Iron Sharpens Iron

Imagine

Posted on 04/19/17 by Michael Sprague

Imagine numbers of influential leaders opening the Scriptures and having in-depth discussions about the Good News of Jesus Christ and how they can honor Him in their lives and work. Imagine Republicans and Democrats coming together, walls coming down and leaders getting to know each other better. Imagine Bible Study with Lobbyists. Yes Lobbyists. Imagine one-on-one visits with leaders to pray, build relationships, encourage and allow God to show up. Imagine opportunity to facilitate prayer among elected leaders and the community…asking God to heal our land and bless our nation. Month-after-month, all these things and more are the work of the Capitol Commission. Only God! The new Legislative Session in Baton Rouge launched this week. I will be in the Capitol three days a week for the next couple of months. Divine opportunity awaits.

Our work is different from two of the prominent methods used in the political arena. One is the ATTACK method and the other is the TOTAL SEPARATION method. Our method is to ENGAGE. We engage those who serve in the political sphere with the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16) and encouragement for the soul (Matthew 11:28-29, Psalm 23:1-3). We are committed to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the Capitol Commission (Acts 9:15). It is God who transforms…one person at a time. Most people who desire to be close to power want something in return. We offer friendship with no-strings-attached and connect those who respond to small clusters and one-on-one groups.

Ministries often practice a Believe before you can Belong approach. But look at the gospels…the disciples followed Jesus around long before he popped the question, “Who do you say I am?” There were months of fish-fries, long treks, Q&A’s, teachings and encounters of all kinds. With all these hours with Jesus…in a context of Belonging…many Believed.

One day on the river banks of the Jordan Jesus said to two men, “Come and see” (John 1). After praying all night, Jesus called a bunch of guys to be “With Him” (Mark 3). There was no agenda, timetable or curriculum. Jesus hung out at wells, living rooms and gathering places and invited people to join him. It works the same today. It’s simple. It’s biblical. I’m trying to learn the way of Jesus. In the work at the Capitol there are no potlucks, Easter musicals or kumbaya’s around the campfire. The focus is on Serving, Friendship and sharing the Journey with leaders. As people feel they Belong…there is a good chance they will get to know Jesus along the way.

Jesus would say to people, “Follow me.” Today, many are bored in their faith because they think Jesus should follow them. People are leading rather than following. This is an Inverted Gospel. It is absolutely unfulfilling. The call is to say to Jesus, “Whenever, Whatever, Wherever.” When you follow Jesus in this way, it is the adventure of a lifetime and transformative. May it be so.

The Month in Pictures

Forcey Bible Church Missions Conference

Missions Conference Men’s Breakfast

Leadership St. Tammany

Leadership St. Tammany Alumni Breakfast

Governor’s Prayer Breakfast

Iron Sharpens Iron

Helping Louisiana’s Leaders,
Michael

Category: Baton Rouge, Iron Sharpens Iron, LA Capitol, Leadership St. Tammany, Speaking Events

My Craziest Two Weeks Ever

Posted on 03/21/17 by Michael Sprague

You never know when you are going to get to lift-up the name of Jesus to two-million plus people, but it happened to me over the last couple of weeks. I could never imagine that a request to give the 90-second invocation at a town hall would create a firestorm across the country, and I would be dubbed as the “THEY BOOED JESUS” CHAPLAIN on media and in newspapers across the country. I found myself appearing on “FOX AND FRIENDS,” “FOX BUSINESS NEWS RISK AND REWARD” and numerous national radio programs, as well as several interviews by print media.

Opportunities continue to come. Paul’s words have resonated deep in my spirit, “preach the word, be ready in season and out of season” and “for I have determined to know nothing among you except Christ and Christ crucified.” Pray good continues to come out of bad.

If you want to see a clip of the “Booing Jesus Prayer,” you can see it in the “Resources” section of this website.

What follows is my editorial that was published in the Advocate, Louisiana’s largest newspaper:

JESUS EMBRACED HIS PROTESTORS, TOO
I was asked to offer the invocation at Senator Bill Cassidy’s recent town hall meeting in Metairie. My prayer was drowned out by screaming and yelling, shouts of “Lucifer” and climaxed with a deafening roar when I concluded with “in Jesus name, I pray, Amen.” Media picked up on the phrase, “They booed Jesus.” This led to a firestorm of controversy and conversation across America. I would like to offer an understanding of my response to the protesters and the national conversation.

I’m frequently asked if I’m mad at the Protesters and Disrupters. I am not mad at anyone. The truth is, Jesus was booed many, many times. One time Jesus heard people cry “Crucify him, Crucify him.” His response was “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they do.”

When I prayed “in Jesus Name” I wasn’t using Jesus’ name attached to a political or religious agenda. I was simply praying to a real person named Jesus who says, “Love your enemy, care for the poor and turn the other cheek.” Jesus hates hypocrisy. Jesus sacrificed His all so that all people might have peace with God and with each other. His weapons are not rage, knives or hatred, but rather a blood-stained cross, an empty tomb, scars on his back, a serving towel, and a bunch of rag-tag followers who despite their flaws, ended up leading a revolution of love that changed the world.

Jesus said to the naysayers, “Anytime you are ready…Come to me, you who are weary and heavy-laden, I’ll give you rest for your soul.” You see, Jesus loves Protestors.

I’m convinced the town hall meeting reflects the need for two things. First, a spiritual awakening is needed in America. We have drifted. Many sense it. Let’s get back to our National motto “In God We Trust.” Even a dialogue around “Who do you say Jesus is?” can be enriching. Certainly, Jesus is not a Republican or a Democrat. He is not a political chip to play or a religious mascot.

Second, we need a national awakening of civility and respect in America. A quiet majority collectively wants us to better our listening skills, dialogue constructively, discover common ground, find solutions and cut out the demonizing and stereotyping. This ugly town hall meeting is not who we are. We can do better. Some may boo but many may cheer.

THE REV. MICHAEL SPRAGUE
Louisiana Chaplain, Capitol Commission
Mandeville

The Month in Pictures

Wayside Chapel Men’s Retreat

Men’s Retreat

Iron Sharpens Iron

Officers Christian Fellowship Bible Study

Helping Louisiana’s Leaders,
Michael

Category: Iron Sharpens Iron, Retreats, Speaking Events

Who is this Man?

Posted on 01/21/17 by Michael Sprague

In C. S. Lewis’ classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan, the Jesus-figure, is “safe.” “Safe?” Mr. Beaver replies, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Jesus ImageMany of us share Lucy’s tendency to develop an image of Jesus that fits our own understanding of comfort, goodness and safety. This leads to the temptation to create an image of Jesus after our own liking and image. Certain parts of the gospels get emphasis, and de-emphasis.  What if we did our best to remove the bias and filters, and look at the life of Jesus as He intended it? Would our understanding of Jesus, and what it means to follow Him, change?

2017 is here. Adventures in grace await all of us. Sure … there will be hassles and hardship … probably a few giants to fight and problems to wrestle to the ground. Yet, we are not alone. There is a Shepherd who knows our name, our needs and the way forward.

Our new year at Capitol Commission Louisiana/Grace Adventures launches quickly. The Louisiana Legislative Session is around the corner. I may be back in Baton Rouge before you know it. The Governor is contemplating calling for another Special Session next month prior to the Regular Session. I’ll keep you posted. Our annual trip to the National Prayer Breakfast comes at the end of the month. We have a large contingent of Louisiana folks going with us. I’ll be meeting with a variety of our Louisiana U.S. Senators and U.S. Reps while in Washington. God always has divine appointments during these days.

If anyone needs a February Men’s Weekend Retreat and you want to join me in San Antonio … feel free. I look forward to speaking at Wayside Chapel. This is the church where my former associate Stephen Lay is associate pastor. Also, March will include speaking at the Forcey Bible Church Missions Conference, and that will be followed by speaking at three Iron Sharpen Iron events in both Louisiana and Texas. These are a Promise Keeper type of events for men. Please check the website for dates and places at Capitolcommissionlouisiana.org

I love another quote form C.S. Lewis in Prince Caspian.

Lion of JudahAslan” said Lucy “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

This is my prayer for every leader this year. I pray that men and women will encounter Jesus and follow Him. No more. No less. My confidence rides high that everyone whom abides in Jesus will bear much fruit in 2017.

Helping Louisiana’s Leaders,

Michael

Category: Iron Sharpens Iron, National Prayer Breakfast, Retreats

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