Thursday, January 24, 2008

Do it anyway

You know the kind of activities that you know are good for you but you still sometimes hate the energy and commitment it takes to get to the place of participating in that activitiy? Good activities that in hind sights are always applauded and enjoyed OR even if they aren't enjoyed you at least see the benefits?---Like going to the gym. You hit the alarm clock which is rattling off the night stand over an hour earlier than it should, and in that moment you hate the gym, exercise trainers and anything that is remotely connected to the gym. But you do it anyway! AND later, when your energy levels are good, and the doctor gives you a green hindsight you are glad you went! (or maybe the details are slightly different and you now know you should have gone!)

Here's my confession, that feels very "un-pastor-like" but I'll say it any way since it's true. I meet with a group of men on Thursday mornings (we call it oxygen) for a time of prayer and the description above is often my experience. Some mornings, I just have so much to do, it feels like I can't schedule it or justify it or focus on it...BUT every time, literally every time, I am so glad that I sat with those men and heard their hearts poured out before God. I'm so glad I have participated with them in opening our hearts before God and laying down our desires, and needs. It does something in me and to me that I can't quite explain with words. It is powerful to watch and experience the alignment of our hearts with the heart of God, and I'm convinced that nothing does that like prayer. I walk away from that time feeling as though God was sitting among us. From time to time I can almost feel his pleasure in our joined voices and hearts, pleading to Him. But that makes perfect sense if you consider God's Word. Deuteronomy 4:7 reveals that"...God is near us whenever we pray to him." That sure makes sense of what I experience every Thursday morning! So, the next time you think about jumping into prayer personally and privately, or with a small group or with some group like the one that I meet with, and something else presses in, and attempts to Hi-Jack your time or focus---Do it anyway! You'll be so glad you did. Remember "...God is near us whenever we pray to him."

We pray about all sorts of things but these four things, concerning Ridge Church are part of the discussion and pleading with God every time we meet. We have seen evidence of God working in each area, answering request--orchestrating his plan among us! :
  • God's Glory: We pray that men and women will experience life in Jesus and that we will play a role in seeing God's Glory move forward in this city...and beyond.
  • God's Kingdom Advance: We pray not just that "Ridge Church" will grow and succeed in our mission, but that God's Kingdom will advance and become an epidemic. We pray for other churches, pastors, and ministries by name.
  • God's Provision: We ask God to provide for this vision by providing people that will partner with us as on-going percentage givers and others as "Gap" or "Vision" Givers. Ultimately we pray that God will align people's hearts with this vision (Wow--that one is happening in a big way!)
  • Specifically about a morning facility: Each week we confess to God that we don't see what he sees, and that we want to move through this life based on his knowledge and view of the world around us---not our own. We beg him to put us in a place that would be optimal for seeing people's lives changed. For more info on participating in this one click here: VISION PARTNERS.
**UPDATE on VISION PARTNERS: We had two more commitments last week. Both individuals are new to Ridge Church, but love what they have experienced!! Still need at least 10 more commitments (15 would be even better). You guys rock, for stepping up on this. I know that there are others that will step up to the plate for Ridge Church on this as well.

Seven Practices: (8:15-9:30am, Th., Mornings @ PJ's, in Matthews):
I am very excited to introduce a new element to Thursday mornings. For the next two months we are going through a book together called "7 Practices of Effective Ministry." In addition to our normal time in prayer, we will spend 15-20 minutes each Thursday morning dialoging around these practices. The practices are simple, but amazing and can be scaled to apply to so many contexts. Work, school, home and family etc. Can't wait to jump in and see what kind of conversations emerge.

If you missed the last service you can catch it here. We honestly didn't know what to expect with the weather in question and the biggest NFL playoff games of the year going on. We opened the doors and just hoped people would actually show up. As it turned out, we had to set out four or five extra rows of chairs in the back to fit every one in! Josh Bayne lead us in an incredible night of worship. He had some cool an ecouraging things to say about ridge on his blog. It was an incredible night!

1 comment:

patrick mitchell said...

yeah man... that's good stuff. i resonate with you on the prayer stuff. excited to see what God does...