Sunday, May 31, 2009

City Faith Survey ~ Exclusinve Interview

The New City Faith Survey



Phil Miglioratti interviewed Eric Welch


Phil ~ Eric, before you came to your role in the Mission America Coalition, you were fully invested in marketplace. Tell us what you did and how it prepared you to work with networks and partnerships.

Eric ~ I worked for Boston Scientific Corporation in a corporate position of knowledge management and innovation strategy. Our company had 40 different groups doing very similar work, and we recognized that there were advantages to encouraging relationships and developing systems for collaborative work. We developed a system of relational networks, online forums, and summit meetings to encourage these interactions. Each year there were a growing number of stories where collaboration worked. This work prepared me for many of the practical, cultural, and relational aspects of helping to facilitate collaboration.


Phil ~ Marketplace ministries are exploding. Worklife ministry is getting more and more attention. Why is this happening and what are the implications to citywide movements, especially those led by pastors?

Eric ~ God is clearly moving in the marketplace. The current economy, internet capabilities, a growing influence of marketplace ministries, and mobilization of marketplace leaders are part of the equation, but the bigger factor seems to be God's timing.

A number of citywide movements already involve key marketplace leaders in their leadership, however I believe more citywide movements should consider adopting this practice. It may also be helpful to encourage involvement from leaders in multiple domains of society -- Business, Healthcare, Social Service, Education, Arts & Entertainment, Sports, Family, Government, Media, and Religion. The key implication is more influence in the local community - more points of light coming together for a larger impact for the Glory of God.

There are some very strong relationships between pastors and marketplace leaders, however there are also many uncomfortable relationships between pastors and marketplace leaders. I recommend Kent Humphrey's book "Shepherding Horses" on this subject. It makes for a great shared reading between pastor and marketplace leaders in their congregation. This book helps each feel comfortable with many of their respective feelings, as well as help get past some of the roadblocks.

In Charlotte [an LC2City], a group of local and national marketplace ministries have come together (in cooperation with the Charlotte Awake cityreaching network) to pilot a Marketplace Ministry Network. The objective of this network is to provide an environment for local leaders to work together toward personal and community transformation by:
1. Encouraging the value of work calling (the value of the work itself & the ministry opportunity it provides)
2. Increasing awareness of and participation in worklife ministries in Charlotte
3. Increasing awareness of and participation in the Charlotte Awake cityreaching network for collaboration in Christ


Phil ~ Many leaders and pastors in our LC2C cities know very little about the MAC Ministry Networks ... give us an idea of how they function and their benefit to city/community impact.

Eric ~ These ministry networks can really be leveraged by a cityreaching movement. A list of these networks is given on the Mission America Coalition website. These networks help facilitate connection and collaboration in specific affinity or strategic areas. These are great networks to encourage local leaders to connect to for building local affinity groups or finding resources. Examples of these networks include the National Network of Youth Ministries, National Prayer Committee, Association of Marriage & Family Ministries, Ethnic America Network, Christian Legal Society, Prison Ministry Network, National Coalition of Men's Ministries, etc. Many of these national networks are already connected to people in their geographical areas and would be very interested in helping to encourage local connections. These networks are great places for individuals to connect with others in areas of passion that the Lord has laid on their heart. Benefits include more resources, more relationships, and more mobilization! (Please feel free to contact me for more information at eric@missionamerica.org.) ===>Click headline above for more detailed information . . .



Phil ~ I remember one of our phone conversations as you were just beginning to bring pastors together for prayer ...

Eric ~ I began by asking a simple question: Are pastors, ministry leaders, and marketplace leaders getting together in our community to pray and explore collaboration opportunities? There was one group getting together in the NW area of our city (about 45 minutes away from my home in the Fort Lauderdale metro area). I began meeting with this group, and after a while, I was moved to encourage a small group of leaders to get together for this purpose locally in the SW area of our county. We later discovered another group of leaders praying in the SE area of our county (about 30 minutes away from us). These regional groups are great for prayer, building trust, and exploring collaboration opportunities, as led by the Holy Spirit. Our group is still a small group, seeking the Lord together, acknowledging our individually distinct missions, and united in the love of Jesus for our community. As I talk to leaders in other cities, many of them recognize prayer among pastors and other leaders as one of the primary origins of citywide movements.


Phil ~ Our LC2C Team has had many discussions on how to measure city transformation. One of our action steps was to establish a task force that resulted in the City Faith Survey.
Talk about:


Eric ~
  • The purpose: Why does a city movement need a survey like this?
It provides a snapshot of the spiritual condition of the people in the city. We have all heard the national statistics, but what are the statistics in your city? What were they last year, and what will they be next year? This can be great catalyst and context for local connection, prayer, and collaboration.
  • The process: How is information gathered?
For participating cities, 1000 self-identifying Christians in that city will be surveyed randomly by telephone (by the Gallup Faith organization). Each respondent will answer 30 questions related to their faith. The results will be compiled and given to the leaders of the participating city movement.
  • The price: What is the commitment from the LC2C city and the cost?
We are looking for 5 cities to begin a pilot. The cost of the survey is $21,500 per city. Mission America Coalition will be collecting these funds and serving as a coordinator for this initiative, however, all of this amount will go directly to the Gallup Faith organization, which will be facilitating the survey. As local city network leaders consider being involved in this City Faith Survey initiative, potential sources of funding to consider may be a group of churches and ministries, local business leaders, local foundations, or a combination of these. (More information can be obtained by contacting Phil Miglioratti at phil@missionamerica.org.)


Phil ~ As you see more and more city movements and networks in action, what are the strengths and the weaknesses of collaborative evangelism?

Eric ~ I believe strengths of collaborative networks include providing an environment for demonstrating a Phil 2:1-4 type of humility, love, and unity; an opportunity to build trust relationships grounded in Jesus Christ; an opportunity to seek God together; an opportunity to communicate and find opportunities for praying together, caring together, and/or sharing Christ together as the Holy Spirit leads; an opportunity to build bridges between local churches, servant ministries, businesses, and the other domains of society; an opportunity for positive peer pressure for sharing the love of Jesus Christ in a winsome way; and the simple recognition in the community of the presence of such a network to facilitate an environment of unity in Christ.

Weaknesses are related to temptations, however they are only weaknesses if the temptations are given into. Examples include the temptation to have the network do too much in its own name too soon; temptation to rely too much upon a few leaders; temptation to inadvertently isolate those who have not yet felt led to be involved; and temptation to lose focus on the basics of prayer and unity in Christ because it may not seem to some like enough is being accomplished.


Phil ~ Eric, please write a prayer we can pray with you toward the advancing of God's kingdom in our cities . . .

Eric ~ Lord, we praise you for your mighty power, amazing grace, and your passionate love for all. We thank you for the many affinity networks and citywide movements that are leading the way in demonstrating many different ways to collaborate in Jesus' name. We pray for a growing number of humble hearts coming together to seek You together in communities across our nation and world. We pray for many movements led by many leaders in all domains of society, united in prayer, and led by the Holy Spirit. We pray for a growing number of trusting relationships among local church, ministry, and marketplace leaders in cities. We pray for a growing recognition among non-believers in our communities that we are coming together and that we are showing Your love in Jesus' name. May they see You and come to know Your love for them. We pray that all hearts would grow closer to You, and would be mobilized in a lifestyle of praying for, caring for, and sharing Christ with those around us. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

RESOURCE ~ Better communication for collaboration




I was talking with Mike Simon of Simon Solutions today about Charity Tracker software (http://www.charitytracker.net).

It's clear that many groups that are serving the poor throughout the state of Alabama are using it and developing greater effectiveness in their services because of it.

What would happen if a few of the LC2C cities took a serious look at whether it might be effective in their cities as well?

The cost on Charity Tracker is minimal, ($15.00/month per church or organization). And one organization can have the license with multiple users. To me it seems like a no brainer for communities where there is a network of providers serving the poor. The vision of an army of saints working with city governments; this is what GoodCities combined with Charity Tracker are currently engaging in. GoodCities works with congregations to expand the social capital and build the capacity of the church for serving the city, while Charity Tracker gives us an accountable service system that is distributed and decentralized. In addition, we will work with a variety of funding sources, social service agencies, and churches to help the church pick up services the government can no longer afford due to budget cut backs.

Glenn Barth, GoodCities
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
CharityTracker is a great way for faith-based and community leaders to jump-start and sustain better communication and collaboration for collective action.

Hundreds of organizations in 180 cities now use CharityTracker to keep track of the people they love and serve. CharityTracker is a secure, web-based communication network that enables churches, non-profits, and government agencies work together in meeting people's needs.

CharityTracker community networks make it easy for care providers to:
  • Securely share valuable information with each other.
  • Prevent duplication of services - saving thousands of dollars.
  • Broadcast area-wide bulletins and alerts in real-time.
  • Identify opportunities to serve and mobilize resources, instantly.
  • Recognize the need for intervention.
  • Encourage cooperation and more participation for greater results. In a time when we all need to do more with less, it's important that the right resources get into the right hands. CharityTracker helps increase levels of accountability and efficiency, making it easier for care providers to work together and measure their impact.
For faith-based and community leaders, CharityTracker provides a simple way for care providers to come together on common ground and increase the caring power of their community.


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Inner~View #67: Connecting People & Community



Inner~View #67: Connecting People & Community

Phil Miglioratti interviewed Stan Dobbs of Apartment Life
Phil ~ Give us a quick background to what gave birth to Apartment Life?
Stan ~ I worked in the computer industry for many years before sensing a call to full-time ministry. During seminary I got exposed to the idea of apartment ministry while on staff at First Baptist Church in Euless (D/FW area) and immediately fell in love with it. For city-reachers apartments are absolutely strategic. While about half the population of our major cities live in apartments – less than 5% are connected to a church (compared to 35% of homeowners). What was most interesting was that the apartment industry desperately needed help with the human side of their business. Most apartment owners do a good job operating the apartments but have difficulty with meeting the deeper needs of residents. Hence the average resident turnover in the industry is about 75%. We saw an amazing opportunity to meet a business need and at the same time position Christians in apartment communities to love residents, share the gospel and connect residents to the church.
Phil ~ What is the mission of Apartment Life?
Stan ~ In this fast-paced world, it is sometimes difficult to build new friendships. The CARES Team helps you feel connected to your community and provides a great opportunity to meet new people.
Phil ~ You have a unique strategy – Tell us how it works?
Stan ~ Apartment Life partners with apartment owners and local churches to place Christian teams (married couple/family or two single adults) into apartment communities to help owners create a sense of community and care for residents. These “CARES Teams” receive a rent-free apartment and do things that flow naturally out of the Christian life – welcoming new residents, planning social events, and caring for residents and staff. CARES Teams become the hub of community life.
Phil ~ How can a city movement, such as Loving Our Communities to Christ, employ the Apartment Life strategy?
Stan ~ Apartment Life is actively seeking partnership opportunities to expand into new cities. Using a type of “franchise” model, a city movement could adopt Apartment Life as one of their foundational strategies. Because Apartment Life has an integrated business model which covers our costs, the main local investment required is to supply leadership.
Phil ~ Talk about:
Stan ~
  • The opportunities to Care and Share … CARES Teams  are the first to welcome newcomers, plan all social events, and provide support in time of need. The opportunities to care and share flow naturally yet intentionally out of their life in community.
  • Cost to the local leadership team ~ Each city supplies their own leadership which would be their main investment in launching Apartment Life. Each apartment community and CARES Team pay Apartment Life a monthly fee which cover our costs.
Phil ~ How can an LC2City explore a partnership with Apartment Life?
Stan ~ We are excited about the potential to partner with LC2C city reaching movements to accelerate their efforts using the Apartment Life model. Anyone interested in discussing a partnership can the Apartment Life office at 877.785.2963



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Thursday, May 28, 2009

PRAYER ~ A Prayed-for-Community

What would it mean if Bloomington-Normal was a

Prayed-for-Community?

Adapted from the work of Phil Miglioratti of the National Pastors' Prayer Network.

A Prayed-for-City is a place

  • Where the pastors pray together
  • Each congregation prays together
  • A Citywide Prayer Network is established
  • Every church has a contact person for the Citywide Prayer Network
  • Every pastor is prayed for
  • Every church
  • Every local ministry
  • Every social agency
  • Every campus ministry
  • Each college campus – ISU, IWU, Heartland, Lincoln
  • Every politician...mayors, city council members
  • An intercessor is assigned to pray for
    • Every school
    • Every teacher
    • At every level of education
  • Every hospital, doctor, medical worker is prayed for
  • Every police officer, fireman, and emergency worker has an intercessor
  • Every judge has an intercessor assigned
  • Every street is prayed over (prayer-walked)
  • Every house
  • Every park
  • Every business
  • Every dorm
  • Every city church effort/activity has an intercessory component
  • There are community prayer efforts that cross church walls and denominational boundaries
  • There are established prayer chains, prayer circles, and prayer point persons in each church and ministry
  • Citywide seasons of prayer occur
  • Prayer summits are held for specific roles/purposes (pastors prayer summit, intercessory prayer summit, youth prayer summit, student ministries prayer summit)
  • There are prayer equipping centers where biblical prayer is taught and modeled
  • Specialized prayer teams for
    • Times of cleansing and returning to holiness
    • Solemn assemblies
    • Cleansing prayer for every violent crime
    • City, state, national, world needs and catastrophes
  • Houses of prayer and prayer retreat locations are established
  • We are regularly voicing prayers for broken marriages and relationships, for prodigals, and for troubled youth
  • Prayers for church unity and for the restoration of those who have been “hurt” by church
  • Prayers for the ministry of reconciliation of people to God and of believers to one another
  • Concerts of prayer
  • Prayer for missions and those sent out for missionary work to other cities and nations
  • And prayer for each surrounding small, rural community


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SHARE ~ Eight Reasons to Use Questions When You Share Your Faith



The goal behind our Answering with Questions series is to teach Christians how to defend the faith, not by arguing doctrine, but by simply asking the right questions like Jesus did. The advantages to using this method are numerous and difficult to overstate:






  1. You do not have to become an expert in the field of evolution, for example, to hold your own against an atheistic college professor. You simply need the right questions.
  2. Knowing the right questions allows you maintain control the discussion; and it puts all the pressure on the false teacher to prove his or her position.
  3. If posed with humility, it is non-confrontational.
  4. Since you are not arguing or debating, you can ask questions without getting emotional.
  5. It is very effective.
  6. It’s fun to help people discover the truth for themselves.
  7. It causes people to think.
  8. It’s what Jesus did. And, He is the greatest teacher who ever taught.
===>Click headline to order books from this series . . .

Voice in the Wilderness Ministries
9757 Squire Lane, Belvidere, IL 61008
Ph./Fax 815-547-0765
Email Jesus@safeplace.net
web www.voice-wilderness.org


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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SHARE ~ The Sounds of Summer


The Sounds of Summer

Summer is a symphony of sounds. It could be the sounds of birds singing, children playing, fireworks, the crashing crescendo of a summer thunderstorm, or the solid sound of a base hit up the gap at the ball park. When I think of summer I can't help but to think of one of my favorite bands, Chicago. Their music embodies all that is great about summer:



Of course my favorite song is the Mitzvah Waltz. Did you know that the Hebrew word Mitzvah, actually means doing an act of kindness in God's name? In fact, the tradition holds that you worship and connect with God best, when you love those around you!

YARD SPRUCE UP


Nothing announces the start of summer like the soft droning buzz of lawnmowers and powered yard tools. I love this sound—the only summer sound that is better is listening Marty Brennaman call a ball game on the radio while sitting with friends around a campfire. This is a great outreach that you can put together with any small group or just a group of friends looking to have fun on Saturday morning. You are going to need special transportation and equipment. That means you need a SUV with a hitch and trailer or a couple of pickup trucks. Gather your shared supplies and load up several lawnmowers, plenty of gasoline, a trimmer, a few rakes, some coolers filled with ice and water or Gatorade and if you have the budget some mulch and bulk flats of annuals. Don’t forget to bring some trash bags and a broom or blower to clean up after you cut and rake. Pick a neighborhood nearby that has the right demographic. There are some folks very particular about their landscaping and they are either fanatics themselves or they hire gardening engineers to cultivate a manicured lawn. These are not the people you want to try to serve, you may end up doing more harm than good for the kingdom if you “butcher” their lawn.

You are looking for lawns that have been neglected. Whenever we have done this in the past, we have often discovered heartbreaking stories inside the homes of these sad looking lawns. Very rarely, when we have spent time in prayer before hitting the road and asked God to show us the home to go to, have we found a yard that was unkempt willfully. There is usually a story, and coming to this home to serve the family inside usually causes us to connect in a profound way and learn that story—which leads to an intense kingdom opportunity. Get past the idea that the yard is messy because the people are just lazy. I can’t count the number of times I ended up praying for a man or woman inside who began crying once we spruced up their lawn because they used to love working in the yard until their health or financial crisis struck the family and they were no longer able to maintain the once beautiful home.

One little hint: As one person rings the doorbell have others start up the lawnmowers and getting poised on the sidewalk ready to work—it is difficult to refuse the offer of a free lawn service when a friendly bunch of people are chomping at the bit to give the outside of their home a free make over. Don’t forget to invite the family out for a cool drink to watch you guys work, and never forget to ask them to let you pray for them. You will be surprised at how few people will turn you down.

BASKETBALL COURT RENEWAL

Another one of my favorite summer sounds is the cacophony of a pick-up basketball game on a basketball court in a park. The sound of squeaking shoes, the rhythm of the bouncing ball, and of course the snap of the net from a perfect shot is music to my ears. I used to like it more when I could actually join the game before my health problems, but I am getting better at sitting back and watching. Sadly this is an endangered species. In the poor economy many metro park systems and civic organizations no longer have the funding to keep up even the suburban parks, let alone the rougher inner city courts that are under the constant attack of vandalism and graffiti.

You want to make friends with the kids and young adults of neighborhood? Go fix up their court! This is very easy to do. First, look for a public basketball court that needs to be cleaned up. Start by sweeping up broken glass and picking up the litter. If you have a budget and want to go for some WOW! factor, replace the backboards and repaint the court with bright court colors and line markings. Nets, even those made of chain, don't last very long on public courts. Stop at Sporting Goods store and buy a few replacement nets. While you are at it, pick up a few multi-surface basketballs, air pumps, and needles to give away to people. If you have a few athletes in your group, it is very effective to then invite folks to join you for a quick game. After a few moments, take a break and open up the coolers full of ice cold Gatorade. Another way to make a great splash is to shoot free highlight videos of players showing off their ball handling and shooting skills and give them away--especially if you can edit and dubb music to these and duplicate DVD's from the footage. In fact, there is a huge urban industry called "AND ONE" dedicated to crazy highlight basketball videos. Viola! You will be surrounded by friends, and you will soon learn the secret of really getting into the neighborhood and connecting with everyone there with these kids as your willing guides.


Ken Glassmeyer is the Editor of Serve! Magazine. He has been doing SE outreach in the midwest for over twenty years. He currently leads a "not-so-small" group bible study in his community. Ken is the author of a number of PDF guides available at Kindness Resources including the latest: "Tactical Kindness" You can contact Kindness Resources for more information on having him come to your church to coach, speak or consult.




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Thursday, May 14, 2009

PRAYER ~ Learning to Pray While You Pray


Interview with John Franklin, national prayer leader and authorJohn Franklin

















Note>>
  • Everyone who makes a contribution to the National Pastors' Prayer Network (tax-deduction allowable for gift beyond cost of book and postage)receives a free copy of John's new book.

  • Click here or send your gift to: National Pastors’ Prayer Network, 1130 Randville Drive 1D, Palatine, IL 60074

Phil ~ Your website begins with "America is morally imploding before our very eyes." What is your perspective on the times and seasons of our culture and how is that impacting your teaching and writing ministry?

John ~ Jeremiah 18:7-11 declares, “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. 11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ (NIV)

Given our increasing wickedness, what other conclusion is there, save we had better wake up before it’s too late. I sense a very strong burden to teach regarding revival, the fear of God, our accountability to Him as Christians and a nation, the hope if we repent, the certainty of judgment that awaits us if we do not.

Phil ~ What prompted you to write your latest book, Walking With God?

John ~ – After speaking to thousands of prayer leaders and people in the pew over the last 12 years, I concluded the majority of Christians do not know how to practically connect with God in prayer. The vast majority do not know how to answer basic questions such as:
1. What does it take to connect with God in prayer?
2. How do you hear God’s voice?
3. What are the hindrances to prayer?
4. What does it take to keep your heart steadfast in a love relationship with the living God?

I wrote the book to give basic prayer principles in a format that teaches a lifestyle habit for walking with God.

Phil ~ The subtitle, 30 Days to Change Your Prayer Life, might sound typical for prayer guides but you have incorporated several interesting features ... Please explain:

John ~ The features I’m about to explain spring from three beliefs.
1. People learn best by doing mixed with understanding.
2. Simplicity creates better learning than complexity.
3. Repetition in following a God-centered format creates the greatest likelihood for learning how to pray.

Here are the features:
1. The book is organized around 30 days of training exercises. I called them training exercises instead of devotionals because I wanted people to know they were to learn a lifestyle habit – not merely have a devotional thought for the day.

2. Each training exercise follows a standardized God-centered format. I did this so that learning could be reinforced through repetition.
3. The 30 training exercises are organized by seven themes of what the reader should be learning and doing in prayer.
4. Before the reader starts, they read a brief explanation as to what the three keys to dynamic prayer are in order to give them a reference point for knowing what they’re looking for when they pray.

Three Keys
I recognize that the three keys I teach are not all there is to prayer. But I believe this trio is indispensable to understand anything else. The three keys are:
1. Understanding the nature of Prayer – Prayer is the communication aspect of how I conducted my relationship with God – not primarily about getting from God.
2. Understanding and practicing three foundations – Those foundations are 1) Practicing prayer as a relationship with God. Our desire for God determines whether or not we’ll walk with Him. 2) Praying consistently about your kingdom purpose – What did God talk to the great saints in the Bible about? More times than not it related to their assignment. If someone tries to conduct their prayer life with God by having one on one warm fuzzy sessions, they will not find Him consistently. 3) A Biblical mind-set – in order to connect our minds must be saturated with Scripture. This leads to a God-centeredness, repentance, a clean heart, and asking in line with the desires of God’s heart.
3. Understanding that God has initiated a training process in your life through prayer – Most people start prayer without any sense that God is taking them somewhere. They do not view themselves as kingdom agents whom God is developing to be ever increasingly of greater and greater use in that kingdom. A prayer life will result in personal growth as a kingdom servant.

Seven Themes
The 30 training exercises are organized into seven themes. The purpose of the themes is to highlight ways God wants to train you. The themes are:
1. The three foundations of prayer (training exercises 1-3).
2. God trains you (training exercises 4-10).
3. Begin prayer by focusing on God (training exercises 11-13).
4. Respond from the heart (training exercises 14-20).
5. Seek first the kingdom (training exercises 21-28).
6. Present your request (training exercise 29).
7. Close in joy (training exercise 30).

Thirty Exercises
Each exercise follow a format. I studied every prayer meeting in the Bible to identify what the Bible format for prayer is. I discovered that all prayer meetings begin with focusing on God, then there was a heart response of the people. After that the format varied. I The format I chose begins with focusing on God and responding from the heart. The next three elements correspond to what Jesus taught in the Lord’s prayer. The format for the 30 training exercises is:
-Focus on God
-Respond from the heart
-Seek first the kingdom
-Present your requests
-Close in joy
Notice that the format and themes 2-7 are the same. Again I’m trying to use repetition, simplicity, and reinforcement.

Phil~ I noticed the daily exercises are not all internally focused. Topics include a new mind-set, society, the nations ...

John ~ Yes. That’s because the majority of prayers in the Bible were for the advance of the kingdom. Matthew 6:7-8 tells us not to pray like pagans. The basic nature of pagan prayer is that they pray for earthly provision and think they will be heard for their many words. Instead Jesus tell us our Father already knows what we have need of before we pray. So we ought to pray this way, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10). He concludes the chapter by reiterating we’re not to be like pagans all worried and uptight about earthly provisions for our life (Mt. 25-32), but instead to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt. 6:33).

Starting prayer with God instead of our request, taking time to respond from the heart in relationship to Him, and seeking first the kingdom, are the three most violated Biblical practices of prayer that I know of in our day.

Phil ~ The daily format follows five principles taken from the Lord's Prayer ...

John ~ Yes. I mentioned it earlier, but to clarify:
• Focus on God – Our Father which art in heaven
• Respond from the heart – Hallowed by Thy name
• Seek First the Kingdom – Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
• Present Your Requests – Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
• Close in joy - For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Phil ~ The book concludes with a section of your Thoughts on Revival. Why is that relevant to someone embarking on a path to change their prayer life?

John ~ Because our prayer life is oriented to God. If revival is on His heart, then that ought to be on my heart. Prayer is not primarily about my wants, my wishes, and my heart. Rather it’s about His wants, His wishes, and His heart. Second, if I’m going to pray about this matter intelligently, I need to know how God goes about revival and the things associated with it. So this final section does not teach one how to pray like the 30 training exercises, but impacts prayer by helping the reader know about God’s heart in an area of vital interest.

Phil ~ "God intends to use his people as agents of mercy during judgment." Most authors focus on judgment, and ignore mercy, or on mercy, and minimize judgment. Why is that and how is that dangerous for the Church?

John ~ Historically, the church has focused on one truth of God to the minimization of others. In our day we emphasize the love, mercy, compassion, kindness and grace of God without adequate understanding of His holiness, justice, wrath, vengeance, fear, and accountability. The reason for this in American Christianity is because we are influenced by the Humanism of the 20th century. We tend to think that anything causing human suffering must be the worst sort of injustice; therefore, God couldn’t cause suffering or really inflict wrath to any significant degree.. It has taken me about 10 years to understand the holiness and love of God so that they are no longer in conflict in my thinking.

This is dangerous in our day because we have lost the fear of God. When we no longer have a concept of a holy God who can be provoked to wrath, then we lose any real sense of accountability for sin. If “By fear of the Lord one departs from evil” (Prov. 16:6), and we are no longer departing, then it can only mean we no longer fear the Lord. We evidently have taught mercy and grace in such a way that the majority does not sense the impending wrath of God against sin. Until this happens, we cannot have a national revival. And that must happen first in the church. Judgment begins with us (1 Peter 4:17).

Phil ~ How can this guide be used by prayer leaders (pastors and/or prayer coordinators) to involve nominal pray-ers in the lifestyle of dynamic praying?

John ~ In general the best way to involve nominal pray-ers is to call them to prayer around a central focus for a set amount of time. This book could be used toward this end, for example, by a church going into a building program, a mission team preparing for their trip, or VBS workers seeking God’s favor on their endeavors. In the section of the format Seek First The Kingdom, the central focus of the church or group could be plugged in. Once someone has practical training and a reference point, they will be more likely to become involved in a lifestyle of dynamic praying. I’ve made this book cost effective for churches and groups so that they can do this easily - only $4 a copy when bought in bulk.

Phil ~ John, please write a prayer you hope each one of us reading this will pray; for ourselves and for those we shepherd.

John ~ Father, would you grant that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened to know the character and nature of your Son, to be conformed to His image, to walk with You as He did, especially in this our day when we stand in desperate need of revival. May each pastor and leader have the grace to wisely shepherd Your flock, to turn them from the propensity toward self-centeredness, to see themselves as servants of the Living God, denying self so they may be agents of righteousness for Christ’s sake.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

LC2C - Prayer Aert

LC2C Prayer Alert !!
May 2009


Phoenix,AZ., Linda Gross:
  • Prayer for the Arizona Community Impact Roundtable (AZ CIR) scheduled for September 2009:
  • Pray for finalizing logistics of venue, speakers, program and web site.
  • Pray for Dr. Glenn Barth of GoodCities who will serve as the CIR moderator, for Ben Sanders of Community Ministries who is the local planner, and Jamie Brook of Arrowhead Conferences and Events who is handling hotel. For wisdom, discernment, and favor in planning and promoting the event.
  • Pray for Christian leaders to enthusiastically partner with us in making this a catalytic and strategic moment in the spiritual life of Arizona.

El Paso/Texas (Barney Field, Laurie Huffman); Juarez, Mexico (Pedro Hernandez) and Las Cruces, New Mexico (Maria Silva Sutton) Leaders of Loving Our Communities to Christ - Glenn Weber, LC2C Prayer Leader -

Please pray for:
  • Global health, and against the Hii-Ni (Swine Flu) influenza pandemic
  • Global Day of Prayer on May 31( Pentecost Sunday)..
  • Praise God for Mayor's Prayer Luncheon Thursday, May 7 at El Paso Convention Center (about 1500 attending). Mayor John Cook is a very committed follower of our Lord Jesus, having committed his mayorship and the City of El Paso to the Lordship of Jesus, and he is a man of prayer. PTL!!!_ Barney Field meets with the Mayor weekly in his City Hall office to study and pray through the New Testament. Pastor's and intercessors also meet monthly with El Paso's Mayor in his City Hall offices overlooking downtown El Paso/Juarez to pray for our communities. PTL!!!
  • Telethon fundraising for Christian Television, Channel 38
  • Awaking of the Body of Christ
  • Our transition as family (Pedro Hernandez) in the ministry,(the perfect time of God)
  • New connections (Pedro Hernandez) with the Christian Intl. México Prayer Network,(www.ciméxico.org)
  • The next America/Mexico Borderwide Strategic Prayer Summit and gathering of Prayer Leaders in El Paso June 1 & 2 with prayer leaders from 4 states.
  • Leaders and all in authority for the Lord to open doors in taking Character First! to all 7 major spheres of society influence in the El Pas/Juarez/Las Cruces Region.

Love Fox Valley LC2C Prayer News,Tony Danhelka:

Thanks for your prayers for our Chicagoland – Love Fox Valley Region. We do appreciate it.

1. Praise God for National Day of Prayer Activities… I sure was kept busy today driving around the Fox River Valley regions Nation Day of Prayer events sponsored by Love Fox Valley. It was a beautiful sunny day here and good crowds came out for the planned events.

2. April 26th was Motorcycle Sunday… Hundreds of bikers showed up in pouring rain. The heart of the day was Pastor Randy Schoof's Blessing prayer. All the Christians in the group spread out to every biker. Randy was on the stage. He asked each biker to raise their hand high into the air. Get this.... 'They all did it!!!' Fantastic. Randy prayed one of the most anointed Biker Prayer I have ever heard and they kept their hand up through it all. Each biker got a 'Hope for the Highway' New Testament, cleanup clothe and a very creative tract that explains knowing Christ from the Christian Motorcyclists Association. The bikers sure took Randy's prayer very seriously and appreciated our 'laying hands' on their bikes. Praise God!

3. Love Fox Valley Logo was created and approved!!!! Praise God…

4. Praising Him for Chicagoland Mulinde Fast & PrayerGod called strategic Networkers, Pastors, Market Place Ministers and Intercessors to come together Sunday March 22 at 7PM through Thursday night March 26 at 7PM at Riverwoods Christian Center in St. Charles, IL. It was an urgent time to Fast to better hear God, Feast on His presence and Focus our travailing prayer. Pastor John Mulinde (Transformation Video’s) came from Kampala, Uganda, East Africa has a unique call on his life to facilitate such a four day season. John and his partner, Pastor Mark Daniels, from Kissimmee, FL have been used of God to see break-through in various Ugandan and US Cities. We believe a great movement began in the heavenlies over our region as a result of this fast. Praise God.

5. Tony Personally My wife Donna is ‘not’ doing well in these days of recovery from cancer. It has been a very challenging 3 years. She still has almost daily nausea and great fatigue. The Chicagoland Intercessors (from 11 of the largest churches in Chicago) want Donna back in leadership of them. She is just too weak to do it effectively. We just returned from another 4 day consultation with Morning Star near Charlotte. Donna spent all four days in our Conference bedroom very sick with an upper respiratory infection. We continue to need great wisdom to know how to best serve her through her extended time of post cancer recovery. www.caringbridge.org/visit/donnadanhelka


PS The above photo was taken at our recent retirement banquet from Riverwoods Christian Center that we helped found 33 years ago. Bless ya, tony & LFV Team

Love Fox Valley… Let’s Go!

Cedar Rapids IA Charles Daugherty:
  • Praise the Lord for a terrific National Day of Prayer meeting in our city! May God bless all those attending and answer their prayers !!
  • Please pray for next month's Healing the Heartland Festival, June 12 - 14th ! The Heartland Festival will help connect the local church to the greater effort of healing from last year's devastating floods. A year ago Cedar Rapids experienced a major flood that displaced16, 000 people from their homes and 3/4's of those still have not been able to return to their homes and still live elsewhere. There is still much restoration and repairs needed both in buildings...homes...businesses....as well as in the lives of our people.

Pat Allen LC2C Prayer Coordinator:

  • Please pray refreshing protection and provision for each LC2C City Leader and team.

  • Please pray for the LC2C Coaches who work alongside the city teams and provide "coaching" to them. The coaches and their cities include:

Dallas Anderson, Bill Berry and Copi Valdiviez Coach Team members
Larry Dewitt - San Bernardino
Dennis Fuqua - Boise & Gray's Harbor
Jim Overholt - Fresno
Tom White - Santa Rosa, Tuscaloosa, Corvallis
Howard Boyd - Thomasville, Branson, Charlotte
John Quam - Phoenix
Paul Cedar - Coachella Valley
Jarvis Ward - El Paso, Charleston
Phil Miglioratti LC2C Coordinator - Newton, Fox Valley, Cedar Rapids


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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SHARE ~ Transformation, Not Decision


Big-Picture Evangelism
A new tool that emphasizes transformation and not just decision.


Back to LeadershipJournal.net





Interview with James Choung is director of InterVarsity Christian Christian Fellowship's San Diego Division

His book True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In (IVP, 2008) introduces an evangelistic tool called "The Big Story."

The four-circle diagram explains the gospel in four phrases: designed for good, damaged by evil, restored for better, and sent together to heal. LeadingOutreach.com asked Choung about his diagram and why he believes the church must share a broader gospel message.

How are the four circles of "The Big Story" different from The Four Spiritual Laws?


The Four Spiritual Laws was a great tool a generation ago. It was really an attempt to help nominal Christians. It was an invitation back into a relationship with God through Jesus, but it seemed to make everything about the individual. "The Big Story" tries instead to recapture a more communal, social focus. It also emphasizes transformation more than decision and the "mission life" more than just the afterlife.

We hope that, through these shifts, "The Big Story" will capture a larger picture of what the Bible is saying, what Jesus is saying. We're trying to present the biblical worldview in as simple a way as possible.

Is there a danger of shortchanging the atonement in this diagram?
===>Click headline to access complete interview . . .

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Loving Your City and ...

.

Reply now to join our Cityreaching Conference Call on May 21 at 10 a.m. CDT.

Our topic: "The International Revolution; Loving your cities and other countries to Christ - Acts 2". (11 a.m. Eastern daylight time, 9 Mountain, 8 Pacific)

Our guests are Dr. Mac Pier, Rev. Mike Owen and Pastor John Voinsky. Learn ways that local congregations are serving together in very PRACTICAL WAYS for kingdom impact locally and around the globe from these godly and gifted servants of Christ.

To RSVP for the call... email info@cityreaching.com requesting the dial-in #.

For more information regarding call guests, see...

Mac Pier, Executive Direction, Concerts of Prayer Greater New York, http://www.copgny.org/

Michael Owen, Director of New Initiatives, World Vision, http://www.worldvision.org/

Call hosted by
Rev. Jarvis Ward, Mission America Coalition
Dr. Glenn Barth, GoodCities

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