June 22, 2014

Written by Jerry Carlisle. Posted in Pastor's Blog

Thank you for your gracious response to the information shared last week regarding our church’s current financial situation:  giving is lower than planned and expenses (primarily due to emergency HVAC repairs) are higher.  Announcing the plan to reduce our spending for the remainder of the year has given each of us an opportunity to consider our own levels of giving to God’s work through our church operating budget.

The appeal I continue to bring to you is this:  “Pray; then do what the Lord leads you to do.”  I am asking God to raise up faithful givers in our church family.  I hope you will join me in that prayer—and in being part of His answer to that prayer!

One night as overhanging tree branches swayed in the breeze, Jesus sat with Nicodemus on his rooftop porch and said, “You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:7-8).  The play on words is that the word for “Spirit” and the word for “wind” is the same in the original language. 

My favorite image of prayer is that of raising our sails to catch the wind.  We cannot predict or control the wind of the Holy Spirit, but we are responsible for being ready to join His power and direction.  Through prayer, we prepare our lives to join God in what He is doing.  We make our lives ready to go where He is leading. 

Our congregation’s financial situation is no surprise to our Heavenly Father.  He knows what we need before we even think to ask!  He always uses the circumstances of our lives to guide us and shape us—but only as we obey.  He knows what we need, but He waits to hear us call on Him.  He watches to see if we will allow Him to redirect us and empower us to accomplish His will.

Again, my appeal is simple:  “Pray; then do what the Lord leads you to do.”  Through prayer, the Lord leads His people as we unfurl the sails so that the wind of His Spirit can move us forward.

He invites us to pray for the lost, as well.  Pray for the boys and girls who will hear about Jesus this week through Vacation Bible School.  Throughout the week, the children will be praying for the Hulu people of southeast Asia—a people group who have no access to the gospel.  They will begin to pray that the children and families of that group, who are Muslim, will come to know Jesus.

For several years, our church has joined with Jesus’ followers around the world to pray for our Muslim neighbors and friends during their month-long celebration of Ramadan.  A limited number of excellent prayer guides are available in the Welcome Centers.  Take one for your family and begin to pray for the wind of the Spirit to blow through the house of Islam!