Living in West Bengal for three months as a teenager influenced my life greatly and continues to do so to this day. While serving among people in poverty I had never seen before, I first heard Mahatma Gandhi’s, “Live simply so others may simply live.”
While walking down a Kolkata street my walking partners said, “We’ve got to get out of here now.” So we hurried our way in a different direction. After the run to safety, I asked, “What is this all about?”
“The group of people coming our way on the street are Muslims on their way to make an animal sacrifice. The group behind us are Hindus who include the same animals in their worship. There will be a bloody battle between the two groups today.”
Bengali Muslims are the second largest Muslim ethnic group. May the Lord hear our prayers on their behalf.
With today’s prayer focus being an unnamed people group, I think it best to provide the group information from the prayer guide.
This unnamed people group are strong, independent mountain-dwellers, easily walking for a day to spend time with friends. Until recently, their rough mountainous region had no vehicular access, but working hard (with lots of dynamite!) the people are making a level way through the valleys, for the first time connecting needy people to markets and much-needed health services.
They live in Central Asia, and comprise only about 300,000 people made up of about five ethnic groups and speaking different languages. Known for straight-talking, honesty and practical jokes, their lives are plagued by conflict, religious laws, violence, sickness and death. Many leave their mountain due to fear of family revenge killings, lack of food or a desire to educate their children. Islamic extremism is also bringing conflict and widespread fear.
When praying for an unnamed people and situation, we totally rely upon the Holy Spirit to guide us.
The Masalit tribe of Sudan are in need of rain. Drought, desert and famine are often their greatest enemies in the natural and similar words are true of their nemesis in the spiritual. May the Lord grant the Masalit tribe rain in the natural and the spiritual. May their hearts be softened by the rain of the Spirit and the seed of God’s word planted in the heart’s soil.
I could find no photos of the Masalit tribe, so I selected this photo of others in Sudan.
For the Hui of China I am praying recognition of the removal of shame by Jesus on the cross. Honor and shame cultures are blessed in learning that Jesus took their shame on the cross and placing their trust in Him removes all shame AND gives them His honor. That is a glorious exchange. Our shame for His honor.
The Afar have heard the Gospel for many years and recently a few have placed their trust in Jesus for salvation. Glory to God! This people group, divided by various international borders, are in need of a sense of home, settledness, being heard and respected. Turning to Christ guarantees an eternal sense of home for these nomadic people who endure extreme heat and drought on a regular basis.
We pray for those who are assisting in the spiritual growth of the Afar and for anointed evangelism.
My various tourist activities in Turkey have all been delightful experiences. Visiting the Seven Churches of Asia strikes the somber note, “It is not a good thing when God says, “Or I will remove your candlestick. God has kept His promise. The church in Turkey is nearly gone entirely.
Yet God always has a righteous remnant and the land of Turkey is no exception. I’m praying God keeps the Christians living there safe and bold with their witness.
Childhood is the foundation upon which each person builds into their full potential in Christ.
Today we consider the 127th Psalm.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
The Psalmist reveals a connection between daily labor and family life.
In Psalm 127 the house is the temple and the city is Jerusalem. In this way, the Psalmist connects ministry unto the Lord and unto one’s family as intimately intertwined.
- The temple isn’t the Lord’s heritage in your life, as amazing as it was.
- The city isn’t the Lord’s heritage in your life, as majestic as Jerusalem was.
- Anxious work isn’t the Lord’s heritage in your life, as all-consuming as it is.
- Children are the heritage of the Lord in our lives.
In “The Book of Lost Things” John Connolly wrote, “For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
Reaching one’s fullest potential in Christ requires coming to terms with the “child that was.”
Somehow our fullest potential in Christ invites us to make Jesus Lord over the magic and madness of our “child that was.”
In presenting my happiness and hurts, dreams and disasters, shocks and surprises, delights and disappointments from my “child that was” to the Lordship of Jesus, I cooperate with God for reaching my fullest potential.
“You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.
After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.
That’s what I believe.
The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” It just happens.
These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.” Robert R. McCammon, Boy’s Life
Maybe Jesus included your “child that was” when He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
In coming to terms with my “child that was” I can become life-giving to today’s children who are contemplating the “adult that will be.”
Tennis player Novak Djokovic once said, “Building a solid foundation in the early years of a child’s life will not only help him or her reach their full potential but will also result in better societies as a whole.”
“No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a boy.” Johnny Barnes, founder of the boy’s ministry, Royal Rangers
My fullest potential in Christ is a journey into “the child that was” and helping children with the “adult that will be.”
We have identified the top two priorities of MCA Church.
- Everyone in attendance has a vibrant and energizing encounter with the presence of God.
- Children and teens come to faith in Jesus as personal Savior and grow in their relationship with Him.
Today I have the exquisite delight of officially announcing two of the most amazing ministries the Lord is calling us to present to South Central Alaska;
King’s Castle is a ministry concept designed for children and teens to be saved, filled with the Holy Spirit and then to grow through the administration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Children and teens growing and moving in the Holy Spirit’s giftings in their lives is POWERFUL.
Champions Club is a specially designed developmental area for kids, youth, and adults with special needs. Our goal was to develop a program that would meet the developmental needs of children in four important ways: SPIRITUALLY, INTELLECTUALLY, MENTALLY, and PHYSICALLY. Our focus is on spiritual growth through God’s Word, developing the intellect of each participant through the five senses, educationally through various learning tools, as well as engaging the child physically during active gross motor fun.
God’s great work in the world today is for you, your children and your children’s children! Glory to God!
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:38, 39
Dubai of the UAE is a major economic and travel hub. There is a good likelihood you or someone you know has been there.
I am not sure why, but I am just now learning about the rich culture and history of Emirati pearl divers. Long before oil dominated the UAE experience, pearl diving was vital to their economic well being.
May the delightful Emirati’s experience God’s grace to find the Pearl of Great Price.
I hear the Maldives are as beautiful as can be. With hundreds of amazing tropical islands I can imagine the beaches, palm trees and tropical fruit. I love joining God in looking at His creation and declaring, “It is good.”
The 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World Prayer Guide has the deeply thought provoking and challenging title, “The Maldives: Paradise without Christ.”
According to their law, the Maldives are 100% Muslim. Physically the Maldives are sunny and bright. Spiritually, there is great darkness.
Interestingly, it is the world’s lowest country (from sea level). At its highest, The Maldives are 17 feet above sea level. There is a spiritual low point too. The Bible is not yet fully translated into Dhivehi.
For these much loved people, we pray.
The honoring of mother and father precedes, is necessary for and included in realizing one’s fullest potential in Christ.
For this presentation we are looking at each of us as the child of our mother and father.
Although you may or may not be a mother or father, you are definitely the child of your mother and father.
What happens in my heart and through my hands in my relationship with my mother?
First and foremost, honor is to be in my heart and lived out through my hands to my mother.
- Honor is a decision and not a response.
- Honor is truthful and not fake.
- Honor is system-wide and not compartmentalized.
Let us consider honor through the lens of Deuteronomy 5:6-22.
We know, based upon Deuteronomy 5:22, God wrote the Ten Commandments on two tablets.
Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me. Deuteronomy 5:22
We don’t know which directives were on which tablet, but almost everyone agrees that on the first tablet God wrote guidance for relationship with Him and on the second tablet He wrote guidance for people’s relationship with each other.
In some ways all ten commandments are about honor.
Most students of the Bible see the Ten Commandments written as follows:
|Honor God – No other gods before Him
||Honor your father and mother
|Do not make graven images and worship them
||Do not murder
|Do not take the Lord’s name in vain
||Do not commit adultery
|Remember the sabbath and keep it holy
||Do not steal
||Do not bear false witness
||Do not covet
The Hebrew word God selected for honor in Deuteronomy 5 carries the meaning of recognizing and giving proper weightiness.
Table One teaches us to recognize and give proper weightiness to God.
Table Two teaches us to recognize and give proper weightiness to God by recognizing and giving proper weightiness to mother and father.
Upon what authority do we make the opening claim of today’s message?
“The honoring of mother and father precedes, is necessary for and included in realizing one’s fullest potential in Christ.”
The fifth commandment makes it very clear that life being lengthy and going well is directly connected to honoring father and mother.
16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16
This commandment might be stated a different way. “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, or your days may be shortened, and it may not go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
Historically it seems the opposite of honor is not dis-honor, but shame.
This commandment might now be stated in even another way, “Shame your father and mother, in opposition to what the Lord your God commanded you, and your days will be shortened and it will not go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
With none of us being exempt from the shameful, we equally stand in shame before God.
The cross was the most shameful death in the history of the world. Crosses weren’t designed primarily to kill. Crosses were intentionally prepared to bring great humiliation and shame to the crucified.
Jesus died shamefully on Calvary’s cross.
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Good News Alert! Good News Alert! Good News Alert!
There never was, is or will be something shameful about Jesus. He is shameless and perfect in every way.
Jesus took my shame and destroyed it on the cross.
Jesus took my shame and gave me His honor on the cross.
With my shame gone and His honor now mine, I am free to honor every human being by recognizing and giving them proper weightiness.
My Dearest Mother,
You are designed by God. I honor you.
You were created by God. I honor you.
You gave me life. I honor you.
Mom, I honor you.
According to Psalm 8: 4b-5 you are created by God and in His image and He “crowned you with glory and honor.”
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[b]
and crowned him with glory and honor.
MCA Church LIFE GROUP Homework
Listen – My Story
- Do you have a favorite memory of your mother that sharing with the group today will honor her?
- What is your favorite thing you have done to honor your mother?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Please read Deuteronomy 5:6-22. Which of the first four commandments are growth areas for you, MCA Church and our nation? Which commandment is the easiest for you to obey consistently?
- How important do you see these commandments for your personal honoring of God?
- Which of the final six commandments are growth areas for you, MCA Church and our nation?
- How important do you see these commandments for your personal honoring of your mother and father?
- What are your favorite ways you honor God?
Lift – Prayer
- How would you like your Life Group to pray for you today?
- Is there someone you have difficulty honoring? Please pray for God’s grace to help you grow.
- Are you still carrying shame that Jesus took from you long ago? Pray to experience His honor.
- Please pray for your mother.
Life – Taking it Home
- What is the Holy Spirit asking you to add, delete or recalibrate in your life?
- Is there something you should do ASAP to honor your mother?