Sin

Pastoral Prayer: Of Commitment

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We shout for joy to You, God,

joining the praises of all believers across the earth.

We sing to the glory of Your name!

We give to You our praise!

How awesome are Your deeds, O God!

We are in awe of Your power.

So great is Your power that Your enemies cringe before You.

The whole earth worships You and sings praises to You;

they sing praises to Your name.

We come here in joy,

we are led forth in peace,

the mountains and the hills break forth into song,

the trees of the fields clap their hands.

We have been invited, and we invite

our family, our friends, our neighbours, and the world

to come and see what You have done in our lives, God.

You are awesome in Your deeds toward the children of man.

We remember when You turned the sea into dry land and Your people they passed through the river on foot.

In the same way we have felt beset by sin,

surrounded by the enemy of our souls,

fearing for our lives,

and You have delivered us across the impassable river,

and You have our feet set on dry ground,

and we walk towards the promised land

– towards You.

We rejoice in You alone.

God, You rule by Your might,

You keep watch on the nations.

We choose to believe that all the things happening in the world right now are under Your watchful eye

and that nothing is happening without Your permission.

We may not understand it, but we trust in Your love.

We pray against the rebellious, the evil, the sinful, the tempters

— let not the rebellious exalt themselves.

We thank You for keeping us among the living,

for giving us a hope and a purpose,

for keeping us in the faith,

and for not let our feet slip.

Our faithfulness is not of our own doing, but because of Your strength.

We even praise and thank You for our trials,

for You, O God, have tested us;

You have tried us as silver is tried.

You brought us into the net;

You laid a crushing burden on our backs;

You let men ride over our heads;

we went through fire and through water…

many of us feel like we have been to hell and back…

but we know that because of Your grace You have given us an abundant life,

just as You promised.

And so we come to You in praise,

bringing the offering of song,

of our finances,

of our wills,

our energy,

our time,

our attention.

We will perform our vows to You, and not falter in our promises.

The words our lips have uttered today and in days past…

all of the things our mouths have said when we were in trouble,

we will keep.

Forgive us for making idle promises to You,

for taking Your name in vain,

and help us keep our promises.

We want to hear You today.

We come to You to listen.

We who fear God, want to hear all You have done for our souls.

We come to lift up Your name and proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We cried out to You,

admitting our sins,

repenting of them,

and asking forgiveness,

and You have put high praise there instead.

We know that if we still love our sins,

if all we say today was only words,

that You have not listened.

But God, we do not cherish iniquity.

We truly desire You,

and God You have truly listened

and have attended the voice of our prayers.

Blessed be You, our God because You have not rejected our prayer

or have removed Yourself from us,

but continue to give Your love to us everyday.

We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour,

Jesus Christ.

Amen

(taken from Psalm 66 & Isa 55:12)

A Prayer to Admit Our Weaknesses (and for Lac Megantic, Toronto, & Calgary)

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Invocation

“God is our refuge and strength,

an ever present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,

through the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though the waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging…

The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

(Psalm 46:1-3, 7)

We praise you Lord for

your might and power, Read the rest of this entry »

Gossip Kills Fellowship

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English: Loose lips might sink ships -- a post...

I am compelled to write my first “Fellowship Wednesday” post about what I believe is the most poisonous thing to a fellowship of believers — gossip.

As pastor of a former church I spent time in the office meeting with people.  One day a man came in for a chat.  On the way out afterwords he said, “Oh, I probably shouldn’t tell you this but…”.  And I stopped him cold.  “Then don’t tell me.”, I said.  He persisted, “No really, I shouldn’t tell you this but…”.  So I said, “No really… don’t tell me.” and started to walk away.  He walked after me.  I started running.  He started running after me yelling, “I shouldn’t tell you this… but I want to tell you!!!”.  I literally ran him out the door trying to avoid gossip!

Gossip is deadly.  It destroys trust between people and therefore kills friendships.  If left alone it can cripple ministries and destroy good leaders.  I hate gossip, and so does God.

I’ve been around the effects of pervasive gossip among believers, and it breaks my heart.  Most of us know how much it hurts to be talked about behind our backs, the damage it can do to a community, and how much it grieves God, but so many still get caught up in it.  It’s like Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels…”  Sometimes we’re in the middle of the conversation, and half swallowed the morsel, before we even realize what we’re doing!

I think part of the reason is that we don’t know what gossip is.  Let’s take a look at what scripture says it is:

  • Proverbs 11:13 – “A gossip betrays a confidence…”  Anytime someone shares something they heard privately, it is gossip.
  • Proverbs 16:28 – “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”  Anyone sharing information to embarrass a person, cause division in a group, or harm a relationship is gossiping.
  • Proverbs 26:20 – “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.” Anyone sharing a problem that is already being (or has been) dealt with is gossiping.

Romans 1:29 (among other places) says that gossip is evil.  A strong fellowship must be free of gossip.  If you find yourself around gossip, take a page out of Joseph’s book and just run away from it.  Let us all be careful with our words and to bring our concerns to God first, and then to the person we have an issue with. More info here. 

What about you?  Are you a gossip?  Have you been gossiped about?  How far have you gone to avoid gossiping?