09/25/14
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Pastoring a Church in a Time of War

By David Roseberry

Leading a congregation in a time of war is a particular challenge. Passions and fears in the parish can run high and hot. People will worry about their children and other members of their family in service overseas. Political differences between members may roil across church meetings. Even prayers can be politically charged with partisan politics.

Politicians and military analysts may quibble with the term, but we are at war. Some would say it is the result of failed leadership or foresight. Some would say it is only the on-going effects of a war which began long ago…or under a different president…or after 9/11. It does not matter now. We are at war.

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As pastors, we are called to lead our churches in times of war and peace. And we are at war whether we want to admit it or not.

Here are ten thoughts about what an Anglican pastor/priest can do to prepare and lead a church in a time of war. There are many other ideas that others could contribute but these are things that I am thinking about for the coming season.

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09/25/14
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Intercessory Prayer

By Winfield BevinsA continuing series on prayer. Click here to view the rest of these reflections. 

“Intercessory prayer is exceedingly prevalent. What wonders it has wrought! The Word of God teems with its marvelous deeds. Believer, thou hast a mighty engine in thy hand, use it well, use it constantly, use it with faith, and thou shalt surely be a benefactor to thy brethren.” C.H. Spurgeon

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What is intercessory prayer? According to Webster, intercede means simply, “to go or pass between; to act between parties with a view to reconcile those who differ or contend; to interpose; to mediate or make intercession; mediation.” Intercession basically means to stand between two extremes. It means to earnestly plead with a person on behalf of another. Intercessory prayer happens when we stand in the gap between God and others. Continue reading

09/18/14
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Meditative Prayer

By Winfield BevinsA continuing series on prayer. Click here to view the rest of these reflections. 

“We have some idea, perhaps, what prayer is, but what is meditation? Well may we ask; for meditation is a lost art today, and Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God.” J.I. Packer

bestillIn personal prayer we speak to God, but in meditative prayer we allow God to speak to us through His word and His Spirit. Never before has there been such a need to rediscover the quiet art of meditative prayer. If we are not careful, the many of distractions of this world will drown out the quiet voice of God within our hearts and make us numb to our spiritual needs.  We need to find a quiet place to be with the God and hear His word. In stillness and solitude God speaks to our hearts and fills us with the refreshing presence of his Spirit.

What do we mean by meditative prayer? Is there such thing as Christian meditation? Isn’t meditation non-Christian? Continue reading

09/10/14
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Where is God when Bad Things Happen? 

by Winfield Bevins.

With the rise of persecution against Christians in the Middle East, we are reminded that we live in a world full of pain and suffering. In the midst of a bad economy, natural disasters, and the growing risk of international terrorism people are seeking real answers to tough questions. Many people feel alone and unable to handle the many problems that can come their way on a daily basis.

As a pastor, I am often asked questions like, “Where is God when bad things happen?” or “Why do bad things happen to good people?” These are real and legitimate questions to ask. Another question is, “Does the Bible have real answers to real problems?” The answer is yes, although they are not always easy. Therefore it is important that we have a Biblical understanding of suffering and pain to comfort people who are hurting.  Continue reading

09/4/14
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The Lord’s Prayer

By Winfield BevinsA continuing series on prayer. Click here to view the rest of these reflections. 

“While we ordinarily first bring our own needs to God in prayer, and then think of what belongs to God and his interests, the Master reverses the order. First Thy name, Thy kingdom, Thy will; then give us, forgive us, lead us, deliver us… In true worship the Father must be first, must be all.” -Andrew Murray

When the apostles said to Jesus, “Lord teach how to pray” It was because they knew that he was a man of profound devotion and prayer. They walked with him and talked with him, but perhaps more importantly for our study they saw that he was a true man of prayer. The gospels tell us that Jesus prayed at every major event in His life: His baptism (Luke 3:21); the choice of apostles (6:12-12); his transfiguration (9:29); before the cross at Gethsemane (22:39-40); and on the cross (23:46). The Bible tells us that He continues in prayer for us. Hebrews 7:27 says, “He always lives to make intercessions for them.” He sets the example for us to follow. Meditate on the following scriptures that talk about His personal prayer life. Continue reading

08/29/14
'Motion' by Miguel Correia; Creative Commons 2.0 via Flickr

What’s the Hurry?

by Jack King

Image courtesy of Aliax Rex via Flickr; Creative Commons 2.0

Image courtesy of Aliax Rex via Flickr; Creative Commons 2.0

Last week I turned 36, so I’m fully entrenched in my mid-30s, tilting toward my late-30s. With my fortieth birthday not far way, I’m looking at patterns, some I wish to establish and some I want to lose. Without question, the pattern I most want to break is the pervasive pattern of hurry in my life. For over a year now, these words from Dallas Willard have been my meditation: ‘Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.’

These now infamous words that Willard spoke to his lifelong friend, John Ortberg, have been quoted often in the past several years. And for good reason. We know there’s a serious problem with the pace of our lives. We like the idea of eliminating hurry from our lives because of the chronic tiredness and exhaustion we feel. But few people have translated this good idea into action. Continue reading

08/28/14
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Keys to Personal Prayer

By Winfield BevinsA continuing series on prayer. Click here to view the rest of these reflections. 

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Every believer can have a dynamic personal prayer life. The Bible gives us the keys that we need to develop a powerful prayer life. The Scriptures are full of examples of men and women who walked with God and used prayer to impact their world and you can do the same thing through prayer. The following are Scriptural ways that you can develop a deeper more fulfilling personal prayer life. Continue reading

08/21/14
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Four Things Before You Pray…

By Winfield BevinsA continuing series on prayer. Click here to view the rest of these reflections. 

Before praying, there are four things that we should take into consideration.

  1. First, schedule a regular prayer time. Find a time everyday to spend in prayer. The important thing is that we should be consistent. The psalmist said that he prayed seven times a day.
  2. Second, choose a private place to pray. A prayer closet could be anywhere as long as it is private. You can use your garage, pantry, front porch, or any other creative place where you can get alone with God. Some people pray while driving in their car and others pray while working-out or running.
  3. Third, try to limit distractions. Don’t pray in the same room that you may watch television or be tempted by other activities.
  4. Lastly, have a prayer list to guide your prayers that includes family, friends, church, etc.  This will ensure that you don’t forget important things to pray for.

winfield_bevinsDr. Winfield Bevins is founding rector of Church of the Outer Banks and Canon for Church Planting for the Diocese of the Carolinas. He is the author of several books, including Our Common Prayer and Creed.