Episode 569

Church Festivals Mark Solar Eclipse, Prayer is a Key Component to Knowing Christ & Turn Your Small Group in an Outward Direction

Mar 20, 2024

Americans are preparing for a total solar eclipse that will spread across the country on April 8. Prayer is a key component of someone coming to know Jesus Christ. And, how can you small group be more outwardly focused? Here’s a couple of ideas from Chuck Lawless.

Transcript

Americans are preparing for a total solar eclipse that will spread across the country on April 8. Churches are also looking for opportunities to capitalize on the event.

Steel City Church in Sheffield Lake, Ohio is hoping to use the eclipse as an outreach opportunity. They’re inviting people to be baptized in their church parking lot during the eclipse.

Pastor Billy Glover says they hope people will be able to say, “I did this at a time when the world went dark and I came out of that darkness.’

In Bell County, Texas, where the expected influx of visitors has prompted an official state of emergency, Coryell Community Church in Gatesville is hosting Eclipse at the Cross, a free, hours-long community event with Bible-based devotionals immediately before and after totality, entertainment, games, free parking, food vendors and more.

Of course, remember, if you plan to view the eclipse, you’ll need special polarized glasses to avoid damaging your eyesight.
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Prayer is a key component of someone coming to know Jesus Christ. Here’s an example, After years of prayer for her, Samira has agreed to listen to Bible stories. She is searching but is not yet open to any faith but Islam. Pray for Samira’s heart to hear God speak through His Word so she will accept Jesus.

And, as you pray for Samira, a similar request is connected to the translation of the Bible. Missionaries are work to translate the Bible into the heart language of a Muslim people group. Pray that they will learn about this translation through radio and social media.

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Every day, hundreds of thousands of people die without the hope of Jesus. Your faithful prayers will make a difference. That’s why the IMB created a free 18-month calendar, called “Impacting Lostness Through Prayer”. It provides guidance, reminders and encouragement as you pray for individuals and communities who have yet to hear the gospel. Learn more about this free resource at IMB.org/prayercalendar.

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How can you small group be more outwardly focused? Here’s a couple of ideas from Chuck Lawless.

1. Have two maps available each time you meet – one of your city, and one of the world– and pray specifically for a part of your city and one nation of the world. The maps themselves say, “The world around us is bigger than we are” and “There are a lot of people to reach.” Help group members think beyond themselves by this outwardly-focused, map-centered praying. 

2. Be amazed by Jesus. This one may be the most important step to take. Read the Gospels, and here’s what you’ll find: people who are amazed by Jesus talk about Him. Wonder leads to proclamation. On the other hand, we won’t be outwardly focused if we’ve lost our astonishment over Jesus. If you’re leading a small group but Jesus has become so routine to you that you don’t talk about Him to non-believers, I challenge you to confess your heart. Ask God to fill you with wonder again—and then go talk about Him as you lead others in your group to do the same.

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