from the prayer series

from the prayer series April 10, 2021

This is creative writing, I guess, with highlights from the Prayer Series and from another post on prayer.

About this piece:

  • We called these free writings in high school.  We’d have a timed writing, and then exchange our work with someone else in class.  After we read each other’s work, a few volunteers would read some of the pieces to the rest of us.  I was always embarrassed because one of my buddies would usually read mine to us, so there you go.
  • This isn’t exactly how I like to write.  I like to do a little research, but some of these pieces reflect more research.
  • It’s also considered a longread.

Prayer is one the the categories I write on.  To review my Prayer Category CLICK HERE

  • Each major heading is an actual link.  Click each heading link to be redirected to the original vlog.  Listen-in and read the original articles.
  • What follows each link in this article is a section with the main quote from the vlog, followed by some new reflections for this piece.

i. Prayer Series: Peter’s Confession of Christ

Belief without relationship is only head knowledge. That’s one of the major points of this story. Relationship without belief has no anchor.

Peter is told by our Lord that he will not be able to go where he pleases when he is older (see John 21.18, and the whole conversation if you like).  He will not be able to criss-cross the country as he desires, although we know he is at least becomes a major Pastor or Bishop in Rome, maybe more.  In fact, he is one of the presiding leaders in Jerusalem before his time in Rome.

When I look back over the places I’ve served I see there are choices that I’ve made.  Others are made for you.  In the Grand Traverse Bay Area Region (G.T. Bay Area), I remember an acquaintance named Peter asking, “Do you know what this region is?  This is on the verge of the wilderness.”  I needed the warning not to drive all over the region.

Another pastor told me that, “Once you get into Traverse City, it’s difficult to get out.”  I didn’t know a lot about him, and didn’t know what he meant.

However, my clinical supervisor and I were talking one day and he said with a smile, “Well, he’s the one who basically introduced us!”

Then one year with the really cold winds of early autumn, I was at the gas pump.  You know you don’t have time to make a lot of conversation with others or try to evangelize, although I guess it’s a possibility if you have an elevator speech ready for the Gospel.  Someone at another pump looked at me.  We were both feeling the bite of the wind, and I heard a hopeful voice say, “Maybe next year, summer will come on a weekend.”

The fact is, there are a lot of snow birds in the G.T. Bay Area…

Those who love the winter months actually find something to do outdoors.  It doesn’t really matter, snowmobiling, ice fishing, ski resorts because it is a resort town, etc.  Imagine living in the region with no place to go, because you need to stay active and mobile.  Speaking of mobile, many home owners who live on the peninsula just work online.

I believe this is a fundamental part of the Apostle Peter’s story

In the vlog above, you’ll hear of another crucial moment when Peter confesses that Jesus is the promised Christ.  He makes confessions all along The Way with Jesus, however a lot of the time his confessions reflect Peter’s telos, and even that of Second Temple Judaism.

Peter is a follower of the Messiah and has a tenacious willingness.[1]  I don’t think we should confuse a tenacious willingness with a pugnacious willfulness.  He is tenacious about pursuing our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Messiah, the Son of David, and the Suffering Servant are three threads of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible that we understand now looking back.  However, when Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, as you hear in the vlog, he doesn’t understand that the Suffering Servant is part of the picture.  In fact, the three strands are difficult for all of us to integrate without really studying the Major Prophets, maybe The Twelve Minor Prophets and the Psalms.

It’s important to reflect on the Suffering Servant.

ii. Prayer Series: Travailing for the Ekklesia

Help us to mobilize for You.  Help us to catch a vision of what You have for us, the Kingdom of God in action in Traverse City.

I chose this vlog because this is really what the church is.  I seldom use the term church.  I don’t really know if I like the idea of calling the church a campus either.

Maybe sanctuary sounds best to me

We don’t use that term often and I look at churches seeking for sanctuary on the sign.  The term seems to exude peacefulness, and a place where people assemble to meet together with God.

However the ekklesia is one of the best words for the church, and it is the Greek term most often used for church in the New Testament.  Hopefully the vlog will challenge you to think in new ways about church.

iii. Look to the Cross.iv

Do we look for a way to start the evangelistic conversation, or do we start with an end in mind?

This vlog is really not the fourth.[2]  I borrowed the idea from Ben Witherington III, Ph.D. who is always attaching random numbers to his blogs, perhaps as click bait.  Some of his blogs are quite funny at times.  He’s a Professor at Asbury and another Evangelical Columnist on Patheos like me.

Looking back, I’ve been thinking about writing this article now, and I have a last thought

Many of us are eager like Peter to follow Christ.  All of us need to understand the Suffering Servant as stated above, maybe even look up a little prophecy from the Hebrew Bible.

We all probably understand penitence, not necessarily penance.  Penance is more focused on acts of piety.  Penitence or a penitent is one who is humbly repenting because sin sucks… the life right out of you!  So some of us need to become renunciants and renounce our sins in the midst of the ekklesia.

I know a Pastor who is now a Bishop.

The Pastor stands up one day in front of the sanctuary and renounces the sin of anger

It is possible to be angry and keep from sinning (Ephesians 4.21-27).  However, the Pastor renounces a propensity to allow anger to go too far.

So the thought I’ve had as I prepare for this vlog is that we all want to live like Peter does in the full power of the Messiah and in the vibrancy of His Kingdom, which is at hand… but often without the Cross.

I’ve been there, thinking the resurrection is more important, because no other leader in all of history has been resurrected, not merely resuscitated.

Then I realized over time, the Primitive Church celebrates the Lord’s Supper and the resurrection as one event.  Do I get to get my cake and eat it too at communion (no disrespect meant)?  What if the resurrection is that important, to be celebrated at communion by the Primitive Church?

On the other hand, the Primitive Church doesn’t really go down to about 1 1/2 years of formal discipleship until the time of Emperor Constantine.  Before then, how long were people penitents and renunciants, in the middle of all of the other stages of catechesis?

How long do they look to the Cross in those two stages?

How long should we?

We want to ascend in the resurrection, and some of us do in a way begin to experience the abundant life.  However there are a lot of suffering brothers and sisters in Christ.

Are we preaching a Gospel too quickly?

We preach the Full Gospel, not a fool’s gospel

I spend time at the Cross, but looking back over my life this week before writing this, I would just like to say…

Understand the Resurrection.

Understand the Full Gospel.

Remain at the Cross as long as it takes.

You know, our congregation watched the movie The Passion on Good Friday, with the kids making noise in the hall on on the second level.  Mel Gibson included a few, if not all of the stations of the Cross in the movie.  My question is, if it’s The Passion, then why have all the stations and also the resurrection?

Maybe some of us need to stay at the foot of the Cross as long as it takes.  I can look back over my life and see my time there.

Robert-Allmann-Jesus-Christ-Clinic
Robert Allmann | Jesus Christ clinic | pixabay | 07.24.17

Now I can almost gauge if people are trying to take a short-cut to the abundant life without remaining at the foot of the cross as penitents and renunciants.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
May your worship time be filled with the peace of Christ as well,

JVI



notes:

[1] Messiah is the Hebrew transliteration and Christ is the Greek form.  It’s transliteration.
[2] I have another vlog using the same name Look to the Cross, so you don’t have to listen twice.  The only reason I include this vlog is because there is a different term I chase in each article.

Prayer is one the the categories I write on.  To review my Prayer Category CLICK HERE


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