February 24

Our Shepherd Groups are off to a great start. I appreciate all who are working in this massive and important ministry. We have two couples leading each group, and our shepherds and their wives are involved with two groups each. Chuck Downing has done a lot of work to get our SOS—Serving Our Savior—ministry going and is working with and through the Shepherd Groups to serve and minister to others in ways that we have previously missed. And of course it all revolves around each of us as members participating with our group by attending the group meetings; joining into the Bible study, discussion and prayers; and taking part with the group in other opportunities of ministry and fellowship. Thanks to all for your service to the Lord, to our church family, and to others through this program.

As you know we are coordinating our Shepherd Group Bible studies and discussions with the Sunday morning sermon series from Ephesians. I hope that you are doing some preparation work each week by taking a look at the discussion questions we are providing and spending some time in study, thought and prayer about the lessons. Ephesians is a very deep, theological book, but as with all of Scripture, it approaches those important teachings from the perspective of practical application to modern day living. With each passage we should ask some questions, such as, “What did this mean to the first century hearers when this part was read? What does it mean for me? How can I apply this to my life and the choices I make today, and throughout this week?”

Sunday during the sermon we will consider the first of two great prayers included in the book of Ephesians. In these prayers the apostle Paul praises God for the way He has blessed the hearers of his letter, and also asks God to continue to lead and guide them to even greater blessings of knowledge and faithfulness. Sunday evening in the 6 PM assembly we’ll consider some of the other great, faithful prayers found in Scripture.

How’s your prayer life? Here are a few simple reminders about how to pray. And you can add more!

  • Pray reverently. Remember that it is the Creator God, Master and Judge of the universe to whom you speak.
  • Pray confidently. While we are to be respectful, our Father wants us to speak with Him as we would—well, as we would a father. Be open and real with Him. Which leads to what is next.
  • Pray honestly. You can tell God anything, and you should. He already knows it anyway—how you act, what you think, what you’re concerned about. And He loves you no matter what.
  • Pray constantly. This is what Paul tells the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:17). Have a continual conversation with God. Never let the spirit of prayer be far from your heart.
  • Pray unselfishly. Give God praise. Consider the needs of others, including their spiritual needs.

 

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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