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10 Really hard prayers to pray 2

By Dr. Francis Akin-John

Some are still non-believers trying to figure out life. They’re looking for answers, but they haven’t come to the place to trust Christ with their life. Nor are they yet ready to talk to a church leader.

  1. Some are hanging on to sin that’s destroying them on the inside. In a strange way, they’re clinging to idols that bring them noth-ing but secret shame.
  2. Some are just over-whelmed by life. If you ask them to tell you what’s bo-thering them, they don’t even know where to start. It’s so complicated that it’s just easier to keep it to themselves.
  3. Some are leaders who don’t want others to know their weakness. Few peo-ple have ever seen them struggle, and they’re not about to be that vulnera-ble now. Their church rep-utation is at stake.
  4. Sometimes we’re the hurting one. And, we bear burdens alone rather than invite anyone in to help share the weight. Some-how, we don’t do what we tell others to do: let our brothers and sisters walk with us. Our self-protect-ion thus often borders on hypocrisy.

10 things I’d do differently as a pastor during the Christmas season

It’s December 11, and the Christ-mas season is upon us. As I look back on my years as a senior past-or, I think of things I would do differ-ently during this season today if I were again a sen-ior leader in a church. Here are some of those things:

  1. I would spend more time teaching the theology of the incarnation. I talked a lot about Jesus’ coming in the flesh, but I didn’t spend nearly enough time helping my church memb-ers understand all that truth meant.
  2. I would tell the whole gospel story more often. I fear I so focused on the birth of Jesus that I may have missed opportu-nities to talk about His death and resurrection. Christmas alone is only one part of the story.
  3. I would preach more about the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. That way, I would also be teaching about the reliability of the Word as I taught about Christ’s coming. The story of Christmas does not start in Bethlehem.
  4. I would lead my church to develop ongoing mini-stries to our community – not just temporary steps to help people during the holiday season. It’s great to give gifts to the poor and feed the hungry during the Christmas season, but those needs exist the rest of the year, too.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.