Praying Prayers like Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation


This Sunday (04.19), Pastor Duke spoke about praying prayers like Paul for the church (   The book A Call to Spiritual Reformation is a great resource to learn how to do this.
On page 17, Carson clearly states the purpose of this book.

The purpose of this book, then, is to think through some of Paul’s prayers, so that we may align our prayer habits with his. We want to learn what to pray for, what arguments to use, what priorities we should adopt, what beliefs should shape our prayers, and much more.

HERE is a link to some notes I took from this book.
HERE is a link to a PDF of the first 36 pages of A Call to Spiritual Reformation

Below are some quotes about prayer and love that have been challenging to me.  Read these and consider how you should be praying privately and with others.  These quotes are very helpful as we pray in our Soul Care groups.

When Christians do grow in their love for each other, for no other reason than because they are loved by Jesus Christ and love him in return, that growing love is an infallible sign of grace in their lives. (p.43)

At the heart of all our praying must be a biblical vision. That vision embraces who God is, what he has done, who we are, where we are going, what we must value and cherish. That vision drives us toward increasing conformity with Jesus, toward lives lived in the light of eternity, toward echoing the church’s ongoing cry, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”. That vision must shape our prayers, so that the things that most concern us in prayer are those that concern the heart of God. (p. 62)

How much would our churches be transformed if each of us made it a practice to thank God for others and then to tell these others what it is about them that we thank God for? (p. 87)

Christian love, mature, deep, and unqualified, is a rare commodity. When it is displayed, it speaks volumes to a society that gorges itself in self-interest, lust, mutual-admiration pacts, even while it knows very little of love. (p. 92)

If we have been transferred out of the dominion of darkness and into the kingdom of the Son beloved by God, our only appropriate response is joyful gratitude. (p. 109)

Some Christians want enough of Christ to be identified with him but not enough to be seriously inconvenienced; they genuinely cling to basic Christian orthodoxy but do not want to engage in serious Bible study; they value moral probity, especially of the public sort, but do not engage in war against inner corruptions; they fret over the quality of the preacher’s sermon but do not worry much over the quality of their own prayer life. Such Christians are content with mediocrity. (p. 121)

Remember we can talk much about praying but
we need to pray.

God, money or facebook

Each Tuesday, the staff of Emmanuel gathers together for our weekly devotional time.  We have been using as our devotional guide.  I wanted to share with you what we did for staff devotions this morning.

Why did Jesus come to earth, die, rise from the dead, ascend into heaven and why is he coming back again?

  1. Save sinners  (1 Timothy 1:15 – Last week’s fighter verse)
  2. Destroy works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)
  3. So that we could have life through him  (1 John 4:9)
  4. To do the will of His father

This week’s fighter verse reminds us  of the great hope we have in Christ.
Because of His great love toward us, we should hope and trust in Him.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” –Hebrews 13:5-6 

The blog post connected with this verse is entitled “So You Want to Be A Millionaire”  To read the article, click HERE.

As followers of Christ, our greatest love and passion must be for the Lord Jesus Christ. Why?  Three simple reasons:

  1. God commands us to love Him above all other things.
  2. God will provide for us.
  3. Money isn’t ours.

Love God more than money. 

Love God more than facebook and your personal rights. 

 This is a personal blog post I wrote in January entitled “My Posts Are Not My Own.  They Are…” 

Bottomline of this post was:   Instead of claiming your rights to your pictures and posts have you thought about it this way…  “My posts are not my own, they belong to the Lord.”

And remember “My money is not my own, it belongs to the Lord”

All Things New with Pastor Duke

2015 All Things New

Program 1.2

Jesus was a master story-teller and one of his most compelling stories was of a king who forgave one of his servants whose debt was so huge it could never be paid off.  Jesus said the king was moved with compassion toward his servant and forgave the debt.  However, the story didn’t stop there…This same servant…the same guy who just had his own massive, life-crushing debt forgiven him, went out and found a fellow servant who owed him about 10 bucks.  Now, you would think that having just been forgiven a massive, life-crushing debt that he would also be moved with compassion and forgive his buddy…not so much!  He takes his fellow servant who owes him roughly ten bucks and throws him into jail until his can pay off the debt!

It doesn’t take much of an imagination to know that king is not happy when he finds out about all this!  The king wants his grace to be shared not horded.  The king wants his compassion and forgiveness to be the model his servants look to in dealing with each other!

The implication is pretty clear Christian…God wants the grace, mercy and compassion that He has lavished on us to be the means…the motivation…and the model by which we give grace, mercy and compassion to others.

This is one of the many ways He is working to make all things new!

You can listen to Proclaim FM on the radio at 102.3 or online at

My Inheritance in the Saints from The Gospel Primer

The following is an excerpt from The Gospel Primer

The gospel is not just a message of reconciliation with God, but it also heralds the reconciliation of all believers to one another in Christ. Through the death of Christ, God has brought peace where there was once hostility, and He has broken down the barriers that once divided us outside of Christ (Ephesians 2:14-16; Colossians 3:11; Galatians 3:28).

Also, when God saved us, He made us members of His household (Ephesians 2:19)  and He gave us as gifts to one another (Ephesians 1:18).  Each brother and sister is a portion of my gospel inheritance from God, and I am a portion of their inheritance as well. We are significant players in each other’s gospel narrative, and it is in relationship with one another that we experience the fullness of God in Christ (Ephesians 3:17-19; 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 4:10; Ephesians 1:23) Hence, the more I comprehend the full scope of the gospel, the more I value the church for which Christ died, (Ephesians 5:25) the more I value the role that I play in the lives of my fellow-Christians, and the more I appreciate the role that they must be allowed to play in mine.

Perspective in Trials from the Gospel Primer

The following is an excerpt from The Gospel Primer

More than anything else could ever do, the gospel enables me to embrace my tribulations and thereby position myself to gain full benefit from them. For the gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move; and every hardship in my life is allowed by God only because it serves His gospel purposes in me. When I view my circumstances in this light, I realize that the gospel is not just one piece of good news that fits into my life somewhere among all the bad. I realize instead that the gospel makes genuinely good news out of every other aspect of my life, including my severest trials. (Romans 5:1-5)  The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow to His gospel purposes and do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:28, 29; James 1:2-4; 2 Cor. 12:7-10)  Preaching the gospel to myself each day provides a lens through which I can view my trials in this way and see the true cause for intelligent rejoicing that exists in them. I can then embrace them as friends and allow them to do God’s good work in me.

Freedom from Sin’s Power from the Gospel Primer

The following is an excerpt from The Gospel Primer

As long as I am stricken with the guilt of my sins, I will be captive to them, and will keep re-committing the very sins about which I feel most guilty. The Devil is well aware of this fact; he knows that if he can keep me tormented by sin’s guilt, he can dominate me with sin’s power. The gospel, however, slays sin at this root point and thereby nullifies sin’s power over me. The forgiveness of God, made known to me through the gospel, liberates me from sin’s power because it liberates me first from its guilt; (Romans 6:14) and preaching such forgiveness to myself is a practical way of putting the gospel into operation as a nullifier of sin’s power in my life.

Reaching for the Goal: Ohio Church Ministry Conference


Three of our pastors (Duke, Dave and Shane) are sharing at the Ohio Church Ministry Conference @ Northfield Baptist Church (

PRESSING TOWARD THE GOAL general session messages by Pastor Duke
Powerpoint presentations will be posted later.
Powerpoint of Session #1:
Powerpoint of Session #2:
Powerpoint of Session #3:
Gospel Primer:

HOW TO CULTIVATE A CULTURE OF DISCIPLESHIP seminar by Pastor Shane and Pastor Dave:
Powerpoint presentation from How to Cultivate a Culture of Discipleship:
PDF note sheet from How to Cultivate a Culture of Discipleship:

Links referred to during the seminar:
Bible verse images:
Your Walk With God is a Community Project site:
Disciple making is Rigged video:,
which is part of a longer message:
Why everyone is a counselor:


Read through Romans!!

Here are links to each chapter of the ESV audio of Romans.  Three questions to think about as you are reading/listening to these chapters.
1.  What does this say about God?
2.  What does this say about Jesus?
3.  What does this say about man?

Romans 1  (5:02)
Romans 2  (4:13)
Romans 3  (4:30)
Romans 4  (4:08)
Romans 5  (3:53)
Romans 6  (3:28)
Romans 7  (4:09)
Romans 8  (6:22)
Romans 9  (5:15)
Romans 10  (3:21)
Romans 11  (5:23)
Romans 12  (2:58)
Romans 13  (2:35)
Romans 14  (3:28)
Romans 15  (4:32)
Romans 16  (3:30)

This article Three Tips for Better Bible Reading! has some great helps for reading through the Bible and lists approximate time for each book.


All Things New from Pastor Duke

2015 All Things New

 Program 1.1

What is forgiveness? What does it mean to actually forgive someone? Jesus told an amazing story about forgiveness which is recorded in Matt 18…It is a story about a king who decides to settle accounts with his servants.  One of his servant’s debt was so huge he couldn’t possibly pay off so he threw himself before the king and begged, “Be patient with me I will pay back everything!” Well, the king knew this was impossible…his servant owed way more than he could ever pay back…but Jesus said the king “took pity” on him, canceled the debt and let him go.  In other words, he forgave him!

This tells us that forgiveness is an act of compassion.  He took pity on him.  And this compassion moved him to cancel the debt.

Forgiveness is an act of compassion that cancels a debt. We are all like that servant….Through our sin we owe a debt to God that we can never pay.   We need an act of compassion….we need forgiveness!

Ephesians 1:7 is great hope to indebted sinners, “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of his grace.” And we take heart with verses like Revelation 1:5 – “To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood.”

God through Christ is making all things new…and forgiveness is a huge part of that!

You can listen to Proclaim FM on the radio at 102.3 or online at

Why small groups in light of the deep, powerful truth in Romans….

While reading through Romans 1:1-17, I was struck by the number of times relationships are mentioned.
Paul wants to meet with the Romans to strengthen them.  Romans 1:11
Paul knows that their faith will be a mutual encouragement.  Romans 1:12
Paul wants to see the fruit among the church and the  rest of the Gentiles  Romans 1:13
Paul needs to share the gospel with different groups.  Romans 1:14
The spread of the gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles makes visible the power of the Gospel.  Romans 1:16

In thinking about Soul Care and the deep truth in Romans, I wanted to share the following quote from the book Community.

We do not have community groups to close the back door of the church.
We do not have community groups because people need to belong or we need to care for one another.
These are good secondary effects of authentic community.
These effects are not the foundation.
We have community groups because we have seen the glory of God and we have been given the  grace to live our lives to exalt the Christ.
We have community groups because we have been reconciled to God and one another.
We have community groups as a proclamation of the goodness of our God and testimony to the completed work of the cross.
This is the foundation for gospel-saturated community that will overflow with life. 

Page 43

The power of the gospel is made known as Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and barbarians, wise and foolish are saved and brought together by the power of God.

Our Soul Care ministry is not about meeting felt needs.
Our Soul Care ministry is not about caring for people.
Our Soul Care ministry is not about getting more people to 4207 W. Laskey Road.
Our Soul Care ministry is about people growing in their satisfaction in Christ and helping others grow in their satisfaction.
Genuine Soul Care comes in helping people understand that their soul will be truly satisfied and cared for only when they are resting in Jesus Christ.