Friday, February 21, 2014

February Prayer Letter - Story of Deliverance

Here is our February Prayer letter.

One key aspect of Christ the Victor Fire will be deliverance ministry.  In urban ministry, there is a continual spiritual battle.  It is clear that the enemy wants to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10.10).  But praise God that “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3.7).

Recently, there was an all-night prayer vigil at Lighthouse, our former church plant.  During the previous all-night prayer vigil at that church, God did dramatic things.  As we started the night, there was an expectation that God was going to show up and do something powerful again.

Sometimes prayer is hard work.  You labor through it.  On this night, the Spirit of God was evident; and the time was flowing and moving fast.  After several hours of prayer, Pastor Jerry and I did some special deliverance and inner healing prayer with several people.  One by one, people confessed sin and struggles they were having in living a full and victorious life.

One particular woman, whom we prayed over for a long time, seemed to have received freedom from the Lord over issues in her life; but there was still something blocking full healing.  At one point, there was a bigger group praying over her.  I was leading the prayer time with her and leading her through some areas of forgiveness and working through past issues.  Pastor Jerry led the others to walk around us and pray silently.  That was almost as if they were marching around the walls of Jericho to help bring freedom from the enemy in the walls of her life.

There was a clear moment when there was release.  I prayed that the Lord would fill her anew with the Spirit; suddenly, peace and joy came over her.  She started to worship and praise God.  She then told me that she was feeling the love that she had looked for her whole life!  Praise God!


Stories like this motivate me even more to pray for God to deliver and free people.  I firmly believe that God is going to move in powerful ways in the years to come through our church-planting movement, Christ the Victor (CTV).  I believe that we are going to see churches birthed and led by urban leaders in cities across our Midwest Region.  CTV Fire will be committed to training leaders how to pray, how to seek the Lord, and how to deliver those who are held in bondage.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A call to prayer for our cities!!!


In this next year, I will be helping lead and host 3-4 days of prayer.  These days of prayer are in combo partnership with TUMI and our Christ the Victor (CTV) church planting movement that we are launching soon here in Wichita.  This is the intro letter I wrote for our first day of prayer that happened two weeks ago.

Our next day of prayer will be March 1st, and we would love to invite anybody in the Wichita areas to join us from 7-4 on our campus as we pray for God to move powerfully in our cities.   

 

Greetings Fellow Prayer Warriors,
Welcome to our first CTV/TUMI day of prayer!  I am confident and expecting God to meet us in a powerful way as we seek His face and offer petitions on behalf of the city in the strong name of Christ our Victor.
Our World Impact ministry is over the 40-year mark now.  No doubt we have seen God do some dramatic things in our midst.  Yet, the prevailing feeling from our leaders and our new president Efrem Smith is that our greatest days are ahead.  As we look at the way God has moved, renewed and realigned our ministry in the past year, it is clear that we are positioned to see God launch a big movement in the city.
Yet we are very aware that we will need God to arise in our midst.  Our efforts and strategies won’t be enough.  We need God to show up in power and defeat the enemies that are in the way. What are those enemies?  If you have spent any time in the city, it is very clear that there are intense strongholds of Satan that have held people captive for generations.  We know that people are trapped and enslaved by the devil (John 10.10; Hebrews 2.14-15).
Praise God, that through the triumph of Jesus Christ, we are assured victory!  Jesus has conquered sin and death.  It is now up to us to engage this battle and lay hold of the victory that is in Christ.  How do we do this?
It starts with prayer. Paul Billheimer, in his book Destined For The Throne, says, “Prayer is not begging God to do something that He is loathe to do. It is not overcoming reluctance in God. It is enforcing Christ’s victory over Satan. It is implementing upon earth heaven’s decisions concerning the affairs of men. Calvary legally destroyed Satan and canceled all of his claims. God placed the enforcement of Calvary’s victory in the hands of the Church (Matthew 18.18 and Luke 10.17-19).”
This gets to the heart of why we are here to pray.  Christ has given us the victory. We are going to enforce that victory in plac es of darkness where the devil has temporary reign.
In September of 1999, God birthed multiple prayer movements all over the world.  Four months later in 2000, Rev. Dr. Don Davis was given a vision to start a prayer movement in the spirit of Jonathan Edwards and the great Awakenings called Let God Arise.  This would be a movement to see God arise in the inner cities of America and in the darkest places of our world.
For 14 years, TUMI and many on our staff have faithfully been praying for the urban poor.  No doubt where we are today is a direct result of those prayers. 
Now as Christ the Victor is launching a church-planting movement among the poor, we firmly believe that this movement will advance through the fire of God’s presence that we seek in fervent prayer.  CTV Fire is the prayer and revival initiative of the CTV church-planting movement.  Together, let’s be intentional to pray, seek the Lord and believe that our church-planting movement and a prayer movement will spread all across our nation among the urban poor. 
I want to personally thank Dr. Davis and all of the TUMI staff for their partnership in our days of prayer.  We are glad to join together to “enforce Christ’s victory over Satan.”
May this be a new season where we see God arise in the cities. 




Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Thoughts and Devotional By Rev. Dr. Don L Davis

I love going through the church year each year with my World Impact missionaries.  TUMI each year produces a devotional that has different readings and thoughts that supplement the different seasons of the church year.  I loved Dr. Davis's thoughts on the Christmas season and wanted to post below. Here is the link of where you can find an online version of this devotional.  

http://tumi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=600&Itemid=19


Christmas celebrates the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God, the Word made flesh.  He enters the world to reveal the Father’s love to humankind, to destroy the devil's work, and to redeem his people from their sins.  Although the highest Christological reflection has sought to plumb the depths of this mystery, only faith, awe, and worship can draw near to its richness.  In order to redeem humankind from its waywardness, to reconcile creation that was cursed at the Fall, to destroy the enemies of God, and to reveal the Father’s glory to the world, the eternal Word became a human being.  The One through whom the Father created the trillions of galaxies by his omnipotent, creative Word, was joined to human likeness, and entered the world as a baby boy.  And all this for love and grace.

This grand celebration and time of remembrance is an invitation to wonder, to meditate upon a truth that can easily be recited in the dry theological language of the schools, but can never be fathomed fully.  Who can possibly grasp the total meaning of the Christ-child, the One sent and anointed by God to reign forever after he conquered sin and death through his passion?  As Christians, we join the shepherds and the magi at the foot of the baby boy, and quietly, reverently bow with Mary and Joseph under the gleam of the star that rested above him who would one day become King of kings and Lord of lords.  His coming is soon, and we eagerly wait still for that time when the prophets’ foretellings will become true.  Yes, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of this child, and he will reign forever and ever.

At Christmas, believers worldwide celebrate the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Together we affirm that Jesus was--and is--God's only begotten Son, the Word made flesh, and the human son of the Virgin Mary.  In him we see the love of God revealed for all humankind.  He is God’s mystery that causes broken hearts to marvel and rejoice.  This little child would fulfill the prophecy of a Savior who, by dying and rising, would conquer humanity's mortal enemy, the devil, free us from sin’s bondage and curse, and restore creation under the reign of God.  "Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King!"      


                                                                                     Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October Prayer letter - "I Just Want God So Bad!!"

This was our prayer letter that was sent out via mail for October. 



“I JUST WANT GOD SO BAD.”  I heard this recently in a time of deep prayer from a man who wants more freedom and deliverance from his past.  He went on to share his story with us during this time of prayer.  It was not unlike many other stories that I have heard.  First, there was abuse at an early age, then a life full of drugs and rage, which then led to violence and time in prison.  He had accepted Christ a few years ago, but he has struggled to find victory from the past.

This is what led to our special time of prayer with his pastor and me.  As we shared and prayed for this man, I was struck again by the power of God that is needed not only for salvation (Romans 1.16-17) but also for total healing and deliverance from every past hurt, addiction, and sin.  Two truths stick out to me as I think of people becoming free from the past--first is our identity in Christ; and second is understanding the incomprehensible, deep love of God.

Colossians 2:9-15 is an amazing text that is packed with truth of what Christ has done for us.  It is hard for us to wrap our minds around these great truths from the Word of God.  Verses 9-10 of that passage talk about how all fullness of God lives in Christ.  All of who God the Father is lives fully in Christ.  That statement alone makes my head spin.  But then Paul writes that we have been filled with Christ.  That means that the power that raised Christ from the dead is now living inside of me, you, and anybody who has accepted Christ as their Savior.  One of the first steps in our freedom from the past is our understanding the truth that the fullness of God in Christ is in us.

We need to understand the deep love of God as well.  This love of God can never be fully explained or grasped.  We often try to explain it in words, but honestly it does not make sense to the rational mind.  Why would God give up everything and send His Son to enter into our mess and chaos so that we can have abundant life?  The answer is love, but this love must be much more intense than anything I can imagine.  I think that is why Paul, in Ephesians 3.18-19, prays that we “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

We cannot fathom this love intellectually.  Our sin is too great.  There is too much evil in our world.  Yet, this amazing love does in fact win out.  The love of God is true, real, and available to all.  But this love needs to be more than understood.  It needs to be demonstrated and experienced in a powerful way.

So in one sense, that is our job as missionaries--to help people understand their identity in Christ and to understand the incredible love that God has for them.  We want our family to be clear on these truths in our own lives and live them out radically.  As we continue to grow and live this way, we will be able to help many in the city experience true freedom in Christ.  Please pray with us like Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus, that we will know God’s love and be filled with the fullness of Him.  Let us all say, “I just want God so bad!”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What is our limit?

This past weekend, I had the privilege to hang out with some amazing urban men in California.  They have all been through so much suffering, brokenness, and sacrifice. Some because of their own personal sin, but so much because of their situation or the abuse done to them. But the stories they have of perseverance and how God is now using them in unreal ways are very powerful to hear.

Which then led me to these questions, "How much am I willing to sacrifice? What is my limit in suffering?"  I think if we are honest, we all have our limits on how much we are willing to give up, or sacrifice for the Lord.

I will serve you, Lord, here... but not there.  I am willing to live in this house but not that one.  Lord please don't make me live (fill in the blank).

Galatians 2:20 says that we are are dead in Christ.  If we truly understand our position in Christ, we are dead. We have no rights. Christ owns us completely. He should be able to do whatever he wants with us.  Send us to any place, be willing to endure anything.  Any physical suffering, and even death.

For some of us, it might be living near family or it could be related to finances and thinking that we need a certain income to maintain our lifestyle.  Or concerning our time and how we use it or how much pain we are willing to endure?  There are many different places where we put limits. 

Paul in Romans 9.1-3 says some pretty powerful words "I am speaking the truth in Christ -- I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit -- that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.  For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh."

Are you serious Paul?  You are willing to be cut off from Christ just so his fellow Jews could know Christ?  We know Paul endured everything for the sake of the gospel. He was completely obedient to whatever the Holy Spirit asked him to do.

2 Timothy 2.3 says "Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus."

I want that to be my prayer. I want to follow Christ anywhere, even to the point of death. But sadly, I see that I am still putting boundaries on the Lord on how much I will endure. I am praying that the Lord will completely break my flesh and my pride. I pray that I will completely trust in the Lord, in His love for me, that He truly knows what is best, and that I will follow him anywhere even to the point of death.  



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Celebrating 15 years with Angie!!!!

Today, Angie and I celebrate 15 years of marriage.  On my brother's 5 years anniversary of his passing, I wrote a letter to him.  Here's my attempt at a letter to you Angie.

Today is 15 years.  When I look back to 15 years ago, I think did we really know what we were getting into?  We were just kids. We were only 22. How did we know we would make it?  how did we know we were ready to spend the rest of our lives together? There really isn't anyway to know that.  But we loved each other.  We loved God and knew we wanted to be in ministry together and we were ready to go for it. So here we are at 15 years of living life together.

When I think of 15, I was thinking of us being 15 years old.  We would have finished our freshman year of high school. We've both talked and been grateful our paths didn't cross for another 4 years.  At aged 15, we probably wouldn't have gotten along. We were both sarcastic, but into our own thing. I was totally into sports, not the Lord, and living for my own thing. You were into sports, drama, and your anti-boy days.  It's safe to say, we wouldn't have gotten along then.  But we changed some in the next four years, met at Tabor (broke up twice, but finally got together for good our senior year) and started our life together on September 5th, 1998.

I think back to these 15 years and we really have done a lot together.  We've been to a lot of cool places together.  Lots of laughs. Lots of tears and in between some intense moments as we learned what living in the city, balancing ministry and raising a family is like for us.  Have we totally figured it out yet?

There are so many things I'm grateful for with you.  But maybe the one thing that sticks out right now, is the fact that you just put up with me and have endured with me.  As I look back, I do think about our dark times. Especially our years of finishing up at Lighthouse, with your mom passing and then feeling totally burned out and then having Phil die.  Those days were jard and they were filled with darkness but yet you hung in there with me.

And now you are hanging in there with my new passion and calling with revival and intensity with the Lord.  You put up with my dreams for ministry, dreams for our family, and processing so many things.  You are an amazing listener and know just what to say at the right moment to offer a word of wisdom or balance to what I'm expressing in my passionate rant on whatever topic.

After 15 years, we're half way there with raising Ethan and Bree until we start to release them to a new chapter of their lives.  that's amazing as well to think about. We know these years are going super fast, so I guess we better put on our seat belts.

I am super excited for these next years of marriage. I feel more clear than ever about our calling. I firmly believe that we are going to see some amazing things with the Lord in the years ahead.

Let's continue pursuing the Lord with everything we have.   As they say in sports, let's leave nothing on the field. let's give everything we have to the Lord and see what these years will bring.

so thanks for being on this journey with me.  I love you mucho.

Matt

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Prayer for our country - From Psalm 81

As I was reading and praying through Psalm 81 from the lectionary reading this week, I was struck that this could be a great Psalm and prayer for our country.  So here is my attempt at a prayer with Psalm 81 in mind also clearly remembering America is not Israel.  But the spirit of the prayer, I think can apply well to our situation.

Lord today, we declare your praises.  We sing aloud to you, who is our strength.  We will use anything we have, instruments, our hands, our lives to celebrate you.  We will throw a party and festival in your name.  You are above all gods. We bless your name.

You have been so faithful to us.  You have walked with us through generation after generation.  Just like you walked with the Israelite's and delivered them from Egypt and many enemies, you have been with us in our country. You have walked with us. You have prospered us. You have given us amazing freedom. Amazing blessings.  You have been our protector.

Lord you said that we are to obey your voice, but we have not done that.  We have way to many distractions to even hear your voice now.  We are one with culture. We can't truly discern your will because we are so consumed with media, money, and the things of this world.  We confess that we have idols. We have worshiped our possessions, our security, our freedom rather than truly worshiping you.   Instead of bringing unity to the body of Christ, we have debated other believers and taken stands against so many things.  Instead of loving our enemies and showing them how good you are, we have not represented your name.  We have not been holy.  We have sinned, Lord.

We want to walk with you. We want to walk in your ways. Bring us back, Lord. Bring us to our knees.  Deliver us one more time from our sin, from our wicked ways. Heal our hearts. Heal our churches. Heal our families.  Keep our eyes focused on you.

We know that if indeed walk in your ways and follow your voice, you will give us what we need.  Not what we think we need, but you will feed us with your presence. We will be truly satisfied in you, Jesus.

Hear our prayer, Lord. We are desperate. We are in need of you to bring us back again.

Amen.