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Category Archives: Prayer

Russia 2019 – March update

Dear friends,

I am grateful for your support, encouragement, and prayers for my upcoming trip to Russia. It is only through your intercessory efforts that I am able to do what I do. Thanks so much!

I hope to apply for my Russian visa in the next couple of weeks. The LOI (letter of invitation) from Moscow should arrive next week. Once I receive it, I will head for the Russian visa office in New York City to apply in person for the visa. I will be applying for a humanitarian visa for religious work, in order to be above board on what we are doing and not take a chance in getting in trouble with the authorities. Please pray that the process goes smoothly and without complications.

I completed the third round of editing my notes for the Harmony of the Gospels course. As I mentioned previously, the challenge of teaching through four gospels is deciding what NOT to say. After cutting the material in half through the editing process, I still have a bit too much. Until I teach through it the first time, I won’t know for sure. Please pray that I have wisdom to know what to include and what to leave out.

Please pray for the students who will attend the course. They are currently working on the preclass assignment. They are to read through one of gospels and write down their questions. They are also to answer two questions: (1) What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23)? How do you do that personally? and (2) How did Jesus fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17-20)? Should Christians follow the Law today?

Please pray for Carol and me over the next seven weeks—safe travel, good health, wise use of our time, boldness to share with people, etc. Next week, I will be in Atlanta, GA, for a Walk Thru the Bible faculty conference. When I return, Carol heads for the west coast to visit her parents and sisters and to see two of our children. In early April, we will attend a SonScape pastoral retreat in Colorado. It will be a time of rest, refreshment, encouragement, challenge, and planning for the future. In mid-April, we will be involved in our Easter outreach here at the church. The week after Easter, I leave for Russia. As you can see, the next seven weeks are filled with many opportunities for ministry.

Thanks for your support, encouragement, and prayers. I’m in your debt.

 

Decision America Northeast Tour – Promo video 1

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2019 in Evangelism, Prayer, Videos

 

Wednesday afternoons will never be the same

On Monday, I lost one of the more encouraging people in my life. Jackie Tisdale was a godly woman who loved Jesus and was not shy in talking about him. Some time that day, she stepped out of this life and into the presence of her Savior. Her departure was sudden and unexpected. She was so very much alive when I chatted with her on Saturday at our Senior Saints luncheon and on Sunday when she was at her post at the Welcome Desk at church.

On February 3, I preached a sermon on “The Three Chairs” which looks at how faith is not always passed on from one generation to the next. Each one of us needs to be a “first chair” follower and to have a firsthand experience of God rather than second hand knowledge. At the conclusion, I challenged the congregation to recommit themselves to following Christ. Jackie told me she recommitted herself to staying in the first chair.

On Wednesday afternoons, Jackie attended our Seniors Alive program. She would always stop by my office to say “Hello” and to chat. On the first Wednesday of the month, she would come into my office, lay hands on me, and pray for me. (Some people say they pray for you, and some people PRAY for you.)

A few weeks ago, Jackie told me that she never had a relationship like this with a pastor. After a previous pastor fell morally, she realized she needed to pray for her pastor. So she decided to adopt my wife and me and to diligently pray for us.

Wednesday afternoons will never be the same. I will miss her presence, her laughter, her joy, her love for Jesus, and her prayer support.

Thank you, Jesus, for Jackie and her godly encouragement. I look forward to seeing her again in heaven.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2019 in Encouragement, First Central Bible Church, Prayer

 

Russia 2019 – January Update

Dear friends,

Thanks so much for praying for the preparations for my ministry trip to Russia in May.

As a result of your prayers and generous giving, I have received $5,909 towards the goal of $6,135 needed for the trip. That only leaves $226 for the trip to be fully funded. Join me in praising God for his provision as well as praying that the final amount comes in.

In the next few weeks, I will be purchasing airfare and making hotel reservations. I will also start the process of applying for a visa. In the early years of this ministry, I traveled on a tourist visa. Because of the changes in the Russian laws, I will be applying for a humanitarian visa for religious work. Please pray that I will receive it without any problems.

Over the last few weeks, I have been working to put my notes together for the class on the harmony of the gospels. It is a daunting challenge to weave together Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John into one cohesive message. I still have a long way to go. Since I’m not teaching an online class for Regent University this term, I have more time available for this task. Please pray that I use my time wisely and that God directs me to what I should include and what I should leave out.

Please begin praying for the students who will attend the class. Pray that God brings those whom he wants to attend and that he prepares their hearts to learn and grow deeper in their love for Jesus.

Once again, thanks for your prayers and encouragement. I’m in your debt.

Mark

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2019 in Prayer, Russia

 

Lord, increase my faith

A prayer at the end of a year

Lord, increase my faith. I live among people who are jaded and cynical because of fake news. It is so tempting to begin to view your promises in the same way. It is so easy to believe your promises are too good to be true. Help me to take you at your word and believe what you say.

Lord, increase my faith. I live in a world that seems to become more evil every day. People become more negative as time passes. It is so easy to wonder if prayer even makes a difference. It is so tempting to forget that you can change hearts and lives. Help me to focus on what you are doing in the world. Help me to pray, believing that you can change hearts.

Lord, increase my faith. I live in a world that is permeated with a scarcity mentality. “There is only so much time, money, and energy available. When it’s gone, it’s gone.” It is so easy to forget that you are able to do abundantly beyond what we ask or think. It is so easy to forget that you are almighty God for whom nothing is impossible. Help me to trust you to provide all that is needed and more besides.

Lord, increase my faith. I live in a world that is punctuated by pragmatism. “Use your brain. Do what works. Take the safe, sure, easy, secure route.” It is so easy to think I can live without faith. It is so tempting to only attempt what I can do in my own power. Help me to step out in faith and take more risks for your glory.

Lord, increase my faith. I live in a world that goes through the motions. “Take it easy. Don’t work too hard. Just do what needs to be done, nothing more.” It is so easy to stop dreaming of “what if?” It is so tempting to stop asking, “what might God want me to do?” It is so easy to merely coast along. Help me to dream. Help me to work hard for your purposes. Cause me to grow.

Lord, increase my faith. The pressures are so great that I am tempted to jump into work and skip reading your word and praying. It is so easy to succumb to the pressure to be productive. Help me to “waste time with God.” Help me to saturate my mind with your word. Help me to submit my plans and schedule to you first. Help me to center my life and day on you.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Lord, increase my faith.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2018 in Personal growth, Prayer

 
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Prayer – 1st choice or last resort?

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2018 in Prayer, Quotes, Tim Challies

 

Prayerfully planning a church budget

At a recent elders’ meeting, our church administrator and the chair of our finance board joined the council to discuss how to prepare our 2019 budget. The finance chair said he was praying about four questions. He encouraged the elders and the congregation to join him in seeking God’s face regarding these issues.

Here are the questions if you would like to pray with us, or adapt them for your church’s use.

  • What do we believe will be our level of giving in 2019? How much do we think God will provide?
  • How should our budget be distributed? How much of the budget should go to staff, missions, ministries, maintenance, etc?
  • How aggressive should we be in next year’s budget? How do we find the appropriate balance between self-reliance and faith-stretching?
  • How can we best use the remaining funds in the parsonage proceeds account?