Yesterday, jedi knight Caleb, and myself spent an hour or so in the main room. We listened to some music on our ipods, sat silently, read our bibles and prayed together. This year is a year where we, the Vineyard, are committing to do less, but are believing for an increase. How we going to do less yet do more? By praying, waiting on Jesus, and to stand back, and see what He will do. We are intentionally adjusting our focus…upward, inward and outward.
some thoughts from Philippians as I prayed through the first chapter yesterday.
Phil 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,
Paul was a praying man, He consistently prayed for the people of the church…
5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
The people of the church were actively sharing their faith…they had a role to play…they participated…they were outward focused it was part of their DNA
6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
this is the He who verse…God ignited their outwardfocusedness and He would complete the work in He began…
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Paul prayed that their walk would reflect the good news they proclaimed… their words to match their walk
12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
Paul was in prison…yet he was still outward focused…everyone in the region knew why Paul was in prison…his stand for the gospel… therefore, the people were encouraged / strengthened to actively share their faith without fear…
15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
It is interesting that Paul didn’t focus upon people’s motives i.e. selfish ambition, but upon the fact the good news was proclaimed…He rejoiced that even the people who had wrong motivations were at least outward focused…somewhat of a challenge eh?
your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.21 For to me, to live is Christ
peoples prayers + the consistent infilling of God’s Holy Spirit= Paul’s boldness
The goal: Christ would always be exalted in his life…I like the always, and the now factor…
to live a life where Jesus was always exalted and was always being revealed by his actions, attitudes and his words…
27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel
Paul encouraged the people to live godly outward focused lives…and to remain focused on the main thing…spreading the faith of the gospel…
Reading Paul’s letters it is evident the main thing, living to know Jesus Christ, and spreading the gospel was the main thing…He lived an outward focused life…even in prison.