Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Vows, Prayer, Fasting & Offerings: Resolving To Do the Will and Work of God

During a recent chapel message on Psalm 119:105-112, Dr. Joseph Pipa Jr. highlighted the role of taking vows before the Lord to bolster one's resolve, with the gracious help of God, to do His will as laid out in His Precepts. 

It won’t be long before many will be making resolutions they suppose will improve their lives in the coming year. It’s axiomatic that most will fail in their resolve, as they are largely based on finite human will power. The great preacher Jonathan Edwards once compiled a list of 70 amazing resolutions aimed at becoming more Christ-like. It is likely that he did quite well in keeping them, although he made clear in the preamble: "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake."

In the past few months, President Pipa has been encouraging our seminarians, faculty and staff to revive the practice of fasting with prayer. The moral decay of our culture in so many areas of life prompted this new call. We have been praying about the cultural rot and the state of our world and nation, for our own spiritual growth, for revival of the church, for a new generation of godly pastors and preachers, and more. We would like to ask you to join in this effort by resolving to fast and pray regularly about these things. Most people are quick to pray when a sudden crisis falls upon them or their nation. It seems to be time to adopt the mindset that what we are facing as Christians is rapidly reaching the crisis point.

Among our new students this year is Curt Straeter, who shared his thoughts on this subject, saying, “GPTS continually has significant, holistic impacts on my personal walk and preparation for ministry, of which the Psalm 119 sermon series and the days of prayer and fasting are only a couple. The reliance on and obedience to the Word of God directly resulted in applications of increased prayer and fasting in my own life, and I pray for even greater fervent obedience and prayer in our churches to stem the moral decline of our nation.”

We at Greenville Seminary are wholly committed to act on those things for which we pray and fast. Our particular calling, of course, is to serve a renewed church by raising up men who know the Word of God thoroughly, who can drill deeply into its mysteries, who can proclaim it with power and conviction, and who can thus spur true revival in the church, all with the help of the Holy Spirit.

This lofty mission requires a substantial investment in godly and scholarly faculty and quality staff; facilities for learning, libraries and equipment conducive to good scholarship; financial aid for needy students, and so much more. As 2015 comes to a close, we beseech you to partner with us in realizing our divine calling. As a token of our appreciation for a gift in November and December of:
  • Under $250, we will send you, a copy of Professor Ryan McGraw's booklet "Corporate Prayer and Preaching." 
  • $250 or more, we will send you a DVD with a six-part series of lessons called "Calvinism and the Christian Life," by GPTS trustee and adjunct faculty member Dr. Ian Hamilton. 
  • A pledge of $50 or more monthly for the next 12 months, we will send you an ESV study bible (allow 4-6 weeks for delivery).

Our reality-driven goal is to raise $180,000 by the end of this year, an amount needed to erase some monthly deficits we have registered this year and to give us a solid financial foundation for the coming year. We look forward with great eagerness to the fall of 2016 when we will start our 30th year of theological instruction.

Whether or not you are able to underwrite our work with a monetary contribution, we ask you to undergird us with prayer — and, as the Spirit leads, with fasting.

Mail tax-deductible gifts to: Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687-2358.

Audio version of this message can be found here.