A Preoccupation with God and His Glory
There is a cancer update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is another about the Lord's Prayer from John Stott's commentary on The Sermon on the Mount, titled CHRISTIAN COUNTER-CULTURE (IVP 1985). Perhaps these reminders will help you and me to avoid selfishness and mindlessness in prayer, but rather to approach "Our Father in heaven" in a way that embodies a "preoccupation with God and his glory."
A PREOCCUPATION WITH GOD AND HIS GLORY
Jesus seems to have given the Lord's Prayer as a model of REAL prayer, CHRISTIAN prayer, in distinction to the prayers of the Pharisees and heathen. To be sure, one could recite the Lord's Prayer either hypocritically or mechanically or both, But if we mean what we say, then the Lord's Prayer is the divine alternative to both forms of false prayer. . . .
The error of the hypocrite is selfishness. Even in his prayers he is obsessed with his own self-image and how he looks in the eyes of the beholder. But in the Lord’s Prayer Christians are obsessed with God—with his name, his kingdom and his will, not with theirs. True Christian prayer is always a preoccupation with God and his glory. It is therefore the exact opposite of the exhibitionism of hypocrites who use prayer as a vehicle for their own glory.
The error of the heathen is mindlessness. He just goes babbling on, giving voice to his meaningless liturgy. He does not think about what he is saying, for his concern is with volume, not content. But God is not impressed with verbiage. Over against this folly, Jesus invites us to make all our needs known to our heavenly Father with humble thoughtfulness, and so express our daily dependence on him.
Thus Christian prayer is seen in contrast to its non-Christian alternatives. It is GOD-CENTERED (concerned for God’s glory) in contrast to the self-centeredness of the Pharisees (preoccupied with their own glory). And it is INTELLIGENT (expressive of thoughtful dependence) in contrast to the mechanical incantations of the heathen. Therefore when we come to God in prayer, we do not come hypocritically like play actors seeking the applause of men, nor mechanically like pagan babblers, whose mind is not in their mutterings, but thoughtfully, humbly and trustfully like little children to their father.
— John Stott, THE MESSAGE OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (MATTHEW 5-7: CHRISTIAN COUNTER-CULTURE). Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, pp. 151-52. ISBN 978-0877842965
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4 (Ron Man):
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
Dear Friends and Family,
We have almost reached our goals for the stem cell drive: www.carlstam.org/stemcelldrive. Praise God! Longer journal entries are at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam (click on "journal" or "photos").
A DAY AT A TIME
We continue to go to the cancer clinic each day (usually quite early in the morning). The day's treatment depends on the blood tests taken at the very beginning of that visit. Yesterday (May 4) was supposed to be my last growth factor injection (NEUPOGEN) for this round of chemo treatment, but my white cell count had suddenly bounced back to the "normal" range, so they sent us home without any "additives." That was nice. We'll see a little later this morning what today will bring.
SMALL BUT SIGNIFICANT BLESSINGS
We are so thankful that I have not had any secondary infections. I have had a minimum of nausea and very few problems with mouth soars. Even with the significant fatigue I am experiencing, I was able to attend a few student recitals this week and lead the worship at our church on Sunday. What a blessing!
MAY 12 PET SCAN
The next crucial marker is the PET scan on May 12. This will show the current activity of the lymphoma in my body. If these recent chemotherapy treatments have been successful in significantly reducing the cancer, then we can move ahead to the needed stem cell transplant. That is our hope and our prayer.
We continue to fight this terrible disease. Please keep praying with us; pray for success of the current treatment to put the cancer into remission; and pray for a very wise decision by my doctors about the donor and for protection from Graft vs. Host Disease. Don't forget to care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment. Pray that our stem cell drive will provide many, many cancer patients with life-saving options for their treatment.
In His arms,
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