1857 Layman’s Prayer Revival

1442766193809Yesterday, Andrew told three stories about times God did amazing things that changed the course of history. Each time God used a small group of people seeking God and seeking a groundswell of conversions and faith. 

Here is an account of the second story, often called the 1857 Layman's Prayer Revival, which began with a 12-1pm Businessman's Prayer Meeting in NYC.

I pray it spurs you to pray for revival and pray that God would use Oakland in a similar way. That through Oakland, God would start a tidal wave of conversions, faith, prayer, revival, piety, evangelism, mission, and social revival. We pray for a landslide shift in churches all over Johnston County that God would cause thousands of conversions in JoCo and start dozens of churches, ministries, homeless shelters, food-pantries, recovery centers, and so much more. We pray that spreads through the whole Triangle and North Carolina. 

1857-Revival---Water-Baptism-1

Please Lord. Please. 

 

SERMON – Our P.S.A.L.M. – PullingTOGETHER Celebration – Why Not Us?

 

 Our P.S.A.L.M. - PullingTOGETHER Celebration Sunday - Why Not Us? Why Not Revival? 

Preached by Andrew Ruth
 For the first half of 2016, we embarked on PullingTOGETHER2016, a campaign to raise $800,000 to completely obliterate all Oakland debt and empty our hands so that we could be ready for whatever God asks us to do next. We have to date raised over $600,000, and so we wanted to celebrate. At the same time, PullingTOGETHER was never about money or debt, it was always about people and ministry. We feel like God is going to do something huge in the near future, and we will only be able to participate in God's Revival if we eliminate the burden of debt. For more information about PullingTOGETHER, our vision, and how you can participate, visit PullingTOGETHER. 

Like OPC on FB!

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – May 29 – June 5

The center column holds the main text for each day, while the right column includes secondary texts.

Basic Tips:1.) Use a translation you can understand. If new to the Bible, try the NIrV or The Message, which are both available online. 2.) Use a kids Bible with kids. 3.) Keep a pencil and notebook around to write down questions, observations, and conclusions. 4.) Have fun. Use your imagination and your brain.

Our PSALM - A - Reading Plan -  May 29 - June 5.2016 - Leave Legacy

Questions to Guide You:

We’re stepping away from Matthew for 6 weeks to remind ourselves of Oakland’s Vision and Values, which we abbreviate our P.S.A.L.M. because it is our worship of God in action. P. =“We Prize Presence.S. = “We Serve Hard.” A. = “We’re Always Growing.” L. stands for “We Leave Legacy.” We received a legacy, and we want to leave one for the next generation. So we hone the heart of our traditions and update their dress, telling the old, old story in modern words. Everything we do is for the next generation of believers.

  • 2 Tim 2:2 is one of my favorite verses. What does Paul tell Timothy to do? To pass on tradition, but for what? How many generations is Paul thinking about?
  • How can you tell who are “reliable people” who will pass the gospel to the next generation? Why is a heart for generations of believers so important? How does it keep us from becoming a Me-First church all about my tastes, what I like, and what I want?
  • Rom 14 talks about weaker and stronger brothers. What should stronger brothers do to strengthen and bless their younger brothers? Why must older/stronger brothers subjugate their wants to their lil’ bro’s needs?
  • Where at Oakland can you submit your wants/tastes to the needs of younger Christians or not-yet-Christians? Where do you see people do the opposite?
  • Psalm 78 celebrates the opportunity to “tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD.” The Millennial generation (1984-present) is giving up on Church and Jesus in unprecedented numbers. Rather than give up on them, what ways can we be better at telling them of the LORD?
  • Acts 15 is a pivotal moment in Church History, where Christians decided that new, non-Jewish converts to Jesus do not need to become culturally Jewish to follow Jesus. What do they decide is cultural and what do they decide is essential? What are the modern equivalents?
  • In Acts 17, Paul preaches to a bunch of Stoic Philosophers. In his sermon, he references their culture (statues) and their favorite philosophers (quotes) in order to explain Jesus in a way they can understand. What metaphors, images, heroes, etc. exist in our culture to explain the importance of Jesus? How can you use a pop-culture touch point to explain ideas like “sin”, “redemption”, and “savior”?
  • 1 Cor 9 summarized Paul’s prerogative – same message, different dress codes.

If you are new to reading the Bible and would benefit from a brief orientation, download this How To Use This Book. If you want dig a deeper into the Bible, download this Guide to Inductive Bible Study.

A Theology of Work

This morning at our first Men's Breakfast, we spent a half hour discussing the topic, "How does your Faith affect your Work?" Trying to pass round questions like, "How does your faith affect HOW you do your work?" "How does your faith inspire you to work?" "How does your faith inform your interactions with employees and customers?" "How should we balance profit and employee care?"

It was a great conversation, and I'd encourage you to head over to

www.theologyofwork.org

 

to check out lots of great resources explaining why your work is sacred and important to God.

This is an awesome sermon:

 

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – May 22-29

The center column holds the main text for each day, while the right column includes secondary texts.

Basic Tips:1.) Use a translation you can understand. If new to the Bible, try the NIrV or The Message, which are both available online. 2.) Use a kids Bible with kids. 3.) Keep a pencil and notebook around to write down questions, observations, and conclusions. 4.) Have fun. Use your imagination and your brain.

Our PSALM - A - Reading Plan -  May 22-29.2016 - Always Growing

Questions to Guide You:

We’re stepping away from Matthew for 6 weeks to remind ourselves of Oakland’s Vision and Values, which we abbreviate our P.S.A.L.M. because it is our worship of God in action. P. stands for “We Prize Presence.S. stands for “We Serve Hard.” A. is for “We’re Always Growing.” Spiritual growth is not an option, and faith is more of a journey than a light switch. Faith is like a plant it is either growing or shriveling, but never staying the same.

  • We’ve studied Ephesians 4 before, but it is so rich. What is the goal/purpose of pastors, teachers, evangelists? What is the goal of equipping the Saints? Why do we need the whole body to mature individually?
  • What does it mean to grow “in the faith of the Son of God”? “in the knowledge of the Son of God”? “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ?”
  • How do we grow? What things do we need and need to do?
  • 1 Peter 2:2, talks about “Spiritual milk,” what do you think that is?
  • How are we changed from one degree of glory to another in 2 Cor 3? This implies that all spiritual growth is gradual, and there are no silver bullets.
  • What is Paul’s goal for a church according to Col 1:28, and how does he hope to accomplish it?
  • Proverbs 1 talks about wisdom, which we might equate with maturity. Who needs wisdom according to Proverbs 1?
  • Acts 9 is the conversion of Saul, who becomes Paul, the greatest evangelist. I want you to think about Acts 9:22. Did Paul just get converted and that was all? How have you “grown more and more” since becoming a Christian? If you have not grown, why not?
  • James 1 points out that growth comes through struggle, through trial. How do trials and grief produce maturity? Is it possible to mature without adversity and disappointment? When do we grow the most?

If you are new to reading the Bible and would benefit from a brief orientation, download this How To Use This Book. If you want dig a deeper into the Bible, download this Guide to Inductive Bible Study.

Our PSALM – We PRIZE PRESENCE (a quote)

If you heard the sermon Sunday, you know that we’re studying Oakland’s P.S.A.L.M. – Oakland’s Core Values.
P. is for “We PRIZE PRESENCE,” by which we mean:
  1. We Prize the Presence of God above all else, so we prioritize individual and group worship through prayer, song, preaching, and Bible Study.
  2. We Prize the Presence of other believers at Oakland, and so we prioritize meeting together weekly. We do not follow Jesus alone.
  3. We are intentionally Present in the Cleveland Community, and so we try to be present to love and serve our neighbors and our community.
Here is one of the quotes our Session reads at least annually, by Henri Nouwen. It reminds us that being present to our community and to each other is vitally important and the heart of ministry.

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time and the freedom to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or be a part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around the urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social or spiritual progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and to tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”

– from Gracias! By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – May 15-22

The center column holds the main text for each day, while the right column includes secondary texts.

Basic Tips:1.) Use a translation you can understand. If new to the Bible, try the NIrV or The Message, which are both available online. 2.) Use a kids Bible with kids. 3.) Keep a pencil and notebook around to write down questions, observations, and conclusions. 4.) Have fun. Use your imagination and your brain.

Our PSALM - PS - Reading Plan -  May 15-22.2016 - Prize Presence and Serve Hard

Questions to Guide You:

Slight change of plans this week. We’re stepping away from Matthew for 6 weeks to remind ourselves of Oakland’s Vision and Values, which we abbreviate our P.S.A.L.M. because it is our worship of God in action. P. stands for “We Prize Presence.” We value the presence of God more than all. We are not a social club or country club, we are ravenous to know and experience God. But God promises to meet us “where two or three are gathered,” and so we’re committed to being present to one another and intentionally present to our community. S. stands for “We Serve Hard.” Saved people serve people, because we were served by Christ. We want to be a people with Soft Hearts and Calloused Hands.

  • Hebrews 10, says because of Jesus, we can now enter into the very presence of God. Have you ever felt God’s presence intimately? Would you say you “know about God” or “know God”?
  • What does it mean to you to experience the presence of God? When has God felt closest to you? Why do you think that was?
  • Psalm 73 contrasts those who prize what the world values, and those who prize God’s presence, what is the difference? Is one hedonistic and one ascetic?
  • John 14, promises that Jesus will not leave us as orphans but will be present to us by the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? How do we recognize the Holy Spirit?
  • What two things does Paul share in 1 Thess 2:8? Why are both important? How can we love Cleveland and our literal neighbors with “not just the gospel of God, but our very lives as well”?
  • How can you be more present to God and present to the people God has put around you for you to love?
  • Our second principle is SERVE Hard. Why did Jesus come according to Mark 10, and how should that affect us? How does it motivate us?
  • What was Jesus’ attitude according to Phil 2, and how should we have the same attitude? What does it mean to “look to the needs of others” and “consider others before yourself”? Why don’t people do these regularly?
  • How does service result in “God being praised in all things through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11)?
  • Where are you serving? Where can you be serving?

If you are new to reading the Bible and would benefit from a brief orientation, download this How To Use This Book. If you want dig a deeper into the Bible, download this Guide to Inductive Bible Study.

Which Bible Do You Recommend for a Middle Schooler?

Which is the best Bible?

THE ONE YOU READ.

No matter how good the translation is, how pretty the cover is, how scholarly the notes are, how relevant it is, NO Bible is any good if you don't read it. But if you do read it, any Bible is good enough. So the Best Bible is a READ BIBLE.

Recently, I was asked to recommend a Bible for a rising 6th Grade Student. These are some of my favorite questions, but also hard to answer. If you're looking for a Bible for a Young Teen or Tween (4th-7th grader), maybe my advise to them, will help you out. For young elementary kids, I'll have to write another blog, but for now, I like The Jesus Storybook Bible, though it is not technically a Bible, it will help young students learn the whole story of Scripture and learn to see Jesus on every page.  

41LMG+8cE+L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A couple of our younger youth (6th and 7th graders) have this Teen's Quest Bible, and I think it is really cool. It is probably one of my first choices since it is designed with questions that teens/tweens ask. Really good at those things. It may or may not lack some of the more advanced features like cross-references and a concordance, but should be pretty good. 
287706An older youth, 17 years old, really likes this Revolution Teen Guy Bible, but I think it is more for 16-18 year olds. It helps students think about dating relationships, sex, peer pressure, school performance, family dynamics, alcohol/drugs, gossip, etc.
411LjKlkk4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_My old reliable, i.e. what I give to people when they ask for a Bible and give to High School Graduates is this Zondervan Life Application Bible - it is simple and yet has everything you need to do deep study. I started using it at age 18 and it was awesome. I used it until I was probably 21, and it taught me to read the Bible and apply it to my life. Claire still carries it to church weekly. At some point, a Life Application Bible and especially the footnotes may feel “too simple” like “Sunday School answers,” but that is a sign of growth in you not failure in the commentators.
Of them all, I'd probably go with the top one, QUEST, for a 4-7th grader. Just seems like a good age appropriate Bible if they are going to start using it and reading it immediately. If you think he or she will put it on the shelf for 4 years, then maybe the middle one, and if you want to give him a Bible he can carry to church for the rest of his life, then the last one. 
Personally, I think a Bible should only last 3-5 years, because if you use it regularly, carry it around, mark and study it, they fall apart, even the leather ones and hardback ones. That or they’re so full of highlighting and underlining that they’re hard to use. That’s ok. That’s what’s supposed to happen. I have my old Bibles on the shelf (except for the ones I gave away to someone who I led to the Lord). My prayer is that the next Bible you buy will be worn out in 5 years, and you’ll be emailing me again about Bibles for college students or young adults or mothers or dads or business men.