Jun 1 2012

Asking for Prayer

Hey friends.

As I sit here surrendering the piles of responsibilities that seem to be staring me in the face, two thoughts emerge:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1Cor 10:31)

and

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)

Here are some things about the next week for which I long for some prayer support.  Please pray that I’d do all to the glory of God, and that He would cause fruitful ministry.

  • Tonight (Friday) and tomorrow I’ll be leading some devo time and song-worship at a work weekend at a Christian camp near Belleville.
  • Sunday I’ll be preaching on the Transfiguration of Jesus.
  • Monday our second intern, Meg arrives!
  • Tuesday-Thursday my family heads on a brief vacation near Barrie to refuel and love on each other before a busy summer.
  • Next Friday we’ll have an important !group leader and Minlead meeting.
  • Next Saturday will be Men’s FIGHTclub and C!Station at the Farmers’ Market.
  • Next Sunday Zach preaches.

Thank you, faith family, for your love, prayers, and support.


Oct 1 2011

Some of My Surrender

The tenor of this past week’s sermon application was that of surrender.  Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel’s news of her being chosen to be filled with the Spirit to bear the Messiah was one of surrender—sure, she had some logistical questions, but her heart was trusting, believing, desiring to see God’s work accomplished in her life.  On the heels of that message, I thought I’d candidly express a few personal reflections on surrender in my life currently.

When I think about the issue of surrender before the Lord, I think of related topics like faith in God’s plans over me, trust that He’ll get me through hard times, and hope in the big-picture-plan-of-God of which I know I’m just a part.  Some verses that encourage me in this are:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anythingJames 1:2-4

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered.  You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11

 

Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Therefore, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.  For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ2Peter 1:5-11

As Christ followers, our journey on this earth is wrought with the need for faith, surrender, perseverance, and godly action based thereon.  Lately for me this calling has taken two primary forms which I must repeatedly put on the altar of surrender.

The first is the coming of Baby Byers #3.  As I’m sure any mom or dad can attest, parenting is a unique tool of God to expose areas that need refining in holiness.  Little else in life can simultaneously expose our self-centeredness, our lack of patience (esp. when tired), our shortsightedness, our lack of relying wholly on the Spirit, etc.  I often find myself struck by the mystery of how this raging battle can open us up to the painful refining fire of sanctification and at the same time fill us with such joy and pleasure at seeing what God is growing in these little lives.  I don’t know how having a third child (two in diapers) will affect things like my relationship with Carrie, my productivity at work, and numerous other things.  But one thing that I keep coming to . . . I KNOW that if I can remain surrendered in faith to the Lord, one way or another, “all these things will be added” to me.

The second big area of surrender is the work and fruit at C!C.  As Carrie and I await the approval of our renewed work permits, I am often faced with the difficulty of evaluating questions like: “What are the next steps for C!C?” “Where is the fruit of our labour?” “What would happen if You called us somewhere else?” I love being a part of C!C, and I have such an excitement and a desire to see God grow our community and ministry.  And so all I can do to answer some of the looming questions that don’t always have answers is offer them up to the Lord in surrender.  In faith I place my trust in the fact that He has promised good over me and over His church.  So I strive to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithfulHebrews 10:23.

What is an acute area of surrender for you?  Let us hold on, for He is faithful.

 


May 27 2011

Murphy or James ?

This week has been pretty wild at the Byers house.

With two kids, a pregnant wife, an active young church, and a family member visiting from Atlanta, we are all over the map.  Amusingly, dinner the other night seemed to be a crescendo.

It went something like this:

There was a woodworking project in the front yard, meat on the grill in the backyard (which thanks to some cheap charcoal was about an hour late), Lillie, Caleb and Christopher … and yes, Carrie, too were all getting pretty cranky with hunger.  Carrie and I finally gave up on the “planned” dinner and split up so one could occupy the crew at home while the other ran down the street for shwarma.  By the time the circus made it to the table for dinner, it was almost 8pm.  But the circus didn’t stop.

Caleb had to go “#2″ a few minutes into the meal, requiring more “divide and conquer” strategy, the dog had to out, and about three more trips to the kitchen happened before everyone had what they needed.  Oh, did I mention that somewhere in there Lillie threw her sippy-cup full of water off the table which happen to land right on Carrie’s big toe!?!

That was the moment where Carrie looked at me teetering between laughing and crying and blurted, “What is going on?”  As I chuckled before answering, it dawned on me.

Some would call it “Murphy,” some would call it “trails of many kinds“.

Let me be clear, my family’s shenanigans hardly match up against many of the trials that people, particularly Christians face all over the world.  And yet, they do represent an everyday opportunity stand on Biblical Truth in pursuit of the abundant life that Christ promises:

Consider it  all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (NASB)

Standing on the promises of God, by faith, in the small things sets us up for the successful weathering of bigger storms.  And what’s more: we can find JOY in the middle of it all! Speaking for the Byers Family this week, this little drop of perspective has gone a long way to alleviate the stresses from crazy routines and bruised big toes.

So “Murphy vs. James” is not the big decision over baby names . . . it’s the decision to laugh at the realities of life, smile at the days ahead, and thank God for developing our faith.