Someone once said, “I have never sufficiently praised the Lord and never can.” I certainly agree with that statement, especially in light of what God has been doing in our midst.

Although we’ve had reasons to lose perspective and opportunities to be faint of heart, this church has stayed focused in recent months – and I believe the result of singular focus and open hearts is evident to even the most casual observer.

We are in a season when we are seeing God work and move with greater freedom. We’ve been more responsive during the invitations, and there’s been a sweet aroma of praise in our midst. The wind of the Spirit is blowing.

Nevertheless, we cannot underestimate how the enemy will try to undermine, distract, detract, divide, or detour us on this journey. Philip Henry said, “Our journey is uphill, with a dead body upon our backs, the devil doing what he can to pull us down.”

We must have laser focus. This is no time to be sidetracked by politics, polarizing situations, or playing church. J. I. Packer wrote, “Keeping our heads despite the pull of pleasure is as hard a task as any for the affluent believer.”

This is crunch time. We have to be dressed in the armor of God and storming the gates of hell, and we can’t do that with “business as usual thinking” or a casual commitment to Christ. Increased praying is no longer optional; it is essential.

Here at Sherwood we are setting our faces like a flint and preparing our hearts for all God wants to do in our midst over the next few weeks and months.

I’m asking every man and boy in this church to be here early to cover this place in prayer. We will gather in the Worship Center and then spread around the room to pray as we kick off our week of prayer. If you can, be here early around 7:30 to pray privately and prepare your own heart before we gather at 7:45 to pray for others.

• MARK BEARDEN // Sunday, September 11 AM and PM
Mark will be our guest speaker in both services this Sunday. Mark is a prayer warrior and revivalist. Those of you who have heard him know that he always comes with a word from the Word. Be here and be ready.

• WEEK OF PRAYER FOR ReFRESH® // Monday – Friday, September 12-16
The Worship Center will be open from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm, Monday-Friday next week. Please carve out time to give at least an hour that week in the Worship Center, praying for revival. Stations and themes will be clearly marked.

• ReFRESH® // Sunday – Wednesday, September 18-21
We are all familiar with this conference…BUT, have we become so familiar that we think it is just a switch we can flip and see God move? That would be arrogant and presumptive.
– Prepare your heart.
– Prioritize your time. If games, homework, and our “normal” schedule are more important than seeing God move and work, we will miss God. Or, the church might have revival and you’ll walk in the next Sunday to a different church and wonder what happened. God is not going to work according to your plan, but His. We need to pray for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to get everyone here. ReFRESH® is all hands on deck, not an event. It’s a platform for us to go deeper and farther in our walk of faith.

There can be many. Just make your own list. It doesn’t take much to distract us. Why is it against the law to text while driving? Because the split second distraction could be the difference between life and death.

Hard hearts – sometimes I wonder if some folks will ever get it. I said Sunday night, one of the hardest parts of pastoring is trying to lead some folks who have no interest in the common good, the greater good, and the glory of God. They see church as a self-service food chain where they drive through, make their demands, and drive away.

Be the catalyst in your home by first setting the tone in your heart. Be one who passionately pursues the Lord.

What are you doing where you live to set your sails to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit? How are you aligning your heart to be receptive and willing to obey when God calls?

“Dead fish go with the stream, living ones against it.”

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