Dr. Craig L. Oliver
“Do everything is love.”
- 1 Corinthians 16:14
Love must be the motivating force behind all that we endeavor to do in the name of the Lord. This concept may appear overly simplistic without properly discerning the sacred blessedness attached to doing all things from a space of love in contrast to merely performing actions from a mechanical framework. We are admonished in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians of love’s preeminence over all actions and noble deeds and the uselessness of those things without it. Simply articulated, if love isn’t the primary influence that catalyzes everything that we do we have fallen short of God’s purpose for our lives.
“19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
- Ephesians 6:19-20
It is imperative during this time of consecration that we shift our paradigm relative to prayer. Many of us view prayer as a mechanism by which we communicate with the Father asking His forgiveness of our sins and solicit His intervention in the affairs of our lives. Those things are certainly true but we have missed a large segment of the purpose of prayer in the life of the child of God if we fail to grasp that our prayers should always include intercession for the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ and for those who carry His message to the world.
The spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the literal answer to the dismantling of the Kingdom of Darkness. When we tap into the unlimited resource of prayer petitioning God to give boldness to those who declare His gospel and opportunities for them to declare it we are linking into ministry with no boundaries. We may not be able to participate in ministry at the level of visibility that we see others engage in, but when we pray we tap into the ministry of the Church universal and are able to effect change on a scale that transcends time and space. Don’t miss your opportunity to participate in the global ministry of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ask God to open opportunities for ministry to those who are carrying His Gospel where His voice is heard small and His light is seen dim. Your prayers mark a critical component in the success of the mission of the Gospel!
Dr. Craig L. Oliver - #iWINatEBC
In the article, The Importance of Prayer by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, he pinpoints very relevant points concerning the priority and purpose of prayer. Over the last few weeks I have been sharing excerpts from the article with the intent of amplifying the preeminence of prayer not only in our personal lives but also within the fabric of our church experience. In this third installation from the article we will focus on what it means to Be a Church of Prayer. May we all become inspired to position ourselves in a constant posture of prayer.
- Craig L. Oliver, Sr.
Be a Church of Prayer!
What is the essential thing to do before each activity, meeting, or event at your church or potential church? Pray. Prayer is the platform on which plans begin, end, and rest. There should never be anything that goes on at a church that does not have prayer at the central core. Remember confidentiality. Prayer requests are not ammunition for gossip. If your church is not a church of prayer, your church is not healthy; it is not in God's will, nor is it focused on Christ. Your church is a mere club for the prideful.
The article, The Importance of Prayer by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir highlights the preeminence of prayer in the lives of the children of God and its critical importance. It is my intention to highlight certain aspects from the article and share them with you over the course of the next few weeks as I believe they will be a blessing to your lives. In this second installation from the article we will focus on Practical Strategies for Praying for Evangelism. I pray that it blesses you richly and serves as an impetus for a renewed hunger for His Presence.
- Craig L. Oliver, Sr.
Practical Strategies for Praying for Evangelism
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Colossians 4:2-3
During my reading, I came across a leadership article on prayer entitled The Importance of Prayer by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir. The article highlights the preeminence of prayer in the life of the children of God and its critical importance in our lives. Moreover, it was an inspirational and informative lesson that I believe should be shared abroad. Over the course of the next few weeks I will share from this article and I believe it will incite you to pursue our Heavenly Father in a greater way in prayer. I pray that it blesses you richly.
- Craig L. Oliver, Sr.
Understand the Importance of Prayer!
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'" Luke 11:1-4
“Dear Woman, here is your son….Here is your mother.”
- John 19:26-27
You can tell a lot about a man or woman by the way they respond to adversity or high pressure circumstances. Some people crash and burn under the pressure. Others lash out or become defensive. Still others become highly agitated and/or completely stressed out. In extreme cases there can be a tendency to define everything and every moment by the pressure of our circumstances to the detriment and neglect of everything else in our lives. If ever there are moments when compassion for others would seem counterintuitive, it would be in moments of extreme adversity.
“Forgiveness is surrendering my right to hurt you for hurting me.”
- Archibald Hart
In our discussion and exposition on forgiveness the past few weeks, we discussed the power of forgiveness to free us from bondage. We would be remised, however, if we simply stopped at being released from bondage. Many slaves who were newly freed by virtue of the Emancipation Proclamation found themselves juxtaposed between the fear of the unknown that freedom made available to them and the bondage of slavery which for many had become comfortable. For many of them the next step beyond freedom involved the ability and courage to forge ahead into waters uncharted. Courage to turn the page was requisite for the furtherance of their journey into freedom and victory.
Over the last few weeks I have led a teaching series during our Bible Study at Elizabeth on the healing power of forgiveness. We have seen lives transformed as they have empowered themselves through forgiving others as our Heavenly Father has forgiven them. Most recently, our teaching focused on learning to forgive ourselves. An article that I came across on the Psychology Today website entitled How to Forgive Yourself and Move on From the Past by Dr. Matthew James, seems to underscore the principle of that teaching. I thought it would be apropos and enlightening to share it with you. Read through it thoughtfully and critically and allow it to bless you.
- Craig L. Oliver, Sr.
Many of us know that forgiveness is a good thing, right? It frees us from bitterness and anger, two emotions that not only don’t feel good but they can also ruin our physical health and hold us back from all the good we might achieve and experience. I know that many of you have worked on forgiving others.
“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.”
- Robert Brault
One of the gross misconceptions about forgiveness is that it is a one-time thing or an act relegated to a specific period of time. You can somewhat hear the tenor of that narrative in Peter’s question to Jesus recorded in Matthew 18:21 “How many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”. The question itself seems to infer an assumption that forgiveness should be limited in both its duration and scope.
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
- Paul Boose
The idea that we can selectively obey the God-given command to forgive our brothers and sisters is a faulty narrative that must be debunked and reframed. Instead of seeing it as a command that we can casually obey at will, we must begin to understand forgiveness in the context of the purpose and will of God. Forgiveness in the life of the child of God strategically operates to facilitate the will of God.