Monday, April 15, 2024

Sermon and Announcements April 14, 2024


April 14, 2024


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We have looked at prayer before. I may have used some of the same verses in the past as I am sharing today, but today I want you to listen to a song that the Lord is using in my life. The Lord is saying to me that no matter what the outcome, don’t stop praying. Don’t quit, don’t give up, don’t stop believing and trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. Don’t quit trusting in my heavenly Father as well. God understands and sees what we, what I, am going through always. Always believe that.

Before I go any further, I want you to listen to this song that the Lord is using to refocus me on prayer. I may have had another song played by this artist before, maybe not. A little background for those of you who don’t know Matthew West, he graduated from Millikin, probably around 20 years ago. He is one of the top contemporary Christian artists and many of his songs the Lord has used to speak to me. The song title is, Don’t Stop Praying.

Before we look at some of the things said in this song, let us look again at what was said in 1 Thessalonians 5. First, be joyful ALWAYS! Of course, that is easy to do, isn’t it? While we trust in the Lord and hope and believe God is on our side, things happen that can steal that joy we are encouraged to have. Second, we are told to pray continually. We are not to simply one time offer up a prayer and then hope for the best. We are told to pray continually. In the parable of the persistent widow, we see an example of this. A widow keeps coming before a judge day after day, maybe week after week. It becomes obvious to the judge that she won’t stop until she gets just the result she is asking for. So finally, the judge gives in. This parable is found in Luke 18, verses 2-5.

Jesus then goes on to say to his disciples in verse 7, “And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you; He will see that they get justice and quickly.”

This song has so many honest feelings stated in it. It starts off asking, what’s your impossible? Your, I need a miracle? What’s got you barely hanging on by a single thread? Then the song asks, “What looks so hopeless now? What weighs down your heart with doubt? You beg for a breakthrough, but no sign of a breakthrough yet. When you’ve cried until your tears run dry. The answers won’t come and you don’t know why. And you wonder if you can bow your head even one more time. 

I believe the Lord inspired these words to then be written.

Don’t stop praying.

Don’t stop calling on Jesus’ name.

Keep on pounding on Heaven’ s door and let your knees wear out the floor.

Don’t stop believing.

Cause mountains move with just a little faith.

And your Father’s heard every single word you're saying.

So don’t stop praying.

In the video of this song, he is printing off a variety of papers and things that say, Don’t Stop Praying. I am not sure what he meant by doing this, but it showed me that I need God’s constant reminder to stay strong and to keep praying for whatever the Lord has laid on my heart. Sometimes I admit I do better at this than others. To finish up on some of the things the Lord reminded me to be in prayer for in this song, there is quite a list.

Don’t stop praying for the prodigal,

Praying for the miracle,

Praying that addictions end,

Praying for deliverance.

Praying for sickness healed.

Praying for God’s power be revealed.

Praying for his kingdom come.

Praying that his will be done.

That list covers basically every category of problems and concerns every Christian will ever have. Are we promised we will always get the answer we want? No. Even Jesus prayed to God the Father for something that didn’t happen as he hoped for. In Luke 22:42, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” Jesus didn’t pray this because he was afraid to die. Jesus prayed this because he wanted more time to teach His disciples and anyone else who would listen. Jesus didn’t get the answer he asked for on this occasion. God the Father understood more than Jesus was allowed to see at this time. That is also true of us as well. God understands things in ways we simply cannot. That doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for us when we are going through tough times. Jesus understood God the Father could see all things clearer than he could, that is why he ended the prayer with, “But not my will but yours be done.”

As difficult as it is at times, that must be the believer’s attitude until our prayers are answered one way or another, we must be willing to do what the Lord is encouraging us to do in this song.

Don’t stop praying.

Don’t stop calling on Jesus’ name.

Keep on pounding on Heaven’s door.

Let our knees wear out the floor.

Don’t stop believing.

Cause mountains move a little faith

And your Father hears every word you're saying.


Pastor Larry


Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

April 20 1:00 Decatur Poets (including Ruth), Decatur library

April 21 Blanket Sunday

April 24, 26, 27 7:00 pm Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor

Dreamcoat, CGHS and 2:00 on the 27th

April 27 10:00 – 12:15 District Creation Care Event—virtual—2

workshop opportunities--more info to come

April 28 3:00 here Traughber Pie Party—bring a pie and enjoy

pie and fellowship. RSVP by April 21 to 217-855-4961

Camp Emmanuel registration is open. Schedule is on the

bulletin board. Work week begins April 20.

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for April: Camp Emmanuel

First Sundays: Food Bank donations

Keep in Your Prayers

Shirley Clarkson; Martha Wood; Mike Roach; Dave White; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Ava; Nora Hanaver; Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner;

Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Debbie

Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Mike and Carol

Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Mayo & Darlene

Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests;

victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian

church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel, Iran, and the Palestinians

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the District Ministry Leadership

Development Team and for the clergy retreat this week.

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