Monthly Archives: September 2011



A great prayer from Scotty Smith, posted on his blog today.  You can check out his blog here


A Prayer about the Grossness of My Ingratitude

[The older brother] was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, “Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!” And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” Luke 15:28-31

Heavenly Father, unlike the older brother, I’d never boast about my many years of serving you and I’d never even think of boasting in my record of obedience to your commands, nevertheless, there are times when my ingratitude matches his. I’m in one of those seasons and I want to repent before it gets any worse.

I do my best repenting not by groveling and beating myself up; not by ratcheting up my ill power and rededicating myself to you. No, my deepest repentance comes from preaching the gospel to my heart—remembering who you are and every good thing you give us in Jesus, so here goes.

Father, you are constantly running to us in the gospel—welcoming us to the dance floor of your grace, inviting us to enjoy the music of your mercy, imploring us to make merry to the glory of God. It’s a rich relationship, not a set of rigid rules, into which you’ve called us. To avoid you is to avoid oxygen, for you give life. To hide in my pouting, rather than Son-bath in your presence is the definition of crazy. I am so glad that you’re just as tenacious as you are tender. You incessantly say to our grumbling, discontented, self-righteous faces,

“My son, you’re always with me because I’m always with you. Nothing will ever separate you from the everlasting love I have for you and all my children. I greatly delight in you. I rejoice over you with singing. With my love I intend to quiet your restless heart.Everything I have is yours.

All your sins are forgiven, including your gross ingratitude. I’ve declared you to be righteous in Christ. I’ve hidden your life in his. I’ve begun a good work in you that I willbring to completion. I’ve made you a co-heir of the new heaven and new earth. You are destined for an eternity of perfect relationships—perfect everything. Come, let us rejoice and be glad.”

Father, I do repent this morning, but don’t relent. Keep beating down my ingratitude with love offensives of the gospel. By the Holy Spirit, compel me to delight in you today and dance to your glory. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ peerless and praiseworthy name.


what is your agenda for God?


My notes from Sunday’s sermon …  (we are currently going through the book of Matthew, verse by verse).

Matthew 16:21-28

[21] From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. [22] And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” [23] But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

[24] Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. [25] For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. [26] For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? [27] For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. [28] Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

What is your agenda for God?

-we all have God’s agenda for our life .. like Peter, we want our lives to play out a certain way.

-many of us would agree, “I want a trouble free life … I will follow on the path as long as the path is safe, secure and predictable.

What do you do when God doesn’t allow your agenda and when God doesn’t feel safe to you?

How do you respond?

-we often respond in fear, depression and anxiety.

-many of us just shut down.

Maybe God is  messing up your agenda because He is trying to get your attention!

-He wants us to become undone and to surrender to His agenda for us.

Matthew 16:21-28 looks at the Gospel agenda of God.  This is an agenda we should rejoice in.

v. 23 Jesus rebukes Peter for questioning Him.

-Peter is not setting his mind on the things of God, but rather on the things of Satan … denying what Jesus says and what He came to do.

Jesus declares that Peter is a stumbling block.

Peter is trying to play God here, to declare how things should be.

We must ask ourselves, “Have I put myself back on the throne as a little god?”

Those of us who claim to trust in Jesus, would say that He is Lord of our life, that He is on the throne in our life.

But practically, are we living that way?

What Peter is starting to get here is that the kind of Messiah Jesus is has implications for discipleship.

Are we ready and willing to ask, “ok God, what is YOUR agenda for me?”

v 24 talks about Peter wanting to maintain control of his life.

Jesus says, ‘no.’

-denying yourself says you forsake the idea of self-preservation, whatever that means.

-turn away from safety and step out and follow Jesus.

Taking up a cross is taking up an instrument of death … it’s not as some would say as a hardship in life. It’s following Jesus.

God’s agenda for us is for us to follow Him.  To risk.  Safety is what we want, but it’s not God’s agenda.

So what would compel us to choose a life that does not have an agenda of safety?

What would be our motivation for following Jesus?

 v 25 states that whoever tries to save his life will lose it.  Only through faith in Christ are we accepted by God.

Jesus is our righteousness.

He is our treasure.

Why would we follow Him?

It’s the only way to eternal life.

If you abandon God to pursue the world you forfeit your soul.

Faith expresses itself in following Jesus.

Application:  In what areas of our life can we risk ‘safety’ and self-preservation to follow Jesus and live for His Kingdom

1.  Giving

-how are we risking personally in our giving?

2.  Justice / mercy

-in what ways are we showing mercy to those who are abandoned or oppressed?  the needy in our community and in the world?

3.  Neighbor

-in what ways are we risking in our neighborhood? community? schools? as a result of following and living for Jesus?

4.  Gospel proclamation

-are we speaking the good news of Jesus to others?