RSS Feed

Tag Archives: unite

Uniting Communion with Prayer

The word unite refers to coming or bringing together for a common purpose or action. In a letter to the church at Corinth, Paul explains the meaning and purpose of communion. Whenever you partake in communion, the passage below is either read or summarized. Yet, if you exclude prayer from communion, there is a key element being overlooked.

For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord’s death until He comes [again], 1 Corinthians 11:26.

Perhaps, first century churches began taking communion services for granted, going through the motions without any personal reflection. The passage below serves as a warning, a reminder to take this sacrament seriously. To avoid this careless mistake, Paul urges readers to thoroughly examine yourself prior to eating the bread and drinking your cup.

So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is unworthy [of Him] will be guilty of [profaning and sinning against] the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup, 1 Corinthians 11:27-28.

While in college, one of my mentors served as a pastor in a rural area. Many of his members took this passage to the extreme, not showing up at all on Sunday for church, feeling unworthy and unprepared to take communion. After a couple of months, pastor Jack stopped announcing when communion would be served, changing the weeks every month. The next time you partake in communion, prepare yourself with prayer so that contrite hearts will begin to purge sin from your life.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Sure About That God?

From time to time, God will call his followers to step out in faith.  While this is expected to a certain extent, some requests go beyond logic.  Noah was asked to build an ark before rain existed.  A man plagued with stuttering, Moses, was urged to confront Pharaoh to let Israel go.  Meanwhile Joshua was encouraged to go into battle with a marching band of trumpets.  At some point I’m sure all three of these men likely pondered, “are you sure about that God?”

Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, Genesis 2:5.

The book of Hebrews emphasizes that its impossible to please God without faith, Hebrews 11:6.  James, the earthly brother of Jesus states that faith is dead without accompanied by action, James 2:26.  Perhaps, the reason why individuals are forced to step out in faith is that many people spend most of their lives dwelling within personal comfort zones.  Thus, God has to nudge and prod people to live by faith, not by sight.

For we live by faith, not by sight, 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Prior to the fall of Jericho, Joshua led his army to march around the walls of the city for six consecutive days.  At some point during this week, there must have been murmurs by soldiers, “when am I going to get my weapon?”  Although its not mentioned in the Bible, human nature causes individuals to doubt.  While not vocalized, Joshua needed to unite the troops on the final day, with something like “stop talking and march.”  Though you and I will have many more “are you sure about that” moments, may you fight through the urge to doubt by trusting God, step by step in faith.

by Jay Mankus

An Old Prayer for a New Place

If I have learned anything as a coach, parent and teacher is that nothing is immune from evil.  Some of the godliest churches, people and nations have fallen away from God and slipped into a state of darkness.  Trying to turn these dire situations around by mere human strength is impossible.  The next time this occurs its important to seek a higher authority by applying an old prayer for a new place.

Then Abraham approached God and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?  Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”  The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake,” Genesis 18:23-26.

Even democrats and republicans can agreement that this past election cycle has been as bad as it gets.  The desire to win has created one of the nastiest and ugliest campaigns ever.  After the last votes have been counted, some cities and states have gotten worse, turning loses into riots.  Despite whatever ideology you may share, its time to come together, uniting under one mediator, the Creator of the heavens and earth, to approach God with a plea to spare this nation for the sake of the righteous.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44.

Perhaps Jesus was thinking about the United States of America circa 2016 when He shared these words above.  The easy thing to do in life is love those who think like you and hate everyone else.  Yet, Jesus has higher standards for those who long to be followers of the cross.  Therefore, ask the Lord to transform your heart, soul and mind.  Turn hatred into love and enemies into friends.  When individuals begin to rely on old prayers for new situations, nothing is impossible for God.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: