Committing Afresh to Prayer

As another year commences, let me encourage you to commit yourself afresh in Christ to “rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)


And as you “pray without ceasing”, what more powerful way to pray for yourself, and your brothers and sisters in Christ than to follow the pattern of Paul’s prayers in Eph. 1:15-23 and Eph. 3:14-21?  Ask God to help you increasingly understand the meaning of all Paul is praying about in these passages, and ask Him to bring these things to pass in your life, and the lives of others, for His glory!


Very practically, I encourage you to pick a regular time each day, perhaps for 15-20 minutes, and pray through the church directory.  Additionally, our weekly prayer guide is a helpful resource for praying about your brothers and sisters at RCG, and for many people beyond RCG.


May the Lord help us all to be diligent in these matters, even as He has exhorted us to be “…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…”.  (Eph. 6:18)


Praying for you, and with you,


In the Gift of His Son

With Paul’s prayer in Eph. 3:14-21, he is asking God to powerfully enable believers to live by faith in the fullness of all He is and has given in Jesus Christ.  Paul prays with great confidence and expectation that God will do abundantly more than all that could be asked or imagined.


Through this Christmas season and beyond, please know that myself and the other elders (Smokey, Gary, Chuck, and Tim), continually pray for each of you at RCG in this way.  And we pray with the same assurance as Paul, knowing that God is faithful to all His purposes and promises in Christ.


May your joy be multiplied as you consider afresh God’s great love in the gift of His Son, and all the blessings that are yours in Him.


But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.  (Gal. 4:4-7)


Merry Christmas,


Joy at Christmas

The Christmas season is not always “the most wonderful time of the year” for many people.  To the contrary, this season can often be filled with very tragic and painful memories, or present realities.  Yet whatever our past or current circumstances may be, the “inexpressible joy” (1 Pet. 1:6-9) found in Jesus Christ is real and soul-satisfying.


I encourage you to give a listen to this 10-minute podcast from Heath Lambert,  Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors: My Personal Journey to Joy at Christmas.  Dr. Lambert’s thoughts are both convicting and helpful.


Beloved, not only does Christ call us to follow Him as our all-sufficient Shepherd (1 Pet. 2:21-25), but we have the privilege of proclaiming His excellencies to lost and hurting people all around us.  The baby born in Bethlehem is the crucified, risen, and exalted Lord and Savior!  And He speaks, even through us, these words of hope and promise for all who would hear and believe on Him:


28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Mt. 11:28-30)  


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


The privilege of prayer

“…in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”  (Eph. 3:12)


The privilege of prayer for God’s children is a privilege flowing from His adopting, redeeming love in Jesus Christ.  How unspeakable the assurance that, through faith, we have ongoing boldness and access with confidence in the presence of our heavenly Father!


Thus, far from being a formalistic, ritualistic exercise, true prayer is a joyful disposition of heart that is constantly seeking God.  F.B. Meyer, in his warm and helpful commentary on Ephesians, hits the right note:


Prayer assumes a new complexion as soon as we properly appreciate God’s Fatherliness…. The first thought of a little child in any need is Mother, Father. There is instant movement of eyes, and feet, and voice, towards the one dear source of help and comfort. And so, when we have learnt to know the Father, as revealed in Jesus, our heart will be constantly going out towards Him….Of course there will be times when we shall deliberately bow our knees unto the Father; but there will be many more when we shall have access to Him in a swift-winged thought, a tear hastily brushed away, a yearning, an [exclamation], a loving, restful glance of mutual understanding. Strange that we make so little of these wonderful opportunities of access to the Father!”  (F.B. Meyer, Ephesians: A Devotional Commentary, Kindle Loc. 68)


Oh beloved, are you living in confidence of the access our Father has given you to Himself in Christ?  Are you “constantly going out towards Him” in prayer, assured of His love and care for you in Christ?  What great, living hope we’ve been called to, and what great spiritual riches we’ve been lavished with!


Praying for you, and with you in this hope,



This past Sunday from Eph. 5:20, we considered every believer’s Holy Spirit-empowered calling of “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”.  We learned that giving thanks in this manner is ultimately a matter of FAITH.  Faith in the God who works all things together for good for His people (Rom. 8:28), the One who also works all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11).  Because God is who He is, and because He’s given all He’s given in Jesus Christ, we can indeed thank Him.  ALWAYS.  And for EVERYTHING.


This morning I received the following email from a pastor friend in another state.  As you read, you’ll quickly understand the circumstance prompting his thoughts.  Even more, I trust you’ll quickly see his faith-driven example of thankfulness, even through deep grief and tears.  And beloved, I pray you and I together will be encouraged to give thanks always and for everything all the more.  My friend entitled his thoughts simply “Without”.




Like countless other grandparents before, my wife and I waited for months anticipating the birth of our first grandson. On Monday evening Nov. 30, that wait ended with his birth – an 8lb., 3oz. strawberry blonde, blue eyed boy – born to our son and his wife. But only hours later, after the reality of a weak heart made breathing a challenge too great to meet – our grandson died. One word has pressed its way into my mind this morning:  WITHOUT.


Without taking a step, he walked into our hearts and expanded our capacity to love, and to hurt, and to hope; to feel.


Without saying a word, he drove us deep into the truth of Scripture and declared a God who knows, a God who cares, a God whose plans are not our own; plans far better than our own.


Without reaching out a hand, he touched us, and warmed us, and reminded us of the beauty and fragility of life; showing us God’s great gift.


Without a smile, he brought joy.

Without a cry, he brought tears.


In just a few hours we are certain he was without sin – but equally certain as a child of man he was not without guilt. Yet, God’s Word leads us to believe he did not die without hope. A hope that comes from the source of all hope; the reality of God’s grace afforded through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. While we are without full understanding of how; we are without doubt confident that our grandson is kept by the very grace that keeps all of us who believe in Him.


Without ever climbing, or reaching, or striving; this boy made his parents proud.

Without ever falling, or scratching, or bruising; he drove them to trust in God’s catching, God’s mending, and God’s healing most of all.


Without ever knowing it, he wrote this letter on my heart. Without crayon or paper, he scribbled truth that is timeless – it is God who gives life, numbers our days, and measures eternity.


And now you have read his letter. By that, he has walked into your life, spoken into your ears, reached out and touched you, and warmed you, and reminded you. He has, I pray, brought you some joy – and some tears. He has declared the hope of God’s amazing grace. He has urged you to rest in God’s arms, trust in God’s Son, and realize God’s promise of everlasting life.


Had he lived a hundred years it is hard to think how his life could have made more difference; all without living one full day.


God’s grace to you all – – without a doubt, without measure, without end.


Because Jesus lives, and is returning,