I am writing this article as a prayer. This is my prayer for Oak Crest in 2015. Please join me in bringing this before the Lord that he might be pleased in us this year.
Good and Holy Father, your perfection is beyond measure. You are high and magnificent, close and personal, righteous and just, caring and patient, merciful and gracious, loving and forgiving. Our supreme desire is that your will would be accomplished in our lives, our families, and our church. We ask that you would do this first to your own glory and second for our benefit.
Send your Holy Spirit this new year to inhabit Oak Crest. We pray that the greatest bond in our covenant together would be your Spirit. Holy Spirit, unify us as the people of Christ. Lord, nail our personal agendas to the cross, crucify our selfish ambition. Fill us with a humble and forgiving love for one another. Make us desire the good of each other above our own good. Forgive me lord, forgive us, of our arrogant pride. Forgive us, the hubris that so easily and subtly overtakes us. Cause us to lift one another up in encouragement. Lock our jaws when we are tempted to speak ill of a brother or sister. Cauterize our gossiping hearts. Make us servants to each other as we are slaves to Jesus.
Teach us your Word. Cause us to wonder at the beauty and perfection of the book that you authored; the book that reveals your nature and your character. Thank you God for making yourself known to us by your word and your Spirit. We would not know you if you had not made yourself known to us. Cause us to love the Bible because we love you. Make us students of the word, rightly dividing the word of truth. Protect us from both doctrinal error and doctrinal coldness. Guard us from the two dangers of thoughtless, doctrineless emotionalism, as well as, cold dead orthodoxy that has no passion or emotion at all. Remind us that we love you because you first loved us. This year Lord, if it is your divine pleasure, teach us how to study your word as individuals and as families. Father, may our time together as a church merely be a reinforcement of the growth that is happening in our homes. Draw the men of Oak Crest to lead their families to love Christ.
Father, forgive our self-satisfaction. Forgive me for so often being blind to the lostness and darkness around me. Forgive me, as an undershepherd of your church, for so often not leading by example. Forgive me, Lord, for sitting satisfied in my study while darkness reigns in my neighbors. Make us all urgent to be on mission with the gospel. Teach us the gospel that we might teach others. Bring people to yourself this year, using us as your instruments to share the life changing truth. Might it be your pleasure this year, Lord, that dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands might come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ through our church. If not our church, Lord, accomplish it by another. Make us even more aware of the reality of global lostness. Help us to be faithful to pray, and go, and give that the nations will hear the gospel.
Not only do we humbly confess our corporate failings, Lord, but we also thank you for your faithfulness. You have been so good to us. You have granted us all things necessary to be a healthy church. To your glory increase our health. Thank you Lord for the varied giftedness of our church body. We have been granted so many people with hearts that are glowing with the love of Christ. We pray that we will utilize the giftedness your Holy Spirit has granted us.
Thank you, Lord, for the men you have given as gifts to Oak Crest as elders of this congregation. Thank you for the servant leadership of our deacons, including four amazing men that are in a period of examination for this role. Thank you for our Sunday School teachers, from the cradle roll all the way up, who weekly pour their hearts into your people. Bless their study and preparation this year. Thank you for our staff members who are so diligent in their service to the body. Thank you for the many members who serve on committees and teams and ministry groups that work to perform administration and ministry in your church. Lord, please make their work a pleasure to perform. Help all of these to experience joy in their service. Prevent any of us from feeling mere obligation in performing the duties you have called us to.
Our request is simple, Lord. Make us spiritually healthier this year than we were last year. Prepare us for eternity even as we live as foreigners in a land that is not our home. As we strive to live lives of biblical excellence by the power of Christ in us, please Lord take pleasure in our lives lived for the sake of your glory.
To you, Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To you, the one true and living God, who was, and is, and is to come. To you, sovereign and blessed creator and redeemer. You have granted us adoption into your family, you have brought us from death to life, you have justified us in the midst of our sinfulness, you have been faithful to us even when we have often been faithless toward you. You have accomplished all of this through Jesus who died that we might live. Supreme praise be to Jesus who is our reigning Christ. To you, triune God, belongs all conceivable honor, victory, glory, majesty, perfection, beauty, and excellence. Be glorified in Oak Crest, until the day of redemption when your church militant becomes the church triumphant.