Partnering with God

This sermon was a real struggle for me to preach. How do I preach a sermon that motivates people to “always pray and not give up” while, at the same time, teach that prayer doesn’t work? (If you missed the sermon my point is that prayer does not work, God works. Prayer is a partnership with Him to accomplish His will in this world. Thus, our faith is in God not in prayer.) The answer came to me as Liz and I watched the movie Bucket List yesterday. Even though the sermon was written my mind was still mulling it over trying to make sense of it so that I could communicate it on Sunday. In the Bucket List there is a wonderful scene when Carter, a Christian, is talking to Edward, an unashamed atheist, about faith. Carter asks Edward how he can live without faith. Edward offers some forgettable line when Carter simply says, “I just have faith.” I leaned over to Liz and said, “That’s it! That’s the point I want to make tomorrow.” Watching how the two men lived and died in the movie made the point that living with faith is far preferable to living without faith. Thank you Rob Reiner for preaching an excellent sermon to me!

Here’s today’s clips! The Following Videos use Real Player, If you do not have real player or if your current video player will not play a real media file then you can download Real Player for free
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Shenandoah
We Done it all Ourselves
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Through the Shadows
Praying for Results

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

Comments

7 Responses to “Partnering with God”

  1. avatar Amy says:

    Hey, Byron – sounds like a good one – I’ll look forward to listening to it on my iPod soon.
    Same sort of thing runs thru my mind about the tornadoes that tore thru my area Tuesday night. So many folks are saying that no Union University students were killed because of all the prayers going up for protection (it’s affiliated with the Baptist church)…well…what about the people in surrounding areas who didn’t survive – not “enough” prayers going up? That can’t be right. But the concept of partnership and God’s Will being involved…then OK. Still don’t understand it all, but whatever brings Him the most glory and only He knows that. Wish I did understand Him and all His ways and all the why’s…but if I could get my brain around Him, He wouldn’t be much of a God I suppose…so, just gotta have faith.
    Amy H

  2. avatar Jeremy says:

    I wasn’t expecting that! So, essentially, our prayers do not sway God either way. Our main purpose in prayer is to pray for his will, correct?
    I do agree with your example that everyone has faith. It doesn’t matter who you are, your world view is ultimately based on some type of faith in something or someone.
    I was wearing a helmet, and 95% of the time do. (If I just ride my bike to play tennis, I usually don’t wear one.) I’m glad you enjoyed the pics!

    Grace and Peace!

  3. avatar Byron says:

    *So, essentially, our prayers do not sway God either way.*

    I wouldn’t say this. There are to many examples of God changing his mind or will simply because someone prayed. My concept of the will of God is not a dot but a range. There are things that God will only do in answer to prayer. Our prayers do move God. They move him because he wants to be moved. He’s just waiting for someone who has faith to call on him.

  4. avatar Jeremy says:

    Okay, can you qualify what you mean by “prayer doesn’t work”? Because it seems that if God has a range of a will (instead of a dot), and where his will falls in that range in dependent on prayer, then one would conclude that prayer does work (as well as God working). I have James 5:16 in mind, the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Perhaps we are just coming from different definitions of “doesn’t work”.
    You are right, there are numerous examples of people “changing” the mind of God, Abraham’s conversation about Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind. I think it is also clear that God’s will is often NOT done. Perhaps that is why Jesus teaches us to pray that God’s will be done.

  5. avatar Byron says:

    This past week my answer to the question, “Does Prayer Work?” was “no”. This week I will contradict my self and answer “Yes”. However, the basic point remains the same: Prayer doesn’t work; God works. You are dead on target when you say that not everything that happens here is the will of God. I am convinced that as we learn to live our faith, including praying in faith, God’s kingdom in this world will increase. There are two lines in the Lord’s prayer that are parallel: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s kingdom comes when his will is being done. May we be faithful to pray for his will to be done on this earth.

  6. avatar Amy says:

    It’s kinda disturbing to me, tho, that human beings can change the mind of God. When Moses “stood in the gap” for the children of Israel and God chose not to destroy them as He was wanting to – was His Will to destroy or to not destroy or “either” – that’s a pretty big range! If we assume God works and does whatever is BEST, then how can those two both be BEST? Or is this a time when we can’t get our brain around it?

  7. avatar Byron says:

    *If we assume God works and does whatever is BEST, then how can those two both be BEST?*

    I try to address this in the sermon on Feb. 17, “God Answers Prayer”. In short, God has designed a partnership with us whereby there are things that he will not do unless we ask. God does what is best in regards to the present circumstances. For example,He desires all to be saved, but that will not happen unless people turn to him in humility and repentance.