In the aftermath of the terrible events at Las Vegas this past week, calls rang out across America to pray for Vegas. As Pentecostals we believe in the transformative power of prayer. However, in times like these it is often difficult to put into words the full extent of what we are feeling or want to say. This is made especially difficult when there are issues requiring prayer and attention that have been plaguing our society for months now. We here at ECCLĒSIAM want to help you find your voice. The following prayer is inspired by the Prayer of St. Francis and reflects the situations which we find ourselves in today. We ask that you pray this prayer with us, meditating on its words and finding ways in which we can all put it into action.
Florida is facing the strongest storm ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Irma has already devastated the small island of Barbuda and wreaked havoc on several other islands. Now, this monster is headed right toward us. Hundreds of thousands are evacuating. Others are looking for shelter locally. Many of us in Florida are taking careful steps to ensure our homes survive. How can we, as people of faith, endure the terrible storm around us? What hope can we cling to when everything we own is threatened by circumstances beyond our control?
Many people, especially those who are dealing with loss within their family due to sickness, natural disasters, accidents, and more, are trying to comprehend God in light of their experiences. This is the struggle we find in Fry’s comments. He is trying to take what he has heard from the Church and from Scripture and make sense of it in light of the evil and suffering we see around us all the time. How then can we as Christians respond to those who struggle with the reality of evil in our world today?
Signs are helpful. They tell us where we are. They tell us where to turn. Have you ever made a wrong turn because there was no sign? Have you ever turned onto a road because of a sign but then wondered later if you made a wrong turn or missed a road sign somewhere along the way? Sometimes in life we make major decisions in complete confidence only to question those decisions down the road.
Everything else but work seems to capture my attention right now and I find myself going to a movie with a group of friends at the end of the week, guilt eating me alive as I review the amount of work that I’ve completed in the last several days. Now more than ever it feels as though my motivation is in the negative percentile. It is in these times that we learn more fully how God wants us to have a balanced life. How can we implement a godly balanced life?
Dreams can motivate us, get us out of bed in the morning, push us towards the life we want to see for ourselves or help mold us into who we want to become. But, dreams can also be devastating, disappointing and even lead us away from the life God wants for us. How we understand and shape those dreams in our lives is instrumental to living a fulfilling life that brings us into perfect relationality with God and with others.
In light of Jesus’ attitude toward money, we as Christians are forced to confront the question: “What role does money play in our lives?” I think if we were really honest with ourselves, we may find that we often brush off the statements Jesus makes concerning how we deal with money. How should we as the church understand money and wealth in light of Christ?
To understand missions, we need to understand how Jesus interacted with the cultures that surrounded Him. Did He embrace the culture, avoid contact with the culture, oppose the culture, or try to replace the culture of the people with the Kingdom of God culture? We need to be effective in our understanding of Jesus so that we can better steward the Kingdom of God here on earth.
Often times, the most challenging person to accept is ourselves. We learn that our own self can be one of the hardest people out of everyone to love. Yet, when we come to realize that God already knows us, really relationally knows us as we are, and yet still loves us, maybe we can look at our messiness, and brokenness and even venture into these dark places without fear. We can in turn see the dark places in others and love beyond our humanly capacities.