Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
- Fellowship lunch this Sunday. We will have a catered fellowship lunch this Sunday following worship. Plan to stay and enjoy some good food and fellowship.
- Men’s retreat. Friday May 13th to Saturday May14th, the men of CSOPC will enjoy some time together. An information page with details will be coming out shortly.
- Joint Missions Evening Service. Plan to attend our evening worship service on May 15.
- This week’s devotion (attached) is the first of a series on the Lord’s Prayer. Today we look at the first words of the Preface, ‘Our Father.’
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Our Father in heaven”
Matthew 6:7-8, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this …”
One of the greatest privileges of the Christian is the privilege of prayer. The Psalmist wrote, “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy” (Psalm 116:1). So a good question to ask is the question, “How do I pray.” This is the question the disciples asked the Lord (Luke 11:1). And Jesus responded by teaching them ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (Luke 11:2-4; Matt 6:9-13). The Lord’s Prayer contains a Preface followed by six petitions; the first three petitions are directed towards our relationship with God and the second three petitions are directed towards our relationship with others and the world. In today’s devotion, we will begin considering how the Lord’s Prayer opens … “Our Father.” The Lord Jesus teaches us to approach God in prayer as ‘Our Father.’ There are at least two things we should take from this.
First, God is teaching us that he is personal. That is to say, he acts, he will, he thinks. And most importantly, he enters into relationship. Only a personal God enters into relationship with his people. Throughout the pages of Scripture, we see God doing this very thing – entering into covenant relationship with his people. God communes with Adam and Even in the garden. He dwells in the midst of Israel by means of the Tabernacle. And of course ultimately, he comes to dwell with man in the person of the incarnate Son (John 1:14; 14:9; Rev 21:3). Our God is a personal God! This glorious truth contrasts with the concept of ‘god’ in New Age thought. In New Age Paganism (which is seeing a rise in today’s western society), ‘god’ is seen more as an impersonal force – something that ‘permeates’ impersonally all of creation (think of the movie Avatar). Such an impersonal force cannot redeem, cannot judge, cannot enter into relationship. The one, true, and living God of the Bible is a personal God.
Second, we are his children. He is ‘Our Father’ … and we are his children. We are part of the family of God. We have been adopted into God’s family. While Jesus is the eternal Son of God, we are adopted sons and daughters of God. The Apostle Paul writes that we are co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17); and the author of Hebrews writes that Christ is not ashamed to call us his brothers (Heb 2:17). What a thought! By nature we are children of wrath – worthy of death and condemnation; but by his grace we are saved and brought into the very family of God (Eph 2:1-10). Indeed, what love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God (1 John 3:1; John 1:12-13). And as his children God has sent “the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Gal 4:6). Jesus is teaching us that we are able to draw near to God as a child draws near to his parent. We can come before our heavenly Father as those in relationship with him; thus we can draw near to the throne of grace with confidence (Heb 4:16). Indeed, today, may we call out, “Our Father.”