Begin With Prayer

This particular verse has been coming up over and over again for me, in different books, prayers and sermons.  So I decided that God really wanted me to H.E.A.R. it.

Highlight

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'”  Matthew 9:37-38

Explain

As Jesus went about teaching and healing, He had compassion for the many people following Him, because they were lost and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  He told his disciples to begin by praying that God would send workers out to them.  He doesn’t tell them to get organized, make a plan or start immediately.  Prayer comes first.  In the next chapter, He gives the disciples the authority to heal and sends them out.  They were to be the workers!

Apply

I am both to pray for workers and be a worker.  Like Jesus, I must have compassion for those around me and a desire to tell them about the true leader, Jesus Christ–the only one who is able to save them.

Respond

Dear Heavenly Father, Remove all fears of rejection from my heart.  Send me to your helpless sheep.  Fill me with love and a holy yearning to bring others into your kingdom.  Amen.

 

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When is it time?

When we are small, we don’t think of time much. And often lose track of it. Submerging ourselves in such tasks as examining small flowers or ladybugs. Yet as time passes (as it must) and we grow and mature; we take closer notice of time. It becomes a nuisance and a task master. We either want it to speed up or wish it would slow down. It increasingly disobeys our wants while simultaneously becoming more and more precious and confusing.

We want to hold it in our hands so that our children stay as small as we once were. We question how right it is, or if we missed noticing it’s subtle nudges. How do we know when we are to stay or go? How do we know if it’s time to act or time to wait? I would wager that mostly we don’t.

That’s why its important to pray, and important to read. Not just educational reading, (though that certainly doesn’t hurt) but specifically reading God’s word. And more than on occasion.   That is how we prepare, how we can know our Father’s will. God does in fact speak. However, I think we misinterpret how these days. A prophet as is known in the bible, is literally one who speaks God’s word. So when we read the Bible this is what we are doing. Prophesying. When our pastors preach, (in sound doctrine) they prophesy. If we want to know when, we need only ask. But ask in the safety of God’s word. And pray that He sends His servants to speak His will to you.

 

 

The End of the Beginning?

Last week the Fanning the Flame team had our last face-to-face meeting with our coach, Joe Weatherly.  He will still be available to us, by email and phone, and all the resources available from the ministry will be ours as well.  However, He will no longer be reaching out to us — we must reach out to him.  Like baby chicks we’re spreading our wings and going out on our own to apply what we’ve learned.

Joe explained that although our meetings are over, this is not the end of Fanning the Flame as St.  Paul’s.  It is not even the beginning of the end.  It is possibly, the end of the beginning of our efforts to revitalize our church.

Where will we go from here?  Well, our team will keep meeting.  We’ll go back to the beginning and choose another strategy for improving the health of our congregation, and we’ll decide how to work on it.  Our first strategy, small groups, is already up and running.  We’ll keep praying.  We’ll keep reading books and learning.  We’ll grow in faith, and hopefully, what we’ve learned and done, will spread out through the congregation and even into the community.

Has it been worth it?  I think so.  I’ve grown in my faith as an individual, and I’m sure other team members have as well.  I’ve learned some practical things about running a meeting, starting a new ministry or mission and persevering in spiritual disciplines.  There has been an impact on our congregation as well.  The pot is bubbling.  What will rise up?  Well, that remains to be seen.  Keep praying of St. Paul’s dear readers.  God is not done with us yet!

Disciple Her by Kandi Gallaty–Book Review

This book is a great resource for any individual or church interested in beginning Discipleship groups.  Kandi shares her experience, working with other women (usually for one year) and establishing spiritual disciplines such as prayer, journaling Bible study, Bible memorization.  At that point, the members are equipped to go forth and start D-groups of their own.  If you have the spiritual gifts of shepherding and/or encouragement, this book will inspire and motivate you.  According to the forward, Kandi

“… has defined what discipleship is, and outlined a pathway for investing in other women.”

Disciple Her

 

An appendix at the back of the book includes:

sample covenants for the D-groups,  a suggested reading list, a sample journaling process, a worksheet for planning your own group, a Bible reading plan and more.  I especially appreciated her plan for journaling.  Although I love to write, I have never been particularly successful at journaling.  Kandi’s model is H.E.A.R —

  • Highlight the passage you are studying each day
  • Explain the background and meaning of the verse
  • Apply the verse generally and specifically to your own life
  • Respond to the verse in prayer

I plan to give this method a try!

I also appreciated her explanation of the MARCS of a disciple.  They should be:

  • Missional
  • Accountable
  • Reproducible
  • Communal
  • Scriptural

Does your life show all of these marks?

As an interesting, aside, Kandi’s husband Robby wrote the series of books that include Bearing Fruit, Firmly Planted and Growing Up.  I believe I reviewed one of these on our blog some time ago, and highly recommended it.

VERDICT:  5 stars.  This book is a must for the Women’s Ministry of the church.

If you wish to purchase it go to the link below:

Disciple Her

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

What Am I Feeling? by Dr. Josh and Christi Straub–Book Review

Parents and teachers will love this colorfully illustrated book about feelings and how to handle them.  Sam’s father tells him:

“…. what you feel matters, but it doesn’t have to control you.  Giving each feeling a name helps you know what to do with it.”

He then adds this piece of good advice:

“a feeling is just a feeling.  It’s not in charge of you.  If you feel afraid, take a deep breath, name your feeling, and ask God to help you with it.”

What Am I Feeling?

Many children (and let’s be honest, adults), struggle with controlling their feelings. Emotions can manifest themselves in physical ways (an upset stomach) and can lead us to say and do things that are destructive.  Sam and his classmates learn to recognize and label difficult emotions like jealousy, anger, fear and sadness as well as good feelings of happiness and bravery.  This is a first step in self-awareness and empathizing with others.

A great teaching tool, the book contains a pull-out  feeling chart that will be great for use at home in a classroom.

VERDICT:  5 stars

Want to purchase this book?  Follow the link below:

What Am I Feeling?

 

I have a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

 

Martin Luther on Praying for One Another

“No man should be alone when he opposes Satan. The church and the ministry of the Word were instituted for this purpose, that hands may be joined together and one may help another. If the prayer of one doesn’t help, the prayer of another will.”

Martin Luther

Your Will Not Mine

Why do you pray?  Is it to get what you want?  Change something that makes you unhappy?  Find a way out of a desperate situation?  It’s okay.  We all pray like this, sometimes, and God wants us to pour out our innermost thoughts, desires and fears to Him.  It’s a beginning.  However, the motivating factor behind our prayer life should be this:  to know His will and obey Him.  I found this quote that expresses true prayer well:

“That prayer which does not succeed in moderating our wish, in changing the passionate desire into still submission, the anxious, tumultuous expectation into silent surrender, is no true prayer and proves that that we have not the spirit of true prayer.  That life is most holy in which there is least of petition and desire, and most of waiting upon God;  that in which petition most often passes into thanksgiving.  Pray till prayer makes you forget your own wish, and leave it or merge it in God’s will.  The Divine wisdom has given us prayer, not as a means whereby to obtain the good things of earth, but as a means whereby we learn to do without them;  not as a means whereby we escape evil, but as a means whereby we become strong to meet it.” F.W. Robertson

This is how Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  It was an anguished, but genuine prayer;  a prayer that was all about the Father and His plan.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

Can you follow His lead and pray to be led into God’s will, not your own?  It’s a prayer that will never fail.