You know sometimes when you hear a sermon, it’s like the pastor wrote it just for you? He must have been reading your mind. But you know that’s not possible. That’s how today’s sermon hit me.
I know these are unprecedented times for us. We’ve never known the seclusion and loneliness that can result from quarantining. It’s so hard to stay in a positive state of mind. My prayers have felt like I’m on auto pilot, praying the same things over and over again.
This morning’s sermon by our pastor, Jon Porter, certainly shed some light on the situation. I’m going to give you my thoughts coming away from this sermon, but if you want to watch/listen to his sermon first, there’s a link below.
Our Scripture passage for today is from Philippians 1:1-11. It’s a letter from Paul, written while he’s in prison awaiting his trial, to the church at Philippi.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.Phillippians 1:3-6
In the world of COVID 19, the world has become jaded. People are scared. They don’t know who to trust. The political parties each have their own slant and so do the scientists, doctors, and every post or meme on Facebook about these days.
But I find hope in this sermon today. Jon says that “Joy is directly connected to your frame of mind.” I can buy that! The way we think affects our attitude and the way we see people may affect the way we pray for or about them.
Example: if we see someone as unforgivable, are we likely to be forgiving toward them? Probably not. If we think we’re getting cheated, might we feel that everyone is out to cheat us? Yep, think so. How about that person we think has nothing good to offer; they’re unredeemable? You guessed it. We are likely to write them off and never see them redeemed.
The secret to joy, according to Jon, is found in the way we think. So, when someone comes across our mind, we should pray for them. (Not in the way that we want God to straighten them out.) Our prayers should be focused on one thing: to share the gospel and love of Christ with everyone, believer and nonbeliever alike.
Every time someone crosses your mind, thank God for them. Giving thanks is a joy. Prayer softens and changes your heart toward a person. God is still working on them. He’s not done yet, why should we be done with them? Our faith is in God, not any person, that he will finish what he has started.
We are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God. There are no lost causes! It’s possible to have someone on your mind, but not in your heart. Praying for them is a choice. Make the choice for God to show them joy and you will find joy.
This is a prayer for maturity that begins in love. If our prayer begins with love, everything else will follow.
Two questions Jon poses to us: 1. Will our prayer make others stumble? 2. Will it make me ashamed if Jesus returns?
In what state of mind are Christians accused of being by the world?
We are accused of being in a state of close-mindedness. We are not maintaining a single-mindedness on the gospel. To me, that means we aren’t representing God like we should be!
Can we take our return to relationships with people as a chance to reset and change that? Can we share the gospel and the love of Christ in a way that makes people want what we have?
God, draw us close to you and let you be our focus. In this time, we’ve gotten sidetracked. Bring us back to putting our focus on you.
This was the sermon I needed today! How about you? Here’s the link to Jon’s sermon.