Thursday, August 24, 2006

As You Pray for Your Spouse . . .

Married to the Ministry: has the pastor’s wife’s role changed for better or worse?

When my wife and I interviewed at my present church she asked what expectations the congregation had of staff spouses. She was told, “We just expect spouses to be church members like everyone else—serving, attending worship, and living uprightly. You know, no smoking pot in the back of the church.” That’s a pretty low bar, my wife thought, but one she could reach.

Of course, things have not always been so easy for clergy wives. Opinion Journal recently posted an article by Lauren Winner (author of "Girl Meets God" and "Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity”) about the changing expectations placed on spouses of ministers. Below are a few excerpts. Read Winner’s entire article here.



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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Do You Have A Theology of Prayer?

Note: This is the book many prayer leaders and praying pastors have been waiting for - A biblical study of prayer that provides a foundation for all the practical books and ideas we so quickly gravitate toward...


Knocking on Heaven's Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer

Author: David Crump
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.99
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Number of Pages: 352
Publication Date: Sep. 06

David Crump begins this work by relating some specific, difficult, and yet familiar instances where prayer seems to raise more questions than it answers. From a young child who dies despite prayer to asking God for a specific sign to the fear that a lack of faith is the cause of requests left unfulfilled, Crump tackles head-on the complex and thorny topic of petitionary prayer. Through a comprehensive exploration of the relevant New Testament passages, Crump seeks to develop a normative theology of petitionary prayer. Thorough yet accessible this book successfully achieves the rare combination of substantive theology and exegesis with immense practical, pastoral, and personal applications.

Graham H. Twelftree (Regent University) says, "The church and praying people need this balanced book. David Crump faces the intensely practical problem of unanswered prayer. In this theologically informed and intellectually rigorous, as well as pastorally sensitive, treatment, Crump shows that the New Testament has laid down the boundaries for our praying: God is personal, willing to be changed, and we are changed by prayer. Also, while our praying arises in this life, its priorities and values are dictated by the next. In this deeply challenging and well-written book that has satisfying answers, all readers will find help in praying to a good God who can both be seen in our suffering and answer in the miraculous."

Bruce N. Fisk (Westmont College) says, "With an openness to mystery, an eye for the important, and a passion for detail, David Crump has written a reliable guide to the prayer world of Jesus and the earliest Christians. What does it mean to pray in faith or to address God as Father? Why would Jesus liken God to a sleepy householder or an indifferent bureaucrat? From puzzling parables to the Lord's Prayer, from Jesus's cry in Gethsemane to Paul's thorn in the flesh, Crump wends thoughtfully through every New Testament passage on prayer, telling stories and offering sage counsel as he goes. If for you praying is like breathing, don't bother with this book. For the rest of us, 'Knocking on Heaven's Door' may well be an answer to prayer."


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Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Disturbing Prayer . . .

Lisa Borden of the Lisboa Matrix community said in a recent entry on her weblog that we probably need a major move or house fire every five years to push us out of our comfort zone.

She quotes a prayer by Sir Francis Drake, the first explorer to circumnavigate the earth:
Disturb us, Lord, whenwe are too pleased with ourselves.
When our dreams have come truebecause we dreamed too little.
When we arrived safelybecause we sailed too close to the shore.
This is our prayer for this season.
May God stretch us all beyond where we are now
To pursue His dreams and discover new shores.

Source: http://marcsmessages.typepad.com

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Monday, August 14, 2006

RETREAT to Kimberling City, MO



Anchor Missionary & Pastor's Retreat

On beautiful Table Rock Lake, Kimberling City, MO
Contact person: Dr H L Goodman Founder/President
Website http://www.anchor-retreat.com
Email - drhlgoodman@cebridge.net

Why is this a good retreat destination?
Wonderful Family atmosphere. Branson MO. nearby; Silver Dollar City (20 min. away); Family Shows (Branson); Table Rock Lake (Bass Pro holds many of their fishing tournaments here).

Any special programs/offers for pastors?
One-on-one time (if desired) with Dr Goodman, Counseling (if needed & wanted). Quiet and secluded.

Anything that makes your center unique?
Located in the beautiful Tri-Lakes area of Missouri and only 45 minutes from Eureka Springs AR. As much (or as little) as one would like to do while getting the much needed "R & R."

Because of Him, Harvey, Jer. 33:3
Dr & Mrs. H L Goodman
170 Deckard Lane, Kimberling City MO 65686
Phone (417) 739-1642
"Ministering To Those Who Minister"

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RETREAT to Naponee, NB

The Marie Center
Naponee, Nebraska (Just off of highway 136, between Alma and Franklin, Nebraska.)
Contact person: Pastor Duane Lauber
Websitehttp:// www.naponeewesleyan.blogspot.com
Email duanlauber@gtmc.net

Why is this a good retreat destination?
We offer a clean comfortable house, in a very quite setting. We are in a small town, little traffic, few disgtractions.

Any special programs/offers for pastors?
We have no planned activities. We do provide a list of activites in the area, and other suggestions as needed.

Anything that makes your center unique?
It is a good place for rest, relaxation, prayer, and meditation.

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RETREAT to New Waverly, TX



Hidden Manna
New Waverly, TX
Contact person Louise Looney, telephone 936-295-9413
Website http:// www.hiddenmanna.org
Email info@hiddenmanna.org

Why is this a good retreat destination?
Located in the midst of Sam Houston National Forest, Hidden Manna's 100 acres and comfortable homes are beautiful and peaceful. Our little quiet house, the Casa de los Angelitos, affords busy pastors and their spouses an opportunity to get away from their world of demands, so they can truly commune with the Father.

Any special programs/offers for pastors?
From Sunday through Thursday, the Casa is offered for half-price to full-time pastors.

Anything that makes your center unique?
Its beauty and peace.

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RETREAT to Clark Fork, ID



Diamond T Ranch

5361 River Road, Clark Fork, Idaho 83811
Contact person: Tom and Brenda Wagoner
Website: http://www.diamondtranch.com
Email: DiamondT@netscape.com
Telephone: 208-266-0490

Why is this a good destination:
This is a 135 acre guest ranch with modern log cabins set in the middle of a beautiful river gorge surrounded by mountains and across the road from hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forest. The ranch is open to the general public, but full time, evanagelical pastors and missionaries received a greatly reduced rate. Some come for the fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, and other activities, while others come to study, rest, pray and escape the pressures of the world.

Any special programs/offers for pastors?
We rent cabins to pastors for a flat $40 a night (plus 7% tax) for up to six people. We also offer a listening ear and nonstructured counseling for those desiring that.

Anything that makes your center unique?
Each cabin has a kitchenette and only occasionally do we provide meals. There are restaurants in the area, but if a pastor simply wants to be alone, sleep, pray, study or fast, this is a secluded area of great beauty and peacefulness away from the hustle and bustle of city life.


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RETREAT to Roan Mountain, TN

Fairhaven Ministries

Roan Mountain, TN
Contact person Cal Swanson
Website www.fairhaven1.com - new website in progress should be ready within a month is www.fairhavenministries.net
Email fhmin772@peoplepc.com

Why is this a good retreat destination?
Fairhaven's purpose is to offer full-time Christian workers an affordable place to get away to for personal and family rest, refreshment and renewal, and is located on the mountainside of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is one of the most peaceful settings in the USA.

Any special programs/offers for pastors?
Our year-around rates for full-time Christian workers are subsidized by donors that believe in this ministry. We offer special rates for sabbaticals. During the winter months of January - March, we offer them a four-night stay for the price of three nights.

Anything that makes your center unique?
Fairhaven is a retreat center where the guest sets his own agenda. The chalets and cottages do not have phones or TVs; we do not have food service as each unit has a fully furnished kitchen for guests to bring their own food. We do have a full-time Christian counselor on staff and offer Biblical counseling at reduced rates. During the months of November - March, we welcome group retreats which can rent the use of the lodge and kitchen for their meetings.

God bless, Cal Swanson

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RETREAT to Onamia, MN

Timber Bay Camp and Retreat Center
18955 Woodland Rd, Onamia, MN 56259
http://www.timberbay.org
tbcamp@timberbay.org

Rustic yet comfortable atmosphere with log cabins offers space for people in ministry to rest, review
and refocus.

Mark Ritchie, Timber Bay
(320) 532-3200 x12
(218) 831-4453 cell

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RETREAT to Rosedale, WV


Faith Mountain Ministries
Rosedale, West Virginia
Contact person: Herb or Kathy Miller – Founders & Directors
Website / Email faithmtn@mountain.net

Why is this a good retreat destination?
Two-bedroom cottages on 250 beautiful, wooded acres in the Mountain Lakes region of West Virginia provide an ideal setting for Christian leaders to experience rest, relaxation and spiritual renewal. A newly completed seven-bedroom, two story, ranch-style “Cedar House” that accommodates up to 25 guests is the perfect setting for a church leadership or youth retreat.

Any special programs/offers for pastors?
There are no programs, no schedules, no telephones or televisions…just peace and quiet

Anything that makes your center unique?
Resort accommodations at Campground prices. Every cottage has a whirlpool bathtub, gas fireplace, hammock and a campfire ring…the best of the outdoors with all the luxuries indoors.


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RETREAT to Richland, MI

Alongside Inc.




Alongside

Richland, Michigan
Contact person Steve Maybee

Website / Email steve@ alongsidecares.net or info@alongsidecares.net

Why is this a good retreat destination?
Located on the campus of a Bible conference center where the Word of God has prevailed for over 85 years! Lakeside community with beach and good places to walk.

Any special programs/offers for pastors?
Alongside offers 3-week intensive sabbatical programs within a context of distinctly Christian community with personal and/or marital counseling at its core.

Anything that makes your center unique?
All of our counselors are ministry-experienced (pastors or missionaries) professional counselors with graduate-level training both in Bible/theology and counseling.

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A Rest and Reflection Action Plan



Rest and Reflection Action Plan
Diverting Daily
In my attempt to take a daily quiet time for the purposes of gaining perspective and growing in my relationship with God, I am:
__ Doing well __Needing improvement __Doing poorly
My action plan is to:_______________________________
Withdrawing Weekly
In my attempt to take a weekly Sabbath day for the purposes of gaining perspective, physical refreshment, family health and growing in my relationship with God, I am:
__ Doing well __Needing improvement __Doing poorly
My action plan is to:_______________________________
Maintaining Monthly
In my attempt to take a monthly retreat day for the purposes of gaining perspective, concentrated prayer and listening and growing in my relationship with God, I am:
__ Doing well __Needing improvement __Doing poorly
My action plan is to:_______________________________
Abandoning Annually
In my attempt to take a yearly retreat of at least three days for the purposes of gaining perspective and concentrating deeply on my relationship with God, I am:
__ Doing well __Needing improvement __Doing poorly
My action plan is to:_______________________________
Releasing Your Church's Potential
A Natural Church Development Resource Kit for Pastors and Church Leaders - Guidebook
Robert E. Logan & Thomas T. Clegg with Jeanette Buller
ChurchSmart Resources 1998
Worksheet page 4-22
Permission to post from http://www.ChurchSmart.com

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The Three "Rs" of a Personal Sabbath Retreat


The Three "Rs" of a Personal Sabbath Retreat

Use this outline as an agenda for a Sabbath retreat two to times a year.
We recommend three days/two nights alone with the Lord. Give this to your leaders to implement as well.

1. Rest:
  • Sleep. Take a long needed nap, or sleep in on the second day - or both!
  • Release all burdens and responsibilities.
# Write down all your pressing tasks and responsibilities on an 8.5" x 11" ruled tablet.
# Lift the entire list to the Lord in prayer.
# Put the list away, out of sight and out of mind for the remainder of the retreat.
  • Enjoy recreation (read a book, see a movie, take a hike, run or bike ride, play golf, etc.)

2. Reflect:
Review your journal entries or Mentoring Guides for the past few months. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • What have I learned about God?
  • What have I learned about myself?
  • What have I learned about ministry?

3. Refocus:
  • What goals (physical, spiritual, personal or financial) have I accomplished these past few months?
  • What goals need to be adjusted ?
  • What are my new goals for the next three to four months (write them out)?

Releasing Your Church's Potential
A Natural Church Development Resource Kit
for Pastors and Church Leaders - Guidebook
Robert E. Logan & Thomas T. Clegg with Jeanette Buller
Passionate Spiritiuality Worksheet, p. 4, 21
ChurchSmart Resources 1998
Permission to post from http://www.ChurchSmart.com

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Prayer Tune-Up

Prayerleader Online Header

It Seems To Me…
every congregation could benefit from a Prayer Tune-Up . . .

Every automobile I have ever driven has greatly benefited from an engine tune-up. Even so, it was many years before I disciplined myself to have my cars serviced on a regular basis … And I have paid for it through lower gas mileage and additional repairs from overly worn parts.

Congregations are no different; the greatly benefit from the regular review of leaders. And the ministry and mission of prayer in your congregation probably depends on you to initiate the process and point the way.

This tune-up check-list will help you think comprehensively, analytically, and practically. Add to it, customize it to your unique situation, but most of all, pop open the hood and start giggling the wires!

Refresh the Pastor
  • Prayer Summit -Pay the way for your pastor to experience extended prayer with others http://www.prayersummits.net
  • CPLN Conference – Encourage your pastor to attend one of the Church Prayer Leaders Network Conferences; many have workshops designed specifically for pastors> www.prayerleader.com
  • Resources – Gift your pastor with a book written by a praying pastor or provide a list of websites he/she can use for personal growth> www.prayingpastorblog.blogspot.com

Review the Purpose
  • Survey the Leadership Team – asking them to identify the place and purpose of pray throughout the community and ministry life of the congregation. Distribute a report of their feedback at a meeting that allows for discussion and prayer.
  • Include in every church communication – Ask permission to have the mission or vision statement of the church augmented with the word prayer then for it to be visible in every church communication (letterhead, website, bulletins, newsletters, etc). For example: Augment To know God’s will and make Him known to Through prayer, to know God’s will and to make Him known.

Reinforce the Presence
  • Calendars – Add a prayer focus or idea to each day or to open dates
  • Bulletins – Add a weekly quote, insert a prayer bookmark or follow an Acts 1:8 cycle (Week #1 = Your Jerusalem (neighbors and communities), Week #2 = Your Judea (region and nation), Week #3 – Your Samaria (unreconcilied peoples and justice issues), Week #4 = The Earth (nations and global issues).
  • Newsletters – reprint an article from Prayer Leader Online (attach website information, please) or a quote on prayer.
  • Displays: Freshen-up bulletin boards, purchase new banners, replace items on display tables & exhibits
  • Library: purchase new books & tapes on prayer

Reinforce the Practice
  • Insert a creative prayer moment on Sundays – For example, ask the mission team to stand at their seat and invite several people to surround them as the pastor or prayer leader prays from the front.
  • Schedule a Concert of Prayer – Establish a compelling purpose for the gathering (a critical need or a community issue) and invite everyone’s participation.
  • Invite guest speaker on prayer – Consider a local leader recognized for their work or their passion for prayer, or consider a national speaker (both Jon Graf and me are eager to serve you in this capacity and cost may be less than you think).

Retrain the People
  • Workshop (onsite) – Schedule a 3 to 6 hour workshop that provides practical teaching for all members in the congregation
  • Conference (offsite) – with your pastor’s support, invite leaders to attend a regional or national conference
  • Resources (website) – use email to introduce lead4ers and members to helpful websites.

Recognize the Problems
  • Report to leadership - present your findings as to the strength and weaknesses of the overall ministry of prayer.
  • Invite a Prayer Coach – Invest in a consultant who can coach your leadership through the weaknesses.

Take the time to take your team through these steps and I guarantee better miles per gallon of prayer!

Phil Miglioratti in Prayer Leader Online

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Interview ~ John Armstrong on the Prayer Movement

The Modern Prayer Movement

John H. Armstrong
Several of my friends are deeply involved in the international prayer movement. I have deep respect for these friends and for this movement. It is clearly one part, and maybe the most important part, of my growing hope that we will see a full-scale revival and cultural renewal in North America. One of my very good friends, Phil Miglioratti, directs the work of the National Pastors Prayer Network ( www.nppn.org), as well as other prayer ministries. Phil and I converse now and then and clearly share many similar convictions about the church and the place and ministry of prayer. Rather than curse the darkness Phil lights real candles that assist churches and leaders to actually pray. Phil's articles and writings have appeared in a number of places and can be found by using the Web site above. I heartily commend Phil's ministry and encourage you to utilize it yourself. You may also consider inviting Phil to help you in your efforts to teach and practice prayer in your congregation or city.

Recently Phil asked me if I would answer several questions about prayer that he could use in his ministry. I agreed, but asked him if I could use these answers in an ACT 3 Weekly this summer. This process resulted in Phil's questions and my responses that follow.

1. John, though you are not a prayer leader by role or title, you have a strong commitment to prayer in the local congregation. Why?

I believe that every work God designs to accomplish in this world begins with the Holy Spirit pouring out the spirit of intercession and supplication upon the people of God. As a historian I have studied revivals, and revival movements, for over thirty-five years now. You can trace every revival, for example, to people praying and asking God to powerfully move so as to renew the church. And you can almost always trace the salvation of a person to at least one praying person who asked God to work in them. Somehow, in God's kind purpose, the receiving of blessings by his people is directly related to his people asking for him to bless.

I have discovered, after twenty years in the pastorate, and fifteen years of serving pastors and churches around the country, that the congregation that really and truly prays is the congregation that really and truly seeks the kingdom of Christ first, not its own ends. The church that is truly faithful must be a praying church that consistently and corporately asks that "his kingdom comes and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven" or it will become nothing more than a religious club with an agenda. I am convinced we have thousands of such religious clubs in our country at the present time. Because I believe in making every effort that we can to renew the church I believe such an effort will be birthed and carried along by a strong commitment to prayer.

2. Most prayer leaders are faced with many practical issues, thus they have little time for theology and history. What are the critical theological questions every prayer leader must think about that will form their personal theology of prayer?

First, no one, especially a prayer leader, should be so busy that they have no time for theology or history. I do not believe every leader should be a theologian or a historian, in the fullest sense of these words, but every leader needs to know the essential theological truths that form the life and faith of a healthy Christianity. Zeal for prayer is no excuse for ignorance of great truths like the incarnation, the Trinity, grace, sin and forgiveness. And ignorance of history reveals a certain lack of humility. It is as if we are saying, consciously or not, that we know great truths directly and owe nothing to anyone who went before us in God's saving of his people throughout all of history. Every single one of us owes a great deal to many who lived and died before we came on the scene. History acknowledges this and seeks to learn from what others can teach us if we are humble enough to listen.

What "critical theological issues" then should every prayer leader think about "that will form their personal theology of prayer"? I may surprise you but I would begin with the doctrine of the Trinity. I believe we assume this truth and do very little to understand how this distinctly Christian truth informs everything we do in worship and prayer. If the God we seek is an eternal Trinity, living in communion within the three distinct persons, then when we pray we enter into the communion of the three persons. How should we address God? How does our seeking the will of God in our prayer life work in terms of the unity within the Godhead? What, to be very specific, does the relationship of the Father to the Son have to do with our prayer life?

A second critical theological truth that must impact our prayer life is the doctrine of providence. Is God all-powerful and what does this mean for my asking him to answer my prayer? When I pray how do I avoid fatalism, on the one hand, and manipulation on the other?

A third great theological truth that busy prayer leaders need to give attention to is the doctrine of the church. We evangelicals have a "low church" theology, often because of our reaction against Catholicism. We need to recover both a high Christology and a higher ecclesiology, or doctrine of the church. The New Testament is replete with the emphasis that God saves us as part of a body of people, a family, and a community. We are not lone rangers when we pray. We are members one of another.

A fourth great theological truth that prayer leaders should think about is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I know this is assumed, and much work on the Holy Spirit has been done from within the prayer movement. But errors about the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit still abound. I think the singular most important text in the Bible, at least in this regard, is Luke 11:13. Here Jesus explicitly tells us that "the heavenly Father [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him," yet I see few who ask. Pentecostals often assume that they have him, because of some marvelous past experience of God, while non-Pentecostals assume that they have the Spirit simply because they are believers and have all that they will ever need. Something is going on in this text that doesn't neatly fit into these two systems. It is critical, I believe, that we seek a richer, fuller understanding of this matter if we would strengthen the prayer movement.

3. What should we have learned from Christian history that can guide prayer leaders as they face day-to-day, week-to-week and even year-to-year issues?

If we knew Christian history better we would know about men like George Whitefield and John Wesley, or Adoniram Judson and Charles Spurgeon. We would know about women like Terese of Lisieux and Catherine Booth. We would know real people with real struggles who faced real problems just like our own.

By knowing the lives of such people, and by having some knowledge of the big story of Christian history, we would more clearly understand that almost every problem we face today has been dealt with in the past. We would know where to find solid answers and how to avoid the fads and extremes, which we do not handle well at the present time. We would also avoid making extravagant claims about our own ministries and glean rich insights from how others struggled in prayer, often for years, before they saw amazing answers. History humbles you if you read it correctly. We could stand a larger dose of humility today since we seem to talk a great deal about the next amazing thing that we are about to undertake for God because we are a special people.

I believe that we would also understand how worldliness hinders our prayer ministries. This is true precisely because it is worldliness, which is not the created world but rather the way the world thinks and acts without hearing and obeying the Word of God, that creates apathy and false comfort. We grow too comfortable with this world's way of doing things and fail to see how techniques also hinder prayer movements. We keep looking for new techniques and Christ is looking for a people who know their only hope is in him alone. Our best contribution to the prayer movement is to know how weak and powerless we really are without him. The apostle did plainly say, "God chose the weak in the world to shame the strong" (1 Corinthians 1:27b). We act as if this is not true when we build our movements on strength rather than weakness. The world will never understand this truth, indeed it cannot. By the power of the Spirit, we can and should understand it and lean into it.

Christian history will also reveal that the debates we have about ritual, form prayers, and liturgy are often wrongly argued. Even the great John Wesley understood that as powerful as free and spontaneous prayer was we should never assume this is the right (on only) way to pray. In fact, Wesley rightly said that if you listen long enough to extemporaneous prayers you will begin to hear the same form and words prayed in the same way. Is this not itself a new form of ritualism? Growing up in a free-church context, where liturgy was frankly despised, we became very proud of our spontaneous prayers I think. I noticed, while still a young boy that the same words were used week after week when we prayed.

4. Are you encouraged or concerned about the prayer movement's progress and direction over the past fifteen years or so?

Actually I am encouraged by the big picture of things. I think the movement shows evidence of growing up in grace and seeking a richer and fuller understanding of the truth of Christ. We also seem less preoccupied with the techniques I referred to above. We are looking for help, for example, to encourage prayer and to feed other strands of biblical insight into the movement, but we are not as focused on right methods and big personalities as we were at one point. Prayer has a way of doing this since the focus is not on preaching, teaching or singing. I also think the movement is growing beyond the "big person" complex that impacts other movements in the church. When you think about the prayer movement, for example, you do not have a huge name that stands out as the leader. It seems that the "weak" and those who are "nothing" are more prominent in this movement (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26-28).

My concern for the prayer movement is that the lack of a healthy doctrine of the Trinity, and of God's providence, will cause it to become another movement of pietism that fails to recover a robust Christian confession, which is needed now more than ever. I do not think we realize that we are able to build a prayer movement that is shaped by worldliness, not by the Spirit. The enemy would love to destroy any movement of prayer and will use imitation and phony piety to accomplish his work. He is not original, and again history reveals to us how he has done this in the past by leading movements of prayer to become self-centered and non-confessional. We need to remember that Christ calls us to "love God with all your mind" not just with "all your heart" (Matthew 22:36-38). An a-theological-or worse yet an anti-theological-movement of prayer will always be a real danger and we must resist it without allowing denominational differences to divide the movement or destroy us from the opposite direction.

5. Recently you served as an interim pastor (2004). If you were to speak from a pastoral position to a prayer leader, what three or four objectives would you encourage them to adopt?

I would first encourage them to make it their goal to involve the entire congregation in prayer, not just a handful of faithful people. This will not be easy to do, but without it you can divide the church into the "haves and have nots" and the result will actually destroy a real movement of prayer. I have seen it happen. You can have special prayer meetings and teams but make sure you lead the whole church to prayer step-by-step.

Second, I would encourage the leadership to saturate every thing they do in the ministry of prayer. I have seen one false start after another where initially good intentions are cast aside by the busy pace at which modern church leaders operate a ministry. We must realize the work of the church is not a business but rather a spiritual work to be done with spiritual means. Every elders/deacons meeting should be a prayer meeting and every worship service should be covered and immersed in prayer. I am always excited when I show up at a church to speak and find out this is going on. There is always a more fruitful ministry that comes with my speaking when this is the context.

Third, I would make it a clear objective to teach prayer. I would preach and teach on it continually. (A series on the Lord's Prayer was given in my interim setting.) I would utilize the various resources that ministries like your own provide to train people in prayer. I think we assume that prayer is caught, not taught. It is clearly both.

Fourth, I would create sacred space devoted to prayer. This would include a prayer room in the church building, if possible, and designated places for prayer during various times and seasons. We create a large place for corporate worship, offices for staff and counseling, rooms for Christian education, but nothing is devoted to prayer in much of our planning for space and development.

1. You are one of the most widely read persons I know. What books on prayer should every prayer leader have on their reading list?

1. The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer

This particular volume includes eight different books by this nineteenth century teacher, a master on the subject.

2. Prayer, Karl Barth (50th Anniversary Edition)

Barth was one of the church's greatest thinkers in the 20th century and he wrote a gem. This edition has a number of additional essays and resources that make it more valuable.

3. The Struggle of Prayer, Donald G. Bloesch

Rarely does an evangelical theologian write on prayer thus this is an important book because if treats the subject both biblically and theologically.

4. With Christ in the School of Prayer, Andrew Murray

Murraywrote a number of books on prayer but this is the classic.

5. Prayer: History and Psychology, Friedrich Heiler (Samuel McComb, translator and editor)

Heiler was a professor of history and philosophy in Germany and there is no book on the subject that contains the breadth and scholarship of this one.

7. Please write a prayer for those who lead or serve in their congregation's prayer ministry?

O Lord and heavenly Father, who has given to me the gift of service through the ministry of prayer, grant that I may serve your people with clean hands and a pure heart. Give to me the love of your dear Son so that all I do may be enabled to serve your people faithfully and teach them your truth about seeking you alone. Help me to depend entirely upon your Spirit so that I will humbly demonstrate to all what it means to be strong in my human weakness. And guide my ministry of prayer so that you will be glorified and Christ's church renewed day-by-day through your almighty power.

The Mission of ACT 3

Act 3 is a ministry to advance the missional mandate of the Lord Jesus Christ in the third millennium, through the witness of Scripture and the wisdom of the Christian tradition.

Act 3 Weekly is part of the writing ministry of John H. Armstrong and the ministry of ACT 3: Advancing the Christian Tradition in the Third Millennium.===>Click headline to access website . .

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RETREAT to Albuquerque, NM

The Rekindling
Edgewood, NM (35 miles east of Albuquerque, NM)
Contact person Dalton & Vicki Jantzen
Email dalton@onfireorburnedout.org
Website

Why is this a good retreat destination?
Peaceful, "sanctuary-like" - 7100 ft elevation in the Manzano Mountains - five acres devoted to rest, rekindling, and leadership training. A quiet place to rest, pray, read, write, study - not a campground

Any special programs/offers for pastors?
Pastoral-wellness focus: leadership workshops, strategic planning workshops for leadership teams, facilitation services, mentoring, coaching, etc.

Anything that makes your center unique?
Only one doing this range of work in Albuquerque area - completely quiet - It is a demilitarized zone - you can focus on strengthening your relationship with God without having to worry about how that will affect others....

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Monday, August 07, 2006

RETREAT to Freeport, IL

Drive to Refuge at Highpoint Inn
Deer Ridge Ministries
Currently being hosted by Highpoint Inn, Freeport, Illinois
Contact person: David and Louise Decker, Directors
Email: dalou1087@essex1.com Website

Why is this a good retreat destination?
Deer Ridge Ministries is hosting retreats at Highpoint Inn, a beautiful 11 acre country estate located on the outskirts of Freeport, Illinois.

Highpoint Inn is located just off IL US Hwy 20, at the IL Hwy 75 exit, approximately 70 miles west of Chicago and 22 miles west of Rockford.

The property features 11 acres of grounds to walk, an in-ground swimming pool, tennis courts and many other beautiful amenities."

Any special programs/offers for pastors?
God has called us to provide a needed refuge for pastors and their spouses. Deer Ridge provides a place of peace, healing and rest for body and soul.

We offer 5-day Sabbath rest retreats to encourage pastors in full time ministry, by providing excellent facilities where pastors and spouses can rest and enjoy the presence of God without having to worry about cost.

Self-directed paths of study are available for all retreat attendees. Each room is supplied with several books, teaching tapes, music and other materials, which will aid the participants in refreshment and reflection."

Anything that makes your center unique?
The retreat attendees are not required to follow to any strict schedule. There are no meetings to attend, no group therapy sessions. We offer pastors time for uninterrupted rest and time with God and their spouses. All this is offered free of charge. We are a non-denominational 501c3 organization solely supported by individuals who love pastors and see the need for such a ministry. More information and photos can be found on our web site. Registration and inquiries may also be made at http://www.deerridgeministries.org or by calling 815-543-6250."

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Why Pastors Need A Prayer-Ethos, Not A Corporate-Ethos

Leadership in Literature
A Conversation with Business Ethicist
by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr

...a number of scholars and business people have begun to question the direction of business education. ...for example, leadership gurus Warren G. Bennis and James O'Toole argued that business schools have lost their way because of the scientific model that dominates business research and teaching. (See "How Business Schools Lost Their Way," May 2005.)

Harvard Business Review, March 2006, quote from p. 48


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Friday, August 04, 2006

RESOURCE: Self-Guided Retreat



The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within
Erwin McManus

"The greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity!"

If you sense somewhere in your spirit the truth of that statement, then this book can become a roadmap for a personal retreat. (see promo piece below...)

Some hints:
* Devour the book; don't merely read it: think, disagree, fight ...
* Converse as you devour: "Lord, is this true? What are you saying in these words?"
* Journal: Write one sentence or phrase for each section of each chapter
* Prayer: Flow into prayer, writing or speaking to the Lord
* Ask questions ... Seek wisdom, direction, enlightenment ... Knock in persistence
* Conclude each chapter by writing out your reply to 3 questions:

1. What? did God say/reveal/leave to me in this chapter?
2. So What? are the immediate implications of what God I am hearing?
3. Now What? are the steps the Lord wants me to take when I return?

“-a call to revolution against ‘civilized’ Christianity.” -Marketplace

Erwin Raphael McManus wasn’t raised in the Christian faith, so when he came to Christ as a college student, he didn’t know the rules of the “religious club.” All he knew was that something had been set on fire deep within his soul, a passion that longed to be unleashed. Since that day, he has not followed the road most traveled by many contemporary churchgoers. He has chosen the other-the less civilized one-following the path of Jesus in a passionate journey full of mystery, danger, and untamed faith.

In The Barbarian Way, McManus calls you to return to the ancient, primal, and dangerous faith of Jesus and His early disciples. Let go of a sanitized Christianity and get back to the powerful, raw and ancient faith that chooses revolution over compromise, peril over safety, and passion over lukewarm and watered-down religion.

Christ’s passion drove Him to the cross; the cross of Christ drives you to His passion. Take up the challenge of the “barbarian way,” and your life will never be the same.

===>Click headline to access the book . . .

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

3,500 Pastors Enjoy Free Retreat

The Pastors Retreat Network is a ministry that has energized more than 3,500 pastors nationwide by offering free retreats to both them and their spouses. Their goal is straightforward: to glorify God and build His kingdom by strengthening Christian pastors for better ministry to the people they lead.

The
United States is currently losing approximately 1,200 small churches and 1,500 pastors each month. One of the reasons is that the work of ministry often takes precedence over their personal relationship with God – the reason they entered ministry in the first place.

While a pastor's job can be exceedingly rewarding, it also can be weighed down by the responsibilities and stresses associated with serving their congregations. Their ability to succeed and thrive in ministry is deeply rooted in the quality of their personal relationship with God.

That relationship can best be attended to and developed during times of solitude, prayer and reflection, and in company of others who share a similar calling. If you know of a pastor who might be interested in a retreat, will you please forward this information to him/her?

Please assure them there is no fee involved because the five-day retreats are supported through private, charitable contributions. That's the beauty of this ministry. Now there's a program available that cares for pastors and their spouses who spend so much time caring for others. If you have questions, please click headline or call toll-free 1-866-703-9544. Thanks!


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