Monday, January 24, 2011

YFC-Roxboro "Praises and Pleas"

Youth For Chirst Roxboro
Praises and Pleas
the week of January 23-30, 2011

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, He told this parable: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell...” Luke 8:4-5a

Praises: Thank You, Mighty God, for calling us from the marketplace into the field. Thank You for giving us opportunity time and time again to serve. Thank You, Father, for continuing to give us crowds and groups and individuals with which to share Your truths. Thank You, Lord, that saints are willing and running to be equipped. You, our God, are the source of our supply, granting us wisdom and resources for the work. You, Jehovah Jireh, are the source of our supply; granting YFC-Roxboro the grace of calling and the strength for its pursuit. Thank You for the opportunity to stand in Your presence and to come in and go out as Your kingdom servants. Thank You, Holy Father, for stooping to know us and for consenting to send us. The fields are white unto harvest; we praise You for the season of work.

Pleas: Our Lord and our God, call more laborers unto the field! Father, whether in our large crowds that gather at The Warehouse or for My Life Matters Club, or our medium-sized crowds that gather for Campus Life or for basketball shoot-arounds, or our small groups that gather for discipleship or our individual meetings with students, make us hardworking and faithful farmers of Your fields. Encourage our hands to be steady on the plow and quick to the seed bag, plowing hearts with our prayers and casting the Word as seeds upon the ground. Make our staff (board, paid and volunteer) willing to cast the seed at every turn. You, Father, judge and prepare the ground. You, Father, are the Lord of the harvest. Make us willing workers of the field. From classrooms, to gyms, to parking lots, to The Warehouse, to back rooms in churches, to Wal-Mart, to every point in between, empower us, Holy Spirit, to go out an sow Your seed. Father, grant Your servants new and fresh desire to become acquainted with the Holy Seed that is Your Word. Make us deft in it's employment, willing to cast it, familiar with is application and ready in season and out to give a reason for the hope that is in us. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Great, Spiritual Expectations

When you give...
And when you pray...
And when you fast...
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much...
(Matthew 6:2, 5,16 and Luke 16:10, ESV)

As parents, my wife and I have tried to instill wise money stewardship in our children's value system. We have three rules of governance for every bit of money they receive, and we expect them to exercise these rules without our badgering. You can walk up to them at any time and ask them “What are the three rules of money?” and they'll just spout off the answers. The rules:
        1. Sacrifice: always put God first. Use the Old Testament standard of tithing and offerings as a discipline and the New Testament standard of liberal giving as there is need, always seeking to discern what the Spirit is saying and doing.
        2. Save: put away at least 10% for your future and more as you have it.
        3. Spend: always take care of needs first; next consider how your spending allows you to honor God with acts of hospitality and helps; then, and only after sacrifice, save and previous spend rules, spend on yourself.


At 10 and 7, I would not say my children have mastered this mentality and discipline, but I must commend them for their general adherence. They truly seem to have caught the spirit and the Spirit of the thing. It's becoming easier and easier to trust my children with money, because they are maturing more and more in how they handle it.

In my last article I talked about the fact that many people want God to give them a specific ministry and / or purpose in life, yet they have not been diligent or opportunistic about God's general will. Today's article is a continuation.

God has spiritual and life expectations for us. Some of these expectations are clearly outlined during part of what we call “The Sermon on the Mount” as found in Matthew 6. Jesus' words are important. He doesn't say “if you give” or “if you pray” or “if you fast.” Sometimes what isn't said is important. In this case, what isn't said is important, and what is said is even more important. The word is “when” in each case. It reveals expectations.

These, like my expectations for my daughters' money management, are just basic expectations. You know there's more.

Jesus was talking to a society that lived religiously. Their culture was religious. Everything about their daily lives, down to eating or not eating certain foods, was religious in nature and consideration. These were “People of the Book” or “People of the Law.” Even their national government was theocratic in practice. Adherence to God's Law was their very lifestyle. Jesus didn't need to preface his comments, explaining what spiritual discipline meant, before He said, “When...”

What I am getting at is simple, if we want to know the specific, we must become committed to the discipline of the expected.

What follows in the economy of God is simple. When we are found faithful in small things, He increases our opportunity. When we are diligent in the revealed will of God, He opens to us the specific.

Do you want big ministry? Big responsibility? Would you like to do important, meaningful things for the Lord? Good. It's good to desire these things! We all must start by working on the simple expectations of God.

Develop a discipline of giving that honors God's revealed will. Develop a discipline of prayer that engages the Lord and is according to His priorities. Develop a discipline of fasting that increases your spiritual potency. It seems the Lord designed us in such a way these things are meant to be normal.

God has for us all great, spiritual expectations! Begin to obey and watch God move!

Youth for Christ Roxboro Praises & Pleas

Youth for Christ Roxboro Praises & Pleas   1/11/11
…that the man of God may be complete,
thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Tim 3.17

Praises:   For months now YFCR volunteers have been training and practicing, even getting some public speaking tips, and now, Father God, You routinely help them share confirming testimonies in Saturday Night Chapel @ TheWarehouse.  As a result, teens are seeking out not just YFCR staff, but volunteers, to ask counsel.  And at the same time, Lord,  You have unleashed a new season of trust in Person County youth.   Middle and high schoolers are confessing struggles with temptations, doubts and questions about You, entrusting info about sexual orientation and confusion.  Thank You, Mighty Equipper, for making staff and volunteers not just available, but more than capable, to bring them to Your word for true help.  

Pleas:  Father, please help the students who attended Equipper Camp during Christmas break to keep applying what they learned.  As student leaders, enable them to stand up for You regardless of comments from their peers.  For students struggling with sexual confusion and temptations, we ask for open hearts, ready to receive and obey Jesus.  Please give each staff and volunteer Your wisdom from above as they counsel teens.  Dearest Trainer, we also ask that You enable YFCR board members to employ the training they received this past weekend to do an excellent job for You.  May all be complete for Your glory!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Start Praying

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling (1 Timothy 2:1-8; ESV, emphasis mine).

I grow weary of people lamenting that they don't know what is their special purpose or mission in life. I don't know if every leader faces this, but I make the assumption they do. I cannot count how many people have approached me and said something like, “I'd serve the Lord if knew what He meant for me to do.”

Hogwash. Yes, as insensitive as it seems and sounds, that's what I meant. God doesn't seem to reveal special purpose to people until they have a solid dedication and regular practice of ordinary purpose. Here's just such a case: PRAYER. The Holy Spirit, in God's word, through the Apostle Paul, made it clear that every person everywhere ought to be praying! Let's get to it!

I love this poem:

THE MINISTRY OF PRAYER

There's a holy high vocation,
Needing workers everywhere;
'Tis the highest form of service,
'Tis the ministry of prayer.

None need stand idly longing,
For a place in which to share;
Active service for the Master,
There's always room in prayer.

In these days of tribulation,
Wickedness pervades the air;
And the battles we engage in,
Must be won by fervent prayer.

There's no weapon half so mighty,
As what the intercessors bear;
Nor a broader field of service,
Than the ministry of prayer.

--A. S. Woolworth

Friend, listen, do you want a powerful ministry? Start praying. Do you want God to entrust you with much? Start praying. Do you want to see the hungry fed? Start praying. Do you want to see our nation changed? Start praying. Do you want to see our leaders act more nobly? Start praying. Would you like a more peaceful family? Start praying. Would you love to serve others? Start praying. Would you love to please the Lord? Start praying.

Do you want to see missionaries sent? Do you want a better preacher or pastor? Do you want more disciplined children? Do you want a more loving, attentive spouse? Do you want to see deep change in your own life? Start praying. Start praying. Start praying!

You already pray? Most excellent. Don't let up!

Be thankful. Intercede for others. Talk to God. Listen to God. Pray.

I have no doubt that people desire purpose and it makes sense that we all want to know what it is God has created and sustained us for. I can't answer that for every person. What I can say is this: (1) The Holy Spirit is the key to fulfilling life and fulfilling ministry because He is a believer’s source of fulfillment. (2) If you want God to open up His specific will for you, you must know you must first receive and achieve God's general will.

Start praying.

Youth for Christ Roxboro Praises & Pleas 1/6/11

Youth for Christ Roxboro Praises & Pleas   1/6/11
Jesus: "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men."    Mark 1.17

Praises:   Yes, Lord, when we follow, You make many become fishers of men.  YFCR student leaders work with younger children at My Life Matters clubs; church groups attend Equipper Camps to learn to lead intentional lives for You; YFCR volunteers spend hours training to make every game and conversation count; YFCR board members are using this weekend to train to be better YFCR servants; and not only do YFCR staff spend days and nights deliberately loving teens, but Tim speaks in a different pulpit each week and takes discipleship training to YFC Nicaragua this month; in his spare time, Brett fishes for souls on the PCC campus.  Truly, Lord, You have made fishing for men our passion.

Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."       
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish              
that their nets began to break. Luke 5.4,6

Pleas:  Dearest God, You are so patient with us.  Never stop teaching our staff, volunteers, board members, supporters, children and their families as You continually haul us hand over hand toward Yourself.  As we experience You drawing us, make us fish like You.  Lord, in this new year, please direct our nets once again.  Help us find the lost children and hurting families down in deep water where we can’t see.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Things that trip me out...

Maybe this little write-up should be classified under the "Tim Ain't Right, Y'all" category.

Upfront Disclaimer: DO NOT VISIT THE SITE / COMPANY I AM MENTIONING HEREIN. THERE ARE SOME "ADULT" PRODUCTS SOLD BY THIS COMPANY; NO PERSON IS NUDE, BUT THE PRODUCTS FOUND ON THIS SITE MAY OFFEND SOME. YOU ARE WARNED. IF YOU VISIT IT, DO NOT SAY I DID NOT WARN YOU.

Okay...disclaimer done.

So, today we received an unsolicited catalog in the mail from a company called "Carol Wright Gifts."

I thought to myself, Cool, an "old lady" catalog. Uh...well...uh...if old ladies order across the spectrum of this catalog, well...uh...I just don't know what to say.

I had a little time -- you know the kind of time where you don't have enough to do much, but too much to do nothing -- so I plopped down and began to check ol' Carol out. What do you know, I open the first page and there's the most adorable "Kitten Throw." So, I was thinking, $4.99? For realz? Hey, that kitty looks just like Katie's cat. I'm buying that junk! Me and the old lady catalog were off to a rip-roaring start!

Next page: Oh boy...here's where I got super-stoked-shopping-fever. Ol' Carol has the KYMARO Body Shaper. Don't get it? Well, here's what it will do:

  • No more bulges!
  • Smoothes and Slims Hips and Thighs
  • Lifts Buttocks
  • Provides Back Support
I will leave it to you to determine which one I was most excited about. Okay, you guessed it...my booty is sagging and, frankly, I've been a bit concerned. But, hey, no more! I was going to order item #70460 in the "nude" color (so's I couldn't see it when I was getting dressed and would be totally fooled into thinking that I really look that good). You aren't sold? Wait! You just need this bit of info: it's only $39.99. Forget losing weight! I just need this here body shaper!

Two pages. Two exciting purchases. I was becoming afraid to turn the page; cardiac arrest seemed imminent.

I was almost overwhelmed by opportunity.

Plaid robes. Couch and chair covers.  All in one drapery. Low slouch boots. Genuine suede bag. Fucoxanthin Patch (featuring "Around-the-clock Weight Loss With Fat-Burning Batch" -- yep, you guessed it, item #3 in my bag). Weight-loss ring. Floral Shower Curtain (item #4). Denture Liner (item #5). Healthy Hoof Nail Strengthener (it became item #6 the moment I read the info: "when groomers saw what Healthy Hoof did for their horses, they used it on their own nails!" How could I pass that up?)

Wait...there was WAAAAAAY MORE! Electromagnetic Ultrasonic Pest Repeller. HealthMaster "Fruit and Vegetable Emulsifier." No-Spill Strip. 20 cleaning clothes for $7.99. Half-Finger Arthritis Gloves. Damask Chair Cover. The World's Easiest Nut-Cracker (item #7).

Then. Came. Pages. 16 and 17.

If old ladies buy this stuff...

Can I be modest and adult-like and say those two pages are filled with stuff made for people to concentrate on themselves and trust you to understand?

Next two pages: Genuine Leather Credit Card Case. Comfortable Non-Binding Socks. Men's 8-in-1 Groomer. The Back Saver. On and on and on and on it goes...

What?

What the heck?

What the heck-fire?

Why was the catalog aimed at me? Who was it meant for? Who sits around needing this combination of things from a mail order catalog? How do bladder control pills, control tops, canes, robes, nicotine medicine, walking shoes, fat dissolving cream and pages 16 and 17 all go together?

How do inspirational bracelets, escape hammers, shaver sharpener, medical ID bracelets, stainless-steel tea kettles, seat cushions and pages 16 and 17 go together?

How does the "Carol Wright Gifts" shopper go from "Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer" to that.

How can Carol keep a straight face when people call in and ask for the "Floral Quilt-Top Bedspread" and one of those in the same breath?

Wow...

What does this say about people? I need, I need, I need...OOOOO....I want. Are people that lonely? Is this the solution? Is THIS THAT important? Must it be couched between the "Wraparound Bed Ruffle" and buy-one-get-one-free "Platinum Edition Cordless Electric Rechargeable Shave Kit"?  Must it be wedged between the things people use to put their socks on when they can't bend over and the self setting alarm clock? If you can't set your alarm or put on your socks, how...???

No, Tim, don't pursue these answers.


So, it made me think of a passage. 


2 Timothy 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of selflovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (emphasis mine; English Standard Version)


You might not "get" what I'm talking about, and, IF you don't, I pray it's because of godly 

naïveté. If that is the cause, rock on. 


Carol might be selling to old ladies. She might be selling to young men. To whomever she's selling, they're buying more than they bargained for! I put my mentally-carted items away and prepared the catalog for recycling (and a good joke). 

Anybody interested in a lightly-looked-upon catalog? 

Monday, January 03, 2011

Support Seeking

Hello, and greetings in the name of our Lord! Following our mission trip to Esteli this past summer, Youth For Christ Nicaragua National Director, Alberto Leiva, visited with us for three weeks earlier this fall. During his time here Alberto attended our Fruitful Disciple training. Alberto has requested that I come to Esteli and perform that training twice in a week’s time for 100+ YFC volunteers and local youth workers during the week of January 27, 2011February 3, 2011.

Financially speaking, this is a monumental undertaking. I am writing to ask for your help. Airfare, ground travel, lodging and food will cost $1,800.00. In addition, YFC-Nicaragua will not  be able to host a conference of this size without financial assistance, so I will need to raise an additional $1,000.00 to pay for materials and meals and equipment rental for the training sessions.

When we were in Nicaragua last summer, one of our missions was to help YFCN gain new volunteers by increasing their exposure to the believing community as we reached out to the unbelieving community. It worked! Within a month of leaving they had over 35 new volunteers! Now, we’re being asked to help YFCN better equip their new volunteer staff.

So, I need your help to raise this $2,800.00. I know that this looks like a lot of money, but with your help, I will be able to do this. I ask that you spend some time in prayer and ask God for some guidance. The amount is only important in the sense that we’ve obeyed God in our giving. All donations are tax-deductible! I also want you to know that I cannot do this without your help.  So, thank you for your time and generous support.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14


Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,


Tim Bowes


Romans 12:1-2

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Trusting and Obeying and No Other Waying...

Here is part of a letter I am sending out to people who've made a donation to YFC in the past month and a half. I thought it worth sharing:




This story is too good not to tell...

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving found YFC totally broke, financially speaking. Staff were not going to get paid and bills were due. We closed the offices that day with the simple prayer that God would take care of His business while we spent time with family, thanking Him for giving us all that He had over the past year.

When we're low on finances I usually hit my knees and ask God to show me who to talk to about a gift. Sometimes those choices seem to make sense and other times I don't understand why God is laying a particular person on my heart. Still, it's my practice to pray, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me in the needed phone calls, not only on who to call, but what to say. God is always faithful.


This Wednesday was different. Not that I didn't pray, but what God spoke into my spirit was the difference. As I asked God who I should call, I heard silence. Okay, I thought, I can wait. I can wait for God to show me who to call. He didn't give me names. I went into my prayer closet several times over the course of that evening and the answer was silence.

Finally God spoke. It was clear. I know the Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me, telling me to “do nothing except to watch Me work.” Uh...okay. Some people would find it a struggle to go ask others for money. I found it a struggle to NOT ask. This was hard. I know the Spirit of God was speaking in my spirit not only to not ask, but to make people ask me specifically about finances and not to talk about it unless asked specifically. Whew...this was big trouble for me!

Over the course of the entire Thanksgiving weekend, not a single person asked me about finances. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I sat down to a late night of prayer, creating an “exit plan” to present to the staff the next morning at staff meeting and to the Board of Directors via email. I felt as “good” as a person could feel, with such a task as that. I slept little; not worried, but burdened for the lives of staff members and their families and the vision God has given me for our county. I sensed something had to give and the ministry would suffer and I wanted to be extra attentive in seeking to understand what that change might need to be and how God would use me for its implementation.

The most wonderful thing happened at staff meeting the next morning. – Remember, the staff had gone unpaid the previous week and I was telling them I did not know when any of us would get paid. I told them I'd rather free them to make sure they could provide for their families at some other job than to keep them with us and make no money. I explained what ministries and activties we'd cut first as we trimmed budget back from its already skeletal form. – The staff was undaunted, full of faith and unafraid! They all desired, like me, to press on and they all desired to walk by faith and trust God to the resourcing as He trusted us with the ministry. I was humbled. And, excited! Sure, I thought, Some things might have to change – maybe we'll have to close The Warehouse, or cut clubs, or get other jobs – but these beautiful people are committed to The Gospel, not the paycheck! YES, JESUS!

So, together, we decided to press on. Let's just do ministry! was our battle cry. $330.00 of $10,000.00 needed dollars came in that Monday and less than that on Tuesday.

I started and never finished an email to the Board of Directors. This is all I wrote: “Tomorrow's mail; tonight's gift; a miracle...any of these could change the necessity of the following email.” Again, I felt a check in my spirit, and I knew it was God speaking very quietly to me again: “stop typing and wait.” So, I did. The next morning gifts started to pour and all sorts of people began to ask me very directly about the financial status of YFCR. I answered and they gave. Many gave who did not ask!

Between Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon, the Lord used you all to give $14,000.00 to The Gospel. It was all a mighty work of His Spirit!

It truly is better to walk by faith than to walk by sight. This experience has been a wonderful affirmation to the faith and faithfulness of our staff. And, the same can be said for many of our volunteers who are so intimately connected to our mission they know the details of what we do and what we do it with as we do.

Thank you for being part of this beautiful experience! Thank you for listening the Holy Spirit when He speaks to you, telling you to pray for us, work with us or support us with resources. Thank you for your commitment to being an ongoing supporter of The Gospel.

Please consider being added to our “Ministry Report” list, which is sent out via email, and request to be added by emailing me at yfcrox@gmail.com. Though we don't have time to report it all, as our staff has time, they report on various ministry activities, testifying of how they see the Spirit at work in young people.