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Don't know if anyone joined in on the "2011 declarations" from last month's prayer bulletin. Sitting down and studying the scriptures behind each declaration and then really making those declarations in prayer almost every day this month was something I found powerful. You can start to see the "big ship" of your deeply ingrained thought processes begin to change a bit. The rudder creaks and pretty soon you realize that you're headed in a new direction...or at least that's the impression I'm starting to get.
Just a short clarification on the last declaration where my words were not well chosen. I said: "In 2011 the Church will lay down the idolatry of national heritages" when I really meant to say "In 2011 the Church will lay down the idolizing of national heritages." I don't want to send the message that our national heritages are idols. Far from it! No, I think that our national heritages are part of our national identity that is given to us by God. But I do think that we can (and often do) make those national heritages into an idol. Anything that gets regularly placed before/higher than God in our lives becomes an idol and our national heritages and identities are no different. When submitted to Him and used to further His Kingdom, however, those same elements become powerful and glorious and we're then able then to appreciate unique qualities in other nations and people groups as well. So, I'm for seeing major change in 2011 in this! How 'bout you!? ;-)
On to February, our "month of preparation." Seriously, a glance at our February calendar shouts out, "Routine!", but in March all Heaven breaks loose and, frankly, we need some "prep grace!" So, some specific things to pray about:
- Youth Worship - March begins with a worship seminar that we're putting on for the youth who are involved in worship ministry. As we've mentioned before, there are a couple of youth worship teams that are currently being mentored by Alana Smith . She is wanting to sow into these kids even more than simply learning songs and how to play together and lead a gathering in worship. She also wants them to understand more about the heart of worship and the heart of a worshiper. Our active prep time is now. I'll be involved as will other worship leaders in our fellowship. Please pray for our planning times that our myriad of ideas would be reduced into what God wants and will practically fit into the seminar time. Pray also for the kids to have receptive hearts and for the Lord to protect their schedules so that they can attend.
- 12 Hour Worship Gathering - In March, to celebrate the Jewish festival of Purim, we will change our regular 4 hours worship gathering (we call them "tabernacles") to last 12 hours! We have a number of worship groups coming from outside our church to take slots of time (you need about 5-7 different groups to last the 12 hours). Please pray also for the planning time for how the 12 hours will be done, as well as the relational connections with the different worship teams and the technical aspects of coordinating sound and words (my job) for so many groups at once.
- Marriage Ministry - As many of you know, a marriage ministry had a huge impact on the course of our life. Many people (especially after our testimony at church in January) here know about that and have asked us about getting back into marriage ministry. The need is certainly huge (though we certainly don't have a corner on that market here!) and it's never completely left our hearts. We've become aware of a seminar in Germany in March where the marriage ministry of Bethel Church will be be presented. We're feeling led to attend, but don't really know the next steps after that. Please pray that God would direct our steps with respect to marriage ministry involvement again. Pray for other couples from our church that may be intended to attend as well. Pray also for the provision for this seminar as it's not local and full price of the seminar and lodging is about 1,000 euros.
- Noah's College Trip - Also drawing our thoughts into March and beyond is Noah's destiny after high school. He's a junior now and the wheels are already turning for his university education. Angela and Noah will be leaving near the end of March to visit family and a few schools in the States for two weeks. It will be a whirlwind trip, and it feels like much ground needs to be covered with respect to his future in a very short amount of time. Angela is the principal player in this drama in helping Noah through the college-prep process, planning the trip, organizing the contacts, talking with all the family members, etc. (tires me out simply to type this!) Please pray for Angela for strength and wisdom during this prep time. Pray also for provision for an Arizona-Indiana flight for Noah that we've not yet purchased. Of course pray for these important steps in Noah's destiny.
- Computer Work - Lately, I've been quite immersed with some fairly engrossing computer work on multiple fronts (school, church, outside clients). I find the work interesting (though certain parts can be stressful as well)...so interesting, in fact, that the different projects swirling in my head become a sort of "mis-guided meditation!" As for the parts that are paid work, I'm still wondering where the Lord will take this part-time, if somewhat steady, stream of computer work. So, I would appreciate your prayers to know better how to really inject "heaven" in to these very cerebral activities and how to keep them from becoming "meditation" and more discernment about the direction to take with paid computer work vis-à-vis non-paid "ministry activities."
Thank you for your prayers!