Praying the Gospel

Do you remember when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Were there special circumstances and people who helped you to the place that you were ready to trust Him? I doubt any of us knows all of the prayers that went up for us, that were instrumental in leading us to that most important moment of our lives.

The beginning of our salvation comes in that moment when we trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is a spiritual event. We only see “as a reflection in a mirror” as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, the real spiritual change that has taken place. Jesus refers to it as being “born again.” Jesus also tells us that “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (John 6:44).

As you think about people around you, people whom you love and care about, are you praying that God will save them? The August 2014 issue of Christianity Today has a powerful testimony written by Tara Edelschick. She was not interested in anything to do with God or church. Her husband died tragically and 10 days later she gave birth to a stillborn daughter.

Through wrestling with these tragedies, she eventually came to trust in Jesus. It wasn’t until after she became a Christian that she learned that many people in her community were praying for her when they heard about her tragedy, including the man who eventually became her new husband. He had been praying for her before he knew her! (You can read Tara’s story at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/july-august/i-was-saved-at-open-communion.html)

God works through our prayers and the most important prayer we can pray is that someone we know will come to trust in Jesus and become a Christian. If you haven’t already, begin that prayer today!

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC

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Be Quiet

We live in a noisy world. And a very busy world. In such a world, it can be very hard to find a quiet place. My generation grew up with the constant background noises of television and radio in our homes and cars. My children have the ever-present cell phone and tablet companions to deluge their eyes and ears with sights and sounds. The world is abuzz with motion and noise.

This constant bombardment of our senses is not evil, but it often does drown out the still small voice of the One who made us for better things. Some scientists suggest that constant noise is not psychologically healthy. I am sure that it is not spiritually healthy. We need moments of quiet to refresh our spirits and reconnect with our Creator who is always speaking to us if we will only listen.

But sometimes we have to get away from the sights and sounds for enough time to let our minds get quiet as well before we can hear His voice.

“The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silent before Him,” says Habakkuk.

So, turn off the tv, the laptop, the cell phone, and get quiet. Give yourself a few minutes. Clear your mind of distractions. Pray a short, simple prayer. “Lord, I’m listening.”

Your spirit will thank you.

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC

Depression and Christian Faith

Robin Williams committed suicide.

This news has shocked many fans. Williams was a beloved comic genius whose public image was full of energy and laughter. But he had lived with substance abuse and depression for many years.

Fame, wealth, the goodwill of millions of people, none of these was enough to prevent his falling so deeply into depression that he killed himself. Williams’ story will be discussed and memorialized. Many others who are living with depression right now will not be.

Many people suffer from depression and every day some sink so deeply that they give up hope.

Many problems that we face, problems like depression, are made worse because we refuse to face the reality that we have them. We do not seek help when the problem first arises. We do not want to believe that it is really bad or we do want to admit any weakness. Whatever the reason, we do not ask for help until our problem has gotten so bad that no one can help.

Being a Christian does not make us immune from problems. Being a Christian does not mean that we cannot get depressed. Being a Christian does not mean that something is wrong with our faith if God does not magically fix us when we have a problem.

Jesus invites us to face our problems and our weaknesses with the confidence that He will give us strength. He invites us to tell the truth about the struggles we are living with. He encourages us not to put it off, but to face it directly.

If you are struggling with depression or hopelessness or any hidden emotional pains, ask for help. If you know someone whom you suspect is struggling, reach out to him or her. If you are a member of a church, make sure your church is a place where people will not be turned away just because they are struggling.

Don’t wait. Do it now.

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC

Pray for the World

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”

This is the commission that Jesus left for His disciples after His resurrection. We believe that this “great commission” is a call for us to share the gospel message with people in every nation. We pray that God will convert their hearts and lives.

We all agree that the world has a lot of problems. Every day the news is filled with horrible stories of war and disease and brutality. We can despair and refuse to hear the bad news or we can look to the Lord and ask Him to bless and empower His people to bring hope and love and good news.

Praying for the world is the duty of every Christian. Instead of only griping about the sorry state of the world, we have access to the world’s Creator. He calls us to beseech Him to help us bring peace and hope.

Many resources exist to help us learn about Christian witness throughout the world and pray each day for places around the world. You can simply pray as you read the morning news for whatever country you are reading about. Or you can access prayer resources from many Missions agencies.

For years I have used a popular prayer resource called Operation World. You can buy this resource as a book or you can access it each day online at http://www.operationworld.org Each day, Operation World lists a country or area of the world for which to pray, giving information about the country and the Christian witness that is active in that country. They also tweet the daily pray request on Twitter.

Operation World links to another website for world prayer called Prayercast. http://www.prayercast.com This site gives prayer concerns for any country that you want to look up.

Every Christian denomination has prayer information for it missionaries and mission activities on its denominational website. Baptists publish lists of missionaries on their birthdays with a request to pray for them on that day. You can access information for Baptist mission prayer requests, including those birthday prayer lists at the following sites: For Cooperative Baptist Fellowship missions – http://www.thefellowship.info/pray For Southern Baptist International Mission Board – http://www.pray.imb.org

Many other resources exist as well. Most people will only see the bad news of what is going on the world. God invites you to be part of the Good News that transforms the world by joining His people in prayer.

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC