Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Can those who talk for, also talk with?

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What we Teach and How we Pray

Having spent more than half of my vocational ministry in theological education, it has always been a wonder to me why we spend so much time teaching would-be ministers how to talk for God and how little time we spend teaching them how to talk with God. We teach them much of how to relate to people on behalf of God but not so much on how to relate to God on behalf of people.

Please don’t misunderstand, most of what we teach is crucial and necessary for their ministerial development, but we have sometimes created or at least encouraged the development of ministers who lead from their own strength and knowledge. A few even minister so frequently for God without communicating with God, that they begin to think they are God. Then they discover that it is often easier to be God than it is to communicate with God.

All of this caused a few of America’s National Prayer Committee members to ask me to head a task force that would promote the teaching of prayer in theological education. Among other initiatives, I compiled a resource book for those who teach prayer in, but not exclusive to, theological education. Eighty chapters written by eighty different authors, entitled, Giving Ourselves to Prayer, from Acts 6:4, and the book is being released this month by PrayerShop Publishing of Terre Haute, Indiana. If you are interested, you can order a copy direct from http://www.prayershop.org or ask your local Christian bookstore to order it for you from PrayerShop Publishing. Interested in a copy or not, please join me this week in making it a matter of prayer for the ministers you know – that, even for the real prayer warriors, communication with God would become an increasing priority and blessing in their lives.

Also, join me in prayer this week for the following global concerns:

• For the annual Central and Eastern European Missionary Kid Retreat in Budapest, Hungary.
• Missionary friends from Germany as they take much needed vacation time in Atlanta.
• Preparations for the Summer Olympic Games ministry in Beijing, China beginning August 8.
• For Suzanne, a Chaplain at the University of British Columbia as she prepares for the fall semester.


Enjoy and may reflecting on these thoughts help get your week off to a great start!

I'd love for you to leave a comment at the bottom of the blog entry and visit the Disciple All Nations website:

Monday morning blessings,

Dr. Dan Crawford
Disciple All Nations, Inc., 4388 Rota Circle, Fort Worth, Texas 76133

http://DiscipleAllNations.org
http://discipleallnations.org/blog


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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Inner~View #43: Growing Your Pastor

Jennifer -
Growing Your Pastor Praying Pastor ~ Ron, who is Growing Your Pastor written for and what prompted you to write this book? [click headline to order]

Ron Gordon ~
Phil the more I spoke with people the more I saw the lack of respect, the lack of prayer and fasting as well as financial support for our men and women of God. Pastors were not seen as God’s anointed, but rather as someone just holding a job. I also saw pastors that were being well received, however, their messages did not at all line up with the word of God. I do not mean the differences we may have as different denominations, but clearly not true Christian messages. The people who supported them did not know the difference between a lie and the truth. Therefore, I wanted to grow attention to supporting our new and longer established pastors, as well as, the responsibility we all share to know and receive only the truth. I am not a writer, simply a home builder. I have no skills to write, but really felt God wanted me to write the book . It was only through much prayer and fasting that God wrote the book through me, as it is far above anything I am capable of. I hope most of all the people who read it will stop and think .


Praying Pastor ~ This book would never have been written 100, even 25 years ago. What has changed in and around the Church that makes your message timely and important?

Ron Gordon ~
My Grandfather was a Baptist Minister for over 50 years, starting in the early 40’s. I have been fortunate enough to have people read this book, remember him and send me pictures of them being baptized in the river in southern Illinois. Then people, as well as the church, were very different. The majority used to be honest, moral, caring people, mostly from small towns and farming communities. It was then typical for the father to be the head of the household and to provide a living while the mother upheld the homefront. I being 60 now, have seen how well Satan has used time wisely through the advances of our televisions, radios, and computers. We the church have lost at least one generation and maybe even more to the pull of the flesh; a message that if it feels good do it. We also are tied down by families where both parents must work, so everything has changed. Then I see where popular television ministries promise us the world if we give to their ministry, but seldom do we get the message we need, just the message we want. God’s word tells us how to act and behave, how to have a prospered life, but we want it the short cut way. Jesus said several times when you pray, when you fast, when you give, however, we have become falsely educated to a false word in many cases. As a general group, we do not read the bible ourselves, we do not stop and pray in thanks giving or even in repentance, we pray in wanting for our own personal fulfillment. We must start understanding who God is, and what He demands. A big part of that is to honor His truly anointed men and women. David understood this and we must learn from him, as he had Gods heart. The church has moved with society and expected God to move with them . God has not nor will He move, so we must turn towards Him, there is no other way.


Praying Pastor ~ What do you mean by "grow" your pastor? What are some examples?

Ron Gordon
~ I thought about the title a lot. Many times we look at our pastors as an employee, that we must have control over, either directly or through boards. I wanted everyone, especially those controlling types of people to understand, yes, we must know our pastors are truly God’s anointed and not the devil in our pulpit that God’s word warns us about. Yes new young men and women must be held to speaking only the truth, and when a mistake is made correct them in love and humility. However, for the most part it is a message about the need to fix ourselves and keep our hands off God’s anointed. I have pointed out numerous examples in the book, however, how many times has the church sent the pastor and spouse to a weekend away just to grab a few moments to themselves. What about offering to watch their children every once in awhile and send them to a movie and dinner? Also, we need to be sending them to many different schools or conferences where they can be fed and filled with different and new ideals. Many pastors could simply be helped by washing the car and mowing the yard after they have been many days and hours in the hospital with those in need. The examples are endless, one short coming is making funds available for the youth to attend seminary, where they could learn and pray without the worry of debt. Only God can grow a pastor, we can ,however, provide many things. Prayer and fasting for our personal pastor is one of the most needful and the least seldom done.


Praying Pastor ~ Why is this a book every pastor should read before passing it on to their congregational leaders?
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Ron Gordon ~ ~ First, I believe most pastors are truly trying to be God’s servant to their people, and do not feel free to ask for help in many areas. They to must come to the true understanding of God’s word that they are God’s anointed, and should be treated as such. Also, with so much false doctrine being published daily, every pastor making available or giving out books must first really see if it is the truth. Pastors who have prayed over the books and asked for God’s spirit to help those who read them will be pleased with what the people learn from the book . As with all good things it comes only from God not anything man has written, especially me.


Praying Pastor ~ Share a comment or insight on:

Ron Gordon ~
  • How to express authentic care, church member to pastor > We all have many things in common: finances, time requirements, etc. However it really is very simple, of all things love is the greatest . If we really care and love our pastors then simply saying a short prayer, "God what is it that I can do to help your servant" and in doing so understand the pastor is truly God’s not ours, we will find answers to what each pastor needs.
  • Balancing care and accountability > This is a big one. I think accountability has to be first and foremost . Without accountability we will have even more false religions than we do now. I know every pastor with the right heart has no problem being held accountable; they actually welcome it when done in love and humility. Care can rarely be overdone. When pastors are cared for correctly they have time to spend with God; quality and quantity time with God is so important and usually the first thing pastors give up trying to provide for their members. If we all understand in our own lives, if we are honest with ourselves we know it is easy to hear our flesh yelling out, it is easy to hear the devil provoking us, and it is most difficult to hear that small still voice, the spirit of God. How can we expect a pastor to hear from God in a few seconds over all this and many hundreds in the congregation complaining as well?
  • The pastor's family > Let’s face facts here; typically PK's (pastor's kids) have a horrible tract record. God’s word is very clear, only a heathen neglects his family. If we as members of a church do not give time for the pastor to first and foremost be a Godly father and a Godly spouse, do not expect much from the pastor, they simply are not in order. If the church is in order they will not only love and want the best for their pastor, but understand that is God’s priority that their pastors are head of the home first. God, Family and then the members of the church.
  • Financial concern for the pastor > Somehow over time and I believe with Satan’s help we have come to believe that pastors should be poor, humble people waiting on the hand out of a few good hearted members every Sunday. How short sighted! If we could even begin to understand the concept of eternity and our souls, and who’s responsible for the most important aspect of our lives while here on earth, we would start to begin to understand the financial worth of a pastor. There must be godly people who will stand up in our churches and speak about giving, about love, and the blessings of being a part of God plan for their pastor. The worth of a pastor is not what happens just at the church building and other functions - if we understand hell what is the person who helps prevent us from going there worth ?
  • Resistant pastors > I have now had even more time and experience with many pastors, blessed with having dinner and sharing time with some of the largest ministries in this county to the smallest 25 person congregations, and have learned many things. There are no good Godly resistant pastors; there are some who will feel uncomfortable with expressing their needs and the need that we should be taking better care of them, but those are small issues. The others who have false ideals, bound in the spirit of religion and pride should not be supported. If we all really want to get closer to God, closer to doing His will, we will only follow someone wanting to take us in that direction. That road is narrow and very straight, truly resistant pastors are not on that road.
  • The role of prayer as a care component > Prayer cannot be over emphasized. I wish if anything is learned it is what happens when someone or a group of people show up at their church and start praying for God’s will that day, praying for the service and the pastor, praying for the message, praying for the lost to come in and praying for members to go out and get the lost . What truly happens in a church? I am sorry to admit , but I fear that most churches have never had God’s spirit and God’s plan as the focal point of their services. God can do so much when invited to and when we get ourselves out of His way, but that comes only by prayer, fasting and the diligent seeking of His will.


Praying Pastor ~ Ron, please write a prayer for the pastor who needs the love an care of the congregation and lacks courage to flag their need ...

Ron Gordon ~
Father of Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Isaac and our Lord Jesus. You have clearly given us the stories and lives of these and others, how they were drawn to you, and also Father how they each had needs and issues, not one except Your Son was able and even then you sent angles to minister to Him. I pray for your anointed men and women today that you would turn your eye, give your ear to their needs. Father let us all learn to lean only on you, that you are our support and we can be your support to those who you would have us to help. I pray that you would use each of us to provide love and support and be small part of your plan, that we can truly establish heaven on earth.

Father, I pray that we today understand what was told us by Moses, that our pastors deserve to be rewarded for their works. I would pray that you would by your spirit give our pastors boldness that they each could let us know their needs and be able to do so without fear of false thoughts of the people. I pray for men and women to hold the arms of those standing in the gap for each of us. Help them let their needs be know so that they can serve you in a better and mightier way and we may in love of you , provide for those you put over us. Father, let pastors teach in a new boldness what has been hindrances to them that others can be helped as well. Father, most of all I pray every pastor and every congregation would truly understand in their hearts of hearts that you are our provider, and only in you will we learn to trust. Father, I pray every pastor will draw closer to you, with understanding of your plan of a servant’s heart, as well as knowing they answer only to you, and in the Fathers love are to be our head.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

On Prayer Mountain ... or, in Prayer Valley?

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Have you ever noticed in the life of Jesus that mountain revelations were often followed by valley applications? No sooner had Jesus ended his spectacular sermon on the mount than, coming down, He was confronted by a leper (Matthew 8:1). Truth taught on the mountain, had to be applied. Later, the almost unbelievable experience of transfiguration, complete with the re-appearance of Moses and Elijah, was met on the down-side of another mountain, this time with a man crying for Jesus to help his son who was an epileptic (Matthew 17:15).

The unique glory which had shown in the face of Jesus on the mountain now had to be applied to the daily hurt of the valley. Yet again, Jesus stood on an appointed mountain and delivered what we have labeled, "the great commission" (Matthew 28:19-20). But wait! Just as I was about to make an application, the Gospel of Matthew ended. What did Jesus do to apply His commission? Oh, He left the application to His disciples, you say? You mean we are the ones who are responsible for applying His mountain words - going, making disciples, baptizing, teaching, etc.? Bummer, just when I was enjoying the solitude of mountain revelations. Truth revealed on the mountain, can never camp out there for long. Calls from the valley hurry us downward.

I'd love for you to leave a comment at the bottom of the blog entry and visit the Disciple All Nations website:

Monday morning blessings,

Dr. Dan Crawford
President, Disciple All Nations, Inc.
http://DiscipleAllNations.org


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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pray with Both of Your Minds!

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Discerning Prayer!

Doug Small - Project Pray

There is a wonderful old story of a group of blind men who had each found a different part of the same elephant. “What is it?” one cried to another. “A tree,” said the one who had taken hold of the elephant’s leg. “No, a rope,” said the one who had his tail. Each had a different answer – a snake, a fan, a wall, a spear! Each had only a piece of the elephant and not the whole. A cognitive approach in prayer gives you a piece of data, an emotive approach another piece. What is needed is not a left or right brain prayer experience, but a holistic approach.

First, quiet yourself and frame your need for discernment or direction to God in prayer. Describe the problem or the unrealized potential. Detail it. Lay out the pieces as you would with a counselor. Do it audibly, not merely reflectively. Ask God in yes or no termsShould I move? Should we sell this house? Should I marry this person? Should I take this position?

  • Praying with the left brain (Thinking Prayer) – Subordinate the decision to noble life purposes. “God, you are first. I don’t want to do anything to damage my life purpose, your calling, or my relationship with you.” Write down the positive aspects of the choices you have, and then the negative. Are there any indicators here of enhancing or hindering my spiritual life in these choices? Is God in all this? Star the important items. Where is the strength of the list – on the positive or negative side? Is there anything inconsistent with Scripture or your desire to make Christ Lord?
  • Praying with the right brain (Feeling Prayer) – Subordinate the decision to faith. Inventory your feelings. Are you fearful of anything? Write down your responses. Are sensing something that you cannot rationally define? What would you do if the limits were removed? What is wild and dangerous, the daring response? Is there a creative option, an out-of-the-box possibility? Try to “step into” one of the options above – how does it feel? Like trying on a new suit, ask yourself, “Does this fit me?” Gut reactions are telling. Instinct is an important predictor of inner congruity.
  • Praying with the Heart (Sensing Prayer) - What is your heart telling you? Do you sense peace? What is right and noble? What would Jesus do? The heart dreams better than the head does – is this a part of what God has been calling you do? Does it answer an inner yearning? Satisfy a hunger? Respond to a call that has been laid aside or repressed for more rationale choices?===>Click headline to access complete article . . .

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