In our ICOMB worship service I preached on Luke 5 – the story of Jesus calling Peter, James and John. My central focus was renewal: both individual and corporate.
My outline was simple, based on the text:
- Jesus is our captain: We focus on him. He is the center of our faith (5:1-3)
- He calls us to “launch out” into the mission he has in mind for us (5:4-7)
- He tells us “don’t be afraid” – something God says a lot in the Bible (5:8-10)
- Then, it’s up to us to follow and obey. “The disciples left everything and followed him.” (5:11)
When Jesus calls us into mission, I believe this is precisely the point at which our faith must be renewed. There are challenges ahead; many unknowns; sources of fear. For the early church, an early death often waited, and it was often brutal and painful. This is why he reassures us not to be afraid. This is why we must be centered on Christ, and keep him central to our very life.
I personally pray for renewal: that God will renew my mind (Romans 12:1); that he would put a ‘right spirit’ (character) within me (Psalm 51; Titus 3:5); that he would refine me (Malachi 3:2-3) – and for me this means focus on my major role and priorities while saying no to distractions.
I also pray for the renewal of our corporate national churches. I prayed 2-3 line prayers for my sermon. Each one was unique to the setting, based on what I know and what I felt I was hearing from God. As I reflect now, I realize that some of them were answered this summer! Others were confirmed on site by those who heard the sermon.
Here’s the important part: we should pray for renewal in concert!! Paul Duck, vice president of the Brazilian conference told me that praying for renewal in fellowship is a core guiding principle. He’s right.
Would you be interested and called to join me? Would you pray for personal renewal? I suggest you share some of this with a friend or family member and pray together on this front. Would you be called to intercede for a national church in addition to your own? I can share my own prayers for the national churches (feel free to ask me for them), and you can take up the challenge as God leads.