I’m never wowed by Jesus,

when I’m JudgeDave, clear-sighted about the weaknesses/failings of others — especially the opponents of my favorite sports teams.  JudgeDave is always blind to his own sin, always leaning on his own understanding, always wise in his own eyes.   Only when the Spirit of Jesus freshly convicts me of my sin of judgeship/independence/orphanhood, am I freshly wowed by Jesus and His love for one of His sheep who is unsatisfied with his Shepherd and His performance, wanting some performance of his own, wanting to shepherd his own life, so he can feel good about himself.

And only when I’m freshly wowed by Jesus, are the pre-believers around me wowed by the Jesus in me, because of the supernatural-humility and supernatural-love they experience being in relationship with me.

–JudgeDave, needing prayer today and everyday, for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he no longer needs to prove himself to himself or others, because he’s freshly overwhelmed by Jesus’  amazing love for an ungrateful, runaway sheep (please pray now)

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Am I hopeful that Jesus will surprise me,

by making a bigger, deeper difference in my life, that wows those around me, and wows me?  Or have I believed the lie of the devil that what is, will always be; or worse?  Is there way more unbelief in me than I’ve realized?  Do I need to confess my unbelief in the possibility of Jesus surprising me by changing my circumstances, or changing me, or maybe both?

–ShepherdDave, who is typically resigned to what is, or scared, trying to avoid worse, except when he’s been freshly convicted of his unbelief, so he confesses and is temporarily returned to being DumbSheepDave, feeling cherished by his ShepherdJesus, and hardly caring about anything else in his life, curious and expectant to see what ShepherdJesus will do next, hopeful of being surprised by Him, so the pre-believers around him are wowed and want Jesus to do this for them (please pray now for fresh conviction of unbelief in ShepherdDave)

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Satan’s most damaging strategy,

is to get me to believe that my life is mine to live, and that all humans have our own lives to live.   But I’m no longer a free man.  Freedom is a lie and an illusion, to keep believers in the prison of human accomplishment, the prison of feel-good-about-self-based-on-my-performance.

I’ve been bought with a price, and my life is no longer mine to live.  I belong to ShepherdJesus, and today I have no problems and no jobs.  All the problems and jobs before me, are Jesus’ problems, and Jesus’ jobs.  Except one.  My job, is to ask and thankHim about everything, and be curious and expectant to see what He will do next, in me, in others, in my circumstances: what Hewill empower me to accomplish.   And when I fail/struggle to do my job — to believe, the enemy wants me full of self-contempt.  ShepherdJesus, on the other hand, tells me to simply confess.   Ahhh, tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he temporarily gives up his prideful ways, and returns to being a happy, clueless, dependent sheep, so the pre-believers around him are wowed by the difference his Shepherd makes in his life, and want his Shepherd too (please pray now)

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Pastor recruiting prayer for his own heart.

The paragraph below was written in September by one of the pastors I mentor, doing a great job of recruiting prayer, weekly, from outside his congregation, for revival in his own heart, and in the dwindling, revival-resistant congregation he began pastoring 18 months ago, with little progress to report.  And below that, an October report.

–WeakDave, recruiting prayer for himself and those he influences, that Jesus might be making such a difference in our lives right now, that believers and pre-believers around us are wowed and want Jesus to do the same in them

Early September:

“I’ve been reading through Nehemiah and one thing has struck me very clearly.  Nehemiah was a man of prayer, and he prayed because the assignment he had was impossible.  He was a very talented guy and he had abundant resources.  Yet, he was about the task of building more than simply a wall.  He was attempting to bring spiritual renewal to a people who had not learned their lessons from their previous captivity.  He was also opposed by enemies of God’s people.  His task was WAY beyond him.  So, he prayed, and then he worked hard.  He prayed while he worked.  He prayed after.  I am a man of gifts and resources.  They may not be much, but they are enough for me to trust in all too quickly.  I am assigned a task that is impossible.  I am involved in leading a church into renewal and into bringing the Kingdom of God to a dark, desolate world.  It will require MUCH work.  In light of this, why do I not pray more?  I know it sounds spiritually mature for me to ask people to pray that I would pray more.  I need more than that.  I need you to pray for repentance.  I think I am more capable than I am.  I think I am smarter than I am.  I think I am good enough with people, much more than I actually am.  I am enough in myself.  Give me a little ministry success and a little encouragement from church folks, and those ideas sink even deeper into my heart.  That is scary.  In reality, I am the deluded fool.”

Early October:

“I am thankful today for what my Father has been doing lately, and I know your prayers have contributed to this.  Let me fill you in.  Our church is no longer on the brink of bankruptcy.  Last year at this time we are wondering if we would have to sell our property.  That is no longer in the conversation.  We finished the year in the black (income vs. expenses), and we were closer to budget than we have been in YEARS!  Our attendance is trending upward.  People are not leaving any more like they were for the first 1 ½ years I was here.  There is a positive atmosphere in the church that was not here when we got here.  People’s lives are being changed by the Spirit.  One of my deacons is giving a testimony during worship this Sunday of the Spirit’s work in his life.  I don’t think this is what you would call a ‘Holy Ghost Revival’…yet.  I think the Spirit is at work, and I am very encouraged.”

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I’m not addicted to computer games,

but I am addicted to ministry, relationships, investments, health management, and toys (cars/motorcycles).   A missionary friend wrote in his prayer letter about a new addiction to a computer game.  “I found myself thinking about the game continuously — when I first woke up, in quiet moments throughout my day, and when I went to sleep at night.  The game was filling the empty spaces between activities, dominating my thought life.”

AHA, I do the very same thing, with thoughts about ministry, relationships, investments, health management, and toys.  Looking to these areas, instead of Jesus, to provide me with LIFE: this gives me something to look forward to, gives me reasons for living.  Satan could not be more pleased, that I place good things like these, on a par with Jesus, or worse, above Jesus at times, gauged by the intensity with which I ponder, research, explore in my areas of idolatry.   Not bad things; all good things; but competing with Jesus for my affections.

Only shepherds have idolatry problems.  Sheep are too stupid for such things, and are happy enough just to be cared for by their shepherd, and experience a joy and peace that ought to make stressed-out shepherds envious.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to embrace being DumbSheepDave, enjoying his ShepherdJesus more than he enjoys feeling good about himself through other strategies, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed and want his ShepherdJesus for themselves

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What wows pre-believers?

Jesus making a wow difference in believers.  What might that look like?   Howbout a contagious thankfulness that makes no sense, given my present circumstances?   So freshly overwhelmed with Jesus and His performance imputed to me, that nothing else in my life hardly matters to me, no matter how harrrd, no matter how much my flesh hates it, no matter how much sympathy and pity others give me for the ruggedness of my circumstances: I just ooze with thankfulness for Him and the perfectness of His plan for me.  I ooze with thankfulness for each harrrd in my life, that nobody in their right mind would be thankful for, believing as I do, that He’s promised to work all things together for the good of this kid of His.  Who lives this way?   Only someone freshly captivated by Jesus, freshly convicted of his sin of independence/self-confidence/shepherdness/orphanness by His Spirit, freshly undone/contrite, thankful for everything He’s used, no matter how painful, to bring me to the end of myself, and to contagious thankfulness.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he’s back to being DumbSheepDave, with a thankfulness that’s contagious to both believers and pre-believers around him, including the turned-off and even the antagonistic

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Helps me so much,

when I see the wickedness/evil of my independence, because otherwise, I tend to think of myself as not so bad, tend to be more focused on the weaknesses/sins of others, tend not to see my dissatisfaction with Jesus and His performance imputed to me, tend to not feel keenly the need for a SaviorShepherd, tend to not have a sense of having been forgiven much, and therefore tend to not love much — Jesus and others, especially pre-believers, and especially ones with values vastly different from my own.

Nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for us kids of His, is to freshly convict us of our sin of independence/wickedness/evil, so we are freshly overwhelmed by Jesus, experiencing the ecstasy of His unconditional love for the likes of us.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to return to his Shepherd and embrace being lowly DumbSheepDave (please pray now)

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If I’m not fruitful with pre-believers,

it’s because I’m self-dependent way more than I’m Jesus-dependent.   Prove it, Dave.   Well, Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”   Follow Jesus, rather than following self.   Jesus-dependency verses self-dependency, i.e. leaning on my own understanding, being wise in my own eyes — human power verses Jesus-power.

Okay, Dave, so I’m a failure at following Jesus, as evidenced by my unfruitfulness with pre-believers, not to mention how circumstance-dependent I am for my joy and peace.   So how do I improve at following Jesus?   Not by trying harder — reforming myself, but by confessing my unbelief, my self-dependency, my willfulness/agenda, my dissatisfaction with Him, my using Him to get my way: “Jesus, bless my agenda.”   Ahhh, tis so sweet to be freshly convicted of my sin of independence, freshly dead to my own performance/righteousness, and freshly in love with Jesus, and others, especially those most different from myself, like turned-off-to-the-Church pre-believers, and even the antagonistic.

–IndependentDave, needing prayer to be way more Jesus-dependent, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed and want his Savior  (please pray now)

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