Thoughts for NDP leaders

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Before any leader can make an appeal, there are at least three things to keep in mind:

 

1. KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

Early in my walk with the Lord, I heard through various ministries that there are two kinds of people in this world:  children of God and children of Satan.  (John 8:44, John 1:12) When we appeal, we have the potential to either encourage the children of God or be a witness of Christ to children of darkness.

In truth, we don’t always know where a person is coming from, so it behooves us to be careful what we say:  This is where attitude check comes in, for out of mouth pours what’s really in the heart.   Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit at work through your conversations/relationships

2. KNOW YOUR RESOURCES

Your role of calling others to pray in public for our nation has already defined you as a pioneer:    “one who goes ahead to prepare the way for others”.  One who marches along side an army encouraging the soldiers and clearing the path.  One who clears brush, not afraid of unseen, brave against nettles and vines; trench-digger, while digging trench from which missiles can be fired, piles dirt up along side the trench, allowing the others to walk upright, to get in place for battle, or to travel back and forth between troops on battlefield. (from Websters1828 Dictionary)

As a leader, you are a builder, a Nehemiah with a vision of building prayer for your community.

Nehemiah had a burden for the city of Jerusalem, to rebuild the outer walls.  The story of the rebuilding of the wall is the story of a man who prayed to God for everything.

Neh 1:4 prayed about the problem, prayed for and received the authority’s favor (1:11-2:8), surveyed and planned the work (2:9-16),  shared testimony of God’s favor with God’s people (2:18) and with unbelievers (2:19-20), followed his plan (3:1-32) ran into trouble and prayed again (4:4), more trouble and more prayer/hammer and weapon (4:9), finished the project – God glorified (6:13-14).

Pray about problem, pray for authority and his favor; pray for the plan, share plan with God’s people and with unbelievers, follow the plan, be ready for opposition with your hammer (tools/gifts) and weapon (Word of God),   marvel aloud at what God has done!

This song has been my theme song since first hearing it in April 2001.    ‘Stay Up On The Wall’, by Babbie Mason says it like this:

“Now the day is fast approaching, we’re living in the time

When you must stand up and be counted if you’re on the Lord’s side

He’s looking for an army of true and faithful ones,

To be building up His kingdom, until His kingdom comes.

What is His kingdom that we are to be building up?  One another in the body.

You are a leader – in your home with children, in your community with NDP, in your workplace as Christian witness, in your pastoral roles. Best advice I received about being a leader is not to be consumed about how many are following, just to press on following Christ closely.  Ps 63 :8 “My soul followeth hard after thee; thy right hand upholdeth me.”  What am I doing while His right hand upholdeth me?  Following closely.

I must be persuaded that I am following closely.

Romans 8:38  For I am persuaded (fully convinced, making my daily decisions based upon this, dedicated to this)

That neither death (if belief system depends upon only this life, then death is end, but believing that Christ has conquered death and opens eternity to us and makes death only a gateway to future life in Him.  Also if our belief system at all relies upon another person, then the death or threat of death of that other person can give territory to enemy)

Nor life (what in your life holds sway over obedience to the Spirit of God?)

Nor angels (because they are different beings, do we think they have a “higher place” as they sing Holy, Holy, Holy?   Can you picture yourself with them singing?)

Nor principalities, nor powers (any evil fallen angels or the darkest of thoughts or the wickedest of men’s imaginations)

Nor heights nor depths (astrological terms indicating influence of stars– astrology)

Nor any other thing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

 

3. KNOW YOUR OBJECTIVES

 From Radically Committed  by Jim Burns 
Five Steps to Putting God First
  1. know what you want – does it match your life goal = does it edify the body?, does it witness to unbelievers. “He who aims at nothing hits it every time.”
  2. make a plan; break it into simpler stages with a time plan; ask a friend for accountability
  3. re-commit the work to Jesus (Col 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.
  4. recognize procrastination – don’t put off important long-term priorities with short-term fire-fighting
  5. be willing to pay the price – perseverance, stick-to-it-tive-ness

Stay Up On The Wall

Now we’re ready to consider:

REVIEW – HOW TO MAKE AN EFFECTIVE APPEAL 

From Gotthard material, based on Lord’s prayer:

  1. “Our Father” I need to be in right standing – with God first, then with authority (i.e. does authority have power to affect change in what you are appealing for)
  2. “Hallowed be thy name” I need right motives       – concern for reputation of one in authority Prov. 22:1 “ a good name is rather to be chosen than riches..”
  3. “Thy kingdom come” I need appropriate timing.    Is authority free to hear  appeal, are we ready to personally sacrifice for our appeal?

4.   I need to give accurate information related to knowing ourselves, our appeal, the person to whom we appeal…. thereby not manipulating authority and hurting ourselves.

5. “Forgive us our debts” I need right attitude –spirit of reverence for position of authority held, loyalty to person in position, gratefulness to God for the person in role of authority

6.  I need appropriate words – avoid trigger words

7.  I need to display right response to rejection –i.e. get myself into the center of yes or no. Trust that the answer is in God’s control and is best for you

Just Another Monday Morning Snowstorm

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This morning is another Monday morning snow storm, three Mondays now in a row.  We have 2-3 feet on the ground already, with another foot expected within the next 6 hours before this storm winds down.  Of course, my 9 year old grandson is happy, and has been out once to hug mom as she leaves for work.  He’s sitting on the porch couch as I come back in after shoveling the front walk.  His jacket is still on, his snowy boots askew in the entrance.  His mind is somewhere else.  He’s just sitting staring into some unknown space.

Now he’s walking behind me to the kitchen, jacket still on. He wants to be with me; he wants to be in my presence, but I don’t know what he’s thinking.  He still has his jacket on. He’s not talking, just following.

It gives me pleasure to have him following. I want to relate with him, to have relationship with this mysterious minded child. I wonder: Could this is a small measure of what the Father experiences when we turn away from our world to walk with Him?

I suggest he take of the jacket.  “No, I want to wear it,” he replies.  I offer instruction:  when we’re indoors, we wear a sweatshirt or a sweater or a bathrobe, but he still wants the jacket.  I want to honor his decisions today, hope that I can influence his choices, but not make those choices for him. He keeps his jacket on, but he’s still standing in my presence.

I know what he needs:  breakfast!   His mind is still waking up.   Finally he speaks.   He doesn’t ask for breakfast (what I know he needs).  He asks to watch a favorite video.  I remind him that it’s time for breakfast.    “Can I watch during breakfast?”   I agree.  This is his regular routine during breakfast.

I provide breakfast, but thirty minutes later, only half of his breakfast is gone.  He wants to ‘reheat the food’.  Ten minutes later, still watching the video, he says he’s too full to eat and the food sits on the plate.  In obedience to me, but with some reluctance, he turns off the video.

Could this be me, when the Father is hoping to feed me something from His Word, something to build my spiritual growth? Do I keep my jacket on, cling to my comfort preferences when the suggestions are made? I see myself in this, obeying, but with reluctance. Father, forgive me for the times I put You off rather than my worldly comforts, for times when I began the day in Your presence, but without truly opening my thoughts to You or spending time talking with You. Thank you for knowing what I need and providing it through Your Word.

We’ve moved on to the chores of the day, but I keep yearning for that first part of the day, undistracted relationship.

Thank you, Father, for challenging me through my grandson. 

10-6-14 THE SUMMONS, Additional reflection

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Before I went to Hollywood,  I considered it  the pit where TV came out of, a hopeless place of immoral people. I had abandoned TV during the 80s and 90s, picking back up on it in 2001 only for world and local news. Reality TV, documentaries, biographies and educational stuff have kept attention at different times. The rest was avoided.

In my report, I noted that there is a difference between moral and Biblical.  I’ve always wanted TV/movies to have a some kind of salvation/redemption message.  I used to think of them as Biblical movies.  Now I can say truthfully that I would not want to see half of the Bible in theaters because so much of it is violent, immoral, and frighteningly condemning.

Hollywood is about stories: how I use those stories to walk out my faith, to evangelize or encourage is my story, as Aslan would say.  Hollywood is about people: what I think about them and how I pray for those people is a reflection of me rather than them.

Hollywood has changed to become a word provoking conviction.

10-1-14 THE SUMMONS

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THE SUMMONS to HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA 2014

We had Os Hillman teach on Change Agents, DeVon Franklin give faith testimony as a producer, Karen Covell Hollywood Prayer Network motivate us, dinner at CBS with professionals, time as the audience in Jeopardy with AlexTrebec, prayer walking in Hollywood, worship at Radiance International House of Prayer on Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, and much more. Here are some excerpts from my notes re: media and entertainment

 

From Karen Covell (founder of Hollywood Prayer Network):  There are approx. 10,000 committed believers working in Hollywood, 15 active ministries.  God can’t change the content of movies/TV until He changes the heart of the executives. See the YouTube of Karen and her husband talking about the Hollywood tribe.  Karen encourages us to see Hollywood as Nineveh rather than Sodom and Gomorrah.

 

Professionals discussion panel (these were writers, producers, actors).

 

  1. What are some Misconceptions about Hollywood?
  1. Movies and stories are not evangelism. We’ve mistaken stories for the power and authenticity of stories. We confuse wholesome and Biblical.
  2. Recognize that there is a huge area of influence behind the scenes
  3. Hollywood is not evil, it is about profit. The idea is to make stories that have the broadest marketplace value, universal movies without alienating people.
  1. How to pray?
  1. “You may see what you consider useless, but salt also helps stop decay and sometimes all we can do is stop the decay from continuing, not necessarily remove the rot.” If it weren’t for the believers’ presence, things could be even worse.
  2. Christians fit vision into a box: they demand that movies/shows conform before they will support the believers who might be holding back the decay. It takes courage to be a writer because everything you produce is criticized continually, by everyone.
  3. With social media, so many voices, layer, blogs private vulnerable lives are being affected. “Once I got off a plane from an interview in NY and read about myself upon arriving, misinformation and hurtful to many, not just me!”
  4. Support young people in the arts in your churches and in your realm of influence.
  5. Pray for accurate prophetic words to come forth.

Pastors (of active churches in Hollywood) discussion panel:

  1. What do you see as the most common need?
  1. Most people who come to Hollywood are looking to find themselves – pray that they find themselves in Christ
  2. Most are not born in LA therefore have no family structure and support
  3. Less than 1% of all who come to Hollywood earn more than $10,000/year in their work place
  1. How to pray?
  1. Pray for a paradigm shift for the nation regarding women: only ones who “make it” are either funny or internationally known for their sexual impact
  2. Hollywood provides for what consumer wants = Violence? Sex? Bible? Morality?
  3. Give what is needed: a listening ear

The average age of church goer is 30-40

During the 70s&80s the absence of Christians in media/entertainment means that there are no Christian spiritual grandparents in the workplace, therefore very few models of workplace believers. Everyone desires authenticity in relationships.

 

 

 

 

Pop quiz – How to pray

Pray for the next generation. Pray for the believers.  Pray for  intercessors, not critics.  Pray compassion. Pray for another Jesus movement throughout media and arts.  Repent for judgments.  Pray for believers to be real and relational.

Sing hymns over Hollywood.  Speak warfare prayers over believers.  Many have never been prayed for the way they were prayed for while we encompassed them.  Artists are broken people.  Remove our agenda and pray God’s will.  Pray for film schools.  Pray for Christians to have a larger influence.  Pray that forgiveness would be expressed. Pray the credits of a movie.  Pray Hollywood to Holywood.  Pray for content to be family oriented. Pray for Christian discussions over movies.  Pray for people to just “love” Hollywood and the people in it.

Testimony by DeVon Franklyn: producer and author of Produced by Faith

Tells his story of working on Sabbath day.  Before he could take the job offered, he had to determine if he would compromise his Sabbath day for the “great” job. Therefore, measure the doorframe before you go through it. “If you have to compromise your faith to go through the door, is it really God’s will?”

After hearing about a need to change positions, every attempt to get a new job led to discouragement and depression.  Eventually, after quitting his job without a future job in hand, he learned that every “no” was closer to the real “yes” of God.  Look at every “no” as a blessing, as one more step closer to His will.  Wait For It!  The “nos” are preparing the ground, preparing the atmosphere, for the perfect timing.

Os Hillman, Author of Change Agent – presentation. 

  • Luke 19:10 We are to reclaim ALL that the Lord has for us.
  • Matt 16:19 We have the keys to the kingdom
  • John 14:12 Greater works are in our future   Ez. 22:30 we have power of authority.   There are over 7500 covenant promises for us.
  • 1 John 3:8 We are to destroy the works of the devil….we are a KILLER SHEEP terrorist training camp to train men and women to destroy the works of the devil!!!

Hollywood is a city of orphans. Most people who live there come from different areas, often without family support.

An orphan is someone who

  • doesn’t know his identity,
  • doesn’t have the love of a father,
  • lives a life of sweat and toil, always striving for outcomes (insecurity)
  • is fearful and lacking in trust

Amos 3:7   The Lord does nothing unless He reveals it to his prophets.

“Satan wants your past to be your future.  God always sees what you are becoming.”  Quoting John Eldridge

Five instructions for transformation of a community

  1. go   Mark 16:15
  2. love     John
  3. pray   2Chron 7:14
  4. unity   John 17:21
  5. act Matt   6:8

Makes reference to You Tube —– the Whatcom Story: Waves of Glory.  See Tim Taylor in the video (we, NDP Northeast team commissioned him in Albany).

More information and recordings available at www.nationaldayofprayer.org

Submitted by Mary Bruce, Northeast NAL

10-21-14 The Praying Church – Great conference

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Last week, I prepared for a speaking engagement related to our prayer room at First Assembly of Waterbury. The preparation was so motivating that I got recharged before the conference!

Here’s my presentation.

THE PRAYING CHURCH CONFERENCE

This was the call:  The goal is to cast the vision of increased prayer & intercession in the Connecticut church, even specific churches being called as “Praying Churches”, with doors open for prayer daily, even 24/7.   Lord is calling us to invite local leaders who have a vision to implement and increase prayer in the CT church. We have invited local pastors to teach us how to get prayer started and keep it going.

 

How to get started:

  • Only the Holy Spirit can start this work. By realizing that fact we will live in the humility needed to continue.
  • By the Holy Spirit we recognize that there is no program or method re-producible for a prayer room. We can learn from one another, and avoid pitfalls (such as burnout, safety, protocol, etc) by observing helps (Altar Ministry Training), but each house has its own purpose, flavor, and life. Each house of prayer meets a certain need in the community, as does each local church, and each individual for that matter. Comparing only leads to discouragement.
  • Pray, Pray, Pray. Pray for the vision. Then Pray, Pray, Pray.
  • To be a CHURCH as a house of prayer, the work must star
  • (1)as a vision and action of the senior pastor.
  • (2)2×2 principle. 2 together with the same vision = survival and growth. Action speaks louder than words. Prayer for the vision will yield action.
  • (3) Established place and times for prayer, advertise it and stick to it.
  • Once prayer-room is birthed, TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK. Prayer is caught, not taught. Must be caught from the leadership team. As leaders are added there must be the same heart for prayer.

There is great importance of Written mission/vision statements (Habakkuk 2:2)

Ex : FAOG – We are a dynamic, Spirit-filled Regional Equipping Center winning and training people,young and old, to grow and mature in their relationship with Jesus Christ, and releasing them to impact their world.       We are a House of Prayer.  We train people to pray, providing them with diverse outlets of intercession to effectively petition God for answers.

  • (4) Provide a welcoming atmosphere, a place of friendliness, a place of rest from the world struggles, a place of trust. What one says in the prayer room stays in the prayer room UNLESS permission to publish.
  • (5) Provide helps (Bibles, study guides, magazine articles, devotional books, anything related to prayer)
  • (6) Documentation provides truth in ministry and accountability. A sign-in system or prayer journal provides documentation of prayers and
  • (7) sharing answered prayers; this stirs others to participate.
  • (8) Provide opportunities for church membership to submit prayer requests:   Sunday cards, website, e-mail, phone, etc.   Share these requests as desired in prayer-room (ex: prayer list) 

How to keep it going:

  • Change it up with different highlighted focuses: ex 7 mountains, missionary letters, current city events/facts
  • Provide varied avenues of prayer: prayer walks, soaking prayer, healing services, deliverance ministry training, altar training, prayer journeys,
  • Recruit others to pray with you
  • Support others in their prayer focus and targets
  • Pray the Scriptures
  • Invite other motivating speakers
  • Testify of the answers to prayer
  • Have a testimony event
  • Find a way to measure/track prayer – accountability
  • Go on assignments (prayer bus, to Holyland in Waterbury, to worksites, to any requesting a visit, to school functions, to support other churches as they invite and grow

10-15-14 I HAD A DREAM…..

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This morning I awoke knowing that I had to write the original vision for 456 Boundline Road.

HABAKKUK 2:2          “Write the vision, make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.”

I had a dream…….

A recent study of The ‘plan A but having a plan B concept’ has repeatedly come to my attention. The question is: If I have faith in plan A, but begin to strategize for a plan B, does that deny my faith in plan A?  If I have faith in PRAYER A, but begin to strategize for PRAYER B, is double-mindedness being revealed?

I had a dream:  In 1981, when we returned to Connecticut as born-again believers, I had a vision that the 456 property would be a wonderful place of prayer, a place of peace and respite from the spiritual battles of the world, where evening meals would include reports from each of us about the day’s activities and God’s goodness, a place for children’s sleepover retreats, Bible camps, and women’s Bible studies.  I didn’t know anything about dreams or visions, but those thoughts were in my heart.

As time passed during our years of homeschooling, we saw many missionaries, students and ministry leaders share our home. It was God’s house and we got to sleep over.   Hundreds of children learned to pick blueberries. Children played in our woodsy rooms, made by tying off the blueberry bushes for identification. Christian fellowship occurred, songs were sung amongst the blueberry bushes from sun-up to sun-down.  Several ministries held annual picnics and reunions on the property.

In 2001, I attended worship at New Life Church in Colorado Springs and saw their new youth center: an igloo shaped worship center with doors large enough to drive through, a coffee house and a huge sanctuary.  I envisioned an igloo-shaped, planetarium-roofed worship center (where the roof would open on clear nights and worship would arise) in the way back of the property. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Life_Church_(Colorado_Springs,_Colorado)

In 2004, Glory International visited for seven weeks while they made arrangements to set up their prayer tent on New England state capitals. During those seven weeks, they set up their tent in the south yard and we hosted continuous worship daily in the tent from 7am-11pm. Hundreds of people came from New England, New York and New Jersey to worship. http://www.glory-international.org/

In 2005 we had worship under the stars.  The invitation went out to a handful of worshippers on Wednesday and by Friday evening there were 45 worshippers singing to the Lord in the back yard. The statement, “I hear a Spirit song.” was uttered and this became the birth night of SpiritSong, a ministry team which provided a worship experience in a variety of settings for the next seven years.  The team traveled throughout New England, to New Jersey and North Carolina.

I had a dream: a dream that 456 would be an ark for those who needed help, a sanctuary, a quiet place to do business with God.  Several individuals and families came to live in the house, prayer studies and worship rehearsals filled the rooms.  For as long as the Lord allowed, the dream continued to live.

In May of 2013, I sensed my time at 456 property and resources coming to an end. The dream was ending. It was time to clean, disperse, relegate and toss. I came under conviction that I had too much for one person. Many people at this time were under the same conviction.  God was paring us down.  I began calling realtors to get an estimate of the property worth.  The school leaders expressed interest, a figure was quoted and the realtor kept my name from discussions and curious callers.  It all came about so easily, and in such timing, that I perceived it to be of the Lord.  I rejoiced that as I took care of His business (through my ministry), He was taking care of mine.

For an entire year, I cleaned, sorted and distributed goods.  The idea of the school purchasing and taking down the house, then using the property as ball fields kept me motivated to work through the years of family accumulation. This was not only my family, but past generations who piled things in the barn on the property.  I spent time in personal examination of the vision I had started with. I accepted the fact that although this was not the original vision I had heard or seen in my 1981 or 2001 experience, much of the dream had been fulfilled in various ways.

In September 2014, when the school/town discontinued interest in purchasing the property, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of peace. I am grateful for the motivation that was generated with an expected buyer, but glad to be waiting now on God for his next move at 456.  I want only His vision, none of my own figuring or even the easiest route.  I have recognized my own selfish drives to be “out from under the burden” of caring for the property and repented. I confess the poor stewardship of accumulating stuff and repent.  Like Paul who said, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” I am learning to be content in all things, with only an occasional moan or groan. Phil 4:11

Whatever is in store for me and for the property will be an adventure. God is trustworthy and will not allow me to wander too far from His best for me.

The study of ‘plan A and having a plan B’ has come again:  Did I fail to persevere in dream A for the property?  Was sale of the property to the school really compromising the vision God had given for the property? If I had to compromise the vision, was it really God’s will?

Testimony by DeVon Franklyn: producer and author of Produced by Faith

DeVon tells his story about working on Sabbath day. Before he could take the job offered, he had to determine if he would compromise his Sabbath day for the “great” job.  He described it like this: Measure the doorframe before you go through it.  “If you have to compromise your faith to go through the door, is it really God’s will?”

I still see that igloo planetarium in the way back, a place for worship.

But what does God see? Will I know when He reveals it?

Is it for me to run with or is it for others?

Will there be  A House of Prayer for Wolcott?   A Backyard Igloo-Planetarium sanctuary for worship?

To be continued, in God’s timing.

Mary Bruce

10-11-14 equipping meeting

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After I spent hours of preparation for this morning’s monthly prayer training, the Holy Spirit took over to encourage us, to present His work and His will to us, to challenge us, and to grow us up in faith. Every aspect of the time together seemed Spirit-led. We each left there refreshed and challenged.  One intercessor stepped up her commitment level and agreed to pray for the Wed evening children’s gatherings.

You, O Lord, are the stirrer of all things. Thank you for stirring me to a greater commitment with you.  Thank you for drawing a more refined vision within my heart.  Thank you for the intercessors and their hunger for unity, their desire to “pray the pastor’s vision”, and each contribution to problem-solving and growth of the prayer team.  Thank you, Lord.