Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Developing a culture of prayer

Every day is one day closer to the time we leave Cajamarca, Peru and head to Valdivia, Chile.  It has been crunch time for me and I don't see the load changing soon.  While my teaching schedule is now significantly reduced, other responsibilities have increased.  I only teach two more Sunday mornings and maybe two or three more times at our Firm Foundations classes on Wednesday nights.

So my load of work isn't with studying and prepping for teaching, it is with making sure all our leaders are understanding their roles and responsibilities.  I am not at all concerned with the messages that will be coming from behind the pulpit.  Our guys have an incredible grasp on the Scriptures and are grounded in the truth and are very gospel centered.  I guess you could call it our mission statement for RCC, but we have this framed on the wall when you walk into our church and we all passionately believe this must take place and all our leaders hold to this:

While you may learn some good things like historical background on the text, how to be a better person, or how to date and marry well, none of those things are the primary purpose of preaching.  Without Jesus, none of those things matter.  Since Jesus is what we all need, and since the Bible is about Him, we preach Jesus from the Bible every Sunday.

So while us leaders meet and discuss issues and practical theology and where we stand, we all have a clear vision and heart to preach Jesus and Jesus alone.  Next week, I think I will talk more on that because I don't want to get on a rabbit trail right now, but the work right now isn't of that nature.  I am not working with their sermons or theological understanding.  The work is just talking over simple things.  Showing up on time (very counter cultural in Peru), guarding their hearts, praying for members of the church and taking more responsibility in their personal discipleship of members.  We have been talking about all the logistics of the financial issues of the church and how money will still be coming in to cover costs of ministry.  We are discussing who is going to be taking over children's ministry, orphanage ministry, and scheduling and all of those things that to be honest I am not the best in.  But these are areas that need to be nailed down and understood.

I couldn't be prouder to see our guys stepping up to the plate and taking ownership and grabbing ahold of the ministries they have been entrusted with.  But what I have seen that has most blessed my heart is the leaders desire to have a culture of prayer.  It shows that they understand that the church is the Lord's and they need His grace and power to do what it is they are called to do.  I love seeing this. 

As I look back on planting this church, I do believe one area that I failed greatly in was developing a culture of prayer within the church.  I am not saying I didn't pray or anything like that.  I prayed and still pray.  I am desperate for the Lord and nothing that has happened would have ever happened if we didn't pray.  But, I think I prayed more out of fear or because I had no idea what I was doing or things like that.  I thought maybe the church would just have a culture of prayer.   It wasn't something I focused in on.  We have corporate prayer time before each Sunday service, but it was never something that was an emphasis if that makes sense? By the Lord's grace, our leaders have now developed their own desire to pray as leaders and as a church and several within the church are seeing the importance of corporate prayer, but I failed the Lord's people in that area greatly.  And so when we head to Valdivia, our church will have a culture of prayer.  It will be a priority as much as preaching the gospel!  Prayer, both corporate and individual, will be a major focus of RCC Valdivia.  

It is totally by the Lord's grace that RCC Baños del Inca has been established and is flourishing.  Truly the Lord has done a great work and it is humbling to play a small part in it.  It was definitely by His might and His power.   I told the pastors in our ESI training, which I will get into next week talking about preaching and ministry, but I told them we need to glory in our redeemer.  I see so many people promote themselves and what they do and even exaggerate and claim things that aren't theirs or claim things that other people do and say they are the ones doing it.  It is sad and shameful. One thing is for sure when it comes to us and all that has taken place here, WE DID NOTHING!  It was all of the Lord and we just happened to be in the right place at the right time and people sacrificially have given to this work.  Even though I never developed a culture of prayer, we prayed and it was prayer that opened the gates.  Don't misunderstand what I am saying.  I am not saying we name it and claim it and all that garbage, but I am saying when we pray it shows how desperate and dependent we are on Jesus.  Prayer is the life line of the Christian and it sure is the life line of any true ministry and church.  This is something I knew, and believe, but I don't think I truly conveyed that to our people.  But our Lord is gracious and has shown them.

As I continue to work with our leaders on the transition of the church, I am so grateful to our Lord that even though I failed greatly in establishing a culture of prayer, He is!  Even when I am unfaithful, He remains faithful.  In my weakness, His power is made perfect.  I have learned a lot over these last 5 years of planting a church.  I have made many mistakes and I will make many more on the next one, but I am excited to plant another one once again.  

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