Pray BFF #52 November 29, 2003
Dear Prayer Team,
"You asked for it!"
"You asked for it!" This thought comes back to my mind again and again. Almost a year before the beginning of BFF, God led me, through the Experiencing God workbook, to the place where He asked me to give Him the two things I treasured most. I wrote them down and shared them with the small group. One love was the pastoral ministry; the other was financial security. I had dreamed about a firsthand opportunity to see how God provided for the seventy that Jesus sent out.
Well, here we are 3 years later. God has taken away both of the things that I offered Him. Our gracious Lord has kept us at the edge of survival so that we could see and experience His day to day care for both our family of ten and the ministry. Without His gracious and timely provision (right down to the line sometimes), there would be no BFF. Linda and I have learned so many special lessons from this period. Our faith has grown tremendously.
God is training us to trust Him. The 'Overcoming Anxiety' seminar materials really work! Some have suggested that we get a 'real' job. In fact this job has required an extreme amount of focus, energy, diligence and learning. Only God could have brought us here. The experiences and wisdom from His Word have produced what BFF is today.
We have learned that though we generally know what God wants to accomplish, He figures out special ways to get us there. Although we keep asking for a monthly budget figure, nothing near that has been donated. Several times only 1/100th of what we asked for came in. We patiently wait for His time and purpose. God offset the low giving this year by more honorariums for speaking. The trying times have again and again brought us to points of crying out to the Lord.
Some principles/beliefs have been the backbone of our faith.
Let me explain this last point a bit. It is crucial. God never made a mistake with Joseph, David, Jesus and Paul. They all needed to go through trying times to bring greater glory to God. The strains, stresses and hardships are part of the ministry. This concept is opposite to the professionalization of the ministry which states our individual lives are to be separated from our ministries. The apostle experienced much greater testings than we ever have. He said, "I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus" (Gal 6:17). We do not choose these hardships. We do not like them. And yet we are ready for them when they come. They are necessary for greater things to happen.
God is doing great things throughout the world in these last days. We desire to be part of God's great masterpiece. We believe BFF is being created to increase our participation and effectiveness in His great work. God has kept us busy working at getting the kindling wood ready for the bonfire. It is hard work to saw, carry, chop and split the wood. But there is a goal that is beyond ourselves. It is the Father's will to touch the world with the Truths of His mighty Word.
Thanks for joining with us in prayer through these sometimes rough stages of ministry. Please continue on!