Day 6 – Being Consistent in Prayer

Matthew 7:7 — “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

The depths of the Scriptures can elude us if we aren’t careful in our study of God’s Word. At first glance, this Scripture focused on prayer, is a simple directive to ask, seek, and knock. A closer look begins to uncover a depth of Jesus’ instructions that should serve as a constant reminder when we seek God in prayer. First, consider the 3 separate actions mentioned here: “ask”, “seek”, “knock”. All three of these steps act in unison in a healthy prayer life but all have a different part to play.

Sometimes it can be difficult to translate the depth of the original Biblical languages into English. In this verse for example we are instructed to ask, seek, and knock but the English would incorrectly lead us to believe this is a one-time action. I don’t often like to switch around to different translations to make a point, but the Holman Christian Standard translation gives us a much more accurate translation of this verse:

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 HCSB)

Do you see it? There is a consistent approach in this verse that should invigorate our prayers. If you’re going to ask God, don’t stop asking in prayer until He has given you a clear answer. The parable of the widow and the unjust judge is an example of how consistent we should be in prayer. (Luke 18:1-8)

What’s the deal with this? Is God hard of hearing? Is He so busy He needs a reminder? Do we have to beg? Certainly not. Consistency in prayer and seeking God’s face is not meant to change the heart of God, it is meant to change ours. As we keep asking, keep searching, and keep knocking the Holy Spirit will begin to change our hearts and bring us into God’s will for our lives.

Just a warning here and a reminder: sometimes God’s answer is no. If God’s answer is no, trust that He is still good and that His will for your life is perfect. Sometimes what we think we really need turns out to be the thing that will take us out of the will of God.

As you pray today, present your needs to God (knowing He already knows your needs – Matthew 6:8). Walk boldly into the throne room to find mercy and grace to help in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Seek God’s will along with presenting your desire for an answered prayer. Be prepared to say: “not my will be done, but Your Will God” (Luke 22:2). Lastly, urgently knock at the door until God answers. As you ask, seek, and knock, continue to trust God through the process. Remember this truth: even when it feels like Jesus is four days late, He is right on time. (John 11:38-43)

Lord in Jesus name we come asking, seeking, and knocking. Jesus we confess that without You our prayers would never make it past the celling. But because of you Lord we know that our prayers reach the Father. Help us not to give up hope. Some of us have been praying for weeks, months, or years and it seems like we’ve prayed in vain. Remind us that we never pray in vain Lord. Surround us with your presence and remind us that the God who spoke the universe into existence by the power of His Word hears our prayers and will move in ways we can’t understand. Lord help us in our spiritual exhaustion to continue diligently seeking Your will for our lives. Give us grace to sustain us, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Day 5 – Being Direct in Prayer

Matthew 6:7-8 — “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

If you have kids, chances are you’ve heard the elaborate story that invariably leads up to a question. It goes something like this: “I had a great day at school today, I made an A on my history quiz and was really good. Abigail and I cleaned up our room and had our snack. The sun is shining, it’s currently 35 degrees Fahrenheit and the moon is going to be full tonight. Can we play Minecraft?” OK, I made that last part up about the sun shining and it is probably only 35 outside, but the point is… kids beat around the bush. We’ve all seen it whether it’s in business, at church, from our spouse or kids, sometimes people add in about 900 unaffiliated details that were not necessary. Do we sometimes do that same thing in prayer?

How about this tactic: “I know you’re probably going to say no, but I’ve had a really good week and I feel like I deserve it. You know everyone else has one, I’m the only kid in 6th grade without one. You said I’d get rewarded if I did a good job, I made honor roll again! I’ve been really good and respectful at home too… I know you already said no but if you just understand why I need it! Dad, I need a phone. Can I have a phone?”

I think what Jesus was talking about here was a bit different than the examples we just looked at, but I think the heart of His message is clear: get to the point. Don’t beat around the bush, don’t add in 900 additional words to your prayer to sound fancy, educated, or eloquent. Remember that when you come before God, He already knows what you need anyway. So when you come to Him be direct, be honest, be humble, and don’t “babble” on.

Thinking back to my children, although sometimes they tell me stories with many twists and turns, when they really need something, they just ask. When they are hungry, they ask for something to eat. When they are thirsty, they ask for something to drink. You know what I do in these times? After I drop a dad joke (“hey thirsty, I’m dad”), I get them a drink. Jesus calls us to be childlike (not childish) in our relationship with Him (Matthew 18:3). So what should we do when we are hungry and thirsty? Come to Jesus for Living Water and Living Bread.

I think at the heart of Jesus’ reminder is this truth: don’t let prayer become a ritual. Imagine for a moment if every time I spoke to my wife I said the same thing. Also imagine if I kept on endlessly babbling but never gave her the chance to respond. Jesus is not telling us not to continue praying about the same things, we are actually encouraged to do that in Scripture (Luke 18:1-8). He is telling us to be honest, direct, and remember Who we are speaking to.

So, when you get the urge to become a professional prayer ninja, resist that urge. Regardless of where or how you are praying, speak from your heart. Know that our Father in heaven knows our needs and will provide for them. Just as I will give my kids something to eat when they are hungry, when we ask we will be filled with what we really need (Matthew 7:9-11).

Father, forgive us when our prayers take detours and U-turns to get to the point. Help us consistently come before you in honest humility and ask for what we need. Lord help us not be discouraged when Your answer is no. Help us trust you. Help us remember You promise to meet our needs and give us wisdom to understand the difference between our desires and our true needs. Help us to trust that not only do You know our needs, but You can and will meet them. Forgive us when we think somehow the power in which we pray makes any difference in how You respond. It isn’t our power Father, it is your grace, love, faithfulness and mercy that renew and refresh us. Thank you for hearing our prayers, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Youth Pastor Ministry Role

We are excited to announce we are currently accepting resumes for a full time Youth Pastor ministry role we are filling at the church.

Do you communicate via emojis? Do you type 38 WPM via text? Is your Instagram game strong? Above all, do you love children and want to see them transformed by the power of Jesus? This may be your calling.

To learn more and apply, please visit http://cometothecreek.com/youth-pastor/

Executive Admin Ministry Role

We are excited to announce a unique opportunity to be involved with the ministry of Shoal Creek. We are now accepting applications for an Executive Admin role.

Does this sound like you? Above all, you love the Lord and are passionate about seeing lives changed by the power of Jesus Christ. You are excited and passionate about people. You have a talent for managing multiple projects with excellence. You are professional, kind, compassionate, and able to maintain composure in stressful situations. If so, apply now!

To learn more about this role or apply now, please visit http://cometothecreek.com/executive-admin/

Mission Fundraiser

We would like to invite you to join us on Saturday August 24th for a Mission Fundraising event! The event will include live music, BBQ, popcorn, shaved ice, jump houses, a cake walk, and a silent auction! Everyone is welcome.

When: Saturday August 24th at 11AM-4PM

Where: Shoal Creek Baptist Church – 4967 Fincher Rd, Canton, GA 30114

What: Mission fundraising event

BBQ plates are $7.50 each. We have whole BBQ butts available for $40 ($45 shaved). Tickets for the cake walk are $2 each. All proceeds go to benefit the church’s upcoming international mission trip to El Salvador.

Fall Festival and Trunk-or-treat

Fall Festival

We just a few days away from our annual Fall Festival!

Join us this Saturday at 11am to 4pm for games, food, bounce houses, face painting and more!

Trunk-or-treat

Please join us on October 31st at 6pm for our community trunk-or-treat. This is an awesome, safe, family friendly way to enjoy some awesome candy and costumes!

The Kingdom of God – 6 Part Series

The word kingdom may stir up various images in your mind. Maybe you think about Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, King Arthur and his round table, or maybe you just think about your last binge watch of Game of Thrones.  Whatever the case may be, when we look into God’s Word we find the Kingdom of Israel united as one, that then becomes divided into a northern and southern kingdom.

Many other kingdoms come and go, even enslaving God’s people from time to time, until we reach the New Testament where Jesus begins to preach and teach about the Kingdom of God.  What is this Kingdom that Jesus speaks about?  And how does our understanding of it have relevance in our day and age?  In our upcoming 6-week series we will learn more about The Kingdom of God, what it is, why it matters, and how we can be a part of it.  Hope to see you at the Creek for this important series!

Jon us starting Sunday September 30th as we start a 6 week series studying the unending Kingdom of God.

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Game ON! – 2018 VBS

Shoal Creek invites children ages 4 to 18 to join us starting Monday July 9th at 6:30PM for Game ON! Our 2018 Vacation Bible School. VBS will be Monday-Friday 6:30PM to 8:30PM daily.

What: Shoal Creek 2018 Vacation Bible School – Game ON!

When: Starting Monday July 9th at 6:30PM. Continuing daily from 6:30PM to 8:30PM (Monday-Friday) – Family fun night is Friday July 13th!

Where: 4967 Fincher Rd, Canton, GA 30114

Who: Kids ages 4 to 18

LifeWay’s 2018 VBS invites kids to grab their megaphones, lace up their cleats, and tune up their instruments. As they fill up the offensive line, sideline, and drumline, your players, cheerleaders, and band members will realize God has given them His ultimate playbook. He wants them to join His team, train hard, celebrate salvation, and encourage one another. Get in the spirit today with Game On! VBS.