Friday, October 5, 2007

Resources to Aid in Praying that the Nations Be Glad in God

In Sunday night's message (10/07/07), I plan to recommend some resources to help us pray efficiently for missions. I have provided the list here along with a link to finding where to purchase these items and/or find them for free. It is only a start to a list of abundant resources to aid in our praying. I hope this helps and gets you started compiling your own list of resources to help in your praying for the nations to be glad in God!

1. Operation World. Click here for purchasing information.

2. Global Prayer Digest. Click here for downloading information. You can download it for free!

*3. Global Prayer Gram

*4. "Loving the Lost" Booklet

*5. The Commission Magazine

*6. To the Ends of the Earth Magazine

*All of the above resources can be found and ordered from the International Mission Board web-site. You can go there directly by clicking here. You can go directly to their prayer request page by clicking here. Order a free "Loving the Lost" Booklet here.

7. The North America Mission Board web-site. Go straight to their web-site here; or straight to their prayer request page here.

Again, this is just a small and very short list of a massive amount of material out there to help us be better "pray-ers" for the nations to be glad! So, get busy praying! God will hear us and He will answer according to His perfect will!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Lessons Learned at Lebohneur

Most everyone who reads this knows that my 2 year old son Luke recently contracted a staph infection following a routine hernia surgery two weeks ago. It meant seven days in the hospital complete with five consecutive days of surgery like procedures in effort to drain as much as the infection as possible. Katie and I rejoice in the Lord that he is now home and doing well. God chose to answer our prayers by healing him of the infection. Praise His wonderful name!

During our stay at Lebohneur Children's Hospital in Memphis, TN, the Lord taught me alot. What follows are (in no particular order) some lessons and truths that came to life for me:

1. Things happen to my children that are outside my control.

I realize how obvious this is, but Luke contracting this infection made it clearer. Katie and I (mostly Katie) did everything we possibly could to make sure we kept him clean and did exactly what the doctor said. The doctor assured us that he did everything he did to prevent an infection and we believe him. Some things are simply outside our control. This staph infection was one of them. Other things in the future will happen. Physical injuries. Emotional hardships. Wordly sins and perversions.
Am I to sit back and just let things happen? By no means! Though things will happen beyond my control, my job is to prepare the boys to react in a biblical, God-exalting, Christ-driven way. Katie and I can aid in preventing negative things. We can also aid in combatting the negative things in a godly way. The lesson here is that because uncontrollable circumstances will come, I am to help them be prepared for its coming and help them endure during it.

2. I am to be more intense about my children's spiritual well-being as I am about their physical.

For seven days straight Katie and I, along with numerous doctors and nurses, were intense with making sure Luke was physically healthy. I preach that our spiritual soul will last forever, whereas our physical bodies will not. I preach that having a healthy soul is more important than having a healthy body. Physical health is valuable, but godliness holds value for all things (1 Timothy 4:8).
I was convicted and challenged by the Lord to be more intense with Luke and Seth's spiritual well-being as I am with their physical. Don't misunderstand. Their physical well-being is VERY important. But their spiritual well-being is more important. The lesson is to be diligent in helping their soul delight in and hope in the God of the Bible.

3. Hardly anyone will ever refuse to be prayed for.

I knew this before last week. I experienced it firsthand while at the hospital. Katie and I had numerous opportunities to pray for nurses, doctors, aids, residents, etc. No one refused to be prayed for. No one did not want to give us something to pray for them about. People like to be prayed for. Lesson? Pray for people! Ask people how you can pray for them. They will let you pray for them. Oftentimes it will prompt a discussion about religious things. It gave Katie and I several opportunities to talk about Christ and the gospel with people.

4. A loving church family brings present comfort and help, as well as peace for the future.

Oh how I love Wynne Baptist Church! I was reminded the value and benefits and blessings of being a part of a loving church family. Oh how helpful it is during a tough time! How comforting it is to have brothers and sisters in Christ praying and providing for physical needs. Katie and I didn't have to worry about a single thing (outside Luke's situation) while we are at the hospital. Both her mom and my mom helped keep Seth (which was a HUGE blessing that they both longed to do!), but had they not been able to come we had a number of those willing to take care of him for us. The body of Christ came to the aid time and time again of an injured member. The body took care of itself! I love it! This also gives me great peace for the future. If a tragedy were to strike my family, I fear not that I will have legions of brothers and sisters in Christ who will offer care, comfort, love, and support. It brings great relief to be able to rely on the church show the love of Christ for any future unexpected mishaps.
A lesson here? Yes. If you are reading this and are not actively involved in a local church, do it for the sake of your own soul and future! You will have opportunity to love on and minister to other brothers and sisters in Christ. You will one day need them to come to your aid.

5. A healthy church and staff will carry on just fine for a season without their pastor.

Now I cannot say that a healthy church and staff can carry on just fine without their pastor. That would eliminate me! But I do believe it can carry on just fine for a season without the pastor. Christ will build His church for sure. He doesn't need any of us. But He has ordained to use a God-called pastor and staff and members to effect His work on the earth. WBC is healthy in that it functions just fine whether the pastor is there or not on a Sunday or during a week unexpectedly. It's one thing for the church to carry on when the pastor knows he will be out. But it's a different thing altogether for the church to carry on properly, not skipping a beat, when the pastor is unexpectedly out. The staff of WBC is absolutely incredible. The members are wonderful. WBC does not rise or fall based on a couple of people. It is a body that has numerous parts operating efficiently and effectively. Hallelujah! The lesson? Let's all stay connected to the Head at all times, submitting to His leading and working through us!

6. The effects of sin and the Fall are absolutely horrendous and devestating.

Luke's infection was bad. Luke's infection was serious. But it cannot begin to compare some of the situations we saw and heard about last week. What Luke went through was like a walk in Disney World compared to some of the patients we saw. Cancer patients. Heart patients. Abused patients. All horrible effects of the Fall and sin. Before sin everything was perfect. Sin brought not only spiritual separation from God, but physical deterioration. See Romans 8:18-25. This world we live in is impacted drastically by the Fall. Sin corrupts, not just the soul, but the body and creation as well. Come Lord Jesus! Come! Make all things new!