40 Days of Prayer - Praying for a Breakthrough

March 10, 2019 - April 28, 2019

Have you wanted to pray, but wondered, “What’s the point?” Have you ever had a season in life where God maybe feels far? Have you ever struggled with wondering what to pray or how to pray? If any of these are things you relate to, well, friends, you’re in good company! As we journey through the forty days of lent, we’ll be talking about prayer.

Purpose of Prayer

March 10, 2019

Have you wanted to pray, but wondered, “What’s the point?” Have you ever had a season in life where God maybe feels far? Have you ever struggled with wondering what to pray or how to pray? If any of these are things you relate to, well, friends, you’re in good company! As we journey through the forty days of lent, we’ll be talking about prayer. This Sunday, we’re using Jeremiah 29:1-14 and talking together about the purpose of prayer.

Praying with Confidence

March 17, 2019

Prayer is one of those things in the Christian faith that seems to be the most simple, yet often trips us up. In this world in which we live, there are many obstacles that keep us from praying, feeling like praying, or feeling like our prayers are worth hearing.
 
Do you ever struggle to pray with confidence, wonder if God wants to hear your prayers, or feel like perhaps you don’t deserve to pray directly to God? Do you ever have fears that maybe something you’ve done prevent you from boldly coming before God?
 
In the second week of our Lenten series on 40 Days of Prayer, Chaplain Travis Phillips will be using Hebrews 4:16 to address Praying with Confidence.

The Pattern of Prayer Part I

March 24, 2019

Prayer is something we must all learn to do. It’s true, most of creation realizes there is something “out there” bigger than us. And yet prayer seems to be one of the most natural, innate things any of us can do. So why do we not pray more? Of course, most of us are not afraid to ask God to get us out of some of the messes we get ourselves into. Or to come to God in prayer when things are not going our way, or either us or someone we love is not feeling well or is dealing with some illness, especially if life or death. I have prayed all those prayers. Have you?

 

As we continue to move through our Lenten season and our focus on prayer let's be mindful that prayer is what connects us to God, helps us refocus on important things in life, helps us cooperate with God in doing God’s will, helps us surrender to God’s will, and to ultimately grow to depend on and trust in God. That is what Jesus is teaching his disciples in the Lord’s Prayer.

The Pattern of Prayer Part II

March 31, 2019

When you think about the Lord’s Prayer, what comes to mind? Are there particular parts of this prayer that seem harder to pray that others? Last Sunday, Pastor Randy shared the pattern that we see in this prayer, in Matthew 6:9-13. This week, we’re going to use Matthew 6:5-15, and focus our time together on Jesus’ thoughts right before and right after this prayer – including our attitudes and intentions behind our prayers, and what it means to truly forgive and be forgiven.

Praying for a Breakthrough

April 7, 2019

Do you need a breakthrough somewhere in your life? Can you name it at this very moment? Our Lenten focus has centered around prayer and the more intentional focus is Praying for a Breakthrough. That will be our topic this Sunday.

Think about all the breakthroughs people experienced in both the Old and New Testaments. Do you think God asking Abram to go to a new place was a breakthrough moment that led to greater blessing in his life? It did not come easily though. It involved a lot of trust. Paul’s breakthrough moment was rather dramatic as he was blinded by a light and he had his life transformed from killing the followers of Jesus to seeing many saved and spreading the gospel around the entire Mediterranean region.

What breakthroughs have you already experienced in life? How did that breakthrough help you? How did it help others? How did it serve the kingdom of God? Jesus taught his disciples that they should pray and never give up. Sometimes a breakthrough does not happen all at once. Sometimes it takes a lot of perseverance. Don’t you give up!!

Praying in a Crisis

April 14, 2019

How often do you find yourself in a crisis? A time when you are facing an intense difficulty, are dealing with troubles in life or with family and friends, or possibly facing danger? Crises come along ever so often, and some people live in crisis mode. How do you deal with that? And sometimes the crises of this world come upon us out of nowhere and as a country, as a world, we all feel the pain of suffer and deal with untold fear. What are we to do? Where are we to turn? This week we look at an Old Testament leader named Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah as a vast army is about to overtake them. What did their leader do? What did the people do? His spiritual wisdom ends up saving the people, the kingdom, and leads to a time of peace. But what did he say to them, what did they do? I’ll give you this much. The people “came together.” That’s where their dealing with a crisis began. They didn’t separate themselves from each other, they came together.

 

Let’s come together this Sunday and see what this story has for us. And let’s consider the crisis Jesus is about to ride into as he enters Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday.

 

God's Answers to Our Prayers - When God Says Yes!

April 21, 2019

Many have been watching the news with the destruction of much of the Notre Dame cathedral in France. Any time a beautiful landmark catches fire and is destroyed it captures our attention. It stirs our hearts and minds. For the people in France and for many Catholics and people of God it is a landmark, a place to which many tourist and pilgrimages are taken. It is also a holy place. Ironic this takes place on the Holiest weeks of the year for followers of Christ. What will happen amid the destruction? What we have seen so far is what we shared about last Sunday. People from all over coming together to pray. People coming together to support the rebuilding of the Notre Dame Cathedral. It will take time.

 

Folks, this week we will have shared services remembering Jesus’ Last Supper, and his prayer of agony in the Garden before his betrayal. We will remember Jesus going to the cross and giving his life, so we might have life. Do you recall Jesus saying to his disciples and religious leaders “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up?” The religious leaders recall that because they go to Pilate and ask for a guard to be posted because they were afraid someone would steal Jesus’ body and who wanted to debate a resurrection? Despite the guard, Jesus was raised to new life. This Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. In the midst of the tragedy, new life springs forth. It will be true for Notre Dame and the people of France, it will be true for the disciples both then and now, and may it be true in your life as well, through whatever challenge, heartache or tragedy you may face. Jesus who was dead, now lives again! God has said “Yes” to you! Will you say “Yes!” To God? I look forward to our Easter Sonrise service at 6:30am on the lower parking lot, or in case of rain in the sanctuary. And, I look forward to Easter worship at 8, 9:29 and 11am.

 

Stewarding One’s Call Within a Church Family

April 28, 2019

Homecoming was always a special occasion at the churches where I grew up and for the congregations - all two of them - that I have had the privilege to serve. I remember potluck meals, either in the fellowship hall, outside at the pavilion and food galore on the hay wagons. I remember us kids running around and playing. I remember at 2:30 having a hymn sing back in the sanctuary. If you picked a song no one else knew, you had to get up and lead it! No one ever did that! Homecoming was an opportunity to welcome back a past pastor and family to reconnect. There were a lot of memories shared.

 

This Sunday, three of our members who have entered ministry in the United Methodist church will be here to help lead worship. Pastor Gordon Meriwether will preach at 8am, Pastor Mike Evans at 9:29 and Pastor Nancy Palmer at 11am. All three will help lead other portions of the worship service and bucket sisters which all three had a hand in starting. You may recall we rescheduled this due to the Hurricane in the fall. In addition, Craig Dodson, who grew up here at Culpeper UMC, will be offering special music this Sunday as well.

 

With the timing of our move this is going to be an extra special occasion to celebrate God’s work amongst us over these past 15 years. It’s true, we all have different levels of grief to work through. We also have much to be thankful for. We are all thankful for what God has done and is doing in the life of these three pastors whom you as a church family nurtured and affirmed to move on into active ministry as clergy of the Virginia Conference.

 

Come and see and hear what God has been up to in their lives and the fruits God is producing through Pastors Gordon, Mike and Nancy.