The 80's brought about great memories, movies, and music. Of course, anyone who knows me knows this: big hair, bright colors, and metal bands; I'm a big fan. That's the world I grew up in! A favorite band of mine, Bon Jovi, broadcasted a song to the world that I still love to hear and sing today "Living On A Prayer." And for those of you concerned, I did love Michael W. Smith's, "Go West, Young Man." Church planting has a tangible reality of every day reliance on God, living on a prayer. For a church planter, there are 3 areas that are essential: prayer, planning, and people. Prayer without planning is foolish. Planning without prayer is arrogance. However, people, planning and prayer together engages us in the mission that God has for us.
Right now, the Renovation Leadership Team is studying "Visioneering" by Andy Stanley. It visits the compelling journey of Nehemiah, a story that we will take some time to unpack in our early days as a church body. One of the greatest areas Andy focuses on is the importance of praying and planning through the example of Nehemiah.
If you're not familiar with the story, here's a quick synopsis: God places a vision in Nehemiah to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. This would be a vision far beyond anything that Nehemiah could or would accomplish on his own. Therefore, the first call to action Nehemiah took after he heard of the condition of his people was prayer and fasting before the God of heaven. He prayed for two things: opportunity and favor, saying,
"O Lord, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of the servant and the prayer of your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before man."
Praying for opportunity and favor landed him with an incredible moment to share his heart. Standing before king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah shared his vision to see Jerusalem's wall rebuilt. The planning had paid off because Nehemiah knew exactly what he needed from the king to have any chance to rebuild. Nehemiah taught us the importance of both praying and planning, capitalizing on the provisions sent by God!
Jesus sets the same example before us; He always prayed and planned for the work God had ahead of Him.
This past Sunday evening we spent some time talking through the launch phase of church planting and the importance of our personal prayer time: our absolute need for God in order to see the vision and mission of Renovation Church become a reality. Prayer recognizes our constant need of God in our lives.
Since prayer is so important, I want all of us to be challenged as parters in the work that is happening through Renovation Church to join together in a season of prayer and fasting. March 6 will serve as the 30-day marker to launch day, Easter Sunday, April 5. It is our prayer that each individual give up something for those 30 days and replace it with a time of prayer. Your commitment may look like 1 less hour of sleep, giving up your lunches, or cutting back on TV. Whatever the fast, join us as we join with God to ensure that every man, woman, and child in our community has repeated opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Live on a prayer.
- Jonathan Cockrell
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