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Day 11

10) David the Translator

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In this Episode 10 of our More Disciples Podcast, we meet David Chicaguala, who, among other things, spent 6 years on board the ship, Doulos. The Doulos is a very special vessel, operated by Operation Mobilization as an outreach to ports, cities, and regions throughout the maritime world. In this podcast, hear his conclusion that we have to restore the primacy of prayer to launch effective disciple making movements today and in the future.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 11 & 12

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My Days have kinda ran together here and I didn’t have time to blog yesterday, but I feel that these challenges kind of ran together for me anyway. So here’s what’s been happening lately…

I didn’t intentionally go to a place to encounter people and listen to their struggles for Day 11 yesterday, but I have been preparing to do this for the next week as I am leaving tomorrow to sponsor a Junior High church camp. God has really just placed this excitement in my heart to just pour into the lives of these middle schoolers for the next week and I CANNOT WAIT TO START CAMP TOMORROW!!!! I’ve been praying and praising God about this upcoming week since I felt him leading to sponsor a few months ago. It’s finally here!!! I really feel that God is asking me to lead a 7th grade girls life group in the fall so I’m excited to meet some of the girls who will be in my group over the next week. My friend, Annie, has also been a huge encouragement in me becoming a life group leader because she herself is a leader for a group of freshman. She has been praying for me and encouraging me throughout this time.

As far as Day 12 goes… I did practice telling my mom one of my “mini testimonies” that I wrote on Day 7 and it was really good to practice saying the words out loud because I was able to see where I may need to make changes. I really liked the video attached with Day 12 and think it would be good for me to try and write my testimony out in this way to refine it a bit.

I intentionally practiced my mini testimony about anxiety and depression with my mom because tomorrow I am visiting my friend (before I leave for camp) who is battling depression to give her a book that really helped me overcome my depression and anxiety that captured me two years ago. I wanted to have this mini testimony fresh on my mind as I comfort and pray for her tomorrow. I’m hoping that this piece of my testimony will give her a beacon of hope as she fights to escape the drowning darkness of depression. She’s in a dark place, but I’ve been there and Christ has pulled me out. My prayer is that she will cling to Him so that he may rescue her as well.

Also some cool things that have happened over the past few days…

….today my prayer calendar was my boss and I had work this morning so I was able to ask how I could pray for her in person.

…. And my prayer partner, Annie, sent me this really awesome text today that made me soooo happy. I couldn’t help rejoicing! It said, “Hey Hannah! I just wanted to let you know that I am LOVING the challenge and I got to see it spread like wildfire yesterday when I told my friend, Jessie, about it, who told our friend, Shan, about it, who told others at a sleepover that we were all at. It was awesome. Jessie has started the challenge and asked me to be her prayer partner and ah, its just awesome to see God at work, ya know?”

How could that not just make your day!?!?! It definitely gave me a boost in the challenge that  I was needing. It’s just so cool to see God working through this isn’t it!?

Who are you Battling?

By | Day 01, Day 05, Day 11, Day 23, Day 26 | One Comment

“For our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”  Ephesians 6:12

Think of the most difficult person, most pressing problem, and/or most overwhelming circumstance you’re facing in your life right now.  Think of several if you like.

Whatever it is you’re thinking about, whether a person or a circumstance – whoever or whatever it is – it is not your real problem.  Hear that again:  IT is NOT your REAL problem.  The most troubling things in your life, things that you perceive with your five physical senses, are not your real issue.  Though you may be wrestling with them verbally, emotionally, financially, even physically, you are wasting your precious time and energy that needs to be reserved for the real culprit – the one who is behind the scenes, striving to direct the details of some of your most acute difficulties.  Everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world.  Sounds like a movie, huh?

But Paul’s words, directly out of Ephesians, tell us that we wrestle not against man but with the ruler of this world which is Satan.

Your real enemy – the devil – wants you to ignore the spiritual reality behind the physical one.  Because as long as you’re focused on what you can see with your physical eyes, he can continue to run rampant underneath the surface.  The more you disregard him, the more damage he is free to do.  The enemy may be invisible, but he is not fictional.  He is very real, and very persistent, waging war against us constantly.
Our enemy celebrates lethargic Christian living.  When we’re giving up on relationships, disregarding the purity of our reputations, yielding to our appetites without putting up much, if any, resistance, he can basically go unchecked.  Ultimately, the enemy can hamstring the church from achieving the purposes of God.  That’s why he works so hard to beat you down with discouragement.  Make you discontent.  Lie to you about who God is, causing you to doubt the Lord’s all-good intentions toward you.  Hammer you with accusations that place a burden of shame and guilt on your shoulders too heavy to carry.  Trick you into thinking your situation will never change, and that God doesn’t hear you or care when you call out to Him.  Soon your fire of passion starts to burn low.  You become disinterested.  Low in spiritual fiber.  Your spiritual armor goes unworn and unused.

Now you’re exactly where the enemy wants you – where you no longer want to fight for peace and passion in your marriage, where you no longer believe your child can be restored, where you no longer hope for healing in your body, where you no longer see any path to freedom from your addictions, where you just don’t see the purpose in praying anymore….so you don’t.   You don’t ask or seek or knock.

Did you know that more than 4,000 churches close each year?  That the 5th largest unchurched nation is the United States?  Could this be because His Church, the Bride of Christ, is not standing together, a vast army, united in prayer?  The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil everywhere.  God shapes the world by prayer.  Prayers are deathless.  The lips that uttered them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive the world.

So what if our world is morally declining because our generation fails to pray?  What if this generation has been too busy or too unbelieving to pray?  What if God’s conquering days are when the Church has given herself to prayer – praying for the advancement of God’s cause?

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7

Ask of me is the condition – a praying people willing and obedient.  The strongest one to stand against the enemy is the one who is the best knocker.  The secret of success in Christ’s kingdom is the ability to pray.  To stop the advancement of the enemy we must stand together and fight in prayer.

 

Portions adapted from:

  • EM Bounds on Prayer
  • The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer
  • Moving Mountains by John Eldredge

Day 11 – Intentional Encounters

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I’m amazed that many Christians have no non-Kingdom relationships.  All their friendships are with Christians.  Similar to some horses, it’s like they are living life with blinders on, only able to see straight ahead.  As a pastor, this can be especially true.  That’s why I do a few intentional things:  1)  Bathe all the following in prayer; 2)  Brenda and I prayer walk in our neighborhood, asking the Lord to open doors (literally, not just metaphorically); 3)  I joined a weekly golf league last year, and even go into the clubhouse bar after the round.  Hey, you’ve got to go where the people are!  But, here’s the point, unless you schedule the time (that is, make the time), intentional encounters won’t ever happen.  Then, to take these encounters to the next level you’ll be showing you care by asking questions and really listening.  This will open the door for prayer and maybe even sharing your testimony (the 2-minute version).  Yes, I pray for open doors, open hearts and straight drives!

Day 11: Fail Spiritually..then try again.

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Day 11

Today I didn’t get out to meet people.  It is Sunday today and we had been running too fast.  Today is a day I really took to sabbath.  I needed to physically rest but also get refocused on my mission.  One of the ways for me to get refocused on my mission is to fast and pray throughout the day.  Days like this help me unplug from the rat race of life and reboot.  I loved the challenge of asking people good questions and caring about them.  In my life there have been times in my life where I have done that very well.  When I look back in my life and see the times where I have had these conversations it is because I have “margin” in my life.  Too many times I am overscheduled and am stealing time always running behind and not able to truly love people.  The challenge for me is in the midst of busyness is to be present to people’s needs and look for opportunities to care for people and even pray for them.  The way to live this out for me is to fill myself with scripture and prayer in the morning so I can be poured out the rest of the day.   This week I am going to wake up early and spend time with God so that when I spend time with others throughout the day they are getting a glimpse of God through me.
The video was great.  Too many times we wait for the perfect moment or want the idealized time to evangelize or talk to someone.  I have learned the most through just trying things and failing.  I don’t like to use the word failing because failing means giving up and not learning from it, so I call it being challenged.  I have had many conversations with people on “How do I know if it is God’s voice?”  I ask them back “Have you ever acted on something you thought was God’s voice?”  Why are we so afraid to try spiritually?  If we believe God is in control he is going to use our “weak sauce” efforts to further the kingdom.  So why not just try?  A few years back I was in Walmart and I felt God telling me to pray for a cashier. I asked her “Can I pray for you?”  She replied “No.”  Talk about akward.  So after that I figured I would never try pray for anyone ever again….j/k.  There have been many times I have prayed or shared the gospel with people since because I chose to learn from that failure.  I have failed as a dad, a boss, a husband, a son, and a disciple over and over again.  Many times in my life I feel like God has worked in spite of me so he gets the glory and I don’t get any of the credit.  God wants to stretch us and leave opportunities where he has to come through because we can’t do it in our own strength.

Discipleship When Life Is Busy: Day 11

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Day 11: Intentional Prayer and Spiritual Conversations.  I wish I could say that today was an off day, but unfortunately, days like today seem to come our way more often than I would like.  I started off the day well.  I got up and read the challenge for today.  I texted the person on my prayer calendar and began praying for them.  I made a plan to connect with a friend after work to try to instill the vision of disciple multiplication movements.  I even sort of accomplished today’s challenge by talking with a co-worker about some things happening in her family.  But then this afternoon I got a call from my husband who had just left the doctor’s office with our 15 month old foster son.  And just like that we are packing bags tonight because we leave for another city tomorrow to meet with a pediatric surgeon for a consult for a surgery that the pediatrician thinks our foster son needs.  Just like that everything that I had planned gets flipped upside down.

I didn’t end up connecting with my friend after work because I spent that time connecting with family, calling in a substitute to cover work for me, and calling our caseworker.  Though I had a more-spiritual-than-most conversation with my co-worker this morning, I didn’t have an incredibly planned out, intentional conversation like I had hoped.  But, today was not a “failure” even if I didn’t completely accomplish the challenge for today.  I have seen God work in the past through these unplanned situations and I am sure that I will have time around other people in the days to come to have intentional, spirit-filled conversations.  I think that sometimes God works best out of situations that we view as chaos.

How to Remember Prayer Requests

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During a recent webinar, a participant asked, “Is there some easy way to remember major themes in praying for individuals?”

We’re just brainstorming here — but, if the disciple maker carries a small calendar or notebook (e.g., a “Day-timer”), why not set aside a special page or section in back. And if the disciple maker carries a smartphone (e.g., an iPhone), why not use a “note” or a page in an app like Evernote? That way, one can always go back to it as needed. Microsoft recently made OneNote completely free to all. It allows for tabs, and pages within those tabs. Set up a system that works for you and you’ll be in business in no time.

Learn more about OneNote here: https://www.onenote.com/

How Big is Your God?

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Do you put God in a box? How big is your box?

Curtis Sergeant fears that we ALL put God is a box sometimes. He also holds that ALL of us can do some enlarging of that box (and some searching for a deeper bottom). Listen as he explains.

Starting a Discovery Bible Study

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This question came from a good friend today, asking how to get a Discovery Bible Study (DBS) started … How to launch the process of sharing Christ with an international student. Here was my response:

“Could we humbly suggest that you browse to

www.MoreDisciples.com

And sign up for the 30-day challenge? But even while you’re migrating through that, some of the training videos at the Training page might be helpful and fun for you since you’re asking this question. Especially, see this outline:

http://moredisciples.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ThreeThirdsGroupFormat.pdf

and see this content…

http://moredisciples.com/testimony/

Some people start by telling their story, using the simple format at that page. Others start by telling GOD’s story, like this…

http://moredisciples.com/gods_story/

There are a couple of extra versions at the bottom of that page. I’m going through one of those… this one…

http://moredisciples.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IWC_Creation_to_Christ_Outline.pdf

and memorizing it line by line now. It’s fun! : ) Either way, the idea is to steer the conversation toward spiritual conversations, exactly like you did. It’s like – the idea is to be intentional. See this page:

http://moredisciples.com/intentional/

and see the article that’s mentioned there.

Now some people start to feel really icky about directing the conversation that way. I’m not sure why we do. Maybe because we feel like it’s not politically correct to do so. The video at…

http://moredisciples.com/basis/

was SUPER-helpful for me to get past that feeling (that it might not be politically correct), but I’m not sure how helpful it was for Tina – so … see for yourself what you think. Hope that helps you get started.

No matter what, ask 7 or 8 of your friends to start praying for the guy by name (you didn’t tell Tina his name?) and we’ll also pray for YOU (for real) as you share with him.”

Have you faced similar questions? What helped you .. or what HASN’T helped? Just click on the “comment” feature following this blog entry. We’d love to hear your story!

Doug
MoreDisciples.com