Monday night started the Prayer and Discipleship Conference at Spring Baptist Church in Spring TX. Opening speakers were Mark Estep, Pastor of the Host Church and Frank Page, immediate Past President of the Southern Baptist Convention and our former Pastor from Seminary days.
It was the first time I have heard Mark Estep and he delivered a very straightforward Biblical message on Brokenness To Become One With Christ from 2 Corinthians 12:5-10. Several major points stood out to me. One was the idea that brokenness is a process to bring brokenness to our lives more than an event. We tend to focus on the major event (death, illness, divorce, etc...) while ignoring the process of what God is doing in our lives.
The second point as I heard it was an assurance that brokenness will be accompanied by pain. While that may seem like telling someone day is light and dark is night I think it is important to remind of the truth that there is not a shortcut to brokenness.
Third, God always has a purpose in brokenness. I think that IS the point.
Last (at least that I wrote down) was the result of brokenness will be a closer walk with God. That after all, is the ultimate purpose we should aim for in discipleship. It was a good word.
Frank Page followed with his usual brand of homespun self deprecating humor. It's hard to find a prominent Pastor who is more authentic than Frank. His message was powerful and practical answering the question, "Why do we need to be persistent in prayer?" His texts were from Luke 11 and Luke 18, both teachings of Jesus about the importance of being persistent in prayer.
His first point carried a two fist punch: Persistence assures us of an answer to prayer and puts us in the position to hear. Ouch. It's not just begging God again and again but perhaps, at least in my life, praying again and again until I am ready to hear. Ouch.
Second, persistence unlocks the storehouse of God's blessing. This was a very encouraging reminder that sought to convey the idea that we often leave much of God's true blessings on the table because we do not continue to seek Him and His will.
Third, persistence in prayer brings us what we need. Both passages speak of meeting a need, not a want. It brought to mind the time as a teenage Christian that a Bible Study Leader convinced me that if I would go march around a new truck seven times and claim it I would receive it. I marched and I claimed and I did not get it and I also did not need it. I thank God I was cured of the "name it claim it" mentality early on in my walk.
Four and five were that persistence will make us strong and enable us to overcome our adversaries. (My addition: remember who the real adversaries are!)
Last and second in emphasis only to his first point was that persistence will ensure our faith in the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hmmm, interesting concept. Obedience in prayer reinforcing solid hope and Biblical theology. Good idea.
Robin went with me and we had a good discussion on the way home. I think the first result for me was the way I returned to prayer about a specific subject this morning that I had previously dropped either due to laziness or discouragement. My advice. Set aside a few extra moments today and spend it in honest, authentic prayer with The Father.