Tag Archives: prayer

Death by Suburb, David Goetz

I am reading a provocative and – so far – impressionable book.  Death by Suburb: How to keep the suburbs from killing your soul, by David Goetz.

It has more than a modicum of crossroads in my life.

In his second chapter, Goetz addresses the suburban “environmental toxin” (to my soul, that is) of CONTROL… the thought that I am in control of my life.  He proposes the simple spiritual practice of SILENCE/SOLITUDE as the challenger to self-sovereignty.  This is something I struggle with.  Constant activity which churns in tandem with my delusion of constant control.  According to Goetz, it is frivolous to fight our control-addiction by trying to control it! Try solitude.  Try nothing.  Stop.

You can’t live the deeper life and the busy life.  You get one but not the other. p.25

The deeper spiritual life is never a direct route.  If it were, religion in the suburbs would be the fast track to the Godhead.  In the toxic dump of efficiency and control, the first act must be countercultural – a decision not to act.  p.26

While outdoor solitude is a premium, it is not necessary for learning to uncover eternity in the ordinary… For spiritual development and entrance into the thicker, more reflective life, solitude is more inside space than outside space.  p.31

The life practice of solitude, then, is the opposite of my expectations of escape and rest or an immediate ushering into what I think is God’s presence.  It is more a discipline of struggle than it is of serenity.  It’s no formula for controlling my outer world or how I feel.  It’s the ongoing guerrilla war to loosen my choke hold on creating and gathering to myself the life I think I need.  I don’t pursue giving up control; I pursue the practice of solitude.  p.33

Goetz quotes Henri Nouwen:

It’s not easy to sit and trust that in solitude God will speak to you – not as a magical voice but that he will let you know something gradually over the years.

To which I echo Goetz: “It’s the ‘over the years’ part that bothers me.

Believe it or not, before I posted this blog, I worked to sit in silence for 5 minutes.  5 minutes.  To stop controlling my schedule.  My to-do list.  My day.  My time.  I tried.  God’s 5 minutes.  His voice.  His Word (if he prompted me to turn to it.)  And its not that I don’t read, or study or pray as a regular spiritual discipline.  I have hours of concentrated ‘devotion’ each week.  It’s just that even in doing said things… I am rarely stopping.  Rarely still.  Rarely under the control of quiet.  There is a difference, I am finding.

I’m not much good at this solitude thing.  I guess I have control issues.

Lord, help me to know you here.  In the suburbs… at a different pace that sees you, and changes me.  You the sovereign king of the suburbs.   You put me here.  You are here.  Help me sit and see and savor and so move into this place knowing you… under your control.

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west valley pca update

below is the West Valley PCA church plant prayerletter that I sent out for July… read away, please pray, and contact me if you have any questions or desire to share in this great – BUSY – work!  -jim

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July 2009

 Which round is this?  No, not a boxing match.  Not a night at the bar.  Thinking golf here.  Yesterday, Kori and I were privileged to join a church member at the USGA Women’s Open at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, PA.  Picture it: 80 degree sunny skies.  God-glorifying perfectly green grass (man-toxic with fertilizer).  Beautiful fairways leading up to exquisitely raked sand traps, dense and layered roughs, and greens that were… well, unputtable.    

 Throughout the course, lucky volunteers wore matching polo shirts with red hats, exerting their awesome authority.  They told us where we could and could not walk.  They told us when to stop walking and stand there.  Actually, they didn’t tell us anything.  They didn’t even speak.  They simply held up their hands – silence people, professionals at work.  Silence is the only way to treat a pressure moment.   Every shot in a USGA tournament is a pressure moment, but we were privileged to be seated at the 18th green grandstand to witness the pressurest momentous moment of them all.  23 year old Ji Eun-hee rolled in the birdie putt of her life.   We had just observed 18 golfers in a row miss every putt attempt over 5 feet.  Then it happened.  Ji delivered a 20 foot putt worth $585,000 (that’s $29,250 per foot and $2,437.50 per inch). 

No pressure Ji.

 Wait a minute.  It wasn’t a $585,000 putt.  Ji had just completed the fourth round of a long tournament.  She shot 284 times over those four rounds.  Forgive me, that’s $2,059.86 per swing.  And since Saucon Valley’s Old Course was approximately 6,740 yards (times four), that’s $21.69 per yard that Ji had to walk.  I’d walk a yard for $21 bucks.

 It’s amazing how pressure moments seem to exist irrespective of their context, isn’t it?  That I am naturally inclined to think that Ji’s putt was worth half-a-million dollars is absurd!  Be realistic, Jim – it was one putt in the context of 284 swings, walked over 26,960 yards… in addition to multiple practice rounds, countless previous tournaments, millions of practice putts, chips, and drives over the span of 23 years! 

 (the following sentence will sound familiar)

 It’s amazing how pressure moments IN CHURCH PLANTING seem to exist irrespective of their context, isn’t it?  That I am naturally inclined to think that the prayerful decisions of today are decisive pressure moments that could blow the whole West Valley PCA thing… what a horrendous practical theology when my systematic theology declares that God is sovereign over every detail and decision… most gloriously in his church!  See Ephesians 1.

 Still, the pressure is on at West Valley PCA!  We are in a visible and fantastic facility that will soon be fighting against us, if it is not already.  We simply do not have feasible space for children.  But what to do?  Suddenly the thought of short term vs. long term vision, plus the reality that space in our target area is scarce and we NEED a form of facility expansion before the Fall when college students return and family vacations stop and, Lord willing, more visitors continue to join us … well, the pressure mounting.   Then there’s the pressure of training up leaders in recognition that we are a churchDiscipleshipDevelopment.  On top of that, there are God-fearing newbies and oldies at West Valley who are being painfully deconstructed by the Word of God for their good and the glory/joy of God.  It is pressure shepherding.  Or, then there’s the pressure of giving exhausted teachers and sacrificial church planters a needed respite, even as we don’t have the critical mass to fully raise up a new ‘shift’ of SS teachers and volunteers!  Pray against burnout and for renewed energy!  Then there’s the pressure of financial resources.  We are not yet self-supporting.  (Nor were we when we started in September ’08.  Thanks to God for many of you who have helped provide!)  Our church is expanding along with our expenses.   It is fully under God’s control, but – no pressure – the gap seems to be widening between local tithes and ministry need!  Did I mention a necessary facility change or expansion?!  Please pray for resources as we are budgeting for our fiscal calendar launch in September… pray for the resource capacity to have continued administrative staff and to expand our ministry to children and parents, to our community… in the right facility.  No pressure.

 (Did I almost make you feel like we are facing our own pressure putt that is make-or-break?)

 Seriously, no pressure.  These putts are a part of a LONG round of eternal golf.  They do not exist irrespective of CONTEXT… and that context is the church of Jesus Christ having been provided for over the centuries.  The church of Jesus Christ declaring the gospel to a broken world for centuries.  The church of God seeing transformation and kingdom-realities by the power of the Spirit in us, giving us the power of the resurrected Christ to us, under the sovereign authority of God who owns all things, including us!  Seriously, no pressure.  This Sunday’s sermon is one sermon in a gagillion.  Our worship space is one worship-house of a bajillion.  Our budget-v.-resources need is a drop in the bucket of an eternally deep well of the Lord’s possessions.  Context is everything. 

 

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think,

according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus

throughout all generations forever and ever.  Amen.  [Ephesians 3:20-21] 

 

Will you please pray for us to believe THAT. 

We know we believe it if we feel, well… no pressure.

 

On the home course…

Is it really the middle of July?  Yes.  Is Lina really turning 7 in tomorrow?  Yes.  Is Meggie really prepping for kindergarten?  Yes.  Was that Nate who just spoke in a clear and coherent sentence?  Yes.  Kori and I are so thankful for the beauty of our children – they image God to us more than anything in all creation. 

We need them more than they need us… and in this stage, they need us!  They are curious and creative.  They are observant and obsessing.  They are in need of a gospel-worldview in a secure home!   No pressure.

 Please pray for a (remaining) summer of family rejuvenation and joy (still trying to recover from Disney World and 4th of July weekend!).  Pray for Kori as she is seeking the Lord regarding her role as a mom, wife, church member, community member, and pastor’s wife.  Pray for our parental discernment regarding schooling options.  Pray for our getting to know our new neighbors.  Pray for a sacrificial – dead to self – leader to model the gospel in our home.  (Yes, that would be a bold prayer for me.)  Quite honestly, I think that this summer has exacerbated the distance that we are from our families; we fight loneliness regularly.  Please pray for contentment and surrender to the call of God to be here, on a mission field.  Please pray for a joy that surpasses circumstance.

 Finally, (and let me be explicit here) – we are extending our Powell family Myrtle Beach trip and staying in South Carolina to preach and fundraise for West Valley PCA.  From August 24-30th I would love to sit down with many of you and share more clearly the conversions, convictions and Kingdom-work that God is doing in our midst?  Would you partner with us?  Or, if you pledged to financially support wvpc over three years, would you honor that pledge?  If so, please contact me at jim@westvalleypres.org and/or send any gifts to West Valley Presbyterian Church, 326 Main Street, Suite 1 – Emmaus PA 18049.  All gifts will be tax-deduct and a year end statement will be provided.   I can’t wait to see many of you! 

 Entrusted with something way too powerful for my comprehension or control, -jim

 

 

 

 

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what God is doing

A friend of mine recently said to me that he thinks faith is what broken and unbelieving people (whom we have seen at West Valley PCA church plant) are curious about.  Faith… what to believe in?  Then he made the observation that hope is what believers long for… people who attend our churches, who sit in our small groups, who maybe read the Bible daily and pray before meals – they long for hope… “Show me God that this is making a transforming change in my life…”  I hope, anyway.  Transforming me from the inside-out – my anxieties, addictions, depressions, obsessions… I hope, anyway.

Well, I blog today filled with hope that has renewed my faith.  How’s that for a combo?  God is at work!  He is at work in his church through Christ, through his Word, and through his people.  He is at work in family and self… 

A few weeks ago I attended my favorite – the Workshop on Biblical Expostion (Simeon Trust, see links), and since my return, my Word-work for Sunday sermons has been transforming.  Actually ,the times in the Word are slower, filled with more struggle, checking and rechecking context… slow to apply to modern life – and God, through the work, has given POWERFUL textual links to my life and family and our congregation.  God is at work in his Word!  O, and Ecclesiastes is an awesome mess of a book – mirroring its message, and connecting with the magnanimous mess of the people/world to which we are seeking to engage with the gospel.  God is at work!

He is so at work in our family and personal life – bringing us glimpses of new life out of the funk for his glory and service… that I am content to say nothing in reflection.  How’s that for different.  Yeah, I know. 

We were told that church planting would put us in the line of fire and that spiritual attack would be unlike any we knew… Wish they would’ve told us more.  But thanks to God for showing us personal immaturity, giving us new patterns, and now we open our eyes and realize that the gospel is our HOPE of transformation, even as our faith has been tested more than I thought possible as a “pastor/church planter.”   Hope is… well, not just a word. 

Truly, it is as if (Ephes. 1:18ff) “we have had the eyes of our hearts enlightened, that we may know what is the hope to which we have been called…”  And you know what, the whole “weak christian” concept I have wrestled with over the years – am I being too emphatic on the power and discovery of the gospel in moments of weakness?  It has proved realistic for me these past 4 months.  There is a God whose gospel of transformation is real.  It is not real for me apart from my being so desperate, so parched, so scared, so worried, so pushed, so attacked, and so weak – as we have been in these launching days of West Valley.

Today do I feel strong and ready for the glorious task of where God is taking West Valley PCA?  No, I don’t feel strong!  I do have HOPE that transformation in this life under the sun is possible according to the work of God, through his Word and his revelation/power shown us in Christ! 

Amen and Amen.  Come Lord Jesus.

Below is a snipet from our recent prayerletter sent to the prayer and financial partners of WVPC – if you are desirous of learning a bit more of God’s work on the churchplant front.

  __________________

Allow me to share this update.  We are still meeting at our Main Street store-front location, and are in process of reconfiguring the space to fit 150 rather than 100 chairs.  Very needed!  We have been blessed of late to have web-connected, friend-connected, and not-so-random-connected visitors who have returned time and again.  We continue to study the sobering book of Ecclesiastes, salivating more and more for the redemption promised us in Christ from a world filled with futility, vanity and suffering.  We currently have four Community Groups gathering weekly in homes with approximately 25 family units represented.  The goal of our Community Groups is transformation through the Word in a context of safety and exposure among God’s people.   In tandem with our Community Groups, our ladies have begun multiple small groups to study “Gospel Transformation” (World Harvest Mission) and we have finally begun our College Student Adoption as 5-6 families have been linked to pairs of students.   

 

Organizationally, we are on the front end of reassessing our Sunday morning Kids Ministry (due to energy-stewardship and discipleship-effectiveness).  What to do with the responsibility of 40+ kids?!   To help with this and other strategic decisions, we are forming an Advisory Team of men and women who will help “assess and advise” the needs and direction of West Valley, giving on-the-ground thoughts to our provisional session, which is made up of sacrificial elders from regional presbytery churches.  This Advisory group will be a brain-Spirit trust to discuss issues such as our rented facility (Is it working?  Is there a better option?), kids ministry discipleship (Are we effective? Are we burning people out?), etc.  In addition to the strategic formation of an Advisory Team, our session of elders is also prayerfully discussing how to effectively shepherd God’s people as needs and people are mounting (beyond what I have wisdom/capacity/experience for)!  It is not easy for a plurality of elders to shepherd God’s people, when the majority of the plurality are not in the vicinity!  Please pray for us.  In one respect, however, my pastoral role of shepherding and textual study has already been greatly enhanced.  We have hired a part-time Administrative Manager!   Alex is finishing his Bachelor’s degree in business, and while in school, he is using his budding business acumen to organize our office for the sake of stewardship and effectiveness.  Already, this has enabled me to rediscover and prioritize the prayer, expositional preaching (study!) and shepherding tasks of this glorious calling.  Will you pray for wisdom as we discern the changing stages of West Valley’s maturation – that we might structure and prioritize ourselves in a way that enhances our obedience to Christ and helps fulfill our vision for his glory?  These are exciting and uncharted organizational waters (at least for me)!

 

So, having said all that, where are we as a church?  We are in the wilderness.  You may find us in coffee shops, the grocery store, our places of work (hospitals, banks, offices, shops), out sledding if the weather’s right, or at our homes among a myriad of children.  You surely can find us at 322 Main Street in Emmaus on Sunday mornings!  But make no mistake by the thankful and exciting report above… we are in the wilderness.  An artsy-town/sprawling suburban wilderness.   Revelation 12:6 describes the wilderness like this: “and the woman (church) fled to the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished.”  So there you have it.  We are in the nourishing wilderness.  Right now it happens to look like a Main Street church plant of people who meet in Community Groups to study the Word and who are in process of organizing…  But in a deeper sense, we are simply being nourished and preserved by God in our corner of this earthly wilderness where, indeed, there is a tumult of pain and brokenness and temptation and sin.  God is nourishing us by his gospel, by his Word, and by his people until the day when Christ who has ascended to the throne of God (Rev. 12:5) returns to set up his kingdom.  Come Lord Jesus Come!

 

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learning where I’ve been

Monday night, I took out the trash – and like in the movies – looked to my right, and my neighbor Wil and I were synchronized in our husbandry.  Two dads simultaneously taking out the trash at 10:45pm.

“I like your beard,”  he said.  “It makes your eyes pop.”

To which I said, “Don’t ever tell me that again.” (or something)

Then I told him that it has nothing to do with a beard.  Maybe its because I haven’t been a person for about the past 6 months.  You see that in peoples eyes, right?  Distance, disengaged, empty.  So now my eyes pop, and neighborhood men have noticed.  Sweet.

Actually, he’s right.  I feel a bit like Paul in Acts 9, after his conversion encounter with the resurrected Christ (not conveying that I have recently been converted).  After he had been stricken with blindness at the appearance of Christ, Ananias was sent to say to him, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  After which Scripture says, immediately something like scales fell from his eyes.  Maybe passerbys taking out their trash noticed the change in his eyes.  Or was it the beard?

Seriously, I am daily learning where I have been.  Something like scales are coming off of my spiritual eyes as I feel like the calcification of my heart is chipping away.  I can weep for people, pray with people, study Scripture to preach to people… and all to discover Christ who alone can cure blindess. 

It’s weird to feel like I can see again, because now I want to look back to figure out where Ive been in the months of launching out West Valley PCA (www.westvalleypres.org).  But its hard to look back to where you’ve been when – at the time – I wasn’t seeing much of anything.

O God, help my eyes to pop.  My tears to flow.  Your heart to care.  My eyes to read.  Your Word to convict. 

Maybe the patchy beard is here to stay…

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words. semantics. logos.

Below is an “unpublished” prayerletter that I almost sent out to our West Valley PCA church plant prayer partners.  Upon reading it, my wife commented that it was less about God’s work in our church plant, and more a reflection/confession on his work in me.  It is written like a blog, she said, not a prayerletter.  And so I post it as a blog, for anyone who cares to read… and pray!

______

 

 

I love words.  For good reason, I think:   En arche en o logos. (“In the beginning was the Word.”)  By words, I do not mean my existence as a talking head (which is something that just happens, something that I do not enjoy, something that God is bound to change as he shapes me through Kori).  I love the written word.  My affection for creative literary verbiage has prompted self-discovery as often as it has created strife.  Despite being a traditionalist on many fronts, I have learned that being a semantic challenger de facto makes one a non-conformist.   I can thank my High School friend Carl Gregg, who threw a novel in my lap one lunch period, saying – Read this.  It’ll improve your vocabulary. 

 

Words.  They can release us from the prison of other people’s ideas even as they rescue us from our own incomplete thoughts!    Undeniably, effective word formation and articulation defines who we are. 

 

Yet, how dangerous words can be.  In his book, Under the Unpredictable Plant – An Exploration in Vocational Holiness, Eugene Peterson exposes me to the scary truth of word-flirtation:

 

Somewhere along the way… I saw that alongside and intertwined with being a pastor I was also a writer.  My vocation was bipolar.  In writing I am working with words; in pastoring, I am working with people.  Not mere words or mere people, but words and people as carriers of spirit/Spirit.  The moment words are used prayerlessly and people are treated prayerlessly, something essential begins to leak out of life. 

 

In this first prayer letter of 2009, I share with you my greatest lesson of the first 3 months as pastor of West Valley Presbyterian Church.  The lesson is this: culturally-nuanced and intentionally-contextualized words – even those with a localized gospel-semantic and aesthetic – they are just words… unless God’s Word and Spirit inhabit them through prayer.  We have used many words at West Valley; words which I believe have resonated with our intellectual, yet spiritually stymied culture.  Words like brokenness, community, authentic, weakness (contra strength), gospel meta-narrative (creation, fall, redemption, glory), worldview, otherness, newness.  More than a few people have settled at West Valley PCA because they are hearing the gospel in a new semantic that I fully believe is a faithful semantic.  Words matter to God. 

 

And yet, confess that I have often used words “prayerlessly.”  (Prayerless words.  Thank God they are not empty words – for he has used them.)  I know this, because over the first months of God’s good work at West Valley PCA, “something essential has leaked out of my life.”  Joy… compassion, to name only two.  Our family has gone through deep spiritual depression, difficult health challenges, personal trials of a wordless proportion.  My own words have been incapable of relief, recognition, or recapitulation for others.  You, our faithful praying friends, should know this. 

 

And yet, thanks be to God for his Word, which is unchanging!  Regardless of its semantic expression (exhortation, rebuke, psalmody, poetry, narrative, lament) it has bathed a broken young pastor in a language understandable.  It is hearable, and because it is true – restorative faith has come again by hearing (Romans 10:17)!  Kori and I stand up and attest that the Word of God is powerful and beautifully diagnostic for broken and sick people such as we have been.

 

I want you all – our church planting partners – to know that many are hearing of God’s grace and mercy at West Valley PCA through the text of his Word (his righteousness given to the unrighteous in Christ, his justice promised to the oppressed through Christ, his healing at the cost of Christ’s brokenness for our brokenness).  Many unchurched are checking into the Word spoken in a language they can understand.  You have made this possible, thank you.  Even more, I want you to know that I need your prayers to be a pastor of prayerFULL written and spoken words, when it is so easy to speak and write prayerlessly! 

 

Ironically, I long for God’s work of kingdom-explosion to continue just as it has been – by his unearthing our deepest fears, deceptions, needs, brokenness… so that through our brokenness we can see and savor Christ, and so bring the hope of his gospel (which we ACTUALLY believe, hunger for, search for words about) to the broken culture and persons around us!  Will you pray to that end – and it will be a glorious eternal end of justice and mercy and joy everlasting for those who are in Christ in the West Valley (as well as where God has placed you)! 

_______

 

There are pictures and real prayer requests in the email prayerletter I send monthly… if anyone desires to receive said prayerletters, please comment and leave your email address!

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west valley prayerletter (July 2008)

Below you will find West Valley church plant’s July newsletter… sorry to those who also received emails with the pdf version (and you came here for something creative to read – not today!).  – Jim

 

  west valley PCA church plant – lehigh valley PA

a historic place     a new place. 

a historic Church       a new church.

 

The above duality adequately describes the nature of our church planting context in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.  Our target area is both historic and new, from the gentrifying ‘buy local’ Borough of Emmaus (settled in the 1740s) to the suburban sprawl of Lower Macungie Township, the fastest growing municipality in the Commonwealth of PA in 2005-2006. 

 

 How do we faithfully and relevantly contextualize the gospel in such a place as this?

 

 We believe it can only be through the historic Church – the very “dwelling place of God by his Spirit” – being incarnated as a new church, a new community of broken-but-redeemed, weak-but-strengthened people who contagiously communicate and celebrate Jesus Christ as their only hope.  Just as the apostle Paul confirmed the new status of the Ephesian church, we believe that we – 40 adults and 40 children from Cornerstone PCA in Coopersburg PA – are “being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit”(Ephes. 2:22).  That dwelling place is a new church plant.  More particularly, it is a church in the west valley of the Lehigh Valley.  God is birthing West Valley Presbyterian Church (PCA).

 

Much has happened since we have corresponded with many of you:

1.       We have incorporated as West Valley Presbyterian Church, Inc.

2.       We have travelled from Chicago, IL to Florence and Columbia, SC fundraising and visiting friends and speaking at churches.

3.       We have vacationed, trying to manufacture the calm before the storm (Lina, Kori and her dad, Doug/‘papa’, biked across Georgia – not exactly rest).  

4.       We have “gone to the mountain” with other West Valley church-planters to seek the Lord’s vision for West Valley PCA, and are in the process of honing and owning that vision now.

5.       We have found a local artist for logo and web design.

6.       We have begun regularly gathering on Sunday evenings for ‘prayer/planning’ – eighty adults and children prepping for a Fall public launch, Lord willing.

7.       We have continued to probe our target area for a place of worship that will be accessible, functional, strategic and aesthetically apropos for the purpose of beautiful, God exalting worship.

8.       We have an office, thanks to numerous hands and feet (and sweaty brows) that worked to ‘flip’ our Main Street space – where we anticipate being a gospel-incarnating blessing to our community for years to come.

9.       We have begun cutting the umbilical cord, as my duties at Cornerstone are tapering off so that I might focus on West Valley.  Thanks be to God for giving CPC a vision to release people for the extension of Christ’s kingdom!

10.   We are resting on the power of Christ to extend his kingdom and build his church amidst our weakness and brokenness, even as we are struck by the lengths Satan has gone in effort to undo us.

Please pray:

1.       Pray for a hedge of gospel-protection around Kori and myself (our marriage), and on Lina, Meggie and Nate (our parenting) – as well as on the families who are launching out with us.

2.       Pray for our vision/values/mission process as we are clarifying (by Word, Spirit and community) the identity that God would give us for his glory and for the West Valley.  I look forward to sharing more acutely who we are in the next prayer letter.

3.       Pray for a worship facility within the target area of Lower Macungie or Emmaus.  Pray for wisdom as we network to discern options – whether churches, community centers, colleges, etc.   Pray for a space and lease term that will provide us with consistency and flexibility.

4.       Pray for our Sunday evening ‘prayer/planning’ meetings.  Pray that God would grow us in unity and maturity.  Pray that a culture of refreshing transparency and prayer will define us prior to our launch of public worship. 

5.       Pray for the children of the West Valley church planters.  My children frequently ask, “Daddy, are we going to church with the same people but in a different building again?”   “Yes girls, ‘cause the church is not the building”… yada yada yada preacher-man.  Actually, with serious intentionality we are seeking to craft an environment where the 40+ children participate in the kingdom calling of their church-planting parents.  From day one our children must be a centrality, not a casualty.

6.       Pray for the formation of ministry teams – from Children, to Worship Arts, to Hospitality, to Community Groups, to Administration and Finances.

7.       Pray for the formal establishment of a “provisional” session of elders (through presbytery).  Rather than starting with our own elders, we will begin with oversight and accountability provided by a select group of presbyters – pastors and ruling elders from sister churches.

8.       Pray for the “skeptics studies” that we intend to hold at our new church office in late July and August.  Our hope is to provide a safe place for the un-churched and non-believing to engage and question a biblical worldview as it relates to their own presuppositions about life/God.

9.       Pray for the budgeting process along with my continued fundraising, as we will be on our own as a church (living off of tithes/fundraised money) beginning September 1st.  Pray for wisdom in forecasting the ministry opportunities of the year in light of anticipated local tithes and outside gifts.

10.   Finally, please pray as Christ taught us:

 

Our Father in heaven,

thy Kingdom come in our West Valley as it is in heaven.

 

We are excitedly docile as we pray, knowing that this is the Lord’s work alone. 

Our hype and strategies and zeal and winsomeness will not build Christ’s church. 

He does not need us to bring his kingdom to the West Valley (Acts 17:25)!  We are set free! 

 

I  will  build  my  church

Matthew 16:18

 

What a privilege of grace to get to participate in Christ’s work –

a work for which we ourselves are indebted

a work that our efforts cannot impede

a work that we cannot do alone

 

Confident in Christ and in you,

 Jim

__________________________

 

Tax-deductible contributions, send check to: 
Mission to North America,
1700 N Brown, Suite 101,
Lawrenceville, GA 30043-8122
(write Jim Powell on memo)
online debit/credit cards:
 https://processor.pcanet.org/mna/donationsII/donation.cfm
under ‘church planters’ menu, select “Powell, Jim / West Valley”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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