Day 4: In Christ Alone
February 2, 2017
Day 6: Cleaning out the Rust
February 4, 2017
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At a small downtown community church in Memphis, Tennessee, thirty-five men gathered for a special Saturday morning meeting. They had learned that Bill, a man in their congregation, whose marriage was now crumbling, had been seeing another woman. Opinion in the room ranged from judgment to confusion. As the pastor prepared to start the discussion, the agenda hit a snag. Bill stood up. His voice began to break, and he began to weep. “I have done everything I can to restore my marriage, but it hasn’t worked. I hope none of you ever have to go through what I’ve experienced in the past couple of years.” Before the morning was over, twenty other men spoke up and confessed their own struggles. Weeks later, these same men started a monthly gathering to pray for the church and each other. It was the first time such a thing had taken place in the church’s short, eighteen-year history.

In Portland, Oregon, the pastor of a large church attended an inaugural prayer summit with forty-five other pastors from the Portland area. As he sat in the evening communion service, he was privately skeptical about what could really happen between a group of pastors from different denominations. As a Pentecostal, he was aware of the lingering animosity between his denomination and some of the area’s Conservative Baptists. After communion, a fellow pastor, whom he did not know, came to the communion table and addressed the group. “I want to confess, tonight, that I stand here as a part of the Conservative Baptists in Portland, and I ask forgiveness of my Pentecostal brothers who are here. I feel we’ve done more than any other group in the city to quench the Spirit of God. If there is a Pentecostal brother willing to stand here at the communion table with me, I’d count it a privilege.” Moments later, the Baptist pastor was joined at the communion table by a Foursquare pastor, his Pentecostal contemporary. This man whom he had never met said with humility and grace, “Not only do I accept that apology, I want to offer an apology on behalf of the Pentecostal church for the arrogance and pride that somehow projects an attitude of superiority.” Through the event, the two men became close friends and agreed to pray together every morning.

Pause to consider your own reflections on confession and forgiveness.

Matthew 19:26 New King James Version (NKJV)
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

2 Peter 1:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

James 5:16 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

 

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Phillips, Tom (2016-11-01). Jesus Now: God Is Up to Something Big (Chapter 1 p. 34-36). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC.

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