Fight

The RPT Process

By Ty Haguewood

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I don’t know about you but that passage seems impossible to actually live. How could I possibly rejoice always when everything around me is burning? How could I possibly pray without ceasing? I already struggle to pray once a day. How could I possibly be thankful in all circumstances? ALL CIRCUMSTANCES? Life is tough and often unpredictable. One-day things can be going well and then you get a phone call that radically changes everything.

Our circumstances, whether we want to admit or not, impact us all the time.

A sudden loss of a loved one, an unexpected promotion, a call from a childhood friend, whether our circumstances are good or bad doesn’t matter. It is inevitable that we will be affected. So if our circumstances are ever changing, how could we possibly fulfill Paul’s words to rejoice, pray, and give thanks?

The RPT (Rejoice, Pray, Thanks) Process is important to the believer because it reminds us that our circumstances are not our God. God is not impacted by our circumstances. He doesn’t change who He is because something crazy happened in your life. God is not absent from our circumstances; He is above them. This is good news for us. We have a hope that is external to our circumstances. We have a hope that will never change. We have a hope that we can trust.

This strong challenge from Paul to rejoice, pray, and give thanks is not a command for you to always be happy about your circumstances but rather to find joy in the One who is above your circumstances. I believe this text gives us a practical guide for our daily fight to rejoice, pray, and give thanks.

Let’s break this down.

Rejoice (R) = to be glad/ filled with joy

Pray (P) = our response to God’s Word

Thanks (T) = the overflow of a heart that has experience this joy

How can we rejoice, pray, and give thanks daily?

Let’s start with rejoicing. Wake up in the morning and go to the source of all joy.

You have access to God through His Word. Spend time with Him. Visit the words and teachings of Jesus in the four gospels, hear the songs of praise from the psalmists, explore the well of wisdom in the proverbs, and be challenged by the life lessons Paul has to give you. Every day you can go and fill your cup. Start by rejoicing (R). Experience joy.

After you have been filled with joy from the promises of God, respond to Him in prayer (P). Prayer, simply put, is our response to God’s promises in His Word. You have personal access to the King of Kings; talk to Him. Write or verbalize your response to the joy you have just experienced in His Word. Don’t be intimidated by prayer. The Lord wants to meet with you.

After rejoicing (R) and praying (P), hopefully you will be left with a great feeling of gratitude. We cannot fake authentic gratitude. Either we are grateful or we are not. The thanksgiving (T) part of this process is last because it is of the utmost importance to go to God first to understand why we should be thankful. If your cup of joy has been filled and you have responded in prayer, thanksgiving should be the fruit of this process. We give thanks because of what we have tasted and experienced.

Like everything, this will be a process. I hope you will fight to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. Wake up every day and fight to grow. Start now!

Listen to the sermon podcast here.

 

Perseverance

By Karen Polich

Restoration is simply part of life and cannot be avoided. Much of our lives will be spent restoring someone or something. Pastor Michael Cook continued his sermon series Restore. Read Nehemiah 4 and listen to the podcast here.

Nehemiah came to Jerusalem on a mission, but his effort was not without challenges. There were those who did not want restoration. Restoring Jerusalem would jeopardize the authority of those who benefited from the rubble. The workers who were committed to restoring Jerusalem found that the situation was increasingly complicated. What did they do?

They prayed, then did all they could do, leaving the struggle to God. They persevered.

What can we learn from Nehemiah that speaks into our own lives? Pastor Cook explored 4 questions in the process of restoration.

  1. Who hurt you?

What are you going to do with the pain? The process can quickly become complicated. How we handle the hurt of betrayal, embarrassment or ridicule impacts restoration. You can hear “the sting” in Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah 4: 4-5. He pours the hurt out to God.  We too often think about the revenge we would like instead of giving the pain over to God. Romans 12:19, Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. 

  1. Are you in the beginning, middle or end stage of restoration?

The beginning stage is new and exciting, there’s adrenaline but it carries you only so far. In the end, there’s a second wind that helps you push through. It’s the middle that can be most difficult. The middle stage is where you realize that it isn’t going to be easy. The rubble doesn’t increase, but it can sure feel like it has.

  1. Where are you in the greatest danger?

Are you trying to restore too much at once? Step back and ask yourself where the greatest danger is. Decide that you will restore that first before working on any other area.

  1. Who are you fighting for?

Nehemiah never asked anyone to fight for themselves, he asked them to fight for those around them. He understood that retreat would be difficult if the fight was for someone else. When you fight the battle for those beyond yourself, that perseverance will bring courage.

How are you handling restoration in your life today? Have you moved from the grief of your situation into the active choice of restoring what has been broken?

The choices you are making today are going to impact those around you now as well as in the future. The choices of today will build the legacy of generations to come.

Perseverance through restoration will bring blessings downstream.

Are you ready to ask God to join you in the restoration today?