Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Unprepared Bunnies by Bree Penner



Bree wrote this composition recently at school, based on the story The Ant and the Grasshopper  Angie and I both enjoyed it and wanted to share.  It has a great moral.  I thought in light of advent, are we preparing ourselves for the return of Christ?

One glorious morning in fall, deer were gliding over the funny fields. They were preparing for winter.

In the storage there are scrumptious berries, tasty green grass, massive wells for water, huge hedge apples, and icy insects. 

Coldly, the following bossy bunnies booed at the deer’s work.

“You are so busy; you didn’t even accept our offer for Thanksgiving. I bet all your food will be rotten by the time winter will show up,” Boomed the bunnies.

Gently, the deer stepped up and informed the bunnies, “We will continue our work until we have enough food for winter.”

The bunnies jumped back in surprise. Then turned back and bounced home.

Soon winter came like a flash.  Wind and snow invaded the wood.  The deer ran into the storage room.

The bunnies hastily ran to the deer and begged, “Give us some food. We are desperate!”

“Sorry but no, we put a flavoring on our food that bunnies will die if they eat it.” Replied the deer.

“Give it to us even if it will kill us,” argued the bunnies. So the deer handed them some food and the bunnies died instantly.

The deer survived the winter.

THE END

Moral: Be prepared for what is ahead.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Eve Behind Bars

 

"Each one of these men is a son; they have fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters." That stuck out to me as Warden Cline of the Hutchinson Correctional Facility (HCF) gave me a tour of the prison and we passed by man after man.

For the last two years HCF has allowed World Impact many opportunities for ministry events, including TUMI classes. We are getting to know these men well; a wife of one of the inmates told me recently that World Impact staff is family to these guys.

This past fall, my wife Angie got her volunteer card so she could come with me to HCF and lead worship. I heard from a friend who spent time in prison a few years ago that the inmates would love hearing a female voice. They hear men all day every day for years on end, so the opportunity for them to hear a woman sing worship songs would bring them great joy. At our last ministry event we got to fulfill that joy. Angie led worship and at the end we asked if anyone wanted to come up and sing with us. They called out, "No, we never get to hear a woman sing. We love this!"

As I visited with the men that night, they asked about the possibility of Angie and me returning for a Christmas Eve service. I didn't really like the thought of being away from our kids on Christmas Eve. But I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to further discuss this with Angie and our kids to see if we could do this ministry event. We presented it to our family, and while they were a little sad, our kids were excited for this opportunity. They considered how all of the men were separated from their families all the time, and how at the holidays it must be hard. And again the thought came to me: each one of these men is a son.

So we have decided to spend Christmas Eve inside the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. We will lead a basic service: the incarcerated will read different Scriptures and prayers for the advent season, I will give a message, and Angie will lead Christmas carols. We are sincerely looking forward to spending this time with the church behind bars.

I have heard all sorts of comments about inmates. They deserve to be locked up. They are criminals. We should just leave them alone. But my heart is burdened for these brothers. The more time I spend with them, the more I see that it is only by the grace and mercy of God that I am who I am. I didn't do anything to earn the situation I am in. I have sinned mightily before the Lord – but the sins I have committed simply have different consequences.
 
As we worship and celebrate the arrival of King Jesus the Son this Christmas, would you take some time to pray for this service? Would you consider praying for the 1,000 TUMI students taking classes in prisons across the country? Take some time to think about the incarcerated and how they are separated from their families on this holiday. And then let's worship Jesus for how He rescued us all from a life of sin and has brought us into the kingdom of God, where we are sons and daughters of the Babe in the straw.

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.