October 31, 2017 was 500 years after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg. Barbara and I were in Berlin for a meeting of several hundred global leaders there to mark that date. It was my privilege to lead morning prayer sessions at that gathering. We then made our way to Wittenberg and to Castle Church for the 500th year celebration. The church was packed and the moment was unforgettable.
From Wittenberg, Barbara and I drove to Herrnhut, Germany.… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on February 6, 2019 at 9:25am —
Mark Howell, Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada and founder of SmallGroupResources.net, points out that a real challenge and a very common fear for praying out loud together is that of public speaking. For some, public speaking is their greatest fear. That is exacerbated by the idea of…
Added by P. Douglas Small on September 11, 2018 at 11:49am —
There are three kinds of churches. Some churches pray when there is a crisis. Other churches have a prayer ministry among other ministries. Finally, there are churches that seek to bring prayer to the center of every ministry, to everything the church strives to do and be. They want to become a house of prayer for the nations.1
First, we can no longer pray only about our needs. Second, prayer can never be a program in the church. Further, prayer… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on June 22, 2017 at 2:00pm —
A 300 year old church in Massachusetts faced a major challenge. Its ‘young people’ were in their ‘60’s. Their annual budget was $15,000. Most neighbors who passed the drab building with a drive-in congregation thought the church was closed. The neighborhood was now an Italian and Jewish enclave unlike the congregation of forty people with no Jews and one Italian. The church had no bridge to the community and no presence in its neighborhood. It was seen as having no value by… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on May 4, 2017 at 8:53am —
The priests in the Old Testament were assigned, as were the Levites, to cities. They were required to live there. Priestly ministry was never confined exclusively to the temple. Priests were not to become other worldly. Ray Bakke, sociologist and missiologist, says that twenty-five types of urban ministry can be found in the historical books of the Old Testament, and they were carried on by the priests. They were agents of health care, there to eradicate plagues and to certify cleanliness… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on April 19, 2017 at 12:03pm —
One urban pastor used the following procedure with new members. He asked, “How did you come to Christ?” It was not the church to which he wanted to connect them, as much as to Christ Himself. He wanted to hear their ‘Jesus’ story! He asked a second questions, “What were the circumstances that led to your faith in Christ?” He wanted them to think through the events that brought them to Christ – to see His guiding and pervasive hand in their lives. Third, he asked about their most enjoyable… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on April 6, 2017 at 9:53am —
What are the barriers to our fulfillment of the Great Commission?
- A lack of organized prayer for the city.
- The absence of congregational missional training.
- The lack of vision or a burden for the lost.
- The rural mentality, even of city churches.
- The failure to steward witnessing opportunities – an almost total lack of evangelism consciousness.
- The disconnect of Christians from non-Christians – the insulation of believers into…
Added by P. Douglas Small on March 24, 2017 at 12:17pm —
In a culture where the individual is everything, a congregational prayer meeting is perceived simply, as a lot of individuals in the same room praying. Sadly, we are blind to the critical importance of corporate prayer. We fail to see the difference between the individual’s right and privilege of prayer, not to diminish its value or power, and corporate prayer, from the office of the church.
Eugene Peterson lamented,
The single most widespread American misunderstanding… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on March 9, 2017 at 11:06am —
There are two billion people who call themselves Christians. Of those, only 680 million (11.5 percent) are Evangelicals or Bible reading Christians. Our task is to wake up 1.3 billion sleeping Christians and simultaneously reach the other 4.5 billion people on the earth. Those billions live in 200 nations, but more importantly, in 16,597 Major People Groups. According to data… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on February 9, 2017 at 1:30pm —
There are probably few images more evocative than the manger – that of the shepherds and the Wise Men kneeling before the babe, Christ Jesus. We know that it is unlikely that the two groups were there at the same time, and also, the Biblical record doesn’t include the angels that we place around the primitive scene, but we sense that in that moment kings and common men, indeed, heaven and earth were drawn together. It is a kind of cosmic, but simple image. God has come – in innocence. And… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on December 15, 2016 at 2:31pm —
Almost everyone has used an automobile GPS navigation system. We turn it on. It finds our location on the face of the earth within a few feet. It identifies the street we are on and the direction in which our vehicle is headed. We input a destination – even points along some route. We set additional perimeters – fast route, scenic route and more. And then the journey begins. The GPS barks out the commands – turn right, turn left. Keep to the right. Move to the left. Merge onto this road or… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on December 8, 2016 at 9:37am —
The majority of the world lives without the hope offered by Christ. The open door to God’s throne is a unique post-resurrection-ascension-enthronement Christian notion and unique privilege. That we can pray, pour out our souls to a God who cares, is an incredible privilege. That we get answers from God is beyond incredible. Sadly, prayer is now seen as passé. It is the most under-utilized privilege afforded believers. The average American Christian prays only four minutes a day. God leaves… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on November 22, 2016 at 9:17am —
Every congregation needs three essential gatherings – one for worship, one for teaching and training (discipleship), and one in which the congregation meets God in corporate prayer. These are not exclusive one of the other. As the church gathers for prayer, there should be at the heart of the meeting, a worshipful disposition. The corporate worship experience should… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on May 17, 2016 at 3:42pm —
There are four prayer streams in the life of the people of God that are critical.
- The congregation gathered in and for prayer. Not preaching. Not teaching or training, but in prayer.
- Smaller prayer groups. Not the entire congregation gathered, but slices of church life gathered for prayer. For example, at the heart of every ministry and…
Added by P. Douglas Small on May 4, 2016 at 12:15pm —
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth (Psa. 46:10).
Solitude is the creation of holy space and time for God, but it is not stillness; that is an inner condition. In Psalm 46:10, the word for still in Hebrew is raphah (raw-faw’). It means to sink, to relax by necessity as it were, to fall… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on April 27, 2016 at 8:25am —
As we move through life, we flow with predictable patterns of interaction with others. Sadly, so often the emotions, the cognitive content exchanged, the decisions and the delights of the world with which we interact are not in unity with God. On the contrary, they are adverse to Him. Consciously, sometimes unconsciously, we are pressured to compromise… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on April 19, 2016 at 12:22pm —
Blaise Pascal observed, “All of man’s troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly alone in a room.” Prayer demands solitude times, and perhaps seasons, in which we shut out the world and seek only God. At such times, God is our… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on April 12, 2016 at 8:14am —
Samuel Lee, the great Puritan writer, argued,
Prayer is the soul’s colloquy with God, and secret prayer is a conference with God upon admission into the private chamber of heaven. When you have shut your own closet, when God and your soul are alone, with this key you open the chambers of paradise and enter the closet of divine love.… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on April 5, 2016 at 9:56am —
The etymological root of the word bless in the Old Testament is, to kneel! The implications of the idea are explosive. In northern Europe, inside one of the great cathedrals, there is a triptych of paintings depicting prayer. The first portrays a marketplace scene full of hurried activity, merchants selling and shoppers bartering. The second offers… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on February 23, 2016 at 11:30am —
Corinth – An Introduction to the City and Culture
he Corinthian church was in a critically important location. At the time of Paul's missionary journeys, Corinth was the leading city of Achaia. Achaia was the Roman province which covered the southern part of the modern nation of Greece. Athens was still the educational centre of Achaia, but Corinth… Continue
Added by P. Douglas Small on February 18, 2015 at 10:14am —