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Life Style Worship

Once school is out for the summer, many of us fill our days with many exciting, fun, family things. Here at FBC, June brings us VBS and our
Patriotic service and picnic; July is   upon us and we look forward to summer camp; and there is lively conversation about a trip to the Bar D Ranch
in August. Squeeze in a few trips away and summer guests arriving to enjoy God’s beauty and before you know it, it’s Dove season! My prayer is that
we relish, enjoy,    appreciate, and savor the rich times with      others. Relationship truly is one of the most   important words in any language. I thank
God for the relationship I have with Him through Christ by the Spirit. And I thank Him for the   relationships I have with family, friends, and my
extended spiritual family-YOU!
Thank you for the honor of serving the Lord with you here at FBC!
    Soli Deo Gloria!


                        From the Heart of Pastor Keith                        
Confessions of a Frustrated Pray-er
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” Genesis 32:28

Learning to pray was quite a chore for me – no, let me be completely honest – it is quite a chore for me. I have been raised in Baptist churches.
I have heard pastors and evangelists and others talk about spending an hour or more alone with God in prayer. I was amazed. I could barely spend
a few minutes praying when I’d be ready to move on to something more “active” or productive.
Over the years, the burden to learn to pray, to spend long, quality time with God, never diminished. So I determined to work at it. I marked off an entire
hour at the beginning of the day and started in. I confessed all my sins (the ones I could think of) and praised God for a while. Then I went down my
list and named all the people I had promised to pray for. Next I came to my own list of needs and wants. Finally I would try to be still and listen to God.
This was the formula that someone had recommended to me and it sounded really good.
But I found that I was more caught up in remembering and following all the steps of the formula. When I got up (after only 10-12 minutes), I realized
I hadn’t really sensed the presence of God at all in my praying. I tried it for the rest of that week, but observed the same results each time. I would have
to do something different.
The next week, I just closed my eyes and tried concentrating on being with God. I don’t know if my mind is weaker than the average Christian, but I found
that the harder I tried to focus my thoughts, the more I had to keep calling my mind back from wherever it went wandering. Like constantly reminding a hyperactive child to sit still, this proved more annoying than the previous week. I tried clenching my fists. I gritted my teeth. Then I decided a change in my posture might help. I got down on my knees. Nope, not humble enough. Down on my face, yes that should do it. I wasn’t still for 15 seconds before I started wondering what kind of dirt and dust I was putting my face in down in that carpet.
I was ready to quit. Like so many other would-be prayer warriors I have known, it seemed too difficult. I could either make it more complicated or
more simplified. I could not make it easy. Spending time with God in prayer, I learned, is not the elementary exercise I had always presumed. If you’ve
been here, let my confession in no way affirm your temptation to give up on this holy quest. Let me instead encourage you with the light I have begun
to see ahead of me.
Over these years of struggling at it, God has begun to show me how much my relationship with Him is like all my other relationships. It takes work.
It takes patience. And the communication part is the most difficult of all. Husbands and wives know this. Parents and children understand. But
we can’t give up. We have to keep trying. When it is hard and we get frustrated, we’re probably doing something wrong – something that does not
allow both parties in the relationship balanced access in the give and take of communication. But we learn from our mistakes and we go on working at it.
Why? Because our fellowship with this person is just that important. And because the reward for our struggle is sweet, intimate communion. Husbands
and wives who have put in the work know this. Parents and children who did not give up will understand. And so will the frustrated pray-er who learns from yesterday’s mistakes and keeps on struggling at it. A blessing is coming to those who persevere in prayer. Just ask Israel.