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3 posts from February 2012

02/27/2012

Three Things You Ought to Know About our work in Honduras

Over the last few years, members of Calvary have been making an Irreplaceable Impact in the nation of Honduras through a partnership with Project Manuelito.  Project Manuelito helps rescue street children from the streets and gives them life and hope.  To curb the pangs of hunger these street kids sniff glue which has a devastating effect on their brain development.  Project Manuelito helps these kids find a new life in Christ.

This week there is a team of people working there at the project. They will be doing some construction work as well as ministering to the children.  Please pray for them.

A previous team member, Laura Ralfs will be travelling there shortly to spend a few months at the mission.  She has felt God's call to leave her current employment and serve Him there. Please pray for her as she goes.

And please pray for the Arthur family. They will be heading there as a whole family over the March Spring break.  Rick was there a year or so ago and is excited about having his whole family serve together.

God is at work. Lives are being changed and communities are being transformed.

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02/21/2012

3 Things You Ought to Know

    Every day I hear the most amazing stories of how God is moving in our midst. Every day I realize I need to share them with you. Here is an attempt to regularly update you on those things you ought to know! Here are 3 recent ways God continues to work!

 

  • 1. Six people prayed to receive Christ at our recent Art of Marriage Conference at the West Campus.

 

  • 2. We have 8 people headed to Honduras on Saturday to work with Project Manuelito a ministry that provides homes for street kids.

 

  • 3. God is listening to your prayers. A young woman was excited this week to tell me how God had just answered her bold prayer!!!

 

  • Please write and tell me what I ought to know about how God is working in your life!

02/19/2012

Hanging with Jesus

As I said this weekend, I love the fact that Jesus took three of His close disciples up on the mountain to pray. They willingly went just so they could be with Him. In my own life, every time I have taken time away to pray God has revealed more of Himself to me.  The sacrifice of time is definitely worth it.  It can sound intimidating, but here is an outline of how to spend up to 3 hours in prayer at once.  The 3 hours is not magical.  If that seems too impossible, start with an hour or 2 and then over time challenge yourself.

 

 

Why would we do that?

 

In the midst of so many other demands and activities of life why bother to take time away to prayer.

 

First it gives us time to listen to Him.  When we are distracted in prayer, rushed in prayer or demanding in prayer, we have little time to listen. Throughout the Bible, people took time to listen to God’s still small voice.

 

Second, it helps us gain perspective. We get so caught up in the craziness of our schedules and the demands and needs of life, we forget to seek Him. An extended time away allows us to remember that He is God and we are not. He is in charge and not us. It gives us opportunity to see how great He is.

 

Thirdly, it allows us time to surrender to Him.  Before He went to the cross, Jesus wrestled in prayer in Gethsemane and at the end of the prayer said nevertheless, not my will, but yours God.  This is an important place in prayer. It isn’t a place we come to easily. Jesus spent time in the Garden before He came to that place. It takes time for us to surrender. A surrendered person is powerful in the hands of God.

 

Fourthly, it allows us to catch up on our time of prayer. Like me, I am sure many of you feel guilty for not praying for those things you have promised to pray for. This allows us time to pray for those things we often neglect in prayer.

 

Fifthly, it can build community. At times I’ve gone away with 2 or 3 others. We have found separate places to spend time praying, but periodically during the 3 hours we have come back together to share what God has been saying and pray.

 

When and where

 

Find a time when you can carve out a few extra minutes. It may be during an evening when everyone is out of the house and you can be alone. It may be early in the morning on a Saturday or holiday.  You might even want to take a Sunday morning to go somewhere…that is why there is a Saturday night service!!!  Make sure can get away from other people or other distractions.  Or commit as a couple to spend time together or if your children are older, invite them into the process.

 

Also find a place where it is relatively quiet. Maybe it is another room in the house. Maybe swap homes with someone else for that time. Book a room at the church. I’ve often spent extended time outdoors when the weather is nice.

 

What to take with you?

 

  1. Bible
  2. Notebook
  3. Clock/watch
  4. Pen and paper
  5. Favorite devotional book
  6. Favorite worship music
  7. The church bulletin/ministry listing
  8. Your address book
  9. Your calendar/budget
  10. A worry journal. More about that in a minute

 

What if I get bored or fall asleep or go crazy?

 

Some of us are introverts and crave alone time. We thrive on it and it refreshes us. Others of us who are extroverts are energized by being with people and the thought of extended alone time is not refreshing. It is draining.  Here are some things to do to make sure that you don’t get bored.

 

  1. Be rested and refreshed before you start.
  2. Change positions and locations regularly. You don’t have to kneel for the morning or stand or sit.  Have a place where you can change positions or walk for a bit.
  3. Bring some snacks and drinks with you.
  4. A variety of music for background and worship is helpful to have.
  5. Write or draw or journal as you need to.

 

How do I spend the time?

 

This is always the key question. How am I going to fill up that time if it is me alone with Jesus?  Here are some suggested divisions and activities.

 

  1. 30 Minutes

      Listen to several worship songs. Listen and sing along. Use them to help you          focus on God. What do the songs say about God? What are His strengths? What            does it say about His character?  How do these draw you closer to God? Do they            remind you of scriptures? Sing and worship and lift Him up. Draw near to Him in   praise.

 

            During this time things may pop into your mind. They may be concerns about        what should be happening. They may be things to pray about. They may be        decisions you need to make.  Instead of ruminating on them at this point, write           them in your worry book. And later we will take time to pray for them.

 

  1. 20 Minutes

      David invited the Holy Spirit to search His life. Take some time to do that.  Ask    God to show you the strengths and the sins of your life? What do people say about    you? What are the frustrations people have? What are the issues between you and       your family and friends? What are you frustrated about in your life? What do you         wish you could change? Write those down on a sheet of people or in your journal.             If you are afraid someone might see after, write them cryptically.   Then take       some time to talk to God about each of them. Confess your sins and failures to   Him. Invite Him to do a deep work in you.

 

            During this period of reflection, God may have reminded you of someone you       need to ask forgiveness from. Take a moment and write them a note. Put down        what you might write or email to them. Save that and send it to them later.

 

  1. 10 Minutes

      Celebrate your forgiveness.  Write a letter to God thankful for the forgiveness you            have. Express your appreciation for the cleansing He has given you. Write about     your life as having a fresh start and a new beginning.

 

  1. 15 minutes

      Take time to read an extended passage of scripture.  If you are in a daily plan,        take time to read it. If you want to read a particular passage then do that.    Perhaps read one of the New Testament epistles all the way through from         start to             finish. Have a pen ready to underline and mark it. What does God say to you?       What jumps out at you? Anything that you need to pray about from there.

 

 

  1. 15 Minutes

      Take a walk now. Enjoy nature or the landscape around you.  Simple ask God        what He wants to say to you.  Let the still small voice of God prompt your           thinking.  Solomon in Proverbs often drew theological truths from things he saw.            Solomon saw a broken down fence and learned about laziness. Look at the things        around you. Let God speak to you about His character or life. What does God       bring up to you? What do you think about? What is His voice versus the harsh or            condemning thoughts you come up with.  After a walk, write some of those things down.

 

  1. 20Minutes

      As you return take time to pray for yourself.  Pray for those things God just           revealed to you. Pray about those things God may want you to learn. Pray about         attitudes that need to change. Pray about decisions that need to be made.  Take      time to pray for you.  Go through your calendar. What big events coming up do        you need to pray for?  Looking at your bankbook, what financial aspects do you    need to pray for?  Thinking through your roles a spouse, parent, child, etc pray for        each one of those.  If you don’t know where to start, pray the Lord’s prayer. Pray           some of Paul’s great prayers in Ephesians and Colossians.

 

      For variety you may want to write these prayers out. Or speak them out loud.         Write them on a white board or chalk board.

 

  1. 10 Minutes

      Take time for a snack and drink. You are 2/3 of the way through 3 hours already. Just an hour to go. Hang in there.

 

  1. 15 Minutes

      Read another passage of scripture or a selection from your favorite devotional. Is   there something you can learn? Let God speak to you and fill your mind. Again, what jumps out at you?

 

  1. 15 Minutes

      Now pray for others. You might start by listening to another worship song. It will add energy to the silence and get your mind thinking. Do you have a prayer list    you keep? Pray for them? Do you have a list of people you want to pray for,        work through that? Take your address book or Facebook contacts and pray for       those people.  Ask God to lead you in what to pray for them if you don’t know.    Pray the scriptures for them. Pray for family members.

 

  1. 15 Minutes

      Take another walk. This time pray for those things you walk by. Pray for the area   and the people who live nearby.

 

  1. 10 Minutes

      Pray for the church. Pray for the state of the church in America. Pray for the local church. Pray for missionaries you know. Pray for pastors in the area. Pray for      unity amongst the church. Pray for Christian leaders that you know of.

 

Now jump up and down. Listen to a song. Celebrate that you have just hung with Jesus.

 

Now you don’t have to end the time with some great discovery or extraordinary experience. Wait on God for Him to lead. Looking for a new experience or something exciting can get you off track. The test of the time spent is not how exhilarated we feel, but what it brings into tomorrow and the next day.  If we have met with God, it will work into the every day grind of life.

 

Have some great times hangin’ with our Lord!