Monday, October 06, 2008

A Personal Memo & Prayer Request from Mike

A personal memo & prayer request from Mike:

At the beginning of Sept. I had an onset of excruciating pain in my neck and down my left arm. My doctor got me in the same day I called and took x-rays. I was then given prescriptions to take the edge off the pain. The x-rays showed early disc degeneration in the neck. My spine in my neck is also curved the wrong direction which is the source of the nerve pain.

For about the next week I was sleeping and laying flat on my back on the floor a majority of the day. After much discussion, consultation and prayer I am seeing a Chiropractor. Already, I am noticing a difference! The pain down my left arm is gone. I have gone from taking Vicodin every 4 hours to not having even taken Advil for a week and a half. Praise God-Yahweh Rophe (The Lord who heals)! Please continue to pray that my spine would readjust to its natural alignment and that we would continue to see improvements.

Recently I had the opportunity to share a devotional for our ministry's training in human resources on the topic of God's developmental plan. I chose to look at the life of Joseph. Following is a quick overview of that devotional.

Joseph & God's Developmental Plan - A Devotional

In Genesis 37, we see Joseph as a 17 year old. He brings a bad report to his father about his brothers (v. 2). We see that Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all the other sons and gives him a robe of many colors (v. 3) Joseph has a dream (v. 5) and then shares it with his brothers and his brothers hate him (v.8). He then has a second dream (v. 9). He shares it with his brothers and his father. His brothers are jealous of him (v. 11) and sell him off into slavery.

We get a sense if we look at Joseph through the lens of his brothers that they would see him as a tattletale and an arrogant little kid at this point in the story.  It would appear that Joseph didn't really have the wisdom and discernment to understand how these things would affect his brothers.  (Now bear with me as I know this is a bit of a departure from how we typically look at Joseph and it ignores God's role in this.  I'm shooting for how this plays into God's developmental plan for Joseph.)

If we skip ahead to Genesis 39, we find that Joseph has found favor in the eyes of his boss, Potiphar (v. 4).  Despite being a slave, he is doing something right.  He was a house slave, which I take to mean that he was well trusted.  Potiphar wouldn't have just let anyone have access to his house.

We see that Potiphar's wife is beginning to take notice of Joseph (v. 7).  She makes advances day after day (v. 10).  Then one day, none of the men were around (v. 11) and Joseph goes into the house to do his work and Potiphar's wife catches Joseph by his garment (v. 12).  Joseph uses great wisdom in getting out of there.

We see that Joseph has gone from being a tattletale, little brat, to now showing great wisdom in a troublesome situation.

Then if we jump ahead to Genesis 42, we find Joseph serving in a high-ranking position for Pharaoh (governor of the land).  Also, we find ten of Joseph's brother coming to Egypt because of the famine (v. 3).  Joseph remembers the dreams he had (v. 9).  Now Joseph really begins to show some great wisdom.  He is presented with an opportunity to really stick it to the same brothers that put him in a pit and sold him off into slavery.  But instead he in a way tests his brothers.

Joseph demands that Benjamin be brought to him for the brothers to "prove" that they really are all brothers.  But, he binds Simeon and keeps him until the brothers return with Benjamin.  Joseph then gives an order fill the brother's bags with grain and to replace the money in them (v. 25).

I find it rather interesting that Joseph is in a way testing the brothers to see if God has changed them in the years since he saw them last.  Would they just leave another brother in captivity?  Would they actually care enough to return with Benjamin?

As we fast forward to Genesis 43, we see the brothers return.  Joseph sees Benjamin and orders a dinner to be prepared (v. 16).    Joseph returns home and asks his brothers if this is Benjamin (v. 30).  Joseph is moved so much so by seeing Benjamin that he weeps.

I can't help but wonder if part of Joseph's weeping was rejoicing in the change that God had done in his brothers' lives.

Joseph goes on to further test his brothers in Genesis 44, but I won't get into that.

In Genesis 45, Joseph makes himself known to his brother (v. 1).  Joseph tells them to not be distressed or angry with themselves because they had sold him into slavery for God sent him before them to preserve their lives (v. 5).  He tells them that he will provide for them (v. 11).

There is a real difference that we see in Joseph from the early days of being perceived as a tattletale to the mature man of wisdom that is saving his family from the famine.

God's developmental plan in Joseph took him along a progression of building him up.  To prepare him for the day in which he would stand before many.  Preparing him for the day when he would face his brothers and have to decide whether to embrace them in love and forgiveness or to punish them for their deeds.

God uniquely prepared Joseph by taking him through a variety of situations that built him into the man God wanted him to be.  In our lives, God has a redemptive plan for us and a developmental plan for us.  In our roles in ministry, we need to be sensitive to where God has people in His plan.  Some will be in the early stages of His plan and others will be much further along.  But the same is true of them all, God is at work.

Prayer: The Power Behind What We Do

Volume 3, Issue 10
Prayer: the power behind what we do

In ministry, some might place great value on the physical acts of ministry while overlooking the one thing that is really the most important — prayer. We believe prayer is crucial to one’s personal walk with Jesus as well as our ministry.

Why Pray? because God commands us to (Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, 1 Thess. 5:17 Pray continually) Prayer is: part of having a relationship with Jesus, experiencing Him, to be refreshed by His presence.

Be encouraged prayer partners that God IS working through your prayers to touch lives of people you will probably never see. You are conducting God’s business. Standing in the Gap! “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land” Ezek. 22:30

Thank you for identifying with the desires of God and the need of the people (for those who are lost and need to personally come into a saving relationship with Him).

Let us intercede in establishing His kingdom on earth! Pray on, in the power of the Holy Spirit!

Let us intercede with Him in establishing His kingdom on earth! Pray on, in the power of the Holy Spirit!

Ministry prayer requests:
(in general):

We would as staff seek a life that Glorifies Christ. Using our talents, skills and abilities for His Glory, not man’s. We would serve as Jesus served (humbly). Phil. 2:5, 7, 9 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who…made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place…”

Shine Like The Day: (formerly Boyd Family Band)
Upcoming 2 major tours this fall (2 weeks in TX. & 2 weeks in CA) Pray the Lord would stretch the limited time to prepare as well they would rest in HIM, and trust Him for the results.

blue sky nine (band):
Pray for where God would have them play…that they’d be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in where He’s opening doors and where He is not. Pray for continued unity…that their love for one another would grow deeper and be a great witness for those who observe their interactions.

Giants of Silence (band):
Pray that the housing for the tour to Virginia will get finalized soon! Pray for their concerts in Duluth – things are re-shuffling at a rapid pace – pray that they get into the right schools at the right time. Pray for them to finish this CD project and that it would be an effective tool for evangelism and also that it would be excellent.

Infinit Impact (African American band):
Pray their new song that is now online- would generate interest for Christmas conference (Dec 27-Jan. 1). Pray for the new interns to raise their support and get here by Jan. 2009

Jimmy FauntLeRoy (solo artist):
Pray that he would have strategic concert/speaking opportunities, creativity to both write and complete new songs and develop short challenge-talks.

“Prayer is a walkie-talkie for warfare, not a domestic intercom for increasing our conveniences”…God expects us to use the walkie-talkie of prayer for the spiritual warfare between His Kingdom and the kingdom of His enemy. To abandon prayer is to fight the battle with our own resources at best and to lose interest in the battle at worst.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life p. 68-69

Mike led a devotional for a recent training. You can read this devotional in the article posted after this. You can also read a personal memo & prayer request from Mike.  It can be found here: