Prayer for our President

Dear Mr. Trump,

On November 8, 2016 you were elected by the people of the United States to serve as our next President. In the next few months you will be establishing your team and preparing for your inauguration. It is going to be a very busy and exciting time for you. I am praying for you.

This election was very contentious. The last year and a half have revealed a lot of wounds in our nation. Racial tensions, economic frustrations, fears regarding security and terrorism are all top of mind for us right now. Ultimately, none of these things are your fault. But people are going to look to you to fix it. I am praying for you. I know that you cannot fix everything. You are just a person just like me. But I am praying that God would give you wisdom and discernment.

I’m also praying for your family. No family is perfect, and living in the public eye magnifies imperfections. Your family is going to feel the pressure of your new office in a way that few can ever relate to.

I know that American policy and the Christian faith are not always going to line up perfectly. But I am going to pray that your understanding of the Christian faith will continue to grow and that it will continue to shape your life and policy. We are all in process.

But there are some principles that, regardless of policy, should be present in all of our lives. Our motivation for service should not be power but compassion. I am praying that your compassion for the American people, the rich and the poor, the majority and the minorities, and your compassion for those who are hurting around the world would guide your administration. Compassion is a powerful force in bringing healing. I’m praying that Jesus would help you walk with compassion.

I’m praying for patience. Not everything you want to accomplish is going to happen right away. Please be patient. Don’t be rash. As president you will be entrusted to steward an incredible amount of power. To wield that kind of power responsibly will require great patience. Please be patient.

I’m praying for mercy. Many things were said about you in the election process. Many of those things were hurtful to you and people you love. Please don’t use your power to bring vengeance. Let mercy guide your leadership. Rise above the name calling. Jesus told us that when someone strikes us we should turn the other cheek. Please practice that. Let your critics reveal their own weakness and shame and don’t engage them on their level.

I’m praying that you pursue peace. Throughout the Old and New Testament peace is one of the great blessings that God wants for his people. Peace, or Shalom, is not just the absence of war, it’s also setting things right, it’s pursuing justice for others. And while we will never be able to perfectly establish shalom in our own strength, it is something that we should all pursue with the resources that God has given us.

I am praying for unity. You are no longer just a candidate for your preferred party. You are now President of the United States of America. While your party helped get you to this office, the whole nation is looking to you to lead us all. Please lead the way in building unity. Our nation can do so much when we are actually the United States. Building unity is very difficult. I am praying your vision of America is not just a vision for your party’s preferences. Show us a vision of what our nation can be. We are a great nation, show us how we can be a greater force for good in the world.

As a pastor I promised my congregation that I would never endorse a candidate from the pulpit. But I will always endorse praying for our leaders. I am praying for you. I want you to know that while I may disagree with policies and actions, I will never stop praying for you. You are my president. You are our president.

This is my prayer for you. And while you may never actually read this (I know you’re pretty busy) I am still going to keep praying for you.

 

The Road Ahead

Today we begin a new chapter at Creekside Church. This is my first Sunday after as lead pastor of this amazing church. I know that I have a lot to learn as we move forward. I am trusting that Jesus will continue to do the work that he has already started in me.

There will be challenges.

There will be celebrations.

There will be lives changed by the Gospel.

Creekside as we look to the future together I ask that you pray with me. Pray for me and my family. Pray for the people in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools. Pray that we will always say yes to the mission of helping people discover, trust and love Jesus Christ.

As we are launching Creekside Lynnwood, pray for wisdom and favor in the neighborhood. Pray the congregation in Lynnwood that we will build unity around the mission. Pray for the leadership teams in both campuses.

The road ahead of us is exciting and I am looking forward to going on this journey together. Let’s see where Jesus takes us.

Thoughts On Vision Prayer

Thanks to everyone who came out to vision prayer last night.  Such an encouraging time of community prayer and worship.

Events like vision prayer are where the church gets to be the Family of Christ.  Sunday gatherings are designed for guest.  It’s like inviting the neighbors over for the party.  Vision Prayer is where we do the household work.  And the work of the household of Christ is Prayer and worship.

We cannot (and should not try to) do the work of the church with out first going to the Lord in prayer.

It was great to have a time of encouragement from team members.  To pray with and for the staff.  To keep Jesus and his mission central in all things that we do at Creekside.

Looking forward to the next one.

What happens to us when we hear?

I am learning Biblical Hebrew, one of the key texts in all of scripture is Deuteronomy 6:4, also known as the Shema.  Here is the text:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one

The word “hear” is shema.  It’s a verse that observant jews would recite throughout their life.  It is a reminder of who their God is, and it goes on to talk about how God’s people are to follow after God with all their heart, mind and strength.

I have been spending a good amount of time learning this verse in Hebrew.  If you would like to hear what it sounds like you can click here.

This morning I was listening to an old episode of the Radiolab podcast.  They were talking about how they work with sound to tell stories (download it here).  Radiolab does interviews with experts and they create really deep auditory experiences.  This is one of my favorite podcasts.  You can hear all of them at Radiolab.org.

This statement really struck me, “Sound is touch at a distance.”

Sound is really made up of waves that travel through the air and they travel through our ear canals and touch the tiny little bones and hairs in our ears and our brains somehow translate all of that into something that we can understand.

If sound is just touch at a distance, what happens to us when we hear, shema, the words of God.  God’s words are more than a word on a page.  When we hear them outloud, we are touched by the words of God.

We make contact with God, through his word when he hear it.

And when we pray, God hears us.  Do our prayers then touch God?

So take the time to hear the words of God

Shema Israel, adonai elohenu, adonai echad.

Hear O Israel, The LORD our God, The LORD is one!

Teach Us To Pray

I was recently cleaning out my book shelves when I came across an old book that looked interesting.  It’s called With Christ by Andrew Murray.  It’s a daily devotional book, 31 short chapter, all about prayer.  Prayer is one of the areas in my walk with Christ where I know that I need to be more intentional.  So I’m starting this book.  It’s old, written before TV and Radio and all the distractions of the world today, so I thought this would be a great resources.

The first chapter did not disappoint.  This quote was worth the time already.

Jesus never taught his disciples how to preach, only how to pray.  He did not speak much of what was needed to preach well, but much of praying well.  TO know how to speak to God is more than knowing how to speak to man.  Not power with men, but power with God is the first thing.

Such a needed reminder for my life.  Prayer is so important to God because he values our relationship with him.  I believe that God’s opinion of me is more important than anyone else’s opinion.  Prayer is one of the ways that I can build my relationship with God.

Jesus teach us how to pray.

Jesus teach me how to pray.

Church Prayer . . . Moms’ Day

Today I had the privilege to pray during our church service, every time I get to pray is a privilege. Sometimes I know exactly what I am supposed to pray, and other times I don’t know and I start praying and God talks to me while I’m praying. It sounds weird I know, and I can’t explain it. Today I was praying for moms and I said, God is with moms when their babies are crying in the middle of the night, and when moms are crying for their babies in the middle of the night.”

As soon as I said those words I was blown away by how amazing moms are, and how God’s love is evidenced in a mom’s love. I don’t think it’s good form to regularly quote yourself on your own blog, but I wanted to share that thought.

Peace of Mind

So lately the post that has brought the most traffic to my blog has been the video of Lauryn Hill’s “Gotta Find Peace of Mind.” Is there a better time than this to hear that song? With so much drama in the world around us, it’s hard to truly find peace. There are some many voices telling us so many things that distract or discourage us. And We need to constantly come back to the one person who can provide peace. Jesus.

Jesus, help us to know that you truly are the peace giver. We cannot find peace anywhere else but you. Help us to hear you in all the craziness around us. We want to hear you above the noise. Amen.