Tag Archives: Prayer

What if God Answered all Your Prayers?

PrayerWhat if God answered all your prayers from 2013? What difference would that have made in your life? What significance? Perhaps there would have been an increase in your comfort of living, maybe a pay raise. A couple more “good days” and safe trips around town. A close parking spot, a sunny day for that trip to the beach. But what life changing or world changing events would have happened if God had answered all your prayers? Maybe not a lot, because we didn’t ask for those.

This is a sobering thought I’ve had for the last couple weeks. I’ve realized that if God had answered all my prayers, it wouldn’t have made much of a lifetime impact. Is praying for a pay raise bad? No. Is praying for a sunny day (or in my case, a rainy day) bad? No. But I’ve begun to realize that we pray more often about small things, and don’t go much further than that.

What if I also prayed for my church, that it would be healthy and grow and have a significant impact on my community? What if I prayed for my children, that someday they would have a faith that would not be afraid? What if I prayed that God would make me into the woman He desires me to be, even if the process means poverty and trials and many dark valleys? What if I prayed for my husband, that he would be a godly man?

I’m now looking at 2014. What will I pray for? I want to extend my prayers past myself and my comfort zone. I want to pray for more than a nicer home or food or job promotion or a higher amazon ranking. Those are not bad things, but I don’t want my prayers to be only those things. Because in the end, if that is all God did in my life, then I didn’t live much of a life. And I want it to be more.

Church Planting: Nuts and Bolts

Last week I talked about how important the foundation is for a church plant. If Jesus is not the foundation, then whatever you build will eventually crumble. A church plant needs leaders who are following Jesus wholeheartedly (by following what He says in His word both within church and in the home).

A church plant also needs people praying: praying for God’s power, strength and protection for when (not if) the enemy comes knocking. Prayer for godly leaders. Prayer that we do not lose sight of our first love, Jesus. Prayer for those whose lives will be touched. Prayer, prayer did I mention prayer?

Ok, great. Foundation. Got that. So how about the walls? The roof? When do you start building (or planting the church)? I know a lot of you are curious about the process. So I wanted to share this week what we are doing and how you can be a tangible part of this plant!

First: Finances. Someone asked me the other day what was the scariest part of church planting. Without hesitation, I said finances. For me personally, this is the scariest part. No paycheck. Trusting God to take care of us.

It is going to take time before this ministry can support itself. After weeks of prayer, seeking wise counsel, and looking at all our options, Dan and I decided to have me go back to work full time. Why? Primarily Dan is going to need the freedom and flexibility to meet with people and to help start the church. By working, I will be able to give him that freedom and serve the church in this way.

Not that Dan will be sitting at home eating bon bons :). He is going back to school and getting a one-year masters degree in church planting. This will serve twofold: financial aid to support us and give him some additional training in church planting. This also allows him to stay home with the kids and again meet with people.

Second: Support. No person is an island and neither is a church plant. Before we even considered the possibility of church planting here, Dan met with local pastors to ask their advice. Our heart is for the new church to not be in competition but complementary to other local gatherings. After receiving positive feedback, Dan then asked a couple local church planters to mentor him.

Along with local support, we are in the process of being evaluated by national organizations that help church planters.

Third: Connections. Church planting is a contact sport :). In order to reach people, we have to meet people. So over the summer, there will be casual events for people to come and check out Living Grace Church. Our first one will be tomorrow. Next month there will be another one. And more the rest of the year.

Along with casual events, we want to start connecting with people who feel led to be a part of this church plant. Those that have a passion for seeing a church birthed, those that like adventure with risk.

This will be a community launch, not a Dan and I thing. I know some of you have been following our church plant and wondering where you fit in. You are welcome to join us and see what God is going to do. Someone asked a few days ago; “I love my church, but I want to help you.” Great! You can still be a part of the Launch Team, and when we are birthed return to you home church. This plant is a God thing, not an us thing. We want to reach as many as we can, and that is only accomplished when we put aside differences and live out our faith in community where others can see it.

After all, church is who we are, not something we attend :).

If the launch team is not for you, or perhaps you live far away, then consider being a prayer partner for Living Grace Church (a very vital part of our foundation).

If you are interested in being a prayer partner, click here for more info. By joining the Prayer Team, you will receive emails with specific prayer requests and updates on what is happening.

If you want to help us launch Living Grace Church, click here. We are looking for people who will help with events, help us connect with the community, perhaps provided skills or gifts that we don’t possess (like graphic design, music, visual media, or just love hanging out with people and being goofy… although that’s a skill Dan has in abundance :P).

Thanks for taking time to pray for us and considering being a part of the Launch or Prayer Team. Tomorrow is our first official event. Come with any questions you have and an appetite. Falls Park, 11am-2pm. Free hotdogs and a drink (yum!).

 

 

Church Planting: The Foundation

How do you start a church? Do you spam flyers everywhere, then rent a room and start doing Sunday morning services?

How is a church really born?

First, it must begin with a foundation. Just like building a house, you don’t just set up the walls and roof and call it good. All it would take is one nice big Midwestern storm and poof! The house falls. Same with a church. Without a solid foundation, a church falls.

So what is that foundation? Jesus.

Before a church even begins, it must be founded on Jesus. Those starting the church must be following Him, listening to Him, asking Him what He desires for the church. If a church does not start with Jesus, then it does not have a foundation.

So how does that look practically?

First, the leaders. Those who desire to lead the church should first look at the qualifications listed in the Bible. Are they living out these qualities? Are they living obedient to Jesus? Here are a few of the qualifications listed:

  • Lives a blameless life.
  • Faithful to his wife.
  • Not arrogant or quick tempered.
  • Not dishonest with money.
  • Love what is good.
  • Live wisely and be just.
  • Live a devout and disciplined life.
  • Must have a strong belief in the message he was taught.

There are more, but these are just a few of the qualities the Bible lists for those desiring to lead the church. I’m overwhelmed even looking at them. Whew!

Does this mean that leaders need to be perfect? No, or else they would not need Jesus. But a leader should be known for living out the qualities listed in the Bible. And humble enough to admit when they do sin, ask forgiveness, and move on.

Now notice, it doesn’t list leaders need to wear ties, have the right shoes, hairdo, or anything external like that. It lists qualities of the heart, character. It matters what the leader is on the inside, not the outside. A Spirit-led humble heart that follows Jesus. A leader who is worried about putting on a good front when at church, but acts differently at home will weaken the church’s foundation. A church’s foundation will only remain solid as long as the leaders are godly both at church and in the home.

Practically, what does that mean for Living Grace Church? First, it means that Dan and I need to examine our own lives. Are we following Jesus and obeying his Word? Are we living out these qualities (not perfectly, but consistently)? I include myself because as a pastor’s wife, I am a leader too, if nothing else because people are watching me.

This also means those desiring to help lead Living Grace Church need to be godly leaders. As those people come forward, we need to ask them if they are following what God says about leaders in the church. And then see if their lives back it up over time.

Godly leaders are crucial to the foundation of a church. It is the leaders who guard the flock, lead by example, serve like Jesus served (with a towel in hand, washing feet), and sacrifice because they know people matter to God. When a church is built on these kinds of people, people who love and follow Jesus, then the foundation will be solid.

Another crucial part of planting a church is prayer. Prayer goes hand in hand with godly leaders when pouring the foundation of a church. Without prayer, how will we hear God? Prayer is time spent with Jesus, asking and then quietly listening. It cannot be rushed. Let me say that again. Prayer cannot be rushed. It takes time to align ourselves with Jesus, to finally quiet our heart before Him, then hear Him.

Prayer changes our hearts. We begin to see the world as Jesus does. We begin to love people as Jesus does. Prayer prepares us to follow Jesus wherever He leads because we have spent time with Him, quietly, daily.

Again, what does that mean for Living Grace Church? It means we need people praying for this newborn church. We need people quieting themselves before Jesus, asking Him to direct His church. We need prayer for godly leaders, for endurance when the enemy fights back, for those whose lives will be touched. And soon we will need prayer for things such as a facility, finances, and partners.

It is not ambition that will plant this church. Nor hard work or luck. The church will be built on Jesus. It will be built on those who choose to give themselves to God to be used in whatever way He chooses. It will be hard, scary, and sacrificial. But by choosing to give ourselves to God, many more will come to know Him. And that, my friends, makes it all worth it.

 

*If you are interested in joining us, we need people for both our Launch Team and Prayer Team. To find out more, go to www.aplace4grace.org or facebook.com/aplace4grace.

 

*For more passages on godly leadership, check out Acts 20:28-31; 1 Pet 5:1-4 ; Titus 1:5-9 ; 1 Tim 3:1-6 .

 

 

Prayer Request

I wasn’t planning on blogging today since I will be participating in the http://www.hoosierink.blogspot.com tomorrow and blogging about a book review on Monday. However, life happens and so I am using today’s post to ask anyone who comes to my blog to pray for Dan, myself, and my family.

In Darkness there is Light. For a year now that has been the tagline for both my writing and my life. Well, I’m living it out again. The darkness in my life feels overwhelming.

So I am asking for prayer that Dan and I will find jobs very soon. I also ask for prayer for a potential ministry opportunity God might be directing us towards. And I ask for prayer for our spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. We both feel very battered right now.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us the assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Profile of a Pastor’s Wife: Prayer

It’s ironic to be writing this post since I am no longer a pastor’s wife (at the moment). As many of you know, Dan was let go last Saturday. Some of you have asked what that means. Well, it means Dan is no longer an active pastor at the church we were at. Why? To be honest, we are not sure. All we know is that Dan’s contract was not renewed.

But I believe God had a plan when I began writing this series a couple weeks ago. This did not take God by surprise (even if it took us by surprise). And I believe God was preparing me when I took an inward look at what it meant to be a pastor’s wife and share my thoughts with all of you.

One thing God brought to my attention during this series is how many times I carry my burdens alone. I was always afraid to reach out, to ask someone to pray for me. I shouldered the hidden burdens of ministry alone because I believed that was my duty.

Sometime before last Saturday, I realized I was wrong. Or perhaps more accurately, God showed me I was wrong. I may not always be able to give people details (in fact, many times I cannot out of respect for the people Dan ministers to and respect for God’s order of things), but it was wrong of me to try and carry those heavy loads by myself. I realized just how wrong I was when I finally reached out a couple weeks ago and asked many of you to pray for us. I was not able to say why, but so many of you answered and lifted my family up in prayer. I experienced peace beyond my comprehension. My burden lifted. Thank you my friends.

Your pastor needs your prayers (and their families too). There is a battle out there, a battle many times you will not know about. But I know from first hand experience now how powerful and uplifting prayer is when you know you are covered in it. I told a friend the other day that when I know someone is praying for me, it halves the burden. And when two people are praying, the burden is halved more.

Keep your pastor in your prayers. Be on your knees for him, asking God to give him wisdom and encouragement. You will never know how much your prayers mean to him. Many times words of encouragement and prayer are like a glass of fresh cold water. Pastors need that. And you may be the one God sends to encourage him.

On a personal note, please pray for Dan and I. This is a scary place for us. We do not know what God has in store for our future. I have mentioned before that one of the darkest times in my life was when Dan was laid off a couple years ago.  Well, I’m back, and it’s as dark and scary as I remember it. Pray for our faith as it is tested in the next couple months. Pray that God will provide: financially, emotionally, spiritually for us. Pray for our children, especially our older two who understand more what it means for Dan to not have a job.

Thank you my friends for being there for us and for your prayers. Please feel free to drop us a line (or two). We always appreciate it 🙂