The point of prayer for the church at Sutherland Springs

Like Jude, whose book is the basis for our Sunday morning messages this month, I was going to write one letter today, but I need to write another first (Jude 3).  So I write today about Sunday’s tragedy at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a gunman opened fire during the morning service, killing many (at least 26) and wounding more.

I agree with Thom Rainer from LifeWay, who said in his blog: “I will identify with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.”  We are the Body of Christ, and whatever happens to one part of the body affects every other part.  As Paul puts it, “if one part [of the body] suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).  So it is right and fitting that we suffer with those who lost so many of those they loved, and honor those who have gone on to be with Jesus forever.  If we did not have that hope, we would be overwhelmed by the darkness of this despicable act.  But we do have that hope, so we can stand firm on it (1 Corinthians 15:12ff).

Despite what some in our society think—especially celebrities who think their every revolting thought much be shared instantly with the world through social media—prayer matters, because it matters to God.  At our church we have begun a Congregational Prayer Initiative to actually pray as though it matters.  This week, we add First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas to our prayer emphases.  It is not all we can do, but it is the best thing we can do.  And so we join them in prayer: to suffer, to honor.

First, simply Christ

Let me start this series of posts with some thoughts on what a Christian pastor’s page should be about.  See if you agree.

First, the page should be clearly centered around Christ.  “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing,” and Jesus Christ is the main thing about the Christian faith.  The purpose of this page is the purpose of the church: to be a witness, a sign that points to Jesus.

That does not mean this page is only for those who follow Christ.  It does mean that  Jesus Christ is truly “the most interesting man in the world,” not some guy in a beer commercial.  Most people don’t know that today, but everyone needs to.  So we’ll work at sending that message here by being interesting, yet about Jesus at the same time.

Good signs keep the message clear by keeping it simple.  The apostle Paul would agree: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2, NIV).  This page will be simple in the same way.

“Simple” does not mean “shallow,” however, just “straightforward.”  Any communicator needs to be clear enough for any interested reader to understand the message.  No jargon, no groupthink; there’s too much of that in our culture already.  I agree with Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis) that if you can’t explain a topic that simply, you really don’t understand it yourself.

So, to be clear, this page simply will be.  Clear, that is.  About Christ.