Praying For the Church: Witness (Session Four)

Praying For the Church: Witness (Session Four)

 

This is the audio of session four from the September 7, 2019 Praying For the Church Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This final session focused on praying for the church’s witness as we considered how to live in such a way that the truth of Jesus is evident in our life.

Praying For the Church: Worship (Session Three)

Praying For the Church: Worship (Session Three)

 

This is the audio of session three from the September 7, 2019 Praying For the Church Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This third session focused on praying for the church in worship as we considered how our personal worship of God each day ought to impact the worship that is expressed when we gather with other believers.

Praying For the Church: Work (Session Two)

Praying For the Church: Work (Session Two)

 

This is the audio of session two from the September 7, 2019 Praying For the Church Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This second session focused on praying for the church at work as we considered how our relationship with Jesus ought to make a difference in everything we do.

Praying For the Church: Wisdom (Session One)

Praying For the Church: Wisdom (Session One)

 

This is the audio of session one from the September 7, 2019 Praying For the Church Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This first session focused on praying for the church with the wisdom that comes from God’s Word, His Spirit, and a fear of the Lord.

The Plans of Men

The Plans of Men

We scheme and we plot.
     We sit and we plan.
We work out the details
     that seem right to man.
When plans are finished
     in just the right way.
We might turn to God
     and perhaps we would say:

“God we have worked
     with all of our might.
Now look at our plans
     and tell us we’re right.
We have considered
     what works best down here.
Now bless us and watch us
     and for us now cheer!”

Those little lines
     might sound quite absurd.
But they’re not far off
     from things I have heard.
“Prayer is fantastic,
     it is great for you.
But please don’t distract us
     from what we must do.”

“This way is better
     for our modern day.
Life moves by too fast
     to wait for God’s way.
If we don’t seize the moment,
     the moment will fade.
Then we’ll lose all we worked for,
     of this I’m afraid.”

As lines such as these
     echo loud in my mind.
It is harder to hear
     the voice I must find.
The calm gentle whisper,
     “Be still and know.
Trust me and walk
     in the way I will show.”

Doing things God’s way
     can be a great leap.
Do I really trust Him,
     His promises to keep?
Will He always be with me
     and always provide?
Will He see me through
     to the end of the ride?

Few people I know
     would ever claim.
To do things their own way
     or seek their own fame.
But when we’re impatient
     and force things to fit.
We pull out a bench
     and tell God to just sit.

With God on the sideline,
     we’re destined to fail.
What looks like success
     may become our own jail.
So before you’re imprisoned
     by ideas you think great.
Seek the way of God
     before it’s too late!

© 2015 by Tom Lemler

Other than a few rhyming lines here and there for fun, it has been a while since a full poem has shown up in my mind. Today started with a pair of rhyming lines about Susan not wanting to wake up. Somehow those lines seemed to open up a poem that had formed in my mind and wanted out. 🙂 I pray that it encourages you to seek God’s way all of the time and to abandon the ways and plans of the world no matter how right they may seem to mankind.

In prayer,
Tom

Stop, Look, and Listen

We are addicted
     to thinking we’re great.
We even make up things
     we can celebrate.
I’m smoother, I’m faster,
     I’m better, you see.
At changing the channels
     on my new TV!
As soon as I say that,
     someone comes along.
They will do anything
     to prove I am wrong. 

I get in trouble
     when I respond back.
With words full of anger
     and compassion I lack.
I must be the best,
     I know that I’m right.
For you to say different
     is more than a slight.
I make up statistics,
     I misquote the “pros”.
I lay claim to knowledge
     that no one else knows. 

We live in a time
     when there’s no room for fact.
We look to the polls
     to see how we should act.
To become an expert
     is easy these days.
Just connect online
     and tell all your ways.
We write with such candor,
     insisting we’re right.
We become quite bold
     when we stay out of sight. 

I have opinions
     on all that I read.
But are my opinions
     what the world needs?
They need to see Jesus
     in all that I do.
Whether writing a poem
     or responding to you.
So when you are tempted
    to play the expert.
Stop, think, and pray
     before someone gets hurt. 

So, what will it take
     to turn things around?
To say things and write things
     with a heavenly sound?
Think for a moment
     just what you would do.
If the person you challenge
     was in front of you.
Stop, look, and listen
     is still good advice.
Whether crossing the tracks
     or trying to speak nice. 

Stop all your movement
    and wait for a while.
So you can respond
    and still have a smile.
Look all around,
     beginning with  you.
Seek understanding
     to carry you through.
Listen intently
     to what’s said and what’s not.
Listen to God’s voice,
     He says quite a lot! 

When I apply this
     within my own life.
I avoid foolish talk
     and a whole lot of strife.
Yes, there are times
     to speak what is right.
But not necessarily
     with everyone in sight.
I speak and I write
     with God as my guide.
And the prayer that it’s Jesus
     people do see inside. 

© 2015 by Tom Lemler

This poem isn’t at all what I expected to read when I began typing it out!  When it first started forming in my mind, I thought it was about celebrating this being my 100th poem.  Instead, it seemed to flow from  how we respond to the public celebrations and statements of others.  Far too often I see Christians responding online to news reports and personal posts with such animosity and arrogance that any truth of God’s Word that they would try to use gets lost in the fray.  I pray that this poem is a reminder to not only “Stop, Look, and Listen”, but to stop, think, and pray in the midst of all interactions with others.

In prayer,
Tom Lemler

The Ninety-Nine

A story is told
     of a man with some sheep.
And as he was counting
     he just couldn’t sleep.
For there was one missing,
     he looked all around.
But the sheep that was lost,
     no where could be found.

So he gathered the safe sheep
     and left them behind.
And searched with the hope
     that the lost one he’d find.
It’s good that we focus
     on seeking the lost.
To go out and find them
     no matter the cost.

But I often wonder
     just what those sheep thought.
The ninety-nine safe ones
     who did what they ought.
That is the story
     that’s more about me.
When I’m safe in God’s fold
     how far do I see?

I think far too often
     that those in the church.
Get bent out of shape
     and feel left in the lurch.
When the shepherds do leave them
     all safe in the fold.
To go out and rescue
     the lost from the cold.

It’s all about me,
     are my needs being met?
I’m very important,
     now don’t you forget.
Don’t think about their needs,
     just focus on mine.
Why search for the one
     when you have ninety-nine?

I hope when you read that,
     you know it’s all wrong.
Our job is to help
     the lost to belong.
There are many people
     who wander in sin.
Let’s do what we can
     to help bring them in.

When we are living
     safe in God’s care.
Let’s turn our gaze outward.
     to the lost that are there.
When we huddle together
     with our ninety-nine.
Look to the hurting
     and know they’re not fine.

So will you be happy
     and feel satisfied?
That you’re safe in the fold
     while the lost sheep has died?
I pray that you realize
     there’s work yet to do.
That the lost will find Jesus
     as they see Him in you!

So let’s all get busy
     and look for the one.
Who is wounded and hurting,
     with no place to run.
Help them see Jesus
     so they’ll say, “He’s mine!”
And enter the fold
     with us “ninety-nine”.

© 2015 by Tom Lemler

I’ve been keeping an eye on my poem count, thinking I would like to come up with something special for my 100th poem. I’m sure God will still give me something special for poem number 100, but first he gave me The Ninety-Nine! After I finished poem number 98 earlier tonight, I finished up my day and went to bed only to have this poem show up in my mind centered around what will the 99 do while there is one yet lost. And wouldn’t you know it, it is a story using sheep as an illustration! I”m guessing that most of my readers are part of the 99 who are safe in the fold. Do you care, or even think, about the one who is lost and/or missing? I pray that we rejoice in our salvation with our fellow “ninety-nine” while doing our part to find the one.

In prayer,
Tom