• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Praying together

Praying together

So, what really happened during our World Team Day of Prayer last week?

Here are a few comments I received back from World Team Global members which I hope will encourage your hearts:

As Spain Team West gathered to pray together on Friday, we enjoyed praying for these 2 people groups and learning more about them. It enabled us to lift our eyes from our own endeavours and surroundings and contemplate others from very different cultures and the challenges of reaching them with the gospel. I sensed it was our privilege to pray for these people groups for God’s Spirit to break through so that others can know the deep love of God.”

We are going to Lorraine who, as you know, is wheelchair bound. It will be an encouragement for her to continue participating in this vital day. After the passing of her husband Paul into glory, our team has shrunk even more. Nevertheless, we carry on with the day of prayer and the work. First things first.”

It is always a special time when I pray for World Team ministries in other parts of the world.  I pray a lot for our WT Americas missionary team, for new people groups and new ministries, but less for other Areas’ needs.  Praying for the Cham and Dadjo opened a new window on what the Lord is doing in other parts of the world, and in a small way, to be a part of what He is doing.”

World Team Canada met for prayer ‘virtually’ and a fair sized group was surprised to have a member of Hook Evangelical Church (UK) join them and explain their church’s passion for the Dadjo and their commitment to pray for this people group for the past 10+ years!

So, what really happened?  I believe we united our hearts in prayer, for God to work in significant ways among the Dadjo and the Cham … and we did this ‘work’ together, all around the globe [a Doodle online calendar was a first start at seeing how we prayed together over the 24-48 hour time period].

Much thanks and gratitude for your participation!  However, let us not forget that this is only the start of the ‘marathon’ of prayer for these two people groups! Press on together!

Running in the rain

In runners speak, we call it the ‘pre-wash’. That’s when you head out for a run and half way through the run, it starts to rain.  What are you going to do?  You have to get back home, so you just run through the rain and take the ‘pre-wash’.

When we woke up on the day of the Florence marathon (November 25th), I could hear the rain falling outside, and it didn’t sound like a slight drizzle.

For 42 kilometers, we got soaked.  This wasn’t just a ‘pre-wash’, but a slogging through the rain for over four hours (in the case of my daughter, a lot less time of running through the rain).

IMG-20181126-WA0009Now, I had linked this run to the challenge that I had gifted to us as a mission: to see significant impact among two unreached people groups in the coming months and year. We had chosen to focus our attention on the Dadjo (Chad) and Cham (Cambodia) peoples.

As I approached kilometer 28 and began to wonder if I could really go the distance because of the rain (the famous ‘wall’ when running a marathon), the thought came to me: ‘Is this what it’s going to be like to pray for the Dadjo and the Cham?  To ‘slog it out’ in prayer in order to see hardened hearts turn to the Creator of the universe?’

Now I don’t want to make a direct parallel between my marathon run and this call to pray for these two people groups, but the call to ‘persevere in prayer’ (Colossians 4:2-4) began to take on new meaning as I sought to keep running even though my mind was yelling for me to stop.

So, what kept me running past kilometer 28?  It was the thought of crossing that finish line in front of the Duomo (the main cathedral).

So, what will keep us ‘running together in prayer’; of persevering in our intercession for the Dadjo and the Cham?

The thought of seeing hundreds of Dadjo and Cham standing before the throne and “crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

It’s time to start ‘running’ together!

The ‘long arm’ of God

touch-of-God-gives-life-to-the-soul-400x320I have always been fascinated by the verse in Isaiah: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear” (59:1).  It’s a poetic way of stating that God is not limited, in any way, from doing what pleases Him.  What delights Him most is when His creation attributes glory to Him.  As the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it: “And in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory to him.”  God’s desire is that in everything we do, we bring glory to Him (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Here’s the rub: despite our best intentions something often stands in our way from turning all praise back to God.  The prophet Isaiah goes on to say in the following verse: “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and you sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (59:2)  It’s our inability to do what we know we should do. It’s the separation we experience when we know we have brought shame upon our Father.

Yet, we often ‘plough on’, believing that the weight of the good things we will do for God will compensate for our warped heart motivation.  We don’t stop to consider what might be ‘going wrong’ in our hearts.

The extraordinarily good news is that Jesus broke down that ‘wall of separation’ and restored us to live in community with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  The Father ‘delighted in bruising His Son’ so that His glory now covers us in robes of righteousness, giving us access into God’s presence.  The ‘long arm’ of God has reached down, and reaches down again each day to draw us back to Himself: to experience His forgiveness and to give us a heart to offer back to Him our thanks and praise.

Earlier this year, I ‘gifted’ the World Team Global community the challenge of impacting two unreached people groups this year in some significant way. We have had good conversations so far about who those people groups might be.  However, prayer is our first, and continual, step in this process.  Join me the 7th of June at 15h00 Paris time!

 

Join me for five (5) minutes for a ‘worldwide concert of prayer’ this coming Thursday at 15h00 Paris time. Wherever you might be at that time, would you stop and simply pray:

God, show us what people groups, among whom we currently work, that You long for World Team to impact this year?

Spread the word to others that they might join us for 5!

Gifting the challenge – HOW?

One of the other questions that has come up when talking about the ‘Gifting a Challenge’ project is: how are we going to identify the two people groups on which to focus and the indicators for determining impacthow bis

It’s a great question.

In the first series of online forums, we asked two questions:

  • Which one or two UPGs (that WT is working with) would you suggest we focus on and the reasons why?
  • What 5 markers would demonstrate concretely the impact of our efforts among those one or two people groups?

What I found interesting was that there a fair amount of convergence in the answers given to these questions.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised since it’s something many have been praying about for some time.

The HOW, I believe, is discovered by gathering people from the WT Global community to enter into conversation with one another and asking the Lord to lead us as we talk.

We need you to work this process further.  I hope you’ll join us on one of the next online forums.

Information on times and the link will be sent soon.

Gifting a challenge — Why?

Earlier this year, I gifted this challenge to you, to us as a World Team Global community: “To concretely see, observe and identify the impact of our efforts among two people groups.”  After holding two online forums earlier this month, I realized that the ‘why’ behind this challenge may not have been clearly communicated. the-challenge

So, why did I ‘gift this challenge’ to you, to us?  Three reasons come quickly to mind.

First, God calls us to declare His glory to the nations as a community.  When the apostle Paul reminds us of the fact that we are the recipients of the ‘mystery hidden for ages’, he calls us to join him in teaching, proclaiming, declaring that mystery to the nations which is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:24-29).  The ‘you’ in this text refers to us as a community; a community called to take up this ‘challenge’ to declare Him to the nations.

Second, such a challenge binds us together in new ways as a global community; uniting our strengths and resources towards accomplishing together something that we could not accomplish alone. By nature, we are focused on the ministry to which God has called us.  However, when we lift our eyes off that local ministry for just a moment, we gain a greater perspective of what God is doing in our part of the world as well as many other parts of the world.

Finally, other ministry initiatives would be the natural fruit of taking on such a challenge.  As our hearts are ‘warmed’ by seeing the impact of the Gospel in concrete ways among two unreached people groups, many in the WT Global community will naturally propose other projects to other unreached peoples.  As we see God work, we are spurred on to trust Him to see the Gospel impact other peoples and nations.

No challenge is by nature ‘easy’.  Having each other to ‘spur one another on’ is our best next step for addressing any challenge.

Join us for another series of online forums where we will further discuss this challenge.  Information on times and the link will be sent soon.

Gifting a challenge

Last Friday night for the first session of the Alpha Course sponsored by our local church, we were introducing ourselves around the table.  L–, a guest and friend of Jean-Claude, looked at me several times saying, “I feel like I’ve seen this man before.”  “Are you local?” he asked.  Jean Claude jokingly said that he might have seen me running around Cergy.  “David runs several times a week.  He runs marathons.”

Yes, I do run.  Or at least I try to run three times a week.  However, I haven’t run a marathon in over 10 years.  I didn’t correct Jean Claude’s statement, I let it ride (read, I let it ‘run’).  The challenge is gone. I’ve been running for my own stress relief and health, which is a very good objective according to my doctor.  The challenge, the vision of something greater is not part of what gets me up in the morning anymore to go out running. It’s become a routine.

In our family, we do what is called ‘Secret Santas’.  Each member of the family is given the name of another family member through an online program.  My oldest daughter drew my name this year and her gift to me was: the entry fee for the Florence marathon on November 25th of this year.  Another marathon?! The challenge is certainly not the same as it was a number of years ago – to run three marathons before I turned 50 years old.  However, it’s a challenge nonetheless; a challenge to run a marathon with two of my children.

The people we are most concerned about; the people for whom we work are the lost.  Our desire, our central ministry focus is to see all our work contribute to raising up disciples and communities of believers and praying for exponential growth (read, multiplication) of those disciples and communities across a people group.  Whether you are ‘on the ground’ in ministry or processing support gifts or mobilising new workers or keeping our finances healthy or fixing our IT issues, all of it has the same ultimate objective in mind.

Today, I am ‘gifting’ you a challenge. 

run with me 3Run with me.  Run together with me.  Not just to do your work better, not just to see a number come to Christ through our work and efforts, but to concretely see, observe and identify the impact of our efforts among two people groups.  Our tendency will be to want to ‘go it alone’ – just as I told my kids that I would run on my own and they could run ahead of me.  However, the joint chant should become: “I, we want to run with you.

How will we know?  How will we know what that concrete impact upon two people groups will look like?  We will discover it together as we talk, pray, dialogue, plan and pray again together. All of us.

I’m sending you a ‘save the date’ note by this post.

Save Tuesday, November 27th as the date when we will stand back to see what God has done as we ‘run together’ this year (#givethanksTuesday).