Friday, February 3, 2012

Fresh Wind Fresh Fire Book Study Chapter #1, Seeker's Sunday School Class, Riverbend Baptist Church

Fresh Wind Fresh Fire Book Study,
Chapter #1 The Amateurs,
Seeker's Sunday School Class,
Riverbend Baptist Church,
Gainesville, GA
Super Sunday 2-7-12
(Let's focus on our lesson not football, God loves everyone, I try but I do love Eli.)

Fresh Wind and Fresh Fire
by Jim Cymbala

Pastor Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, makes it crystal clear that any success or victory he has received in church, ministry and personal faith is a result of total dependence of the power of God received trough prayer.

Mark 11:16-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
"16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. 17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching."

Wow! As a preacher I often felt preaching is overlooked. It quotes Jesus as saying prayer is the center of His house of worship!
His Father's house is a HOUSE OF PRAYER.

How do we get this power?

What is prayer, really?

Is prayer central in our relationship with God?

Is prayer of the people a central part of our worship services?

Pastor Cymbala's background:
He grew up in Brooklyn going to church with his parents. His father was an alcoholic. He played basketball at the Naval Academy and was injured and had to resign from the Navy. He later played basketball and graduated in Sociology at Rhode Island.
His father-in-law was a pastor and overseer of several independent churches around Brooklyn.
His father-in-law assigned him to a small church. He had no intentions of becoming a pastor. He had no Bible College or seminary training. The struggling for existence Brooklyn church was added on to his assignment. Both churches were weak churches with less than forty in attendance. They struggled week to week to pay utilities. His wife and he both felt led to serve only the even more struggling multi-racial Brooklyn church. (Boy does this fly in the face of modern church planting and the race to start the next mega-church in the premier locations!) At Brooklyn he experienced a desperate calling out to God and God answering the desperate financial situation. The church received a last minute anonymous cash gift in an unmarked envelope placed during a work day on the floor of the church. This let them pay the mortgage and not default and lose their building (pages 16&17). He took this answered prayer as a sign "... that God was near and faithful." Years later Cymbala learned that his mother-in-law was involved in intercessory prayer to raise up a church in Brooklyn to "touch people for his glory" long before the success of the church's present ministry. God honored his mother-in-law's prayer group petition.

Pastor Cymbala's lessons learned while in turmoil in chapter #1-
Things were desperate.
(page 24) Cymbala writes "the embarrassing truth is that even I didn't want to show up for a service-that's how bad it was." His health was horrible and he got a lung infection. He went by himself to his in-laws in Florida to heal physically and to pray.

-Cymbal wrote he told God he would rather die than merely tread water through out his career in ministry. (page 24) He was told in his spirit that "If you and your wife will lead my people to pray and will call upon my name you will never lack for something fresh to preach. I will supply all the money that's needed, both for your church and family, and you will never have a building large enough to contain the crowds I will send in response."

John Knox was the great reformer in Scotland. The nation was spiritually dead and under God’s curse before he was raised up to preach the reformation. His daily prayer was, “Lord, give me Scotland lest I die.” God gave John Knox Scotland. (From The Highlands Reformed Church, Colbert, Washington)

Pastor Cymbala had read in scripture and in biographies of men like Wesley, Whitfield, Moody, A.B. Simpson how God rescues His humbled people of prayer.

2 Chronicles 7:14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
"14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

He had heard from God and his course was set. "But all the modern trends and new ideas about church growth were now irrelevant. God had promised to provide, to respond to our cries for divine health. We were not alone, attempting the impossible in a heartless world. God was present, and he would act on our behalf." Compare this attitude and and procedures of the "Elephant Room" pastors we heard from in our December video series.

Questions on this quote-
(Page 19}- I discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weakness. He can't resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need him."

1) Why does God love the humble?

2) What is an example of God being your last and only hope-and rescuing you?

Questions to think about for next week.
1) How do you describe prayer?

2) If God is all powerful, and His will will be done, we need to ask ourselves what difference will our prayers make. So, why pray?

You can see Pastor Jim Cymbala March 5-6 in Augusta,GA, at the Georgia Baptist Evangelism Conference.
Check this link for details!

This video is Jim Cymbala on YouTube
Sermon "My House Shall Be Called A House Of Prayer"

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