Author: Craig Sturm

A Healthy Church is a Praying Church

Thursday evening at 7pm we will gather and pray at Craig & Kathy’s house (map). The book of Acts is full of examples of God’s people gathering to pray together…

  • “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14; also Acts 2:42).
  • “They lifted their voices together to God” (Acts 4:24), and the filling of the Holy Spirit fell after they prayed together (Acts 4:31).
  • The church chose the Seven, and “they prayed and laid their hands on them” (Acts 6:6).
  • While Peter was in prison, “earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church” (Acts 12:5), and when he escaped miraculously, he found “many were gathered together and were praying” (Acts 12:12).
  • It was “after fasting and praying” that the church in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas out on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:3), and “when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord” (Acts 14:23).
  • Even in jail, “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25).
  • And in an emotional goodbye to the Ephesian elders, Paul “knelt down and prayed with them all” (Acts 20:36; also Acts 21:5).

What is the Hope of the Next Generation?

WHAT IS THE HOPE OF THE NEXT GENERATION? This is the crucial question we looked at last Sunday, as we opened Psalm 78:1-8 and explored God’s generational mission/vision for families and his church. Here’s the big picture of the text; and thus, of the sermon…

“Our vision is a vision of placing seeds of hope. It is a vision of helping children to know and love Jesus. It is indeed a generational vision.”

Link to the audio version of What is the Hope of the Next Generation?

Why Guest Preachers @ Mercy Hill?


Jevon Washington from Fellowship Church Memphis

Last Sunday and again this coming Sunday, we are hosting Jevon Washington as a guest preacher.  For those who are new to MHC, and as a reminder to all the rest of us, here is why we have men, like Jevon, preaching from time to time…

As my good friend Adam Sinnett put it (and I agree)…”I’m not jealous about the pulpit.” So, when I step out of the pulpit it is not because I just want to take some time off. One of the desires God has placed in my heart at this season of my life is to help develop the next generation of preachers/leaders for God’s church. That desire means we don’t always have the continuity you might want, but I think it is worth any challenge, awkwardness or confusion that might happen.

Again, I love how Adam talked about this: ”The local church was not instituted by Jesus to be a theatrical performance where only the best actors get on stage. No. The local church was instituted by God to be an outpost where the gospel is declared and its implications are lived out.”

What that means is that when I’m not preaching you’re not merely witnessing a second-string, “fill in” but a man who is often in the process of discerning and working out his calling and sharpening his gifts before God in the context of Jesus’ church.

It is a unique role we can play. It is a beautiful thing. Let’s pray, encourage, root for and honor such men and ask Jesus to raise up even more.

Soaking in God’s Promises

promiseslogoFor all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

We spent the bulk of this summer letting a few of the promises of God flood into our lives; soaking in them; finding our joy in them; hoping in them; resting in them. Here are links to the sermon audio from the “I Promise…” (Trusting in God’s Faithfulness) series…

God Has More Skin in the Game

promiseslogoFrom last Sunday’s sermon…”God cares more about your growth in obedience & holiness than you do, because he is jealous that his name be glorified in you. He is faithful to his promises. Therefore, someday, you will stand before him a complete man or woman – a trophy of his grace – a fully complete, joyful, happy, obedient child of God!”

Listen to: I Will Finish What I Started

All the messages from the “I Promise…” (Trusting in the Faithfulness of God) sermon series can be found here.

Sermon Audio: “I Will Fill You with Joy”

promiseslogoWhat is true joy? I took a definition from Wayne Grudem and bulked it up a bit: “Fullness of joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit to us, as he causes us to know God, abide in him, and delight in the excellence of his character and works that then results in the spiritual fruit of joy in the life of the follower of Jesus.”

Link to the audio of “I Will Fill You with Joy”

Link to the audio of 8.2.15’s message: “I Will Give You Strength”

A Heart Prepared to Pray: 4 Suggestions

mother-prayer-620x389Isaiah 55:6 calls us to pray: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” This past Sunday, I shared the following suggestions for coming to God with a heart prepared to pray…

  1. Come to him with a heart of awe & worship. Psalm 145:1-3: I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.”
  2. Come to him with a heart of need & repentance. Luke 18:13-14: But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
  3. Come to him with a heart of humility. 1 John 5:14: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
  4. Come to him with a heart of trust & confident hope. Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

In days previous, God’s people could only come to the porch, so to speak. Now, through Jesus, we are invited to walk right in the front door! So pray. It doesn’t have to be perfect or polished. Just pray. Your Father who loves you promises to hear.

Listen to the sermon: I Will Hear Your Prayers, from the “I Promise…Trusting in the Faithfulness of God” series.

Sermon Audio: “I Will Hear Your Prayers” (7.26.15)

promiseslogoBefore they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)

God is making this promise: “My child, I promise that I will hear your prayers – in the midst of your sadness and grief, or in the moment of your crisis, or in the depths of our loneliness, or when you feel abut to be overwhelmed – I will hear your cries for comfort, appeals for help, pleas for protection, calls for provision, requests for wisdom, need for strength.”

Listen to the sermon: I Will Hear Your Prayers.