31 Days of Prayer: Day 21 – Your prayers and God’s predestined plans

Revelation Incense“And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.” (Rev 8:3-4)

Over the last couple of days, we’ve been thinking through the question of how prayer relates to the complete sovereignty of God. If God is really in charge, why pray? Do our prayers really change anything (other than us and our wills)? We introduced the question on Day 19, and yesterday we looked at the example of Moses praying to God in Exodus 32.

Today, we’ll try to bring some more clarity to this question by looking at Revelation 8 (yep, you read that right – clarity by looking at the book of Revelation!).  Continue reading

Why You Must Always Exaggerate

MegaphoneOver the years, many teachers and preachers of God’s word have shaped the way I understand the Bible, the world, and myself. Easily the most important have been those who pastored me personally – who led the churches or ministries of which I was a member. People who knew me, invested in me, and shared their lives with me.

But there have also been many teachers and preachers outside my local ministries – authors, conference speakers, and various other leaders – who have played an enormous role in shaping my thinking and my life. Some are people I’ve come to know well; some are people I’m yet to meet. Some are the ‘big name’ authors and speakers that everyone knows; some serve in relative obscurity.

As I look back and consider why people I barely know have influenced me, a number of factors emerge. But for now, I want to mention one common characteristic among those who’ve impacted my thinking: a willingness to state the truth in bold and challenging ways. Put another way: a willingness and ability to exaggerate. Continue reading