Jan 2, 2017
Join Nightlife for a Daniel Fast to start the New Year. This year’s theme is “Revive.” Daily prayer emphases related to this theme will be posted here as well as on the Nightlife Facebook page. We will also be hosting Daniel Fast potlucks January 8 and 15 in the Fireplace Room immediately following the Nightlife service. Bring a Daniel Fast dish to share. For more information on the Daniel Fast and the events surrounding it, download the 2017 Daniel Fast Info Sheet. (daniel-fast-info-sheet-2017)
1/19/2017: Nightlife’s Mission
1/19/2017: Nightlife’s Mission
Not only do we want to see college students and young adults come to Christ and secure them in Him, we also want them to see that God has a purpose for their lives. By this, I don’t just mean that we want them to know that their lives are meaningful in some abstract sense. During this season of life, many people are searching for what they should make of themselves and what they should do. We want young people to understand that God has a mission for them and has created them to use their talents and strength to glorify Him and serve others in a particular way. We want them to come to understand that their lives should not be about money or work but about God and then they will see how their efforts in life can be put to use in His kingdom.
Pray for wisdom for church leadership to communicate this message and teach young people how to understand God’s desires for their lives and ask God to help young people discover His purposes for them through His Word, His Church, and His Spirit.
1/18/2017: Nightlife’s Mission
The first aspect of Nightlife’s Mission is to see college students and young adults come to know Christ. the second aspect is that we would secure them in Him. This relates to helping them mature in Christ and I want to ask you to pray for several components of helping students and young adults become secure in Christ:
God’s Word – Being secure in Christ requires the Word of God so that we can grow in our knowledge of God and His will for our lives. Pray that God would give students and young adults a hunger for His Word and pray that the preaching at Nightlife would be anointed and received with enthusiasm and hearts ready to obey.
Prayer – You can’t mature in Christ without pryaer. He was the example of it’s importance while He was on earth and we want young people to follow that example. Ask God to help develop the prayer lives of the young people in our church and give them a passion for prayer. Ask Him to meet them in prayer so that they will be drawn to it and ask Him to bless our monthly prayer meetings and that more people will participate.
Community – The book of Hebrews warns us not to give up meeting together. Community is a source of strength, an important point of influence, and a vital means of accountability. During the college and young adult years, people take on greater responsibility and their schedules get crammed. Ask that God would help them prioritize Christian community so that they can continue growing in Him.
Giving – Giving is not just what we do for others, but it’s also an important aspect of our own spiritual growth. Whether we are giving of our time, talent, or money, we are all called to give and participate in Christ’s mission. Pray that God will give wisdom to Nightlife’s leaders concerning helping people use their gifts to serve the Lord and pray that God will raise up young people as laborers in His harvest.
1/16/2017: Nightlife’s Mission
Last week we prayed about our involvement in Christ’s mission. This week I want to ask you to pray specifically for how Nightlife fits into that mission. That begins with seeing the salvation of College Students and Young Adults. There are so many needs within this need that it’s hard to know where to begin, but here are a few ways that you can pray:
Pray for college campuses and open doors on them. The colleges/universities in our area include Holyoke Community College, Springfield Technical Community College, Western New England University, Westfield State, Springfield College, American International College, Baypath, Elms College, Asnuntuck Community College…
Pray for God to raise up laborers from among college students who will be bold for Christ on their campuses.
Pray for God to raise up laborers from among more mature Christians who are willing to invest their time and resources in reaching and discipling students.
Pray for wisdom for Nightlife’s leadership to know how to reach students and young adults, how to help them connect with the body of Christ, and how to disciple them.
Pray for boldness among God’s people to invite young adults to come to church and hear God’s word with them.
Pray for anointed evangelistic preaching and for open hearts when a call for salvation is given.
Pray for Christian students and clubs to find favor with their college administration and faculty.
Tomorrow night at Nightlife we will be talking about the mission that Christ has given to us to make disciples of all nations. That’s a big mission and sometimes it can be so intimidating that we make excuses for not participating. We may feel so overwhelmed that we don’t even know where to start or we might feel as if we have nothing to offer to the endeavor. Worse, we may simply get caught up with the worries and concerns of this life and neglect the mission that He left us. This is not good for several reasons, first because it’s disobedient, second because it leaves people who need to know the truth without a witness, and third because fulfillment can only come from doing the will of God.
Today, pray that God will raise up laborers to make disciples. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict your heart and help you to be on mission for Jesus. Pray about how God may want you to give to missions and go with missions.
Read Luke 24:44-48 One of Jesus’ last commands to His apostles before He ascended into heaven following His resurrection was to wait. With something as exciting as the resurrection in the immediate background, it doesn’t seem like waiting is such a good idea. You would think that immediate action should be taken. After all, you want to keep all that momentum going! Nevertheless, Jesus’ command was to wait.
I don’t like waiting. Never have. I imagine most of you don’t either. So, I find this command particularly difficult, and I’ve noticed that other people do as well.
What were the apostles supposed to be waiting on? The promise of the Father; the baptism in the Holy Spirit. That is what would enable them to fulfill the mission that Jesus had given them to proclaim the good news all over the world and make disciples from every people.
We may not like it, but we need to wait on God, specifically on the Holy Spirit. Waiting reminds us that we need to surrender our wills to God’s. Waiting reminds us that we need His power and His direction. Waiting reminds us that the work of the Kingdom and the mission of Jesus will not be accomplished through all our great ideas and our best efforts. “’Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)
Today, spend some time waiting on the Lord. Wait on Him in worship. Wait on Him in prayer. Wait on Him in His word. Don’t be quick to leave His presence. Specifically, wait on the Holy Spirit. Ask the Lord to fill you with His Spirit and empower you for His mission.
Read Luke 21:34-36. In the immediate context, Jesus has been talking to His disciples about His second coming and the signs that will preceded it. He warns them that He will come suddenly, so there is a need to be ready for His return at all times. However, there is the constant threat of temptation. There are all sorts of things that tempt us away from a life dedicated to Christ. Jesus listed dissipation, drunkenness, and the worries of this life.
It’s so easy for us to get distracted, not only by the obvious temptations, but also by the smaller, everyday worries that we face. If we are not on our guard, we may begin to decline in our commitment to Jesus and fall prey to the ways of the world. Jesus tells us specifically to pray that we will have strength to face these temptations so that when we stand before Him at the judgement, we will not have been caught off guard by His return and will have no reason to be ashamed.
Today, pray that God will help you overcome the temptations and influences that consistently try to draw your attention away from Christ and pull you into sin.
Luke 19:11-27 relays Jesus’ Parable of the Minas. What strikes me about the parable is the need to to simply take what we’ve been given and sit on it, that is, coast through life, but the need for diligence in investing it.
Diligence is the key. The master in this parable did not demand that all his servants have the same outcome. Neither was the servant who made five minas punished because he didn’t make ten. Instead, the master wanted to see His command obeyed diligently.
Are you diligent in investing time, talent, and resources for the Lord? Do you lack consistency in using what He has given you to produce more for His Kingdom. Today, pray: “Lord, help me be diligent in increasing what you’ve given me and using it for your Kingdom. Help me not to grow lazy or apathetic about your work. In my diligence, please lead me so that I make good investments of time, skill, and resources for your Kingdom.”
Read Luke 18:9-14 and James 4:1-10. The theme of these two passages is humility. You would probably never dream of praying like the Pharisee in the parable that Jesus told: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector,” but I bet you’ve thought it! Maybe not in those exact words, but I would guess that at one time or another, you’ve looked at someone else and thought, “I’m glad I’m not like them!”
The problem with this way of thinking is not the recognition that there are some decisions and lifestyles to be avoided, but that it fails to recognize your dependence on God for grace and mercy and that, once received, grace and mercy are meant to be shared. God opposes those who see themselves as having an inherent leg up on others or who believe themselves to be worthy of greater honor than others. Those beliefs betray the lie that an individual believes that they have somehow deserved the grace of God while others do not.
Let’s admit it, it’s easy for us to fall into prideful patterns of thinking that hinder our relationship with God and with others. Today, humble yourself before the Lord. Ask Him to help you to be gracious to others, not only in your words and actions, but all the way into your thoughts. He wants you to be humble in heart, not just on the exterior.
Tomorrow is what my kids call “church day.” I hope you will be in church tomorrow! Among the many important things we do at church, one of the most important is hearing God’s Word taught and preached. It gives direction to our lives personally and as a body and has the potential to transform us.
However, sometimes going to church becomes rote habit and sometimes we listen to preaching that way as well. Rather than a sense of excitement and expectation concerning church, you may sometimes get a sense of obligation towards going and a feeling of ambivalence of even dread concerning the sermon. Your goal may be just to stay awake!
Luke 8:4-8 records Jesus’ Parable of the Sower. In this agricultural story about the outcome of seed that fell on various types of soil, Jesus explains the seed that fell on good soil this way, “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15, ESV). That’s how I want my ears and heart to be when I hear God’s Word. Not only do I want to be eager to hear it, I want to hold onto it so that it can produce fruit.
Today, ask God to prepare your heart to hear His Word tomorrow. Ask Him to give you an eager heart. Ask Him to revive your faith that His Word, when applied by the Holy Spirit, can transform your life. Ask Him to revive an attitude of expectation toward church services and preaching and finally, ask Him to help you listen carefully and hold onto His Word so it can bear fruit in your life.
1/6/2017: Your Thought Life
Over time, your thought life can get worn down. Sarcasm can turn to cynicism. You may start thinking negatively about people, maybe even cutting them down. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:1 to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The primary way that renewing takes place is through the Word of God and prayer. Today, ask God to renew your thought life. Pray that He will help you not think too highly of yourself while thinking negatively of others. Ask Him to help you set your mind on things above.
Worship is an important component of your relationship with God. In essence, worship is recognizing God’s glory and submission to it. In the Bible, the words translated “worship” stem from the idea of bowing down. To worship then is to bow down to God. That may sound offensive in our politically correct culture, and that’s ok, it’s good for you. But if you are having a difficult time understanding how worship is helpful or what worship is like, let me offer this illustration. Imagine that you and I are on a long hike. It’s been pretty difficult (I don’t like easy hikes). We have trudged across streams, through forests, and up the sides of steep mountains. Finally, we crest the hill and there is a magnificent view. The landscape stretches out before you. You watch the shadows of clouds float across the valleys and hills below. It’s like a picture, except better! It’s like you are in a picture! You’re speechless. You can’t believe that something so beautiful exists and that all you needed to see it was a new perspective.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 explains that God’s plan was much different than the plans worldly rulers make. His plan to save us was totally unexpected. No one could conceive how He would do it. The salvation He offers is unbelievable, like the view when you crest a mountain, except better! Who could believe that there is anything so beautiful! That’s what the cross of Christ is like for believers. The world calls it foolishness, but the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of sages.
So, when we submit in worship, we aren’t just doing something that belittles us; we are recognizing the beauty of God in Christ, through whom He has welcomed us into His glorious presence and given us new life. That is an awe inspiring, jaw dropping, speechlessly beautiful view!
Take a few moments to read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 and then incorporate some worship into your prayer time today. Revive your awe of God as you consider His great salvation!
1/4/2016: Trust and Obey
Today’s prayer focus is on reviving a heart of trust in Christ that bears the fruit of obedience. Read Luke 14:15-24. What is the invitation that the guests who were originally invited turned down? An invitation to the wedding feast, right? But what does the wedding feast represent? A wedding feast was an often used image of the Kingdom of God (think of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb). So, the parable addresses those who turned down an invitation into the Kingdom of God. But how did they turn it down? Was it simply by failing to respond to an altar call? No. Apparently these people already knew about the banquet and had been previously invited, but when the time came to go they all made excuses.
Both John the Baptist and Jesus came with an invitation into the Kingdom of God. They preached “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near!” and both said that genuine repentance should bear fruit. Entrance into the Kingdom of God requires trusting Jesus which requires obedience. It means following Jesus wherever He leads through His word and His Spirit.
Maybe you have made some excuses for not trusting Jesus and allowing Him to lead. What do those excuses sound like? Jesus calls me to give, but I am greedy. Jesus call me to share the good news, but I am too embarrassed or too busy. Jesus calls me to serve, but I’m too focused on my own plans. Jesus calls me to love, but I’m taking care of my own business. In many ways, this parable is like the parable of the seed, in which the worries, concerns, and riches of life choked out the Word of God.
Being too busy, distracted, or selfish to obey is the same as turning down an invitation to God’s Kingdom. Thankfully, we have a gracious Heavenly Father who shows mercy and will “dig around the tree and add fertilizer” so that it can bear the fruit that it should (see Luke 13:6-9). But it’s not enough to say that I trust Jesus; the evidence of that trust is willingness to obey.
Take some time to pray that God will revive your trust in Jesus and that you will bear the fruit of willing obedience.
1/3/2016: Start in the Heart
Today’s prayer focus is your inner life. At Luke 11:37-41 and 12:1-3, Jesus addressed the inner life of the Pharisees and His warnings are for us as well. Often we diagnose symptoms but never get down to the cause: what’s going on inside. If our hearts are not right with God, then nothing else will be either. Take a moment to examine your heart today. Have you been experiencing personal frustrations with actions and habits? Perhaps those symptoms stem from something deeper. Ask God to reveal the roots of those sins and ask for His grace to forgive and strength to overcome.
Today’s prayer focus is repentance. Repentance is turning from your sin and selfishness and turning toward God. It is asking forgiveness for your sins and surrendering your will in obedience to God. Today, take a few moments to read Psalm 51. This psalm was written by King David after he had sinned and was seeking God’s forgiveness. After reading the Psalm, take a few moments to examine your own life. Ask God’s forgiveness for areas of disobedience and His help to walk in obedience this year.