Jun 26, 2009

Presentation

We are giving a Parish and Peru Mission presentation at Faith Pres. in Clinton,LA this Sunday. Lord willing, Don Charlet will be there to talk about the furniture production and sale and I will talk about my future role in working in the shop and discipleship.

Jun 24, 2009

Counting Eggs?

We found out the baby is a boy! We already have a name for him, Samuel. Actually we came up with two male names before our first was born, since she was a girl we had to come up with a new name for her. So this time it is easy. Is it too early to give him a name? Well, it does feel a little awkward but why not? There is no doubt he is living with all his kicking and tumbling and his heart beating. I wonder if the phrase, "don't count your chickens before they hatch" would apply here. Well, if God knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb, I trust that he also knows our Samuel even now.

I like the name for two reasons both having to do with prayer. One, the biblical reference to the Hebrew name sounding like, "heard of God" when God answered Hannah's prayer in giving her Samuel. It is not that we were specifically praying for another child at this time, but we are in a season of dependence on prayer. We are very aware of how much we depend on God answering prayer. The second reason for this name goes back to a historical prayer meeting, called the Haystack Prayer Meeting. Samuel John Mills Jr. was the leader of that meeting. Some say this was the starting point of American overseas missions movement. He also started the American Bible Society out of concern for God's word getting into the hands of people that don't have it. Some accounts say that his mother dedicated him to service in foreign missions. My main interest in this is that God seemed to answer the prayers of a small group of people seeking to be faithful in proclaiming the gospel to those who don't know Jesus. May God raise our Samuel up to be another bold warrior servant for the Kingdom that Christ is establishing on Earth.

Jun 18, 2009

Prayer: Part II

I was reminded this morning how valuable prayer is. I have been struggling with doubts and insecurities over the last couple of days. Meg and I have talked and prayed about it. I also met this morning with my prayer partners and was very much encouraged by them and reminded of the wonderful grace we have in Christ. We prayed about it and by the end of our time I felt like the foolish Israelites who keep forgetting what marvelous grace God had shown them and turn and complain again and again. I realized how foolish my doubts and insecurities were.

I have also been encouraged by reading E.M. Bounds in his book, The Essentials of Prayer. The most recent was his last chapter titled “Prayer and Missions”. He said many things worth quoting.
Money is important, but money without prayer is powerless in the face of the darkness, the wretchedness and the sin in unchristianised lands. Prayerless giving breeds barrenness and death. Poor praying at home is the solution of poor results in the foreign field. Prayerless giving is the secret of all crises in the missionary movements of the day, and is the occasion of the accumulation of debts in missionary boards.
It is all right to urge men to give of their means to the missionary cause. But it is much more important to urge them to give their prayers to the movement. Foreign missions need, today, more the power of prayer than the power of money. Prayer can make even poverty in the missionary cause move on amidst difficulties and hindrances. Much money without prayer is helpless and powerless in the face of the utter darkness and sin and wretchedness on the foreign field.
…The common idea among Church leaders is that if we get the money, prayer will come as a matter of course. The very reverse is the truth. If we get the Church at the business of praying, and thus secure the spirit of missions, money will more than likely come as a matter of course. Spiritual agencies and spiritual forces never come as a matter of course… They who give, will not necessarily pray. Many in our churches are liberal givers who are noted for their prayerlessness. One of the evils of the present-day missionary movement lies just there. Giving is entirely removed from prayer. Prayer receives scant attention, while giving stands out prominently. They who truly pray will be moved to give. Praying creates the giving spirit… It is marvelous how little part money played in primitive Christianity as a factor in spreading the Gospel, and how wonderful part prayer played in it.
…one of the leading petitions in the Lord’s Prayer deals with this same question of the establishing of God’s kingdom and the progress of the Gospel in the short, pointed petition, ‘Thy kingdom come,’ with the added words, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.’
The missionary movement in the Apostolic Church was born in an atmosphere of fasting and prayer. The very movement looking to offering the blessings of the Christian Church to the Gentiles was on the housetop on the occasion when Peter went up there to pray, and God showed him His Divine purpose to extend the privileges of the Gospel to the Gentiles, and to break down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile...
Is the harvest great? Are the labourers few? Then ‘pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into his harvest.’ Oh, that a great wave of prayer would sweep over the Church asking God to send out a great army of labourers into the needy harvest fields of the earth! No danger of the Lord of the harvest sending out too many labourers and crowding the fields. He who calls will most certainly provide the means for supporting those whom He calls and sends forth.
The one great need in the modern missionary movement is intercessors. They were scarce in the days of Isaiah. This was his complaint; ‘And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor.’ So today there is great need of intercessors, first, for the needy harvest-fields of earth, born of a Christly compassion for the thousands without the Gospel; and then intercessors for labourers to be sent forth by God into the needy fields of earth.


I would say this is very applicable to our time as well. Some may say this is not a good time to be raising support or even trying to start a new business with the Parish furniture. Perhaps, in light of what Mr. Bounds is saying, it is an even better time. With the economy being low and people being without money this may remind us of our need to pray. In times of poverty, people tend to fall to their knees much more than in times of plenty. Perhaps this time of financial crisis will inspire the type of prayer that is needed to really make this ministry successful. I am reminded that throughout history the most notable times of revival were always preceded by times of increase in prayer. What we need most is to be inspired to pray more. Please continue to lift us up in prayer that God would enable us to faithfully proclaim Christ and that His Spirit would work powerfully to bring the Lost into faithful obedience to Christ in word and deed. I am also struck with the realization that our own churches and homes are just as much a mission field as the most remote regions of the world. There is growing up around us a generation that does not know Jesus. Let us all be praying that He will send out laborers into the harvest wherever that field is.

Prayer: Part I

I have been thinking a lot about prayer recently. One of my close friends and prayer partners and I recently started working through a book by Richard Foster called The Celebration of Discipline. His chapter on prayer struck me. He made reference to Christ’s teaching on prayer. The thing that stuck out most to me was from Mark 11 when Jesus told us to pray believing that we have what we ask for before we ask for it. Foster recommended a book by Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School Of Prayer. This book has also been very encouraging and thought provoking. One of Murray’s chapters focuses on Mark 11:22 where Jesus says, “Have faith in God.” Murray says that this statement to believe in God is crucial in preceding the command for faith in what we ask for. We must first believe in the giver before we have any reason to believe in the gift. This may be the heart of why Word of Faith folks are going too far with their “name it and claim it” approach. I think on the other hand we are going too far in reacting against their over reaction and being unfaithful in not believing he will answer our prayers. We do have the command to believe what we have asked for and it will be ours. The crucial aspect of this is having faith in God himself first. It becomes a God-centered prayer instead of a me-centered prayer. Murray makes a good point of faith being the means of a real relationship with God himself more than it is a means of getting the thing we ask for.
I am struck with this being very important in my support raising process in two ways. The first is that I need to be praying for God to provide and confidently trusting in Him to do it. This does not take away from the fact that I need to be doing the work that is in front of me but I need to do it trusting that God will answer my prayers. This thought is supported in reading through Joshua. The Ephraimites were complaining about the mountain land being difficult to clear and the valley people having iron chariots. Joshua’s response to them was that they will clear out the highlands and they will conquer the iron chariots. God had already promised them that he would give them this land but they still had to work for it. At the same time they had to trust and believe in God’s answer to his promise to do the work. The second way this is very important is to remember my need to be in communion with God. If I am focusing too much on seeking support and also seeking how to help others see Christ to the neglect of my dwelling in Christ then I will have nothing to offer. I am constantly being reminded of my need to be healed by Christ in order to be able to point anyone to the Christ who heals.

Jun 12, 2009

World Magazine Article


Cool! World did an article on Parish you can see it here.

ICFF


It sounds like the International Contemporary Furniture Fair went well. While there is a huge learning curve and the economy is not promising, there were still several good leads. We will continue to pray that God will provide and bless this ministry. More to come soon...