initiative. The goal here isn’t to arrive at a single, definitive statement. It’s to help us make sure that we’re thinking about the gospel in compatible terms.

New! Preview version!

See below for a preview of the podcast. We’d love it if you shared this at your church gathering, or small group where time is precious. It’s an invitation to the larger, ~20min session.

Prayer Calendar: Wordless Prayer

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Dave Acree is our Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. This is a welcome to the monthly Prayer Calendar which we publish to promote prayer throughout the EFCC family. If you would like to receive the Prayer Calendar by e-mail, you can sign up for it on this page, or you can see the latest copy here.

Who’s got your back? All of us need someone watching out for us, whatever our life circumstances. It is good to know there is someone paying attention, ready to step in and help when we are unable to handle what life is throwing at us. Sometimes friends, family, work or schoolmates, or others step up to fill that role. When it comes to prayer, they pray for us, but there are times when that is not enough.

That’s when “wordless prayer” comes into play.

Perhaps you have been involved in group prayer when an “unspoken request” is thrown into the mix. That’s when an individual asks for prayer for someone but can’t name the person or tell the specifics of the need. Perhaps they don’t have permission to ask or are afraid that stating the need might cross the line into gossip. So knowing that God knows, even though we do not, we pray a generic prayer without specific words. That’s not what we are talking about.

Have you noticed all the groaning going on in Romans 8? First, all of creation groans waiting for that time when it will be liberated from its decay and returned to the glory God intends it to have (v. 22). Then, we Christians groan waiting for God to bring us into the fullness of our salvation and to redeem these frail broken bodies of ours (v. 23). Neither we nor the creation can hardly wait!

The third groaning (vs. 26-27) is where the wordless prayer takes place. This happens when we are so overwhelmed that we are struck dumb. There are no words. We don’t know what to say, what to pray, what to ask for. We are not even sure at times what to expect from God.

That’s when the Holy Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans. What’s that? I don’t know but when we can’t, the Holy Spirit can, and takes up our prayer challenge and does it better than we could ever hope to do. He knows God’s will and prays towards that end on our behalf.

So, when it comes to prayer, who’s got your back? The Holy Spirit does. There is a strange unexplainable comfort in that.

Pulse Podcast 007: An Update from Asia

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In this episode, we chat with Mel, the EFCCM’s Asia Area Director. I think we’ve laughed at least once every episode, but this one may have made us laugh the hardest.

To subscribe to Mel’s newsletter, or connect with missionaries, get in touch with him directly: melvinsayer@yahoo.com

Pulse Podcast 006: An Update from Europe

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In this episode of the Pulse, we get a chance to talk to Daryl Porter, the EFCCM’s Europe Area Director. He shares some of the highlights and his perspectives of what’s happening in Europe, and some of the things to look forward to.

If you would like to sign up for Daryl’s e-mail list, e-mail him directly.

And if you would like to see the opportunities we have to serve internationally, visit this page.

Prayer Calendar: Authentic Prayer

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LDCatDave Acree is our Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. This is a welcome to the monthly Prayer Calendar which we publish to promote prayer throughout the EFCC family. If you would like to receive the Prayer Calendar by e-mail, you can sign up for it on this page, or you can see the latest copy here.

Why does it feel wrong when I don’t say “in Jesus name” at the end of my prayer? In thinking about that, I noticed something for the first time. I only say it in my public praying not in my private prayers. Why is that?

I know the theological reasons for adding the words to the end of a prayer. It is a way of acknowledging that it’s only through the authority of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross that we can approach God. In addition, it is a way of affirming that we believe that what we are praying is what Jesus would pray and is in line with the Father’s will.

If that’s true then why don’t I speak the words in my private praying as I do in public? Could it be that I’m “playing to the crowd” more than praying to the Father? After all, the crowd rather expects it to be there and maybe it’s just become an unneeded habit that’s hard to break!

Jesus did warn us in the Sermon on the Mount not to pray to the crowd to be rewarded or affirmed by them and to not multiply words thinking they will make God sit up and take notice.

Why such ponderings? Because they have caused me to think more deeply about the authenticity of my praying and I would like to challenge you along that line.

I’ve noticed something else about my prayers. Sometimes it seems like in the middle of praying I kind of shift into gear and really pray. I can’t explain it any better than that but it is something that I want more of. It’s a kind of prayer zone where I finally forget everything and everyone else except God and me.

I think it is something like what James tells us about Elijah in James 5:17. “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly . . . .” The text actually says that he “prayed with prayer” or “prayed in his prayer.” In the middle of his prayer, he got down to praying. I experience that too rarely. Maybe that’s true of you also.

I call us all to a greater authenticity in prayer where it matters not who is present or listening, where the world fades away and we truly talk to God.