Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Recover Your Greatness

It's always amazing to me how many people's 'default setting' to the potential of answered prayers is a negative one. Those who are pessimistic by nature automatically disbelieve that the majority of prayers get answered and those who are optimists often seem pleasantly surprised when the answers come.

It's like someone has conditioned us to believe that God doesn't hear our prayers and if He does, could care less.

If you believe that, don’t. It's a lie.

Not only does God care, like any good parent, He wants to give us the desires of our heart. But, I think part of the trouble comes in when we allow our heart to fill with desires that don't do justice to who we are as children of God.

I really want a new 60" flat-panel TV for the living room of our new house. I can pray for that and maybe God will give us one, but chances are it won't happen. Why? Because it really does nothing for the Kingdom for us to have a fancy-pants television.

Proverbs 15:8 The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

But, if I pray for things that align with the life God designed me to live, guess what? They do come true. It says so in the Word:

Psalm 20:4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Case in point: I awoke in the middle of the night Monday and was suddenly overcome with a mental uncomfortableness (not discomfort, mind you, but just a general lack of comfort) in my spirit with what my family was achieving for God in our current situation. When we were still up north, both my wife and I were integral parts of EBC's volunteer structure, doing work for the church every week. We also were a solid part of a wonderful small group, blossoming with three other families as we all "did life" together, growing, learning to be transparent with one another and seeking to be the people God designed us to be.

Since landing here in Texas, we've done some preliminary things and explored possibilities as we've started to acclimate to Gateway Church, which we love. However, we've yet to really roll up our sleeves and dig in.

The heavy realization that we weren't being effective for God set in and pushed from my mind any chance of returning to sleep quickly. So, I lay there and prayed that God would present us with the opportunity to do that Monday. I prayed specifically, fervently and with all my heart that He would show us the road and equip us to drive down it.

Well, let me put the car in reverse for a minute and fill you in on some back-story. Several years ago, Angie and I were making mad money but we were up to our eyeballs in financial quicksand.

We made "American Dream" kind of income and had "American Nightmare" kind of debt.

Our old church, Palm Valley Church, announced a class called Financial Peace University. Not only did that class teach us how to use our money biblically, it made us fans of Dave Ramsey and planted a big fire in Angie's heart to get people to put their financial houses in biblical order and then give to Kingdom efforts as effectively as possible. This dovetailed with my drive to motivate people to passionately support the local church.

Fast forward to about a year ago when Angie and I were discussing possible ministries we could launch and one that seemed to stick involved helping people find ways to channel their financial resources to help the Kingdom. Fast forward to just a few months ago when I was suddenly inspired to craft a church message that details how God uses individuals to fund His work (He blesses us so we can be a blessing to others!) - and how individuals rob the Kingdom by failing to be generous. After writing this, I submitted it to a good friend on staff at Gateway, who forwarded it on to Sara, a wonderful woman that works in Gateway's giving and generosity ministries. She, Angie and I discussed getting together at some point and exploring it further, but after being here for a month, it had yet to come to fruition and I'd sort of mentally 'back-burnered' it, figuring if God wanted it to happen, it would.

That brings us back to my prayers.

And His answer.

Yesterday, out of the blue, we received an email from Sara, saying she wanted us to have a meeting with her and Gateway's Executive Pastor to share our ideas and passion for this and how we might implement something.

An hour later, Angie watched this, from Dave Ramsey: The Great Recovery detailing his plan for economic recovery in the American church.

I can't emphasis enough how YOU need to watch the video at that link. Not only will it help your family directly, but it will help you help others in your local Church, which in turn helps your local Church help the local community and beyond. We're called to BE the Church and that link will help you do just that.

Now, God prepared Angie and I through experiences. He aligned our hearts to pray for things that help the Kingdom. He woke me in the middle of the night and prompted me through the Holy Spirit to ask for those things, then he answered that prayer.

How great is our God? Great enough to plant the need in Dave Ramsey's heart to launch The Great Recovery and great enough to tie in hundreds of thousands of others to help bring it to fruition.

Now, go. Be. The Church needs you. God's Kingdom needs you. Your family needs you. It's a blessing to be needed, but a sin to not answer that call. Thankfully, if you've read this far, you're ready to be a blessing. Thank you.

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