Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Brothers and sisters,

Let me begin by thanking you once again for your service and love for the children we have been given steward over. I say thank you often and I hope that you understand it comes from the depths of my heart and is not a trite statement I make. Thank you, thank you, thank you. If it weren’t for each of you and your service, we would be severely limited in perspectives, knowledge, abilities, time, and energy. Thank you for what you do.

I this letter, I will be making a play on words that is not theologically founded or grammatically correct. However, I think it helps to make my point.

Today I want to invite along with me on a journey; a journey that, tragically, few adults take in their life. I believe it is a necessity to visit take this up regularly…please join me on the Great Co-mission. The “Co-“ in my broken down word means that you and I need to do this together. It is a journey that is much more fun and productive if we do it together. The “Mission” in my broken down means that you and I have a goal in mind…a mission in our journey. This mission is the driving force behind what keeps us going when: we face fierce opponents, get wounded in battle with gaping wounds, fall on our faces in some gross sin and keep beating ourselves up, and when leaders cut us to the heart due to some sin in their life. This mission is detailed in Matthew 28:18-20: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”

The Great Co-mission that we have been called to is this idea of discipleship. Sadly, much of adults’ time, energy, and talents are wasted away in frivolous spending acts of those gifts. We spend 60 hours a week at work, 10 hours a week watching “American Idol” or some other distracting show, 12 hours a week on the computer…only to neglect the things in life that really matter. (Please note: I am guilty of this myself and ask God to straighten my priorities on a regular basis.) We should come to a point in our lives that we select a few people that God is working on and through and devote time to them. This doesn’t have to mean that we lock ourselves up with our disciples in 40 hour prayer meetings in the mountains but what it does look like is give them your favorite book and ask them to read it, hold them accountable to spiritual growth, call them throughout the week to make sure everything’s going okay, and spend time with them in our meetings, taking them on family outings, etc. Again, you don’t need to devote all of your time to these people but it is healthy to spend maybe 10-15 minutes a week speaking to them and helping them work through issues.

When I look back at the past eight years of my spiritual life, I can identify people that have helped me go to the next spiritual level. These are for me: my Grandmother, Greg Brewer, the entire Ferguson Family, the Gamel Family, Ben and Mandy Cloud, Paul Beaulieu, and several others on a smaller scale. These folks have invested in me spiritually, often asking for nothing in return. We have built a great bond over the years and continue to do so. They invited me camping, helping them work on their homes, talked on the phone, gave advice, and just made themselves available.

I then look at our group and see many kids that may not have that. Please take time to pray about this and ask God to identify a few kids that you can disciple. Pray for those kids daily, spend time with them in our meetings, and invest in their lives. You never know…you may be discipling the next Mother Theresa or Billy Graham.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

God has been so good to me always. About 4 months ago I was coming out of a dry spell spiritually speaking and since then, it's been amazing.

I have been trying to be more spiritually disciplined and that has helped my walk tremendously. I was listening to secular music because I was totally bored hearing the same christian songs looped every 28 minutes. Unfortunately, I was so bored with music (because I always listen to it) that I switched over to 101.5 when Stern left...praise God for Stern leaving. Unfortunately, I traded Stern for Corola and Lykus...both equal knuckleheads with Stern.

Long story short, feeding my flesh with the trash that came from their mouths created many stumbling blocks for me. Once I realized that my auditory system is a major contributor to some repetitive sin I was battling, I gave that up and have been feeding the spirit since. I listen to audiobooks, sermons, and chirstian music now. Again, this isn't a boast in my "piety" but a confession of weakness.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that secular music is all bad. However, I do believe that there is some that should not be listened to.

In my newfound commitment to purity I began identifying areas in which I wanted to grow spiritually. One was my food intake and the other was prayer.

The food intake has been going pretty well for about 6-7 weeks now. I asked a close brother to hold me accountable in my gluttinous shortcomings and he has been doing a pretty good job. I have also taken Pastor Ben up on his challenge to be the biggest loser... I think I'm losing the Loser battle.

As I said earlier, prayer was the other area in which I wanted to grow. I wanted to commit to daily intercession for people and situations that God laid on my heart. My problem was, and continues to be in many areas in my life, consistency. I will do great, give the great hoo-rah, only to find myself pitter out like I tried to take on a marathon without training.

I was meditating on ways to stay consistent with prayer when a memory popped into my head. Obie, in one SALT meeting, gave us all index cards with kids' names on them in the group and we all to a stack to pray for. Though, admittadely, I thought it was a little uncomfortable at the time, it now seemed like a glimmer of genious. I hurriedly grabbed a stack of index cards and started writing requests from friends, things that are on my heart, and people and their situations whether they asked me to pray or not. I have this stack of cards in my truck and pray every morning while driving. God has granted me good consistency...I have only "forgotten" a few weekend days since I started weeks ago.

I have found that it's a great way to start out my day. In addition to that, I am seeing God move in the situations I am praying for. Now, carefully I say: God is moving all the time and had planned on doing these things before I prayed for them, I'm sure. However, it gives me great encouragement to be a part of that process. Again I stress: It is ALL about God and NOTHING about me. God is good.

Some of the prayer requests I have prayed for and God has granted are these:
  • I pray for Mandy Cloud and her health every day. Recently, Ben told me that Mandy has gone a few days without nausea isn't as miserable feeling as she was. Praise be to God!
  • I prayed that God would bless Amadeo Church with a trailer for toting things around from VCCG. God granted that trailer and Ben will pick up the new one today. Praise be to God!
  • I prayed that God would bless Erin's giving birth to Zariah and Zariah's health (Sorry I spelled that wrong!) and though they had to take her cessarian, Zariah is happy and healthy as a horse. Praise be to God!
  • I prayed that God would bless Brandon with a great job that he loves and he started a new job about a week ago and thinks it's the best job. Praise be to God!

That's all that I can think of now but God is always doing things.

The reason I tell you all this is this: God has called all of us to be in prayer without ceasing. My commision to you is to pick up your prayer plow and begin blessing people with your intercession. I am a lowly servant who has chosen to bless God and His children by doing the simple act of prayer. Pick up your cross and follow Him.

Blessings.