My Shepherd Group
That they would see Jesus clearly in the Gospel according to Mark. That this small group planting would be a blessing to each of them. That the pains and frustrations and anxieties they have will be assuaged in Christ. That my sin would be kept from harming them.
My Small Group (of 8th graders)
That they would really love Jesus, and know Him in a saving and fulfilling way. That they would see Jesus in me and the other leaders. That they would grow up to be men of God.
That the girls would be safe, and that our house would love them well. That America and her children would be safe and feel welcome in the neighborhood. That we could get to know Danny and Lisa, and the tin house. That Jason and Amy would feel blessed by having us across the street.
That we would love each other in real ways. That Ben and Tristan’s affections for the Lord would rule their affections for their girlfriends. That Brandon would be a blessing to Tobias and would grow in wisdom. That Brian would find a day job and be satisfied with being in Minnesota.
That my sister would find a wonderful job in Colorado, and that she wouldn’t feel as far away as I fear. That my other sister would find enjoyment in her job and she would not get towed anymore. That I would have more opportunity to spend time with my brother; I’m so thankful for our relationship. That my parents would continue to love each other more and more, and I could be closer to them than ever before. That my grandparents would be healthy and have a saving relationship with Jesus. That my aunts and uncles and cousins would know Him too, and the cares of this world wouldn’t grow up and choke out their fruit.
That I would receive correction well. That I would enjoy the Lord more and more every day. That I would find a woman who I can love and care for with the love of Christ. That I would care more about others than myself. That I would pray more and more.
I sent this email out to those I support toward the beginning of the year. It’s been helpful when deciding whether to support someone or not, and people have appreciated the thought given to the decision. I’d recommend coming up with a list of priorities to everyone.
I’m changing how I go about financially supporting people to reflect my personal convictions and priorities, while remaining biblically faithful. If you are receiving this email, it means that I financially support you.
- Enabling and encouraging new missionaries
- I want to be able to say yes to people who are testing the missions field, enabling them to experience what it is like.
- Once a person has experienced missions, their pool of potential financial support will likely increase.
- Focusing on long term missions
- I have seen how effective long term relationships are when reaching difficult hearts.
- Focusing on unreached peoples
- I can’t single-handedly counterbalance statistics that show how small a percentage of support goes to unreached peoples, but you always fail if you never try.
- This will negatively affect those of you who are domestic missionaries.
- Rebalancing my giving
- I love my local church and have become convicted of how my support for it compares to other ministries.
- Bethlehem is a magnet for missionaries, often painfully so (i.e. folks come for training and support, you love them, they leave). Thus, giving to my church is strategic for global outreach.
I don’t intend this change to be reflected in my prayers for you. I’ll continue to plead with God to bless your ministries, to win and build (and send) disciples who love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.
This is not an exhaustive defense of these convictions. Please be gracious in your reading. Give feedback if you feel it appropriate.
My prayers feel like poison
How could I draw you into this
My sin has separated me
I pray in my unrighteousness
I give God cause to hate me
Then I approach the great white throne
I hate myself for what I’ve done
But I can come to Him alone
Though I feel unworthy
And that I am in this dark season
None other can console me
None other has the right or reason
Jesus Christ, my righteousness
By His dark death I am now pleading
He is all my hope and stay
His broken body bloodied, bleeding
Nailed on the tall Roman cross
To cancel death and sin’s old power
He advocates for me today
And I run to Him, my strong tower