Worthwhile January 11, 2019

Into the New Year we have sprung. Funny how it feels a lot like the last year. Political division. Work to be done. Schedules that keep us inundated. And of course the only real place of refreshment and peace, the gospel of grace.

This week two articles worth your time and thought. Both on similar perspectives. One on prayer and what one church, and maybe all of us, mean when we seek God. The second on a new move afoot to move from mere theological continuationism (believing the Holy Spirit works miraculously still today) to the actual experience of it in our churches


From Sam Storms, a reflection on his church’s days of fasting and prayer. At Reservoir we used a couple of quotes from Sam in our weekly prayer meeting as we desire the same things. One key quote:

By saying we seek “God himself” I mean greater manifestations of his presence, a tangible sense of his nearness, deeper and sweeter fellowship and communion with him, a heightened capacity to hear his voice, a movement on our hearts to feel and enjoy his affection for us, and an expanded power in us to enjoy and adore him with greater fervency. In seeking “God himself” we long to know him better, to understand his will and ways with greater clarity, to go deeper and deeper into the character of God, to be set on fire with a more passionate commitment to him and adoration of him. In seeking “God himself” we long for a satisfaction in our souls that is so rich and powerful that it drowns out the alluring and seductive appeal of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Sam Storms

Read the whole piece here.


Next is a quick note from Andrew Wilson about a comment from Tim Challies about the move afoot for Charismatic experience in our churches. Typically Calvinistic churches that believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit continue today have been reserved at best in the expression of these gifts or even the pursuit of them. But the wind is blowing. Times are changing and more and more leaders are moving from holding a theology to experiencing it.

This is something we have expressed at Reservoir, the desire to be Word and Spirit people not merely holding a doctrinal belief but living in light of it. Come Holy Spirit come.

Afternoon Doldrums Prayer

I often ask during Bible studies, ‘how does this help in the midweek afternoons, when we are tired and falling asleep at our desks, or exhausted from yet another day managing kids?” I stole the question from someone, but I don’t remember who!

Then this morning, the same question came up and it so happens that we uncovered the perfect prayer in our reading for such moments like the afternoon doldrums, and even situations much worse! Hear this prayer from the Prophet Jonah.

“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.

For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.

Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’

The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit,

O LORD my God. When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay.

Salvation belongs to the LORD!” – Jonah 2:2-9(ESV)

The Pastor’s Prayer

Ever climbing. Ever strategizing. Ever studying. Ever worried about outcomes and growth and finances and hurting people. This is the life of a pastor. It is a good life. Rich with joy and the glory of the gospel. But this life is not about how well I can climb or what solutions I can devise. This is in fact God’s cause. And I rejoice to be in it.

Today I am thankful for the reminder from this prayer from the Valley of Vision.

“Sovereign God,

Thy cause, not my own, engages my heart, and I appeal to thee with greatest freedom to set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns; Glorify thyself and I shall rejoice, for to bring honour to thy name is my sole desire.

I adore thee that thou are God, and long that others should know it, feel it, and rejoice in it. O that all men might love and praise thee, that thou mightest have all glory from the intelligent world!

Let sinners be brought to thee for thy dear name!

To the eye of reason everything respecting the conversion of others is as dark as midnight, But thou canst accomplish great things; the cause is thine, and it is to thy glory that men should be saved.

Lord, use me as thou wilt, do with me what thou wilt; but, O, promote thy cause, let thy kingdom come, let thy blessed interest be advanced in this world!

O do thou bring in great numbers to Jesus! Let me see that glorious day, and give me to grasp for multitudes of souls; let me be willing to die to that end; and while I live let me labour for thee to the utmost of my strength, spending time profitably in this work, both in health and in weakness.

It is thy cause and kingdom I long for, not my own. O, answer thou my request!”

Fail to Pray

“It is rare today to see a passion for prayer as the essence of gospel ministry. But I also believe it is futile to try to work people up into prayer. It just doesn’t get results beyond a surge of enthusiasm that soon wears off. I know of only one infallible way to get a church praying, and keep it praying, for the power of God to come down: we need to fail. We need to fail so badly and obviously that we find out how much we really do trust ourselves rather than God. We need to be shocked by the collapse of our best methods. But what a blessing catastrophic disaster is, with all its misery and shame, if it turns us back to God!” – Ray Ortlund, The Gospel.

We have just finished a study of this little book at theology breakfast and it was a worthwhile experience. I commend it to you.