- Have you ever prayed for something and felt like God did NOT answer?
- Have you ever known anyone who was utterly let down by the outcome of a situation, even though they had prayed earnestly for a different result?
- Have you ever felt disappointed in your prayer life?
- Have you ever felt like God let you down, but the truth is you keep those feelings buried deep within?
- Have you ever felt like God did not answer your prayer(s)?
My Dear Saints of newhope,
Ahhhh – it was so incredible to be back in the saddle of newhope last weekend! I have so missed our church family and teaching the Word!
I have some very exciting news to share! For the third consecutive year, we are being listed in the reputable Outreach Magazine as one of the fastest-growing churches in America! Three years ago, we were the 10th fastest growing church, last year, we were something like 39th fastest growing church.
And this year, we are actually highlighted as the 5th fastest-growing church, with the 2nd fastest growing church in terms of percentage gains, and we were included in the magazine with two separate articles specifically about this movement to Reach, Teach, and Release throughout central, NC! How cool is that?! It all makes me a little uneasy because I fully understand, as I shared on Sunday, that this kind of stuff makes the Enemy mad! Also, just for the record, I have to make it crystal clear that we give God all the glory and honor for this recognition and pray His work continues in and through us so that JESUS becomes the famous One throughout central, NC and beyond!
This Sunday, we begin our brand new fall series titled, The Circle Maker! I have three questions for you:
1. Who are you bringing with you on Sunday? Remember from last Sunday, to have an intimate relationship with Christ, we have to care about the things for which he cared, namely, people far from God!
2. Have you purchased the book, The Circle Maker, from our Resource Center? If not, you can grab it on Sunday! This book will change the way you pray!
3. Have you joined a Life Group It is not too late to jump in one or start one for this fall series! You can reply to this email or mark your Connect Card this weekend!
I have always enjoyed American history. Moreover, I am a big fan of President Abraham Lincoln. He was not only a fantastic president during a difficult day in our history, but he was also an outstanding leader. For some reason, this morning, as I was thinking about this series on prayer, I remembered Lincoln’s words when he declared the National Day of Prayer in 1863. Lincoln wrote:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.
We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
I find these words particularly fascinating and relevant as we begin this series in the midst of a highly debated political season. As you reflect upon Lincoln’s powerful and convicting charge, I hope you will pray for me, our church family, yourself, and this wonderful country in which we live! When we work, we work. However, when we pray God works! We need God, church! We need God to do that which we cannot do ourselves!
I also hope you will join me this Sunday as we seek the heart of God and make sure His church, the newhope movement, becomes nothing less than a house of prayer! (Mark 11:17) I can’t wait to Worship with you Sunday!
Because of Jesus,
My Dearest newhope,
Words cannot even begin to articulate how overjoyed and excited our family is to be back at newhope this Sunday! The picture of our family above was taken this summer from Daintree Rainforest in northeast Australia. Daintree, they say, is the oldest rain forest in the world! Even though we were very far away, none of us stopped thinking about our church family! This week has literally crawled by as I have experienced, like the prophet Jeremiah, a burning in my bones that can only be understood through my deep longing to be back in the presence of God and the beautiful people of this great church!
We will have our typical Worship Celebration times at the different campuses. For those of you who worship at our Central Campus, please consider attending the 8:15 am or noon Worship Celebration. Two weeks ago, we had to bring out additional rows of chairs down front during the 10:10 am Celebration! If we didn’t get to speak or hug one another that Sunday, please feel free to grab me in the Rotunda as I would love to see your face and hug your neck! :-)
This Sunday, I will be teaching a special message that God has laid on my heart for the first Sunday after our Sabbatical. We will also celebrate Holy Communion together as our church experiences a kind of family reunion, if you will, around the Lord’s Supper!
Next Sunday, we will kick off the brand new series titled, “The Circle Maker!” This is a church wide study, so please drop by the Resource Center and pick up this amazing book on prayer and our ability to tap into God’s power for our lives as a church and individually. It is going to be off the chain!
As I was thinking about prayer and the power that is available to each of us, I was reminded of a story I heard when I was studying Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky! Southeast is one of the largest and most effective churches in the world.
Bob Russell serves as the Senior Pastor and wrote about a father who watched through the kitchen window as his small son attempted to lift a large stone out of his sandbox. The boy was frustrated as he wrestled with the heavy object because he just couldn’t get enough leverage to lift it over the side. Finally the boy gave up and sat down dejectedly on the edge of the sandbox with his head in his hands.
The father went outside and asked, “What’s wrong, son? Can’t you lift that rock out?” “No, sir,” the boy said, “I can’t do it.”
“Have you used all the strength that’s available to you?” the father asked. “Yes, sir,” the boy replied.
“No, you haven’t,” the father said. “You haven’t asked me to help you!”
Listen in, newhope! This fall will be about us asking, begging, pleading, and experiencing a power completely outside of ourselves! We must remember that we have not and are not becoming all that God’s wants us to be until we have authentically asked and fully received the strength that only God can provide!
It’s going to be a fall for the history books and I can’t wait to Worship with you THIS Sunday!
Because of Jesus,