Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ephesians 3:16-17 :: REWRITE

The following is an expanded re-write of Ephesians 3:16-17.

 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
–Ephesians 3:16-17 NIV

I pray that the very core of your heart, the executive center of your being, the citadel of your soul, will be fortified and strengthened by the endless power of God’s Spirit. May you be built up, not according to your lack, but His boundless supply. The purpose of such strengthening isn’t for your own honor, making a name for yourself, or even expanding your own kingdom. On the contrary, this infusing of God’s power is that you may, more and more, live out your life as if Christ were living His life through you. Don’t be content with Christ’s provision of an eternal destiny. But, implore Him to be your traveling companion throughout this journey called life.

Don’t just tidy up your soul the way you’d clean your house prior to a visit from an out-of-town guest. Yard mowed. Bushes manicured. Landry put away. Yet, all the while, the closets are a mess, and so will be the rest of the house, once they depart. No, invite Christ in. Give Him refrigerator rights. Grant Him keys to the closets and access to the attic. Don’t stop there, go ahead, turn over the title and move into the guest room yourself. Let Him run the affairs of your home and all of your comings and goings…

Friday, May 17, 2013

Paul's Ephesian Prayer :: Remixed

The following is a rewrite of Paul's prayer found in Ephesians 1:15-23.

Because God has chose you, predestined you, accepted you, redeemed you, forgiven your sins, lavished you with his grace, shown you his will, marked you with the Holy Spirit and given you an eternal inheritance that you can partake of in the here and now, I have not stopped giving thanks for you. Day and night I’m praying for you! I keep asking God, over and over, to give you in abundance the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. The Spirit that causes you to come alive with an awareness to God and His present-nearness, even in the most mundane moments of life. In all the arenas of your life, may you know God better. May your relationship with Him continue to move from the theoretical and abstract to the practical expressions of love and faith in action. May this experiential knowledge of God transform you from the inside out and cause you to walk in complete freedom with-Him.

Like the shutter of a camera that opens to let light in so that an image can be captured, I pray that the eyes of your heart will be opened, so that the image of who God created you to be, will be etched and developed deep in the core of your being. May every skewed image of this world that rises up to distort your true identity in Christ be exposed for what it is, a mirage - an illusion.

May you be consumed with the hope to which you have been called. All these truths that declare who you are in Christ, may they begin to cause you to see everything from His perspective (God, yourself, others and the world in which you live). May you be so infiltrated by the reality of God’s promises that you will never again settle for empty, stale or aimless living.

May you come to understand not only who you are in Christ, but how Christ Himself sees you. You are His treasured possession, a precious jewel, the very one who He suffered and died for to reconcile back to Himself.
May you know that you are no longer under the tyranny of sin, nor the power of Satan. No longer are you to be spellbound by the enchantments of this world or imprisoned by the fads and labels of this present age.
For the same dynamic force that God exercised to shatter the dominion of death, raising Christ from the grave is at work within you who believe. May you live in the sphere of His kingdom here and now…

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Paul's Colossian Prayer :: Remixed

The New Testament letter's penned by the Apostle Paul contain instruction and doctrine, but they are also very personal. In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul writes, "we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."

Paul saw prayer as a significant element of the on-going transformation within the life of those he discipled. Not only their prayers, but the prayers he prayed for them. In nearly every letter we have by Paul, he makes note that he has been praying continuously for them. In a few places Paul even gives us a glimpse into not only the constancy of his prayers, but the content as well. There's much we can learn about prayer from simply reflecting on they types of things Paul prayed. The past couple of weeks in New Community, we've been reflecting on Paul's prayers. 

I've encouraged  everyone to take the passages/prayers that we're studying and commit to pray them throughout the week for: 

  • themselves/immediate family, 
  • someone they are close to, and 
  • someone they have a hard time being around (but must interacte with on a regular basis). 
In addition to studying and reflecting on Paul's prayers as they are written, each week, I've offered a rewrite of the passage. A remix, if you will, of the passage, what it means and how we could practically pray it for ourselves and others.

The following is the rewrite for Colossians 1:9-14.

God I pray that you grant unto me an experiential encounter with Your truth – the knowledge of Your will. Renovate my mind and establish the blueprints to Your kingdom deep within my heart. God, help me to see things from Your perspective. Everything, from who I am to what I do. Invade every sphere of my life – private to public. May I live as if You were living through me. I pray the very minute details of my life will bring an unending smile to Your face.

God, more and more, let me learn how to keep in step with Your Spirit in every part of my life. As I follow Your leading, the way You want things to be done, may my life be marked by the out-flowing of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Father, expand the horizon of my vision, until I see Your present-activity in virtually every arena of my life. Strengthen me with the power of Your Spirit. As I’m empowered according to Your might, may I not bow down as a despondent coward in the face of adversity and difficult circumstances. No, in the power of Your might, may I find the wherewithal to stand and not give up. When I’m mistreated and in the midst of difficult people, may I be slow to anger and respond to others with love and grace.

Finally, I desire to be a wellspring of joy, giving thanks to you at every occasion. May I not get bogged down with the snares of this world to the point of my joy becoming strangled and my heart diminishing into decadence of complaining. May I never lose sight of the reality that I was once aimlessly wandering in sin, shrouded by death and held captive under the dominion of darkness. Not so any longer! I have been rescued out of darkness, snatched out of death and transferred into the kingdom of the Son of Your delight. I have been chosen, forgiven and redeemed because of Your never-ending love.