Archive for the ‘Prayer Requests’ Category

Friends forwarded this blog post from the father of a young man named Isaiah: Isaiah’s upcoming mission trip.

His mission field? The hospital in Portland where he is getting surgery to get metal rods in his back.

His tool? An iPad where he watches videos of Pastor John preaching.  Isaiah is 7 years old.

I didn’t think my respect or affection for Pastor John could increase any higher, but reading this blog post took me to a new level, with tears of gratitude for the 28 years he served as my pastor, for how he lead us through suffering by pointing us to Jesus, and for the kindness he extended to a boy and his parents in Portland, Oregon.

Please, read that post and let us pray for Isaiah next week.

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  1. The death of the little girl and her mother through a third-trimester abortion two weeks ago has been heavy on my heart.  I’m not sure what hurts more, the fact that this little girl went from being wanted to being killed because they found an anomaly, or because that little girl was later in her development (33 weeks) than my youngest son was when he was born (32 weeks).  I wrote a blog post for Desiring God but I fear there is more heat than light offered; it is now in the hands of the young man who edits my blog posts for DG.  Please pray that he would find something he can work with, and if so, it would be a help to the church.  And if he can’t work with it, I’m going to make another attempt – this issue must be addressed by those of us who live with children who would otherwise be discarded in this horrible way.
  2. I’m headed to Auburn, Alabama later this week for an event for parents experiencing disability in their children.  I’ll also have the chance to meet with the pastoral staff and interns of the church hosting the event.  I would greatly appreciate prayers as the audience, I’m told, is a mix of people – Christians, non-Christians, and all kinds of understandings of God’s sovereignty (or lack thereof) in disability.  Please pray that God would be glorified, Jesus would be seen as greatest treasure, and that many would come to know God as good and sovereign over disability.  And if you’re near Auburn, I understand they could still take a few people – I would love to see you!

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To help us prepare for the Question and Answer session at the Disability Conference in two weeks, I asked for questions on this blog. Registered participants were emailed asking for their questions.

We received more than 100 responses!

Not one of them is ‘simple’ in terms of how to respond.  Some were heart-breaking – sometimes because I have struggled with exactly the same thing about culture, or church, or my own feelings, or finances, or how other people talk about disability, or not clearly understanding God’s word.

And some were hopeful – how to help a church that is awakening to this issue of disability and God’s word, how to encourage other families experiencing similar things, how a pastor can be more proactive for his people with disabilities.

Every question made me pause to ask God for help.  Frankly, it was overwhelming to see them all in one place, this range of hurt and disappointment and desire and expectation and pain. Is it even possible to do this in ways that will help people?  God brought this scripture to me:

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV)

Yes, let us boast in the Lord!  He will help.

Please pray for us as we prepare, particularly for Pastor Kempton in his facilitation role.  May God make it an unusually fruitful time for discussion about God, disability and the church.

Reminder:  This event will be live-streamed at http://www.desiringGod.org/live on November 8, including the questions and answer session.  The times on the conference schedule are all central standard time.  There is also still time to register to attend in person!

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I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf . . . (Romans 15:30 ESV)

In three weeks we will gather to celebrate God’s Good Design in Disability at Bethlehem’s North Campus.  It is a weighty and ultimately beautiful subject. But it requires us to constantly fight against the tide of culture and, I must admit, my own sinful desires for an easy life.

I’m praying that God will change peoples’ lives through this conference – that their heart eyes (Ephesians 1:18) will be opened, maybe for the first time, to who Jesus is.  And for those who already know God this way, to be encouraged and emboldened in their faith.  Would you pray with me about that?

Would you also pray for our speakers?  They carry a joyous and heavy responsibility to help us see God and his word more clearly on this subject of disability and suffering.

  • John Piper
  • Nancy Guthrie
  • Mark Talbot
  • Greg Lucas
  • And special guests: Krista Horning and Pastor Kempton Turner

Please also pray for our events staff and volunteers.  I am so encouraged by their faithfulness in attending to details for our sake, and there are hundreds of details they are attending to these days!

Please pray, and then let us see what God might be pleased to do!

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The Works of God: God’s Good Design in Disability is two months from today, on November 8!

As you think about it, would you pray?

  • For registration; we have plenty of space left and we’d like hundreds more to come.
  • For our speakers as they prepare, travel, and present – John Piper, Nancy Guthrie, Mark Talbot, Greg Lucas
  • For the equipment (live-stream on the web, CART, video for archiving on the web)
  • For God to move on hearts and change lives!

Thank you for joining me in prayer.

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I met a really remarkable young man yesterday.  He’s leading his family through what will likely be the death of his youngest son.

Michael and his wife started a blog to keep their family up to date on how their son was doing.  It has expanded far beyond that inner circle to encourage many, including me.  I highly recommend it.  Here is a taste:

We have death all around us.  However, it is not all that we have around us.  We have grace all around us too.  Like author Paul Tripp says, God, in grace, is using death to lead us to where life can be found.  There would be no way for us to endure this impending physical death without the promise of spiritual life in Christ.  If this life was ultimate, we would be in despair.  But because we have eternal life in Christ and his resurrection we believe that the time Henryk is here is a piece of the thread of his life that will go on into eternity.  We are so blessed to have this time with him.

Please pray for this young couple.  These days are hard in ways that can’t be fully described.  And God is good.

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Every week at Bethlehem a ‘global partner’ is recognized and prayed for.  I was delighted to see this week that it was a family who served our deaf members for several years who then were called to bring the good news of Jesus to deaf people in a country that cannot be named.

Their prayer requests ended with a simple “pray for the salvation of the deaf here.”

Yes, we must all pray!  And some must go who have the skill and the experience to communicate with people in an entirely different signed language.

Of course we have needs here.  The volunteer needs for our disability ministry is significant at one of our campuses – we don’t know where the help will come from.

But with 52 deaf people groups that are unengaged with the gospel, we must be also sending people.

Let us ask God to launch a flood of missionaries from churches that saw the gifts of people with disabilities and prepared them for their service to the church, both here and ‘over there.’

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God has granted Krista Horning, author of Just the Way I Am: God’s Good Design in Disability, the opportunity to be interviewed by Mike Ferris of Home School Heartbeat on Tuesday.

Home School Heartbeat is heard on more than 1,000 outlets around the world and via podcast.  Lord willing, the interview would be aired in the fall.

Krista asked for prayer:

  • Please pray that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart would be acceptable in God’s sight. Psalm 19:14
  • Pray that I would be humble and cast all my cares on Him. 1 Peter 5:6-8
  • Pray that God would be glorified for the sake of His steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1

I would add, please pray that the beautiful trust in him that God has planted inside of Krista flows out in powerful, life-changing ways for the listeners.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to introduce people to the sovereignty and goodness of God in disability!  Please pray!

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Lord willing, I’ll be in Woodward, Oklahoma by this evening (Tuesday) to visit some friends.  Early Sunday morning a tornado hit this small town and six people entered eternity, with more than two dozen injured and many homes destroyed.

I’m not going because of the tornado; this trip was planned several weeks ago.  But a tornado came, and I know it can raise questions about the goodness of God.

The family I’m visiting is rock-solid in their understanding of God’s goodness and sovereignty over all things.  But what of the others I will meet, if even only once?  I’m assuming God will present opportunities to speak of his goodness in all things, including the hardest of things.

Just a few weeks ago Pastor John wrote on this very subject after tornadoes claimed 38 lives.  And he reminded me there is always a greater purpose God has in mind:

Therefore, God’s will for America under his mighty hand, is that every Christian, every Jew, every Muslim, every person of every religion or non-religion, turn from sin and come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus rules the wind. The tornadoes were his.

But before Jesus took any life in rural America, he gave his own on the rugged cross. Come to me, he says, to America — to the devastated and to the smugly self-sufficient. Come to me, and I will give you hope and help now, and in the resurrection, more than you have ever lost.

If there’s one thing I’ve experienced and learned about suffering, it is that suffering people hold credible other people who have suffered, even if the circumstances of their suffering are very different.  Maybe God will use our Paul, again, to help people see we aren’t playing around with religion, but clinging to Jesus.  Maybe he’ll help them see Jesus.

So, please pray for Woodward, Oklahoma.  And please pray for me, that God would let me be useful while I’m down there, for his glory and for the ultimate, eternal comfort of hurting people.

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Tonight (Tuesday), the elders of Bethlehem Baptist Church will be seeking consensus on whether to recommend an applicant to the congregation to succeed Pastor John as the Pastor for Preaching and Vision.  It is actually a two-step process, the first being congregational approval of the applicant to serve alongside Pastor John during a transition time, and then at some future point another affirmation of this person as the Pastor for Preaching and Vision.  At least that’s my understanding of the process.

If they reach that consensus, the applicant will be introduced tomorrow as a candidate for the position.  The congregational vote will be in May.

Pastoral leadership means a great deal in a church.  As I’ve said before, I’ve only known of one healthy disability ministry in a church that did NOT have the support of its senior pastor.

And I also know enough of the elders to know these are Christian hedonists who love the Lord and love the church.  I have lived with a remarkable lack of anxiety about this entire process knowing how seriously these men take their responsibilities to the church and lean on God for help.

Bethlehem belongs to Jesus; he will do what he deems best.

And I know that God listens to the prayers of his elect.  So, if you would, please pray for Bethlehem’s elders today as they consider God’s leading.

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