A Shepherd

“[F]rom tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people… And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (Psalm 78:71a, 72, NIV).

Psalm 78 is a great overview of Israel’s history and how God led them, protected them, provided for them, and disciplined them when they sinned. It reveals God as the Shepherd of His people, and we shouldn’t be surprised that Jesus is also revealed as a shepherd in the New Testament, the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:11). In Psalm 78 God raised up another shepherd to lead His people–David. And I love what the Bible says about David’s leadership as king of Israel: he shepherded them with integrity of heart and led them with skillful hands.

As someone God has called to be a pastor (or shepherd, for that is what the word pastor literally means) of His people I pray these words would be true of me as well. I confess my sin to God and ask for integrity of heart through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. And I constantly pray for wisdom, that I may lead with skillful hands. I pray this as well for the elders and all those in leadership at LakeView.

Hebrews 13:7 says to “remember your leaders” and a few verses later in 17 it says that the leaders of the church “keep watch over you as those who must give an account.” The elders, who are also shepherds of God’s people, have a heavy responsibility. They will stand before God one day and give an account for every decision they made, every word they said, every policy they wrote as an elder and shepherd of LakeView. They need our prayers and encouragement to shepherd with integrity of heart and lead with skillful hands.

Will you join me this week in praying for each of the elders by name?

  • Mike Moll
  • Ryan Horrisberger
  • Wayne Hansen
  • Tom Roe
  • Kevin Louis
  • Gary Cook

Let the Glory of Your Name be the Passion of the Church

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.” (Psalm 57:11, NIV)

David wrote these words while hiding in a cave from King Saul, who was trying to find and kill him. Even when being pursued by an enemy who most certainly would’ve murdered him, David took refuge in the worship of God! It’s easy to praise God when things are going well, but how often do we exalt Him when things are not going well? When life is hard, God is our refuge, and worship is our solace.

For that to be true of us, we must be enamored by God. When was the last time I experienced the awesome glory of God? Do I seek His glory? Moses said to the Lord, “Show me Your glory,” and God answered his prayer. We sing songs about God’s glory filling all the earth, but are those songs really the anthem of our hearts? Do we look for God, seeking to be transformed by encountering His glory? Do we hunger for His name to be exalted above the heavens and His glory to fill the earth?

Or have we grown so familiar with phrases from songs and words like “glory” that they’ve lost their sparkle? Are we so busy with our own lives, our own jobs, our own pursuits, and our own glory that we forget we live not for ourselves, but for the Glorious One who alone deserves to be worshiped? When we put things in perspective and live outside of ourselves for the glory of God, we will find that worship becomes our refuge from the storms of life, and God’s Spirit sustains us as we commune with Him.

There’s a song by Chris Tomlin that has a line in it that makes my heart leap every time I hear it. The song is All to Us, and the line is “Let the glory of Your name be the passion of the church.” Amen! That is my prayer for this week.

Photo by Ksenia Kudelkina on Unsplash

Prayer for the Fools

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. (Psalm 14:1, ESV)

We live in a society that largely has declared, “There is no God.” While it’s true that the majority of Americans claim to believe in God, it’s also true that the majority of Americans (including the majority of Christians in America) live as though God doesn’t exist. When we fail to acknowledge God, we not only overlook an entire Universe of evidence that He is real, we also reject the foundation of right and wrong. If there is no God, there is no morality–no real justice to build a society on.

We’ve all seen where the path of denying God leads. This is true whether we say He doesn’t exist, or whether we claim to believe and yet live as though He doesn’t matter. To deny or forget about God is to be a fool, and that will ultimately lead to “every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. [Those who ignore God] are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:29-32, NIV).

Sadly those words are a pretty accurate description of our society. This week, let’s pray for the fools who deny God (knowing that sometimes we’ll be praying for ourselves when our actions fail to acknowledge the Lord).

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Faith Comes By Hearing

This is the last of my Advent prayer devotionals. I’m calling us all to pray for the unsaved who were in church services over the Christmas holidays. We’ve had a lot of guests at LakeView the last couple Sundays, and some of them may not know the Lord. If you’re part of a different church, the same is likely true in your congregation as well. Let us not underestimate the power of prayer, but rather bring these people to the Lord and ask Him to move in their hearts.

If you invited someone in the past month, would you mention them by name in your prayer and initiate a conversation with them about where they’re at with God? A natural place to start is by asking them about their visit to LakeView.

Scripture and prayer are below. Merry Christmas!

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15, NIV)

Lord, I come before You to pray for those who have visited churches in the past few weeks. Thank You for stirring in the hearts of Christians to bring their friends into their church family. Thank You for the opportunities You’ve given me and others to preach the good news of Jesus. Thank You for leading faithful men and women to plan non-threatening events that make it easy to invite a friend.

I ask You now to work in the hearts and minds of the people who’ve walked through our doors. Holy Spirit, convict them, bother them, keep them awake, show them Your power and mercy, heal them by Your love, speak to them, and draw them to Christ. Bring them back into conversations with their friends and family members who are saved.

I also ask that You would embolden our hearts to initiate follow up conversations with those neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends. Give us the opportunities to speak, the courage to speak, and the discernment to know what to say and when to say it. Father, I pray that every one of my brothers and sisters in Christ would see themselves as preachers of the gospel. That what Paul said in Romans 10:15 would be true of them, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Thank You for Your work in and through us. We love You. Amen.

You, God, Are My God

One of my goals this Advent is to spend more time praying through God’s Word. And, I thought perhaps you’d like to join me in that this Christmas season! Below are a Scripture and prayer. Read the passage, pray the prayer, and then write or speak your own prayer from this Scripture. Send me your prayer this week (andy@lakevc.org) and I’ll pray it, too! We can pray through Scripture together. 🙂

In Christ,
Pastor Andy

Psalm 63:1-5 (NIV)

1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.


Oh, God, may it be true of me that You are my God. You are the source and the foundation of my life. My hope and trust are in You alone. Without You I am nothing; I have nothing apart from You. There is no satisfaction in life unless You are there. You are my joy and my strength. You are my light and my salvation. You are the One who really matters. I have seen Your glory and experienced the supernatural presence and power of Your Holy Spirit. Your majesty commands my praise and Your love has captivated my heart. I will praise You as long as I live and will exalt Your holy name. To worship in Your presence is the highest purpose and the greatest experience in life. Fill me with Your Spirit, I ask in Your name. Amen.

The Second Advent

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, and I’m inviting all of you to join me in praying through Scripture during the Advent season. To do that, I will be sending out a passage of Scripture each Monday, along with a prayer I write based on the Scripture. Read the passage, think about what it means, and then pray from the Scripture. Feel free to use my prayer if it’s helpful. If you write your own prayer from the text, I’d love for you to send it to me (andy@lakevc.org) so you can pray my prayers, and I can pray yours as we both pray through God’s Word!

Below is the first passage, Mark 13:33-37, along with my prayer.

In Christ,
Pastor Andy

Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: “Watch!” (Mark 13:33–37, NIV)

Lord, I believe You will return, just as you promised in Your Word. Yet, even while You are gone, You are present through Your Holy Spirit. You have called me and others to be Your servants and Your stewards while we await Your return. Thank You for the great honor and privilege of serving You! Thank You for having a plan and a purpose for me, for calling me, and for pursuing me even when I ran from You.

I ask now for Your grace and for the Holy Spirit’s power to live a life worthy of the calling I have received while I await Your second coming– the second Advent. May I never grow complacent in my mind or sleepy in my devotion. Stir up a fire in my heart to pursue Your glory and Your will. I long for Your return and for Your Kingdom! Knowing that it could happen at any time, help me to be prepared to meet You, God my Savior.

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

God Sees the Trouble of the Afflicted

Yesterday a violent lunatic brutally attacked a small congregation in a rural Texas community.  He ruthlessly shot and killed at least 26, including a five-year-old child and a pregnant woman, and wounded at least 20 others.  You can read about the attack on First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs here.

Today, I am calling us all to pray for our brothers and sisters at First Baptist Church.  I can’t even imagine their shock, terror, grief, and pain.  Let’s support them by crying out to God on their behalf.  In times like these, our words often seem too small to make a difference.  That’s why I’m sharing a few verses from God’s Word in this post.  I encourage you all to read Psalm 10 in its entirety and use it as a guide to pray God’s Word for the afflicted in Sutherland Springs.  Below are selected verses from Psalm 10.

Why, LORD, do You stand far off?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?

In his arrogance, the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.

7 His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.

11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
He covers his face and never sees.”

12 Arise, LORD.  Lift up Your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.

14 But You, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
You consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless.

17 You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted;
You encourage them, and You listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and oppressed
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.

Praying for FBC Sutherland Springs this week.

In Christ,
Pastor Andy