Sunday, February 5, 2017

Prayers Precede God's Works

The church is not a denomination and the denomination is not the church. But living in this world with laws and rules, it is important to have a legal entity by which a church is named or called. Today I brought my home group and two other students (10 altogether) to visit one of SIB first churches in Ranau. It is called SIB Pekan Ranau. The pastor is one of my first colleagues in ministry since 1994. Our families have been friends for over 2 decades. The church members also are not new to me since I have been a pastor of another Ranau church and we had a few combined activities during my time as pastor including the memorable all night prayer meeting on Malaysia Day 2015. Today I preached a message titled "Prayers precede the works of God" and I took the congregation to study the Gospel of Luke from chapter when the people were gathered outside the holy place in the time of prayer when the angel appeared to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.
Then I looked at Jesus' baptism when he was praying the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit came down in bodily form on him. I quoted the Lord's prayer in Luke where Jesus added that how much the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask of Him. I spoke about the selection of leaders based on Luke 6 where Jesus prayed all night before calling the 12 apostles and how it is essential to spend much time in prayers before appointing or electing leaders, more so top leaders of the denomination. I finished preaching in just under 40 minutes and the pastor went up and twice said that the service was ending too early. I suppose they expected me to preach at least an hour which is quite common in SIB churches. But I thought the announcements and intercessory prayers in between took 30 minutes and with praise and worship the congregation might not be able to concentrate a full hour.  It is always better to end leaving the congregation wanting more rather than people fidgeting and looking at the time. So we were happy after the service and all the church members shook our hands as we were invited to stand at the door and greeted the members as they left. I saw most of the members leaving with joyful countenance and many thanked me for the sermon.

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