Jesus prays his High Priestly Prayer for his disciples in John 17:14. From this verse we talk about being in the world, but not of the world. It means that while we live here, we are to think and act like Jesus. But Jesus says the disciples are not of the world any more than He is of the world! Jesus was radically different from the world and from worldly church leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees). May the Lord help us to be in and actively involved in the world and remarkably different at the same time!

This is the time of year we celebrate graduations. Discipline was the bridge between the goal of graduating and the achievement of graduation. But now it is time to move on to other significant goals. Blogger Robert Brault said, “We are kept from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” Discipline keeps us from getting sidetracked. One of Zig Ziglar’s great quotes was “People do not wander around then find themselves at the top of Mount Everest. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Aim and practice discipline!

I was reminded this week of just how much things change when I assumed something was just like it was thirty years ago! How silly and irresponsible of me! The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “You can’t step into the same river twice.” There is a continual current of change happening all around us. We need to stay abreast of those changes and understand them. At the same time there has to be solid foundation in our lives that never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” That’s the solid rock.

A key verse of Ezekiel is found in 22:30: “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” Princes, priests and prophets committed sins toward God and toward the most vulnerable of people. They practiced extortion, robbery, and oppression. God looked for someone who would pray on behalf of Jerusalem and the land, but he could find none. Ezekiel prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem. God still looks for those who will pray!

Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer. The Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 urges “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” In recent months, God has been nudging me to make prayer for the President and all our national leaders a higher priority. Timothy says this kind of prayer pleases God “who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” The national day of prayer is to last all year.

Today is a big day of last minute preparations and set-up for the LifeLight Festival tomorrow in Watford City! LifeLight started “taking the church outside the walls” in Sioux Falls. Now they are taking the gospel to numerous other communities. Our thanks go out to the organizers, the LifeLight teams and especially to all the volunteers and donors who are making this event possible. Bands including Family Force 5 and The Afters, BMX, Motocross and a family fun zone will be woven together with a clear presentation of the gospel. Let’s pack out the Rough Rider Event Center!

Psalm 87 grabbed my attention this week. It begins speaking about Jerusalem as Mount Zion—the Holy City of God’s people the Jews. But then comes the twist—the enemies of the Jews throughout OT history are recorded as acknowledging God and Zion. Rachel (symbolic of Egypt) and Babylon (who took the Jews captive) acknowledge God! People from all over the world are born in Zion (saved). The climax is the testimony song of the Gentiles “All my fountains are in you.” Everything that brings real joy and life comes from knowing the King of the Jews—Jesus.