Archive for September, 2012

Heartbeat Tallinn and a Talk with a Taxi Driver

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 | Uncategorized

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I am writing this on the plane back from Heartbeat Tallinn in Estonia. Agape Europe’s staff conference there was organized and held in a way that trained and gave opportunities to staff members to minister effectively.

Specific ministries facilitated witnessing with 21 performances and 27 projects. André Kole, Josh McDowell, and FamilyLife were there in great strength. For example, André Kole did four performances for the public to a cumulative audience of 7,000. Josh spoke at an evening concert in the national soccer stadium and supplied translated books for staff members and volunteers to give away. FamilyLife erected tents in public spots and saw about 700 people come and explore ways to improve their marriages and families.

The quality of the actual staff conference sessions was also extraordinary. So many excellent singing and dancing performances were presented at the opening session. I think people would have paid for tickets to attend if it were necessary.

One of the reasons the staff conference met in Estonia is because such a small percentage of the people there are committed Christians. Furthermore, many think that most Estonian non-Christians are fairly closed to the gospel. But let me share with you of a very powerful conversation the Lord allowed me to have during a taxi ride there.

I and a recently-married staff couple from the UK were being taken back to our hotels. I was sitting in front with the driver and the couple was in the back. They asked me, “What advice would you give to help us succeed in our marriage?” I gave them a few ideas that we talked about. As a final point I said, “Of course, none of this is fully possible apart from the power of God.”

At that point the taxi driver said suddenly, “This is a very interesting conversation. Please tell me more.” Just then we arrived at the couple’s hotel. When they got out, the driver (Imre) and I continued to talk. Imre’s mother had died when he was 7 years old. Ever since then, he has been bitter toward God and did not believe God had a wonderful plan for his life. What he had just been listening to, therefore, was a bit curious to him: The three of us not only seemed to believe in a personal God, but also seemed to expect Him to intervene in our lives with power to help us do what is right.

We spent 20 minutes parked out in front of my hotel, talking about knowing God personally and appropriating His power for living. I sensed Imre wasn’t quite ready to commit, but he was very interested. So I gave him some materials to read and asked if I could pray with him. He agreed, and I prayed that God would make clear to Imre that He was near and really did have a wonderful plan for his life.
At the end of the prayer, Imre said, “Something in my stomach feels different. I will definitely read what you have given me and send you an email with my response and questions.”

The experience with Imre confirmed something I have known for some time: When non-Christians hear authentic, unashamed conversation about experience with God, they tend to be attracted to it. They find themselves thinking, that’s what I want.
There is nothing quite like non-Christians being in contact with true followers of Jesus. Pray that God will give us all boldness not just to explain the content of the gospel, but also to live out and show people what a relationship with God really looks like.

WORLDWIDE DAY OF PRAYER

Thursday, September 20th, 2012 | Uncategorized

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Dear fellow staff,

Our next Worldwide Day of Prayer (WDP) will be here soon – Tuesday October 2. For some of you, it occurs about the time of the year when your focus on multiplying movements is just hitting stride. For others early October means extensive travel, preparing for conferences or projects, attending to personal MPD needs, or engaging in any number of other ministry activities.

Why do we set aside an entire day for prayer during such a busy time of year?
October of 1951 was when Bill and Vonette began their work at UCLA. Many times they have reminded us by their example and words that this is a movement ‘birthed in prayer.”

So the timing of WDP is a reminder for us:

• To set aside our activity and busyness for a day and trust God for even greater fruit in the days that follow.

• To stay true to a vision that ignited a worldwide spiritual movement.

• Like our beloved founders, to keep our hearts attuned to His voice and will for our lives.

Bill and Vonette were always ready to go wherever God led. We would do well to follow their example.

Such sensitivity to the urgings of the Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 10:27,
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me.”

When we reflect on how God has blessed us, our response should be to praise God! We give honor to the One to Whom all credit is due as He faithfully leads us. Also, considering the volume of work that remains to be done should cause us to fall to our knees in prayer.
Our job will be finished only as we, his gracious servants, listen for His voice and then follow His lead.

I look forward to October 2 and to the opportunity it provides to listen to the Lord along with you. I trust that you will also join in setting aside this vitally important day.

Yours in Christ,

Steve

P.S. A list of prayer points for the 2 October WDP will be posted at www.globalprayermovement.org . Throughout the year, you and your team can email prayer requests for our Global Prayer team to global.prayer@ccci.org