Episode 4 of 'Talking Element' - Acts wk 37: Knowing Who to Listen to with Aaron and Brandon

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael sits down with Aaron and Brandon McCool to discuss Acts week 37. Paul’s continuing journey now leads to a shipwreck…for the Glory of God. The waters that rage and the storms of life are no match for the creator God who has full dominion over all things. The Old Testament is full of reminders how God works to preserve the world by keeping the forces of evil at bay. This comes to complete fulfillment with Jesus: the incarnate God – the perfect revelation. Questions Discussed: 

- Brandon, What's it like bring married to an Element staffer?
- What things in your life do you allow to hold power over you, when in reality they don’t (of what are you still superstitious)?
- How do we trust Jesus, no matter what our fears say?
- How can we grow in proper knowledge of Jesus?

Watch Acts Week 37's Livestream Here.

TOUGHSKINS (TM)

by Aaron

When I was a kid, there was one thing you had to have in order to be accepted by all the other kids…the right clothes. I don’t know whoever thought up the stupid ritual where kids gravitate toward fashion (while having no fashion sense) and then judge others based on some arbitrary standard. Case in point, when I was in elementary school and junior high, my mom swore by the jeans, made by the Sears Roebuck Company, called Toughskins (you can look at an ad for them here - if you are so inclined). They were the poor man’s Levis…and we were poor so they were my Levis. 

Granted, Toughskins had an ambitious marketing campaign--there is even one ad featuring the unstoppable Chuck Norris doing a high karate kick. If Chuck Norris can’t sell Toughskins to the masses, then no one can. Toughskins had large X’s sewn on the back pockets to proudly display the cancellation of dirt, grime, and holes that young boys so often got into. Unfortunately, the X’s also signaled the cancellation of “cool” status when other kids saw them. As a matter of fact, the X actually signaled an invitation to be made fun of…which happened to me on occasion. 

This phenomenon is an odd thing, the need to mock and belittle someone who you deem as less fortunate than you are. Why is it that we naturally pick on the most vulnerable instead of defending the most vulnerable? I was talking to a schoolteacher friend of mine this week, and she spoke about this young boy (3rd grade) who was living in the homeless shelter with his family. If you don’t already know this, the homeless shelter doesn’t have the best internet. As a result, this young man’s internet feed was glitching while trying to do class work with other children…and instantly, he started to be made fun of for having slow internet. “What’s wrong, your parents can’t get better internet?” The answer to that is “NO, I LIVE IN THE HOMELESS SHELTER.” These are nine and ten year-old kids we’re talking about, and they are able to hone in on a difference and exploit it. 

When Jesus speaks to people who think they are very religious, but really live very self-centered lives, He calls them out on it. We see Jesus say in Matthew 25:44-45 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. We tend to think the ‘least of these’ are people we have never encountered; they certainly are not those we would make fun of--and yet we all have. 

There is a hypocrisy, deep within our bones, that stems from unrealized and unacknowledged sin. No one is exempt--no one. Today if you watch the riots that break out over racial and societal injustice, oftentimes the crowd’s rage will turn against the vulnerable and not their oppressors. There are videos of singled-out shopkeepers, lone people walking down the street, and random people in cars who are attacked for no reason other than they are vulnerable and can’t stand against the mob. A protest that came together for justice can easily become a force for injustice, because human hearts are in the mix.

Yet on the other side, there are many who watch this hypocrisy and do not see it in themselves when they ignore the cry of the why behind the protests in the first place. Too many look at the incongruous actions of the protestors and use that as an excuse to write off everything that the movement is proclaiming. Our deep-rooted sin that makes us seek our own comfort, naturally wants to turn down the volume of what we perceive as Toughskins and not Levis, so to speak. Our sin nature makes us want to see people who either don’t agree with us, or don’t look like us, as the “other.”

And quite honestly, left to our own devices, this would never end. 

Some people have seen many of the problems in an honest way--not using the division for power or politics--and have come to a place of despair. Vox had a recent article detailing the 12 things most likely to destroy humanity, and most of them were brought about by humanity. Harvard scientist Abraham Avi’ Loeb believes that humanity will destroy itself long before the sun burns out. Dan Wells writes, “Humanity will destroy itself, body and soul, before it will learn a simple lesson.” If I could be so bold, I would say humanity already has destroyed itself in what we refer to in the Scriptures as “the Fall.” The greater question becomes then, “Why are we still here?”

And the answer is grace.  

Too often we think the answer to the human dilemma is our Levis (or our faster internet)--some sort of homogenous mass where everyone looks and likes the same thing. We are told that if we all just agreed that the problem is privilege, climate change, or something else, we would all get along, but that is untrue. Humanity, in its fallen state, will always find ways to make some people less than others. This is why we should stop solely advocating our favorite authors or causes without speaking the truth of the Gospel. So many dismiss our human condition while sitting in a pool of it, and that just makes no sense to me. The bad news is that humanity is destroying itself; the good news is that God has come to rescue us. 

In 2 Corinthians 5:21 the Apostle Paul (who once killed those who disagreed with him before coming to trust Jesus with his life) says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Paul doesn’t say, “God made Jesus sinful,” he says, “God made him sin…” What that means is on the cross, God laid all of humanity’s sin on Jesus, and Jesus willingly took that upon Himself to rescue us. For us, the beauty of God’s good news is that all of the evil within us was poured onto Jesus…and that becomes the beginning of our story. Paul says that message of grace was what changed him; it is this same message that offers us any possibility of meaningful, lasting change. 

The only way we will ever be able to look at others through a lens that sets our own Levi’s aside is to see the world as God does…and that only comes through a life surrendered to Jesus Himself. The answer is not humanity; humanity is the problem, but by the grace of God, we can truly become one people. The process is mysterious in that it is both instantaneous and slow. In trusting Jesus, we are immediately saved from ourselves and the wrath we deserve. At the same time, God also does His long work of molding and changing us to better reflect Him to the world. There’s a Greek proverb that says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” It’s a beautiful image that speaks to a love that can only come from God, a love compassionate enough to care for those whom we would never meet—and some we would surely disagree with. We must plant trees of the Gospel that grow beyond ourselves, slowly but surely, if we are to live the diversity that is Toughskins and Levis…noticeably different, but cut from the same cloth.

 

Episode 3 of 'Talking Element' - Acts wk 36: Hasty Words with Aaron and Judy

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael sits down with Aaron and Judy Lees to discuss Acts week 36: Hast Words, where Paul bears witness to Jesus in all aspects of his life, including his trials. Paul both listens to others and speaks of God’s redemption with a simple message through the detours of life. What we learn, is that we can be honest about ourselves because the Good News is that God Himself is the one who cleans us up and uses all our weakness for His Glory.

Questions Discussed:
- In regards to our youversion reading plan on prayer, what/when are times you have grown through prayer?
- How are you in your life testifying/bearing witness to the Gospel?
- How can we have a clear conscience, resting in God's grace and not our works

Watch Acts Week 36's Livestream Here.

Episode 2 of 'Talking Element' - Acts wk 35: Except For These Chains with Aaron , Nic and Michael

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael sits down with Aaron and Nicholas Slocum to discuss Acts week 35: Except For These Chains, where Paul reveals he wants everyone to have faith as he does - except for the chains he finds himself in that have helped to build his faith.

Questions Discussed:
- Aaron's hope and prayer for series of Acts.
- In our world today, what are the things that people find most hard to accept about the call of Christianity?
- What personal chains have you experienced in life that helped grow your faith that you wish other's didn't have to endure?
- If someone is feeling weighed down by chains of life, what can they do to experience the freedom Paul talks about?

Watch Acts Week 35's Livestream Here.

Episode 1 of 'Talking Element' - Acts wk 34: Do You Believe with Aaron and Joseph

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael sits down with Aaron and Joseph Borjas to discuss Acts week 34: Do You Believe, where Paul shares his story and asks Agrippa: Do you believe?

Questions Discussed:
- Do you believe?
- How would those who don’t know Jesus, but know you, describe faith in Jesus, based on your life?
- In the areas where they misunderstand, how can you help them to understand?
- How would you encourage someone who hasn't seen Gospel Change in their life recently?

Watch Acts Week 34's Livestream Here.

Mirage or Oasis

by Jonathan Whitaker

I can confidently say that Bugs Bunny cartoons did not adequately prepare me for my deployment to the Middle East.  According to Looney Toons, the most reliable feature of any desert is the presence of a mirage followed closely by an abundance of magic lamps.  The cartoon bit was always the same.  Dying of thirst, dressed as Lawrence of Arabia, Bugs Bunny or Yosemite Sam would spot a palm-lined oasis in the distance, only to find their hopes dashed by a pesky mirage.  I have been here since May, in the heat of the summer, and I have yet to see a single mirage (or lamp for that matter).  It is worth noting that the defining characteristic of a mirage is that it promises something that it can’t deliver.  

The expectations I set for ministry prior to my deployment and the things I would accomplish for God’s Kingdom were in many ways like a mirage.  When I arrived at what I thought was a palm-lined oasis, I quickly realized it was something completely different.  Maybe you have had this experience.  You resolve to do something for God.  Before you can realize this great vision, reality smacks you in the face.

I prepared and prayed for my deployment, but had no idea of what God would do through me in this place. I had no expectation of what ministry might be in this place.  I’m not gonna lie though, I imagined I would be preaching and leading Bible studies, and if I could get my hands on a guitar… well you get it.  So far, that vision of a ‘Middle East Billy Graham’ has been more mirage than reality.  Often we imagine how God may answer our prayers before we pray them.  Usually while we wait on God’s answer to prayer, our hope is that God will give us exactly what we asked for.  Our sin nature causes us to want to lead God to the outcomes we most desire, even in prayer, but is that how it ought to be? 

Psalm 25 teaches that God leads and we are to follow: Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” (Psalm 25:4-5) The problem I have experienced is, instead of marching toward a goal, I end up wandering in a desert (quite literally) toward a mirage of my own creation.  Meanwhile, I miss the gentle leading of the Lord, which is the very answer to prayer that I am seeking.  The solution to this problem starts when we stop looking for an oasis that meets all the desires of our prayer and start looking at Jesus.  Jesus was very clear about one thing in His ministry, we only harvest where He has sown the seed. 

John chapter 4 tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.  Because of the first century prejudice that existed between Jews and Samaritans, this interaction nearly scandalized Jesus’ disciples.  Jesus promised this woman (and us) living water.  This unexpected encounter (to the disciples), was actually a divine appointment that resulted in a multitude coming to salvation.  Jesus taught his disciples a very important lesson, For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” (John 4:37-38).  Meaning, when we have success for God’s Kingdom, it is only because God prepared the way before we arrived.   

The Apostle Paul put this another way, “Paul planted, Apollos watered, God gave the increase.” (1 Cor 3:6).  God always reaps a harvest where he has sown.  Should we pray for God to lead us? Absolutely.  Should you have an idea or expectation of how God might answer that prayer?  You would not be a human if you did not.  The wisdom comes from discerning God’s answers to your prayer.  

So what am I to do?  The mirage has faded and there is only sand as far as I can see.  Satan has whispered in my ear more than once that I have failed.  I think it is time to look around and see the ministry that God has led me to.  It does not include a podium, a microphone, or a guitar.  I have already annoyed everyone at the Base Chaplain’s Bible study with my long theological rants.  So where does that leave me?  The answer is with the fruitful harvest that God has led me to.  I can’t wait to report to you what that is, once I have figured it out.  I remain willing as ever to obey God’s leading, but more than ever, I am also ready to get out of His way.

One last thought.  Between 1947 and 2005, Billy Graham led 417 Crusades, in 185 countries, on every continent except Antarctica. You and I may never evangelize to the untold millions to whom Billy Graham gave the Gospel, but as great an evangelist as Billy Graham was, somebody first shared the gospel with him.  Whether you are Billy Graham, preaching to millions, or the person who witnessed to Billy Graham, in both cases God sowed the seed, and God reaped the harvest. 

God probably won’t send you or me into the mission field we expect, but the mission field He sends us to is always the right one.  Learn from me; don’t keep wandering toward the mirage.  Look around you at the oasis God as already led you to and share the living water with anyone who will drink.

 

Church Plant: Tom & Jing in Beuang Kan, Thailand

by Element Christian Church
 
 

Element's Mission is: To Glorify God by teaching and living out the Scriptures, transforming community into Gospel Community, and planting churches. And we are excited to talk about partnering with Tom and Jing in Beuang Kan, Thailand as they begin planting a church in the North-East part of Thailand.

Element, Covid, and Future Plans - November Update

by Aaron

As you are well aware there are vastly different opinions about Covid, state regulations, and what individuals and churches should do in the midst of the pandemic. With openings, closings, talk of vaccines, rising infection rate - yet lowing death counts, what are we to do…and what is Element doing. I thought we would write this up, so you have an idea of our direction. 

It is very easy to be blown back and forth by the differing opinions that all sound like fact, which is why it is important for us to come up with our position and plan at Element based on God’s leading and not the cacophony of voices that surround us. As you read (or listen as we will video this as well), keep in mind what Element’s vision has always been…to lift up Jesus. This is why we not only teach but intend to LIVE OUT the scriptures because the Scriptures aren’t about one day when we get out of the trailer park called earth, they are about God rescuing us here and now in this life. To do that, our normal friendships need to become Gospel centered so that we have a perspective that sees further than our circumstances.

There are two big decisions we have made that impact the near future of Element in terms of Covid-19. The first one being that we will not resume normal services until state/county ordinances change enough to allow us to have children’s ministries. What that means for you is that we will continue to livestream Sunday mornings (which will be viewable all week, “on-demand,” on YouTube). We will put out children’s lessons geared to your family weekly with take home bags/boxes so your kids can participate. We will be available for prayer via zoom call, and in person prayer if you are willing. Our Gospel Communities will decide on their own how and when they will continue to disciple gospel centered community during this time.

The second decision we have made is while we are not having ‘normal’ Sunday services, we will gather on campus for the message, live, beginning September 6. Even though we will be livestreaming the full service, if you want to come in person, at 9am every Sunday, Aaron will give the sermon live. There will be no band, but he will give the message, let you ask questions, and lead a discussion surrounding the message; it will be more like a bible study – or more like a GC’s “notes night.” If the county says we cannot meet indoors, he will give the sermon outdoors until we can move inside. Once we are inside, we will continue with “sermon only” live until we can have the children meet with us again.

So, no full live service, but there will be a live gathering which you are more than welcome to come to weekly and participate.

Here is a question we have received often during this unprecedented time, why are we letting the government tell us what we can/can’t do? At Element we do not believe that the government mandate is directly leveled at churches, we do not believe that there is a vast conspiracy to bring worship of Jesus to a halt (because nothing could ever stop our true worship of Jesus), but we are careful in how we respond for a couple reasons. One of which is that our ministry to Delta High School is very closely related to the county. We want the county to see us as being respectful of what they are asking and see us as a partner in order to help us more readily be Jesus’ ambassadors to our community.

While it is true that as followers of Jesus, with constitutional freedom of religion, we do not need the state’s permission to worship, but we do want them to see that we love them enough to care about those most vulnerable around us and curtail how we meet for a time. This has stretched on longer than anyone wanted, or anticipated, and we now find ourselves at a crossroads that has brought much division to the body of Christ. We ask that in grace you understand where we are as a church, our commitment to you as attenders and members of Element, and most important our commitment to Jesus and the Gospel. 

When ‘normal’ church services resume you will see a lot work that we have been doing in preparing for adults, youth, and children on the property. While this time is very trying for all of us, we can, and do, still worship Jesus together as a body whether we are together or a part…but we pray for the time when it is together.

 

Q&A 64,000 Missing Words

by Aaron

Question:
There was a recent Facebook post I was sent regarding the removal of (45) biblical texts from the NIV (New International Version) and the ESV (English Standard Version) translations of the Bible (and also 64,000 changed or missing words). I am not usually one who reacts to postings, however if there is any truth to this one, I would be grateful to know.  

Answer:
This is mostly false and one hundred percent misleading. What is interesting is that I had thought this was a dead issue (as it has been answered so many times in the last few years), but then Facebook never seems to lose people who share a penchant for false or misleading information.

The Facebook post that was sent in (not linked here for space/time issues) was written on May 13, 2020, and makes it sound like the original poster did the research, however, they didn’t. The EXACT same post has been going around for years and traces originally to a poster, not even originally from Facebook, that is part of what is known as the King James Only Movement. The KJV (King James Version) movement wants everyone to go back the KJV of the Bible and not use any modern translations. They say it is the “authorized” translation, and sometimes the KJV is called that, but it is called that because it was authorized by….you guessed it…King James.

It is true that there are numerous word changes from the KJV to modern translations, but these could be as simple as ‘thee(s)’ and ‘thou(s)’ to ‘you’ and ‘them.’ Some change the words ‘Holy Ghost’ to ‘Holy Spirit.’ 64,000 is not a real number, and is a little over the top anyway as it is close to 10% of the 783,137 words IN the KJV. That is the only remotely true statement in the Facebook post.

It is important to understand that modern Bible translators are always going back to the earliest manuscripts so that we can have the most accurate translation possible. The Bibles we have today are not translations of translations; they are translated from the original to our language. The KJV, on the other hand, is a translation of a translation (it is a translation of what is known as the Latin Vulgate which came from a Church Father named Jerome).

When KJV-only people say that there are 45 texts missing form modern translation, that also is not true, because those verses are not IN the earliest manuscripts (as examples: John 5:4, Acts 8:37, and Acts 24:7 which we will talk about in next weeks Acts Part 2 message). These texts are present in some of the later manuscripts, so modern translations include them for reference, but as footnotes. In this way, we (as modern readers) can have access to these texts, but not recognize them as part of the canon of scripture due to the inconsistency.

The Facebook post also says that Harper Collins owns the NIV and is changing it to reflect their worldview. While it is true that the parent company of Zondervan is Harper Collins and they DO own the rights to the NIV, NIV editors emphatically state that they are a self-governing body of religious scholars and “no publisher or commercial entity can tell them how to translate Scripture.” Harper Collins publishes only--it doesn’t get any say on what the NIV contains. The ESV, which is the translation we use at Element, is put out by Crossway, which is a very diligent and Christian organization as well.

Biblica Ministry is the group that translated the NIV Bible from the original manuscripts (the textus receptus). It was founded in New York in the 1800s to translate Scriptures so that U.S. immigrants could study them. This is their statement: “The text of the NIV is entrusted to the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), a self-governing body of 15 evangelical Bible scholars. No outside group — no publisher or commercial entity — can decide how the NIV is translated. In keeping with the original NIV charter, the CBT meets every year to monitor developments in biblical scholarship, as well as changes in English usage. Every year, they solicit (and receive) input from scholars, pastors, missionaries, and laypeople.” 

When you see these Facebook posts, or internet memes, you can disregard them as far as removing verses from the Bible. It’s far more likely that the KJV’s translators were working off of manuscripts that added verses to the Bible. All of this said, it does not mean that the KJV is unreliable; it was a great translation for its time, but some of its additions might not have been penned by the New Testament authors. Jack Wilke writes, “Most of the verses are true statements, and some of them are even quotes from other parts of the New Testament. They just don’t fit where they have been placed in the text.” What this does mean, however, is that all of us should (before re-posting or believing everything we see on Facebook), do a little bit of digging as we may even enjoy the process of learning something new.

 

Pandemic Grocery Shopping

by Aaron

You are probably thinking that this blog, based on the title, has got to be a couple of months too late to connect to our current circumstances. I would disagree, because the last time I went to Costco, there still wasn’t any veggie lasagna (for my wife), diced tomatoes (for me to make salsa), or bananas. If you haven’t noticed, shopping is hard in the apocalypse.

Lately, whenever I go to the store, my wife will give me a list and say, “Don’t forget to look for toilet paper.” Honestly, I feel like I have PLENTY of toilet paper (except for when Phill and Jenna Heuchert come over and their daughter Annie decides to put a whole roll down the toilet). We have rolls and rolls, but my wife just says, “It’s the apocalypse and it’s ‘just in case.’”

Right now I have a humongous bag of rice, a 50-pound bag of sugar, three of those Costco-sized bags of frozen chicken, sixteen pounds of butter, and 12 packs of bacon (yes, the only one that is understandable is the bacon). You would think I was packing for the Oregon Trail. The cold items sit in the freezer in the garage. That’s not an invitation to help yourself…don’t even think about stealing my bacon. 

Maybe I am the guy who would end up starving in the apocalypse because I don’t hoard, worry, or buy twenty times what I actually need in a crisis. My wife would be the one eating food for years while I wondered why I couldn’t charge my newest electronic device that I thought was more important than food. I guess what I am saying is, we need each other to stay sane and not go too far overboard. I buy the food stuffs my wife wants because I love her, and she curbs some of her more pessimistic tendencies because I don’t freak out a lot (unless we run out of bacon…which again, won’t happen).

Right now our city, county, state, nation, and world are at a bizarre type of crossroads between people who are worried about the pandemic and those who don’t care or think it is a hoax. Much of the discourse has become political, especially in churches that have been ordered to shut down indoor, in-person gatherings again. One side sees it as a public health issue and the other sees it as a personal rights issue…and I feel like I am caught in the middle of it all because, for some bizarre reason, I can see both sides. 

I am frustrated about the inconsistency of government orders about masks, distancing, what they allow to open, and what they don’t. I wonder how we are supposed to eventually gain immunity to the virus if we refuse to engage in real life. I actually worry about the state of the economy, small businesses, and how people are meant to survive as our national debt climbs past 26 trillion dollars (a truly unfathomable number). But then I also look at the numbers of infections, the speed at which the virus spreads, the experts who speak about it (some of which are strong believers in Jesus), and my own lack of real understanding of the science of virology. I know that I must come to at least try to understand all sides of this if I ever hope to engage in a way that brings wisdom or peace to this situation.

All too often we focus on the problem, whether it is government overreach or the virus itself. As humans we tend absorb ourselves in what is right in front of us instead of what is eternal…and that is where part of my job comes in. Element, our focus should be first and foremost, Jesus. Only by the Gospel being central to what we do and say, will we ever be able to meaningfully engage in the world. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

We don’t become all things to all people so that they would be angry at the government or fear the virus; we do it so that we can help them to share in the Gospel’s blessings. The scriptures are clear that we need each other—God made us that way. We will never share blessings with one another until we are able to understand one another. This is important to remember during a time when it’s common to throw memes and clichés at each other. Some people worry about the virus and stay home, some people think it’s a hoax—but why do each feel the way they do? Can we respect one another enough to listen? Maybe, as a result, we would be filled with compassion and have a broader perspective.

In the end, we must realize that our lives will not be saved by what we believe about the virus. The virus is not eternal—we as God’s people are. We are saved by God’s eternal work accomplished in the person of Christ. When our focus becomes God’s redeeming work in us, we can overlook how we differ from one another and still have meaningful fellowship and conversation…even while we disagree about how much toilet paper or bacon we need to buy.

 

Q&A Interview with Element's eFamily Support Team

by Element Christian Church
 
Interview with Cory, Jenna & Stephanie. Get to know them a little better and find out what they are working on right now in our eFamily ministry.
 
Links:

 

Baptism Stories - July 5, 2020

by Element Christian Church

Last Sunday was a private Baptism! We wish we could have invited everybody, however with everything going on, we know you understand. Watch Ashley Slocum get baptized and read her story! We can still celebrate this wonderful event. If you wish to also be baptized, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Download Baptism Story

Word of Encouragement and Prayer from Mike Harman June 9, 2020

by Mike Harman

What is God doing in my life? Is there something He is delivering me from? Am I complaining and calling His deliverance a crisis? Am I trusting His love, goodness and sovereignty in this? Am I choosing to believe He is with me and will walk with me in what I'm going through for His Glory and my good? How is He bringing me to a place of being a blessing to our family, neighbors, coworkers and community? Is this only a crisis or God's hand of deliverance also?

Prayer Points

by Element Christian Church

When the world seems to be melting down, it is often hard to focus our thoughts in prayer. Knowing that to be the case, we would like to offer the following points to consider in your time of prayer. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

  • For repentance: We pray for the understanding that we would return to who God calls us to be, His image bearers in the world.
  • For conviction: We pray for conviction of the ways we have been complicit in seeing anyone as less than us and how we have marred the image of God. We ask our gracious God for forgiveness and trust. His grace is sufficient as we are cleansed from sin and unrighteousness.
  • For empathy: We pray for broken, contrite hearts that grieve alongside all of God’s oppressed children. We seek to better understand the struggles that are foreign to us and let those who are oppressed and fearful know they are not alone.
  • For fruitful conversation: We pray for soft hearts, gentle spirits, and self-control as we engage in discourse with our neighbors over the issues of self-centeredness and racism. We pray for the strength to listen where we might be tempted to speak and the ability to give grace because we have first received it from God.
  • For people of color everywhere: We pray they would know they are seen, valued, and loved by a good God. We pray they would run to the open arms of Christ for peace, wisdom, endurance, and comfort and that they cry out to Him in their distress.
  • For law enforcement: We pray for encouragement for the hearts of law enforcement, that they would know their work is not in vain. We pray for their protection and discernment as they continue to protect and serve our communities. We pray that the the subject of police brutality would be thoughtfully and wisely examined.
  • For our political leaders: We pray our political leaders would be moved to offer responses that are empathetic, discerning, gracious, and unifying. We pray they would set aside partisan attacks and be granted the wisdom that comes from God in responding to violence and chaos erupting from places of grief and anger.
  • For unity: We pray that we would find places of connection and unity; seeking to understand the underlying intentions and motives of those that think differently from us. We pray for a godly love that allows us to move toward each other despite our differences, recognizing we are all touched by these issues as children of God.
  • For discernment: We know that God is at work in this world and will make all things right in the end. We pray for discernment as we consider how to engage in His Kingdom work today, and that the Gospel would be our primary motivation and guidance for how we respond.
  • For salvation: We pray for the salvation of those who cannot see past their hurt and anger in these moments, whose souls are not at rest. We pray that hearts would be opened, and lives would be cleansed and restored to the grace of God.
  • For reconciliation: We pray for reconciliation between those divided and estranged over issues of bias and prejudice; where fear, anger, hatred and misunderstanding has brought alienation and separation because of our sin.  We pray that our ultimate reconciliation to God by Jesus would allow us to step towards those we are alienated, bringing peace where there is no peace.
  • For God’s glory: We pray that ultimately God would be magnified and His people would dwell in His promised joy.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.