Seven Prayers for CrossPointe for 2015
This past Sunday I preached a message from Colossians 1:1-14 entitled, “Seven Prayers for CrossPointe for 2015.” If you missed it, you can listen to it here. Below is a summary of my thoughts and those prayers. May the Lord be gracious to us in 2015!
1. That our future hope in the gospel would produce even more present love for one another.
In Colossians 1:3-5, Paul thanks God for the Colossians and their faith and love for all the saints. What is interesting about this is that he grounds the faith and brotherly love of the Colossians in their hope of eternity. May we be a church so sure of our future inheritance that it frees us to love one another more here and now! May our certainty that we’ll lack nothing on that Day, free us to open wide our hearts in this day.
2. That we would be gospel-fueled optimists.
In Colossians 1:5-6, Paul goes on a quick rabbit trail about how the impact of gospel is not only increasing and bearing fruit in the Colossians, but also in all the world. Paul was not denying reality. The world and the church were still a mess and problems abounded. But, he had a Scripture-saturated confidence in the certainty of God’s victory–that He will build his church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it! May we resist the pitfalls of cynicism, sarcasm and pessimism that dominate our culture and press against our insecurities with a gospel-fuel optimism rooted in the promise of God.
3. That we would increase in gratitude for those who serve us in Christ.
In Colossians 1:7-8, Paul points out the faithful ministry of Epaphras, who helped teach the gospel to them. Nobody just believes or grows in the gospel alone. Somebody has to bring it and teach it and put it on display for us to see, know, and respond. On any given week, there are dozens of people who faithfully and quietly serve the body of CrossPointe in a variety of ways through teaching, leading, caring for children, mentoring youth, etc. May we be a people that are quick to thank and give grace to the many who serve us. Not because they serve perfectly (none do), but because they serve faithfully.
4. That we would intentionally pursue spiritual growth and Christlikeness.
In Colossians 1:9-10, Paul prays for the Colossians to be filled with wisdom and understanding. So do you have a plan for how you intend to grow spiritually in 2015? Do you have a plan for reading God’s Word? We have copies of a good reading plan in the resource room and you can find numerous other ones online. Also, the start of a new year is a great time to take a spiritual inventory and reset priorities. Below is a list of 10 questions (click here for a PDF with an additional 21) that I mentioned in the sermon that will help you realign your heart in the upcoming year. May we not be people who merely talk about the gospel of grace, but people empowered by your gospel grace to strive for Christlikeness!
5. That in this pursuit we would please the Lord and bear fruit.
The goal of Bible reading and knowledge should never be just knowledge itself! May our increased knowledge result in more love for God, the church, and unbelievers! May it produce more strength to fight sin and resist temptation. May more souls come to know Christ at CrossPointe in 2015! May many be called to give their life to missions in faraway lands. May young men be called to preach and train for ministry and plant churches or serve existing ones. May the Lord bear fruit in us and put His glory on display through us!
6. That we deepen in endurance, patience and joy that is not of this world.
Colossians 1:11-12 reminds us that we need endurance to live in this broken and decaying world. May we be people who do not panic when a broken world acts broken. Our hope is not in the American dream or a government that agrees with us, but in Christ, who one day will finally and fully establish his Kingdom. Until that day, we need endurance to keep our wits about us as we face a world that will increasingly oppose God.
7. That we cherish and love and understand the gospel more.
Colossians 1:13-14 are glorious and staggering words! Oh that we would fall more in love with this news! The gospel is not that we’ve been merely helped or improved, but that we’ve been delivered from the wrath that we rightly deserved and transferred into His Kingdom by Son’s work on the cross! May this never get old and may we never get used to hearing, singing, praying, preaching, sharing, growing and delighting in this news!
Pray with me for God's grace to us at CrossPointe in 2015!
Ten Questions to ask yourself at the start of a new year:
1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
(These questions and other helpful resources can be found on Don Whitney's website: www.biblicalspirituality.org)