Friday, May 29, 2009

Powerful Prayer

This Sunday I am preaching on Ephesians 1:15-23. The text is one of Paul's prayers and is powerful.

This text has caused me to ponder powerful prayers. In my research I stumbled across a mighty prayer in an unlikely place--the political arena.

On January 23, 1996 the Rev. Joe Wright was invited to give the invocation for the opening of the Kansas State House. Many politicians walked out in the prayer and I don't think he was every invited back. Joe Wright's church logged some 5,000 phone calls after this prayer--under 100 were negative.

Here it is for you to read:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance. We know your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that's exactly what we've done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it moral pluralism.

We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbors' possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us O God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by you, to govern this great state. Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will.

I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Western Days Parade

They say, "A picture is worth a thousand words." If this is true, this is going to be a long blog post! This Saturday Valley Center celebrated Memorial Day through our annual "Western Days Parade."

We decided to enter a float this year for the first time. I am so thankful for the guys and gals who made this happen. The float was awesome! Our float ended up placing first in the competition. That is great! Yes, I have a competitive spirit!

Here are the pictures of the day! Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sermons Now Available Online!

Our sermons are now available online! Eventually, they will be accessible through the church website...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thank You John Piper!

I thought this was an amazing audio clip by John Piper. I thank this man for his zeal and passion for the rights of the unborn. All I can say is "Amen brother!"

Friday, May 15, 2009

Anna's Reflections on Ecclesiastes

When I first decided to preach through Ecclesiastes, Anna had some reservations about it as this is not one of her favorite books of the Bible. Apparently, I did okay and she blogged on Ecclesiastes this week. I copied her post bellow!

Hope you enjoy enjoy it as much as I did!!


Gunnar has been preaching through the book of Ecclesiastes over the last couple months at church. Ecclesiastes is not one of my favorite books, but it has been an intersting study and I have enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.

During a lot of his sermons Gunnar has either quoted songs or I have been reminded of a song I know. It seems like I can't turn on the radio any more without being reminded of something from Ecclesiastes. So I compiled the songs and verses that I pulled them from. If you have any other ideas for any of these chapters or verses, please let me know.


Ecclesiastes 1

Vanity of Vanities says the Preacher,
Vanity of Vanities! All is Vanity. (1:2)
I can't get no Satisfaction

Ecclesiastes 2
For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! (2:16)

Ecclesiastes 3
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (3:1)
Turn Turn Turn (Who didn't see that one coming?)

Ecclesiastes 4
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! (4:9-10)
Lean on Me (Kirk Franklin)

Lean on Me (Michael Bolton)

Ecclesiastes 5
Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is on heaven, and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few. (5:2)
Let my words be few:

Ecclesiastes 6
Better what the eye sees,
than the roving of the appetite (6:9)
Side By Side

Ecclesiastes 7
When times are good, be happy
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other (7:14)
Blessed be Your Name

Ecclesiastes 8
And I commend joy, for man has no good thing under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, (8:15)
How You Live

Fried Chicken *

*I don't actually endorse drinking beer.

Ecclesiastes 9
Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, (9:9)
I Will Be Here

Walking Her Home (I apologize for the odd video, there was only so much to choose from on YouTube-if you haven't heard this song before, I recommend closing your eyes and listening)

Ecclesiastes 10

As dead flies give perfume a bad smell,
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. (10:1)
Slow Fade

Ecclesiastes 11

Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. (11:7)
What a wonderful world

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. (v. 9)
This Is The Day The Lord Has Made

Ecclesiastes 12

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (v. 13)

Gunnar spoke about how walking with God is in many ways like the line from "Walk the Line." We don't walk with him to try to earn our salvation, but like the sons says "because you're mine, I walk the line". We choose to follow Christ out of our love and reverence and fear for him, not out of compulsion.

I Walk The Line


Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunset of My Life

This last Sunday I finished preaching through the book of Ecclesiastes. I found this book contains very deep and insightful thoughts from King Solomon. His wise words forced me ponder and contemplate many areas of my life.

From the last chapter I particularly liked this verse:

"Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, 'I have no delight in them.'" Ecclesiastes 12:1

I stumbled across some words from Ronald Reagan's speech on November 5, 1994. He said,
"I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life."

The cruel reality of life is that on the day we are born we each begin our journey on the sunset of our lives. Death seems so unfair as we approach it and see it take the lives of those we know. David Jeremiah describes death in a chilling way,
"Death is a cousin everyone shares and no one has met; we only know he will get around to see everyone sooner or later.”

God has place eternity in each of our hearts (Ecc. 3:11), ultimately causing us to shudder when eternity is cut short in one's life. I do believe God offers hope to us in the midst of our frailty and helplessness. I am so thankful for Jesus who came to give us eternal life through His death, burial, and resurrection (John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

As I reflect on my study of Ecclesiastes, I believe the message of the book is to keep God in the forefront of my life in all things today, this day, the day He has given me. In doing so, I will order my life in a manner that is pleasing to God and ultimately providing me with the satisfaction that Mic Jagger is desperately searching for, but failing to find.

I ending my message with the chorus from the song "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash:

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line

Our habit is to "walk the line" for God in order to earn favor from God--this is a futile exercise because we simply cannot. But when we realize all that God has done for us in our inability, and we believe in Him for eternal life and become His children through faith.

These words from Johnny Cash are quite good. Because Jesus is mine, I keep a close watch on my heart, I keep my eyes open (because evil is everywhere, Eph. 5:15-16), because Jesus is mine...I walk the line!

Are you walking the line?