Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
Oh what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God (1 John 3:1). How incredible to think that though we are by nature dead in sin, by God’s grace we have been brought into the very family of God! We can pray to him, run to him, grieve to him; we have received the Spirit of Adoption. This week, may we all spend time with our Heavenly Father in sweet prayer! This is a busy time of year in the life of our church – here are a few reminders:
1. Men’s breakfast this Saturday at Denny’s. We will meet at 9:00 AM at the Denny’s on Gessner between Mills Rd and Hwy 249. Come and enjoy pancakes and coffee as we consider the topic of ‘temptation’ from a Biblical perspective.
2. Ladies’ ‘Mugs and Muffins’ on April 20. The Ladies will meet at the Arendale’s home from 10-12 to enjoy brunch, fellowship, and a time of teaching and prayer.
3. Outreach Sunday is April 21st. We will have a fellowship lunch after the service this Sunday. Be in prayer and invite your neighbors and friends.
4. This Sunday we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper, receive the Touchette family as members, and celebrate two baptisms. Also, we will collect the monthly deacon’s fund offering. This offering goes specifically towards mercy needs within the body.
5. Prayer meeting tonight at the Barnes’s home – dinner at 6 and prayer at 7.
Finally, this week’s devotional is a thought from the Apostle Paul as he was under house arrest in Rome. Where was his heart while in prison? What was his burden?
Have a wonderful week and God bless,
From the Pastor’s Desk
Colossians 4:2-3, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us …”
The book of Colossians is one of Paul’s ‘prison epistles’; that is, it is a letter that he wrote when he was under house arrest in Rome (see Acts 28). As you read through Colossians (and Philippians & Ephesians), the context of Paul’s imprisonment gives even greater light to what are already encouraging and convicting letters. For example, as Paul closes his letter to the Colossians, he writes, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison – that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak” (4:2-4).
There are two brief points that I want to note concerning these verses: first, Paul’s concern for the spiritual life of these Christians. Paul had never met the Colossian Christians, yet he struggles for them – he toils for them (Col 1:29-2:1). And in 4:2, he urges them unto prayer (and that from a prison cell). He also urges them to an alertness, a watchfulness in their prayer; and calls them to an attitude of thanksgiving in their prayers (v. 2b). Oh what a wonderful model Paul gives us! I wonder how often we encourage our fellow brothers and sisters in their respective prayer lives? But if we believe in the priority and power of prayer, perhaps we should learn from Paul’s example!
Secondly, note Paul’s request in vv. 3-4. Finally, Paul gets around to himself. He says, “At the same time, pray for us that…” What is Paul’s burden? What is his specific request? … that God would free us? make our situation easier? give us insight into why he would do this to us? No, not at all. Paul says, “At the same time, pray for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ.” Paul is under arrest in Rome … and his prayer is for opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is not concerned about his own well-being, or his own comfort level; but his driving concern is the glory and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ – that this gospel would be spread far and wide! Brothers and sisters, how does this compare with your prayer life? Do we not have much to learn from Paul’s unwavering commitment to the glory of Christ and the expansion of his kingdom (also see Acts 20:22-24)? Is not our first thought so often focused on me and my well-being? May it not be so! But may we say with John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
– Rev. Robert Arendale