by Keith Ferrin, Guest Writer
Sometimes we know exactly what to pray for. The woman walking out of your office who is trying to decide what to do next. The unmarried couple who just signed up for your parenting class. The board meeting next week where tough decisions need to be made. Your fundraising banquet that’s only three weeks away.
Yes, sometimes the prayer needs are very specific and very obvious. And sometimes they are not.
There are also times when you might know what to pray, but your supporters, friends, board members, and people who drive by your center don’t have a clue what you are facing.
What if there was a template – or more accurately – a guide for times when prayer is needed, but the specific prayer requests aren’t known?
At those times, the Apostle Paul’s prayer in the first chapter of Philippians is just such a guide. Take a look...
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
Now let’s look at this prayer one piece at a time...
More than anything, the people who walk through your doors, call your hotlines, and take your parenting classes need love. To know they are loved. To see it. To feel it. To receive it. To believe it.
Our love needs to abound...more and more.
Simply put: There is a lot to know.
Whether it is new medical information, training to become a better advocate, working more effectively as a staff and board, teaching abstinence classes in the public schools, or navigating the ever-changing political landscape, we could all use more knowledge.
Sometimes you’re talking to a person who truly needs answers. Other times, the person you are with is scared to death and simply needs to know they are not alone. To have the Holy Spirit give us insight into when to talk, when to be silent, and what to say is a daily necessity.
There are few things the enemy wants more than to destroy the purity and blamelessness of your staff, volunteers, and board members. He is a destroyer, and he loves to destroy marriages and families.
Too many times, we have seen the carnage left in the wake of moral failure. The enemy knows that. And he is attacking. Our best weapon in this area is prayer.
This ministry is life and death. Literally. The fruit of your ministry is life. Life for that unborn child. Life for that woman. Life for that couple. And life for all of the lives they touch.
God’s glory and God’s praise is our ultimate desire. We want everything we do to glorify the only One worthy of glory. And we want everything we do to cause those we serve to praise Him.
What if you and I prayed that prayer on a daily basis? What if your staff prayed that prayer? What if your donors prayed that prayer?
When specific prayer requests are known – pray specifically. When they are not – pray Paul’s prayer.
Pray it. Share it. And then pray it some more. Lives are counting on it.
Keith Ferrin is an author, speaker, blogger and storyteller. His word-for-word, dramatic presentations of whole books of the Bible have been seen by audiences big and small on several continents. His passion is helping people not just read and study the Bible, but truly enjoy it! He has been partnering with pregnancy centers around the country for the last decade. He and his wife have three kids and you’ll find them doing something outdoors in and around Seattle. He blogs weekly at www.KeithFerrin.com.
by Debra Neybert, Training Specialist
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:5–8)
At Christmas we are often drawn to the account of the Lord's humble birth, and certainly He came into the world in unpretentious circumstances, but His humility had an even greater impact. Jesus made Himself of no reputation, removing His royal robes, so that we might be adorned with the garments of salvation.
Andrew Murray captures it well, "Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature; the Eternal Love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us."
The Word tells us to put on, or clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 13:14). We are invited daily to slip into the garments He provided, taking on His character, disposition, attitude, and His righteousness. True humility is seeing ourselves as the Father sees us. We are the righteous of God in Christ. Yes, there are the human frailties and wounds, but the Father is always speaking to our potential; which beckons us to become more like Him!
The scripture in Romans implies putting away selfishness, the more room we make for God in our lives the more we will be imitators of Him. When we choose to step aside and esteem others better than ourselves, we can say, "It is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me." (Galatians 2:20) As He is made larger on the inside of us, love and humility become more evident. When we choose to love in the most difficult of circumstances, it protects us from the circumstances getting on the inside of us. Pride wants to protect itself, humility allows for God's protection!
Jesus is humility; and being full of grace and truth He was able to overlook all that came against Him; He walked in such a way that it could not touch Him. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up." (James 4:6-7, 10)
How do we emulate His love and humility? When we choose to fix our eyes on Him, worship and adore Him, we become more and more like Him. Ancient rabbis would say a true worshiper of God was putting on the cloak of the Shekinah. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 2:18)
Tweet this! Jesus is the gift of humility and so much more!
Jesus is the gift of humility and so much more! He made Himself of no reputation so that we might have the greatest reputation of all....sons and daughters of the most High God! Let us rejoice this season in The King of all Glory, who reigns in us, through us. Emmanuel, God with us!
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
Raising funds is a challenge, certainly. Yet sometimes it is our perspective that creates its own challenges.
When funds are tight, it is easy for us to focus on what we don't have, and how to make our case known so we can get back to a financially-sound situation. It's natural for us, when things are tight, to be thinking of ways to try harder, to create new opportunities for gifts, etc.
The Apostle Paul was no stranger to tight situations, whether it be persecution, church turmoil, or finances. He also asked for gifts; making him—in our vernacular—a development director for the work of the fledgling church. If we don't believe this, all we have to do is read II Corinthians 8 and 9, two chapters where Paul lays out a plan for specific giving.
We can learn from Paul, primarily through his perspective. Read with me Philippians 4:16-17: "for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account."
Read that again. What does Paul actually want? "The profit which increases to your account." If we want a reason to look to Paul as our expert in fundraising, this is it. Paul is not interested in his own comfort, and while he knows his mission is to advance the power of the Gospel message, he sees another priority: Giving opportunity to build the faith and the resulting growth in the spiritual account of those who give.
If we are involved in development, these two verses should sit on our desk and be a focal point of our thinking, every single day. For if our perspective is to see our financial partners' "accounts" grow (instead of first focusing on our financial accounts), everything changes.
We will be:• More attuned to our donors' spiritual needs• More interested in seeing their spiritual growth through giving• More willing to listen to their desires for our ministries• Less worried about our ministry's financial situation• Less likely to give in to gimmicks in order to raise funds
Paul had it right, didn't he? That's why Phil. 4:16-17 is not simply a couple of nice verses to chat about during a workshop. It is instead a state of mind that zeroes in on the real reason for giving. Giving will fund our ministries, yes. But God is not simply interested in getting people to give to us so that our organization can do more.
No, God wants to build the faith and the spiritual "accounts" of those who love him. We are being used by God to bring this to fruition. This was Paul's perspective. It can be ours, too.
Click here for more of this month's TLC.
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