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.”

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

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

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

High-caste Hindus now following Jesus,

and paying a high cost.  Sareeta and Sunitha followed Sai Baba, a person that is worshipped as a god.  One of their sisters had a powerful mystical experience with the Hindu gods.  Her family and community started to look at their sister as a god herself.

Sareeta moved to London and everything went wrong.  She found herself all alone in the hospital.  She was dying but the doctors could not determine why.  A worker in the hospital shared that Jesus could heal her and he prayed for her.  She survived.  The Lord now had her attention.  God brought a series of Jesus-followers into her life and soon she gave up Sai Baba and became a follower of Jesus.

When she visited her family in India she told them about this Jesus who saved her life.  Her sister Sunitha became a believer too.  Both of them received abuse for their belief.  All Indian Christians are low caste.   They were giving up their high-caste somebodiness to be considered low-caste nobodies.   They endured shaming and abuse heaped on them by family and others.

Sunitha moved to London too.  Mounika, the daughter of their sister who is respected as a god, also wanted to learn about Jesus.  When her parents discovered this they shouted at her and her dad beat her.  She wanted to learn more about Jesus so she moved to London to live with her two aunts.

Today, all of them attend church and several Bible studies, including two run by missionaries I know who have created Indian-friendly Jesus-communities in several parts of London, full of both new believers and seekers.  Sometimes these three former high-caste Hindus call, Pat, a missionary for whom I pray, and invite her over to teach them some more.  Pat says they are voracious studiers of God’s Word.

–WeakDave, trying to get us believers to see ourselves as the ones most needy of further change by Jesus, so we hang out with pre-believers in fruitful ways (please pray now)

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

Loving pre-believers is fruitful.

Excerpt pasted below, from the prayer letter of a missionary couple I’ve been praying for, who spend lots of time building intimate friendships with pre-believers in an edgy section of London.

–WeakDave, trying to encourage believers to spend time with pre-believers

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

 

“Someone knocked on Oli’s door.  It was a guy our team had met on the streets several weeks before. He had prayed with Constance and Oli, and for the first time in his life had acknowledged that Jesus was Lord and the only way to come to the Father.  That day he was drunk.  Last night he was completely sober.  He had a crumpled flyer for the Jesus study in his hand, and a question for Oli burning in his mind.  He has been sober since Constance prayed for him, and he has felt alive and eager to tell people about Jesus – and he wanted to know: `What has happened to me?!’  Oli explained that when we put our trust in Jesus as Lord, he comes and lives in us – what he was experiencing was the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in his life!  He now wants to become part of the church and be baptized.  How awesome is that?!  Rejoice with us and with the angels that one of God’s lost children has been found – and also pray for Oli and all of us in Lysan as we welcome this guy and grow together as disciples of Jesus.”

Waiter murders two, then changed by Jesus.

Brian Phillips is a young missionary hubby I mentor, who’s headed to Spain.  Your faith will be nurtured by reading below, these excerpts of his prayer update last week.  And if you’re looking for a new missionary family to support, check out their blog. http://briankassie.com

–WeakDave, trying to promote more non-Christian fellowship

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: http://gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: http://dumbsheepdave.wordpress.com

Praying friends,

I want to thank you again for your prayers and notes of encouragement. If our partnership with you does anything, I hope that it dispels the silly notion that missionaries are  “super-Christians” or have any less need for grace than non-missionaries. Believe me, if missions were only for the have-it-all-together Christians, Kassie and I would not be qualified! This time of deputation/support-raising keeps on showing us how selfish and faith-less we are. God is overhauling our souls, but it ain’t a pretty process. I feel myself doubting a lot, while I know ALL God wants from me is trust. That’s why we named our youngest son Jairus, because to him Jesus said,  “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”


For the last few months, I’ve been asking people to pray for our friend Manuel Cazares. Manuel was our favorite waiter at our favorite restaurant. I tried to share the Gospel with him, but he said, “Nah, I’m too bad for that. Maybe when I am older.” Many months later, Manuel murdered his girlfriend and her paramour. After visiting him in jail (getting to visit him in itself was a work of God), I was able to share about hope and forgiveness found in Jesus many times to Manuel. He wanted more information and was eventually transformed by God. Manuel was later found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June.

Support raising was looking pretty bleak a month ago, but is now more encouraging. I was reminded that my job is not to raise money. My job is to tell as many people as possible how God has been working in us and why we are excited to join what He is doing in Spain. His job is to raise the money. We’re over 15% now and I’m asking God to get us to 30% by the end of May. No matter what, I know that God is in control and His plans are perfect.

Prayer requests:

Manuel – pray that he would be assigned to a prison with solid, Spanish-speaking believers and that he could hug his son before going to prison. There is a possibility that I will speak at his sentencing trial in St. Charles, MO.