Church Alive Conference

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I have received several notes asking about my Church Alive Conference.  I have taken the experience of starting 4 church plants and teach these practical steps to growing a congregation for local churches.

I use power point and have it divided into three sessions.  Some of the conference is funny, while other times are serious.  There is an 8 page student manual, and I keep the conference exciting and interesting.  The conference lasts about 2 and 1/2 hours.

I also set up an 8′ table with a display of various church growth helps.  I’d be glad to make available a list of pastors who have hosted the conference.  I’m excited about how the Lord is using these conferences to help churches grow.


Not only his presence in our assembly, but his power in our activity. MATT. 28:18 “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”  Powerless praying is panic praying where we try to manipulate and maneuver God.  God is not interested in “crisis” praying, he’s interested in “Christly” praying!


MATT: 6:9 “And when ye pray, say this, our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. PSALM 55:17 “Evening morning and noon will I pray and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice.” We need Jesus’ power because Satan is going to oppose any kind of worship of God.


 JAMES 5:16 “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” EPHESIANS 6:18, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”

Real fervent prayer involves real worship and tears and adoration, and thanksgiving and confession. “Faith and Supplication.” Now, that is work!

We’re really good, as Baptist, talking about prayer. Most of us are not willing to put in the time to do it. WHY? Because prayer works and it is work praying!!!!

We talk about praying for so and so, and so and so, but if I were to write on a big blackboard just how many minutes we actually spent praying. I think we’d be surprised if anyone ever got well.


When God answers our prayers, it is for the specific purpose of glorifying God in heaven above, however, I think it is more than that. I think it is so our joy may be full!

Sometimes we don’t even know how to pray or even what to ask for. That is why Romans 8 says that the Holy Spirit make intercession for us with groaning, which may not be uttered.  He who knows the mind set of God, prays for us through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

There are some confidences that we can have: We can have confidence in that we can know his provisions:


MATT. 18:19,Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

MARK 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received[a]it, and it will be yours.”

God answers every prayer of every Christian! However, you need to understand that he does it in one of four ways.                                                                                                                                                        


I love it when He answers in this way. I pray, and God gives! Bang! Yes!!! I know that this is one of your favorite answers from God also.


You know what I mean. You pray, and God says, wait! We don’t like this method because we want to see answers right now.


 We might want a new Lincoln and God says go buy that old Escort.   But God, I want that Lincoln. God says, well someone’s going to plow into you next week and you’d be upset if it was the Lincoln, so go get the escort. He is all knowing. Let’s trust Him because he knows the future and we don’t.


Moms? Don’t you say no when you are trying to fix supper and the kids want junk food to hold them over?

What do you say? No! Why? You say no because it’s not good for them. They’ll eat the junk and not be hungry for the real food. Sometimes God says no! Why? He tells us no sometimes because sometimes we ask for something that is not good for us!

          PHILIPPIANS 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

You might not know how to pray, but according to John 14: 15,16 (as well as 81 other places), it tells us to approach God through Jesus’ name.

God Bless you, my friends!

Part 2 Why Do We Pray In Jesus Name?

I.  Praying in Jesus name insures His presence.

How do we know? Matthew 18:20, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

His presence guarantees his authority in our prayers.

 There is no greater authority or power than that of Jesus. People can thank God for their talent in a general way and the TV Heads are okay with it, but when you start mentioning the name of Jesus, they get nervous. There’s power in the name of Jesus.

His presence in our prayers guarantees his authority in our prayers.

John 9:31, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”

Philippians 2:9, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”

You can talk to lost folks about relationships, Christianity, and eternity: I hear something like, “Well preacher, I believe in God, I love God and I think God loves me.”

Hey, if you really want to cut through the mustard and get to the nitti gritty, brass tacks, rubber meets the road area, look them right in the eye and ask, “yeah but how’s your relationship with Jesus Christ?”

 I didn’t make these verses up. Look at John 14: 13 & 14. “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

John 15:16 is the key to getting prayers answered. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

His presence guarantees his advocacy

 Jesus is our advocate! 1 Tim. 2:5, For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Jesus intercedes on our behalf. Hebrews 7:25, Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

So it’s not just a formality, or exercise to make you feel better, but it ensures the very presence of Christ Himself. When you pray in Jesus name, you invoke the attention of God.

Have you ever been to a ball game and your child isn’t playing. You’re watching the game and hoping your child’s team wins, but honestly, you really don’t care. However, when they announce that your child’s coming into the game, boy oh boy, you are into this game now. Why? It is because that’s your “kid” in the game.

When you use the name of Jesus, God in heaven above pays special attention.

Years ago, we lived in Salem Illinois. We went to the county fair, and bought $20.00 worth of tickets for the kids to ride those rides. I learned right away, the one with the tickets had the power and control of things.

  • Chad and Janice, (My children), would come up to me and say something like this, ”Dad? It takes 2 tickets to ride the scrambler. I said that’s no problem, and I’d peel off those tickets and away they’d go to ride the ride. All of a sudden this other little kid came up and said, “I need 2 tickets for the Ferris wheel.” I said, “tough.” He said, “but it takes 2 tickets and I don’t have any tickets.” I said, “so?” I’m not your dad.” He said but Chad said you’d give me 2 tickets to ride it. So? Would you like to know what I did? I did the same thing you would have done. I peeled off 2 tickets handed it to him and away he went.

If you want to get the attention of almighty God, just mention his son’s name!!!!!!!

I’ve noticed that most of the time we really don’t pray, we just complain to God about everything.

I trust you are enjoying our bible study.  I’ll post part 3 tomorrow.

The Everyday Life of a Pastor:


Every pastor’s life and schedule is different.  Rarely does it happen that you have the same routine two days in a row.   I love getting up early and going to my church office.  I live less than a mile from the church, and I’m there almost every day.

My normal routine upon arrival is coffee, prayer for people in church, check Fighting Illini Basketball threads and recruiting, and then my personal devotions and bible study.  I am always reading through a book of the bible.  I try not to take notes for sermons at this time.  I try to make these times of reading my personal devotions time.  Any notes I take are to help me, personally, grow Spiritually.  However, I increasingly find myself noting some great passages for sermons later.

After personal time with The Lord, I check out the Illini site again (after all some great player might have committed to Illinois during my devotional time), and of course more coffee.  Checking email and scheduling the day’s priorities.  I look at Facebook stuff that comes to me and respond to some of them.  I collect a lot of jokes and quips.  Here’s some that I read yesterday that literally brought tears to my eyes.  I’d give credit to the author, but these were listed on someone’s site, (and I know they didn’t write them).


Ten-year-old Patrick says, “Never trust a dog to watch your food.” 

Nine-year-old Hannah suggests that when your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” Do not answer! 

Michael is fourteen and has learned a lesson from life: “Never tell your Mom her diet’s not working.” 

Randy, nine, counsels you to, “Stay away from prunes.” 

Talia is eleven and writes, “When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.”

Well, after more coffee I spend time on sermons and bible study.  I am always reading and trying to grow in the Lord Spiritually and trying to become a better pastor and leader.  Yes, I do read other stuff than “church” stuff.  I’m a Louis L’Amour book addict which is western fiction.

The pastor’s day is filled with phone calls, hospital visits, and counseling.  Let me say that “EVERYDAY” is outreach day.  I play tennis at least 2 days a week in the Cary Senior League.  There are about 25 of us that meet and play for an hour or two.  It’s great outreach and, yes, we have seen several come and visit our church with one family making our church their church home!

I hope you’ll check back later.  I’m going to add some of the funny things that have happened to the preacher, and I’m going to share some things I’ve pulled on people.  I love cutting up and being “me.”  I promise not to hold back.   LOL

Okay, this made me laugh out loud!IMG_2461.jpg

Thumbody is praying for you!

Thoughts, Articles, & Sermons on Practical Christian Living



Cliff Casual.jpg      Being a Christians is not what I do, it is what I am! — Cliff Donoho

Hello, and thank you for stopping by my blog.  You’ll see all sides of my personality on this site.  I’ll be sharing personal stories that will have you laughing and then crying.  I’ll be writing a lot of things, but all will have to do with, “everyday, practical Christian living.”  

So, let’s get started.  Through out the week I’d like us to look at one theme for the entire week.  Here it is:    WHY DO PEOPLE PRAY IN JESUS’ NAME?

If you have attended church or if you have been around “church folks” very long, you have, no doubt, heard them use this phrase: “IN JESUS’ NAME, AMEN!” Why do we do that??? Have you ever wondered why Christians close their prayers in this way?

I personally believe it comes from directly from Scripture. Matthew, chapter 6 and verses 5 through 13 tells us, And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

There are other verses in the Bible using this phrase:

JOHN 14:13 & 14, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

JOHN 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.“

JOHN 16:23,24, “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Actually it is used 81 times in the 4 gospels alone. Jesus said, when you pray, pray in my name and almost every time he says – I will answer or God will give you!!!

The question I have is this, “Is it a traditional or an ecclesiastical formula for sanctioning our prayers for help?” Or does the name of Jesus actually invoke the authority of heaven above, and is the heartbeat of our prayer life.

In verses 9 – 13 in Matthew 6 is the very prayer that he taught. We refer to this as the model prayer. It’s called the Lord’s Prayer: but he didn’t pray this prayer. Jesus never sinned, so he didn’t need to ask forgiveness. He was teaching us to pray. The prayer our Lord actually prayed is found in John 17.

This is enough for today, but through out the week I’ll give three reasons why I believe we should end every with, “IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.”


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