Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting The Power To Pursue Christ's Mission: UPDATE

A few blogs ago I shared what was happening as a result of Valley Baptist Church spending an entire week in a focused time of prayer as a church.  We started on a Sunday night with a SOLEMN ASSEMBLY, then Monday - Friday we had three a day prayer meetings (6:00 a.m.; 12 noon; and 6:30 p.m.) on Saturday we held a 24 Hour Prayer Vigil and then Sunday we concluded with a community prayer walk.  THE TIME TOGETHER WAS POWERFUL.  We were praying for God's power and presence to fill our lives as individual but also as a church body.  We were praying for God to show us where he was already at work so we could join him in that activity.  AND GOD DID JUST THAT.

In that first blog I shared how a member of our church, Henry, had a clear word from God that he was to go visit in jail a young fellow co-worker arrested for attempted murder.  Now I want to share with you what God has done since that initial revelation to Henry.  Henry was obedient.  He immediately went over to his co-workers house and asked his wife if it was possible for him to visit her husband in jail.  This wife was so excited to hear that someone was interested in visiting her husband and she gladly told him how he could indeed visit him.  Henry went to the jail on a Saturday, the day when people can visit family and friends, and got a chance to talk with Chris, his co-worker in jail.  As they talked Chris indicated that he had accepted Christ into his heart since he came to jail but was concerned for his wife, father, mother and sister because they had not experienced Christ personally.  Henry asked if he would like to have a visit from me as a pastor.  Chris was very excited about that.  I then went to visit Chris that following Tuesday, mainly I wanted to see if his "JAIL HOUSE SALVATION" was sincere and real.  As we talked I was very much convinced about his salvation but was a little confused why God had laid it on Henry's heart to visit him.  As we talked he shared how deeply concern he was about his family not knowing Jesus personally.  I asked him if he would like for me to go and visit his wife and share with her about his salvation and tell her how she could also be saved.  Chris started crying in join when I offered to go visit his wife.  He was so appreciative and excited that I would take the time to visit her. 

The next day I called Chris' wife, Silvia, and introduced myself but she had already talked with Chris and heard that I would be calling.  She was so excited to know that I and Henry had visited her husband.  I asked if she understood why Henry wanted to visit her husband.  She said she was confused about that and wanted to know if I could tell her.  I told her it was because God had told Henry to visit him because God was wanting them to know that He knows them, loves them and is wanting to help them as well as have a personal relationship with them.  Silvia began to cry over the phone when she heard that God loved her and would be with her.  I asked if I could come by and visit her and with her consent we set up to visit the following week.  However, that next Sunday, before we could meet, Silvia came to church and when we offered the invitation for people to receive Christ she came forward and wholeheartedly gave her life over to the Lordship of Christ as she repented from her lifestyle of sin.  After the service I shared with her how excited I was about her decision and about our upcoming visit.  Silvia also share how excited she was about the visit and that she was inviting her family to come over as well. 

That following Wednesday Henry and I went over to visit Silvia and her family.  As we got there it seemed as though it was only Silvia there but short afterward I noticed her sister-in-law coming in and out of where we were talking.  She finally just came in and started to listen.  We were talking about God's love and how through Jesus God made a way for all our sins to be forgiven.  Shortly afterward her father-in-law came in and also began to listen.  I asked him if he knew why we were there and why we went to visit his son.  The father answered that was something he just couldn't figure out.  Why would a couple of people who really didn't know his son or them would take the time to visit him in jail.  I shared with him that it was because God had told Henry to go visit him and them because God wanted them to know he loves them and knows the struggle they are going through and want them to have a personal relationship him.  As I shared this I could see a look of amazement in his face.  I asked what he felt about what I said.  He said that down deep in his heart he knew it was true but that he always felt that it would be him coming to God first and then bringing his son and family to God but he was glad that his son came first.  I asked both the father and sister if they would also to receive Christ as the boss of their life and their response was an overwhelming yes.  They both gave their heart over to Christ.  We now are beginning Bible Study with this family and with Chris in jail to build a strong foundation.

Is it any wonder that four of the thing that the early church devoted themselves to was to PRAYER.  Come on church let's pray and when God reveals his activity join him in obedience.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Unlike the church planters of the 80's and 90's who were well educated with earned bachelor and master degrees, well dressed, nicely groomed, with the ability to speak well and quite possibly could have had successful careers on Wall Street or in a Fortune 500 Company,  this new breed of church planter, from a worldly perspective, is unsophisticated, raw and in many ways intimidating. For the most part the church planters of the 80's and 90's were trying to reach the upwardly mobile, career minded, white collar workers who were buying up new houses in newly formed planned communities with the hope of getting away from all the crime and violence.  Their target groups were the respectable, hardworking and law abiding citizens trying to carve a nice life for their family and kids.  They had the nice homes, good schools and fancy cars.  Their kids were involved in baseball leagues, soccer leagues and cheer leading, and as a result the churches that these church planters started were the spiritual alternatives to  the world, by providing multiple ministries for each age group in nice new facilities with a pastor for every age.  While there has been a measure of success with these church plants a whole larger segment of the nations population has gone virtually untouched.  A majority of the people groups in North America did not relate to these corporate style churches.  This is partly because some just did not live in the areas where these churches were started.  They live in the city and not in the suburbs.  For others they just couldn't relate to the ministries that were being offered or their lifestyles were so radically different that they just didn't feel they could fit in.

As a result God is raising up many new unsophisticated and raw church planters to reach those untouched mission fields in North America.  This new breed of church planter is the answer to our prayers for God to send more laborers into the fields.  They are radically different from those of the past and have left many scratching their heads in bewilderment over their successes.  These new church planters are breaking all the acceptable rules about church planting while still managing to experience tremendous success.  Churches like The Sober Project, Set Free Ministries and most recently His House Christian Fellowship have been started by this new breed of church planter.  This is the kind of person that God is raising up and training up and  unleashing all over North America to reach those that have been ignored.  As the body of Christ we need to recognize this activity of God, adjust our strategies and join him in what he is doing.

Four of the characteristics of this new breed of church planter I have also observed as characteristics of Christ's apostles.  Peter and John had been arrested and brought before the very council that had accused Jesus of blasphemy and sought to have Him crucified. This was also the group that had intimidated Peter at Jesus' trial to the point that Peter denied knowing Jesus on three different occasions, but then a little over 50 days later Peter stands before them preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus with uncompromising conviction.  The council demanded, under threat of punishment, that Peter and John stop preaching in the name of Jesus but Peter and John were unwilling to do so.  This council of religious leaders did however express four of the five characteristics about Peter and John that I find to be true among the new breed of church planters today.  I guess, while these new church planters are a new breed from those of the 80's and 90's, they are really not new at all but just a breed coming back into fashion by the Spirit of God.   Listen to the description of Peter and John by the council,

"The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures.  They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus."  Acts 4:13

The first characteristic that I want to mention is that they were ORDINARY MEN.  Peter and John from a worldly perspective were no special men.  They were ordinary and hard working fishermen.  They didn't hold any special place of honor or recognition in the synagogues.  They were probably the type of person that most aspiring people would choose to avoid and not associate with.  They weren't part of the ruling group.  They were nobodies in their community.  Sure, they served a place in society, but not one of honor or respect.  They were the type of person you would hire to clean your house or wash your clothes.  But here they were, these ordinary men, with the ability and power to gather and inspire a crowd and make them into fully devoted disciples of Christ.  The council was amazed that such ordinary men could have such a tremendous impact on the community.

Today's new breed of church planters are just as ordinary as Peter or John.  From a worldly point of view they are nobodies, they are people who very likely had lost the respect of society, their family and friends.  These new church planters don't hold any special place of honor in the community and they sure wouldn't be caught sitting in our pristine churches.  They don't dress nice for success and could care less to do so.  As a matter of fact they probably don't even own a suit.  You will find them wearing blue jeans, shorts, leather coats, Tee-shirts and quite possibly sporting a few tattoos.  They look like the kind of guys you find working at a construction sight or attending a Raider's football game.  They are your typical blue collar worker.  THEY ARE ORDINARY. 

But God loves to use ordinary people to do some of his most extraordinary work.  God loves to use the things that this world considers foolish, unimportant, average and ordinary to accomplish his greatest miracles.  Listen how the Bible describes them:

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many of you were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are,  so that no one may boast before him.  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God, that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."  1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NIV) 

Did you catch what God is trying to tell us?  God likes to choose the foolish people of this world, those without much worldly influence, those who were not born into prominence to do his greatest and most powerful work!  Why? In order to shame the world.  In order to leave those who have chosen to follow the ways of this world scratching their heads and desperately trying to figure out how in the world  could somebody of such little significance now have such powerful influence over crowds of people!  CHRIST HAS CHOSEN THESE ORDINARY PEOPLE SO ALL THE WORLD WILL KNOW IT IS GOD DOING IT AND NOT MAN!

This is not unusual!  This is the normal activity of God throughout history.  Gideon was a nobody.  He was described as a man who was the least of his family, coming from the least clan of his tribe and hiding in a wine press out of fear.  But God took this coward and used to him to win a great victory over their enemy. Simply amazing.  James the half brother of Jesus describes Elijah in James 5:17-18,

"Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.  Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."

There it is!  The Bible describes one of the most amazing prophets of the Old Testament as A MAN JUST LIKE US!  Elijah was no superstar in and of himself.  He was an ordinary man whom God used to do extraordinary things so that the world would know that there is a God in heaven and he rules the earth.  In my own denomination, Southern Baptist, during our height of growth when God was forming us into the largest Protestant Denomination of North America God was doing so through a Church Planting Movement of ordinary men starting churches.  They were farmers, ranchers and hired hands moving out west to the new frontier, with a desire to build a life for themselves and their families and with a vibrant and uncompromising faith in the Lord our God.  As they moved into these wild frontier lands to settle down and found no church they took it upon themselves and started forming congregations all over the place. ORDINARY MEN AND WOMEN BEING USED BY GOD TO BRING FAITH TO THE WILD WEST!

Do you see yet?  Using ordinary men with a strong faith in God is God's modus operandi to accomplish His Kingdom's work!  We need to stop busting our butts trying to find that 1 in a million church planter who is going to do great things for God.  That will only bring glory to man!   But instead we need to invest the majority of our time, energy and money in RAISING UP, TRAINING UP ORDINARY MEN WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY FAITH to be our new church planters.  NOW THAT WILL BRING GLORY TO GOD!

Monday, November 8, 2010

How In The World Could This Guy Be An Effective Church Planter?

I want to introduce you to a man that in no way would ever pass a Church Planters Assessment but is probably one of the best church planters I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  He is my very dear friend - no - he is my brother, Larry Munguia.  Larry is not a Bible School or seminary trained man but he does know, love and daily saturates his life in God's Word.  He is not refined but he has spent time with Jesus. He doesn't speak with a large vocabulary but he does pray powerfully and regularly.  And by the Grace of God, God has seen fit to start a church that reaches out to a group of people that most churches would shutter to have.  It is a church that average about 250 people in attendance and sees more people baptized in a year than most do in three years.  Take a few moment and read his story in his own words:

" In 1997 my life was changed. I had lived a life of self-will. I drank and drugged and thought I was Lord Larry until it all came crashing down on me. I lost my wife, my two daughters, my home, health, what little respect I had from my family and my job. Within two weeks my whole life came to a stop. I was lost without my family. I had no way out of my circumstances. Then one day my brother offered me a chance to go to a Promise Keepers convention Los Angeles. I had a little information on them. I knew it was a Christian men's group. I uttered those immortal words, "I'll try anything." So I went to L.A. in search of a new way and I found an old way; the way of Jesus Christ. I have known Jesus all my life. I just never became a friend to him. I never had a real relationship with him until 8:20 p.m. on May 2, 1997. That is the exact time I asked Jesus to come into my life and take over. I was sitting in the Coliseum with over sixty thousand men who witnessed my conversion but only a few would be able to see the outcome of that day.
My life was finally on the right track. I had been delivered from the drugs and alcohol and now I needed to prove to my wife that I was a changed man. I came home from Promise Keepers with a renewed spirit but the same old body. I didn't look any different but I knew I was. So, when I came home and told my wife that I was now a born-again Christian and that I needed to be the leader of my home, she was so excited. She said, "That's great! You don't live here; you can go be the leader of your apartment." My wife, Bobbi, has known me since we were in grade school at St Ambrose. She has seen every con, scam and lie I have ever tried; I should not have been surprised. I went to my apartment and began to pray for God's mercy on me. I prayed that God would reunite me with my family.

It took some time, but in just a few months I got my wife back, my children back, my home back, the respect of my family like I never had and a brand new career. As Bobbi and I got closer to God, he drew us closer to each other. The Lord brought us to a new Church, The Church in the Desert. Pastor Jay Moore welcomed us in and he saw something in me that only he could see. Jay began mentoring me to become a Youth Pastor. At the same time I started classes at Pima College. Within a short time we built a youth group of over forty kids and four adult leaders. In 2001 I graduated with a degree in Social Services. Jay taught me how to minister and gave me the opportunity to hone my craft. Then Jay was called to a church in northern California and I was looking at starting my own church. We now have The S.O.B.E.R. Project, Inc., a Bible-based church that offers weekly worship services, 12-step meetings and bible studies that focus on recovery; recovery from drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, over-eating and all kinds of things that we have let control our lives. If you search your heart, I'm sure you can find something you need God to take care of for you. Please consider this as an open invitation to call me and discuss how God can do in your life as he has done in my life. Give us a chance to show God's love to you and your family.

When I started this project I had no idea that God would bring men and women into my life to show me his power. I have seen a man and woman who were divorced and, within a year, I remarried them. I have seen a man come off the streets, give his life over to Jesus, start his own business and a new relationship that's blooming into love. Lives are being changed for the better. Once you hand your life and your will over to God, he gives you his will for your life."

In addition to the characteristics of spending time with Jesus, a powerful prayer and an ordinary guy I believe there is one other characteristic that has made Larry a successful church planter and that is, he is INDIGENOUS to Tucson, AZ.  Larry was born and raised in Tucson.  He doesn't have to exegete the culture, HE EMBODIES THE CULTURE.  He not only understands his target group but he can empathize and sympathize with the target group.  He is the MAN OF PEACE that is the answer to our prayers. He is the additional laborer that we asked the Lord of the Harvest to send into the fields. 

If we in North America are going to truly see a Church Planting Movement develop then we must become more intentional in raising up, training up and unleashing ordinary believers who are indigenous to that mission field!  We must stop the unhealthy practice of always looking outside the mission field for a supposedly suitable church planter.  It is time to stop recruiting the Arkies, Oakies, and Texans to go to the North, East, West or even the Southwest to plant churches.  WE MUST DEVELOP INDIGENOUS CHURCH PLANTERS from our own mission fields so the work can ignite a wild fire of spontaneous Kingdom growth.

Did you notice what it was that gave Larry the confidence to be a church planter?  According to him it was a person who believed in him, encouraged him and mentored him.  It was man who could see the Hand of God on his life.  Pastors how much of a blessing could there be to both the Kingdom of God and an ordinary believers life if we would just look at these people through the eyes of Christ and dare to bless them with our words and challenge them to truly believe that our God can do anything and he is the God who can do anything through anybody, including them.  This is my hearts cry!  LET'S RAISE UP, TRAIN UP AND UNLEASH ORDINARY FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST WHO INDIGENOUS TO THE MISSION FIELD AS THE NEXT GENERATION OF CHURCH PLANTERS.  THEY WILL GET THE JOB DONE OF SEEING A CHURCH PLANTING MOVEMENT TAKE PLACE! 

If you would like to learn more about Larry and the The Sober Project you can find him online at:  htttp://thesoberproject.com or call him at (520) 404-6237.  Take care and God bless.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


In our modern age of sophistication the church has not gone unaffected! Much of the modernization of the contemporary church is a positive thing that has helped the church become more effective in accomplishing its mission.  A perfect case in point is the fact that I am sitting in my living room, using a lap top computer, writing a blog that can be shared over the internet to encourage and stimulate God's people to be more intentional and effective in pursuing Christ's mission.  However, not all modernization and sophistication is beneficial to the church and in some cases could be down right a hindrance.

In the area of church planting one sophistication that has been almost universally adopted by every major denomination and church planting groups in North America is the practice of performing Church Planters Assessments.  A church planting assessment is a process to determine if a potential church planter has what it takes to successfully plant a new church.  It is a screening process to sort through people and separate those who have a good chance for success from those who have little chance of success for starting a new church.  The rationale for this practice is to be A GOOD STEWARD of the resources that will be invested in a potential church planter.  Knowing that financial resources are limited the need for greater success in a church being started is important and thereby the need to assess the church planter.  No one would disagree with the importance of being a GOOD STEWARD.  I surely would never disagree with that principle.  BUT IS THE MODERN DAY CHURCH PLANTING ASSESSMENT PROCESS HELPING OR HINDERING A CHURCH PLANTING MOVEMENT TAKE PLACE IN NORTH AMERICA? 

Before we can adequately answer that question we need to understand the kind of churches that we are looking for church planters to start here in North America.  That church is what I call The Corporate American Church.  It is a highly sophisticated church that offers a plethora of ministries, times and staff.  It is a church that has buildings, budgets and boards to manage and expand.  It is a church that is innovative, creative and adaptable to an ever changing culture.  This kind of church demands a church planter to be highly entrepreneurial, visionary and able to motivate a highly competent staff.  With this understanding of church and the kind of church planter needed to pull it off it is perfectly understandable why such a sophisticated church planter assessment would be advocated.  However, with the number of churches that are needed and the rate these church need to reproduce for a Church Planting Movement to take place there are not enough potential church planters available with the leadership skill level to create this church planting movement.  So it really doesn't matter how effective we become in assessing the potential of church planters to start these kind of churches, it will never produce a church planters movement for lack of available leadership. 

I suggest that instead of emphasizing the enlistment of people who need to have such high leadership skill level to start churches we enlist and train ordinary people who already have a job and don't need financial support to start churches that aren't so sophisticated.  IS IT POSSIBLE FOR GOD TO USE ORDINARY PEOPLE TO DO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS LIKE START A CHURCH?  Let's take a look at a couple of Bible verse to answer that question:

"The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures.  They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus."  Acts 4:13 NLT

Peter and John, two of the Apostles of Jesus and two of the authors of the New Testament were acturately described as ORDINARY WITH NO SPECIAL TRAINING IN SCRIPTURE.  As we read the book of Acts we can see what God was clearly able to accomplish through these two ordinary men.  The one qualification that these two men did have was that they had been with Jesus.

"... The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and half years.  Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."  James 5:17,18 (NIV)

Did you pick up on the description given to one of the most famous prophets of all times?  Elijah was a man just like us!  WOW!  The great Elijah who challenged the Prophets of Baal was a man just like us!  He wasn't anything special that an ordinary person couldn't become under the power of God. The one qualification that we do see here was that he was a Powerful Prayer Warrior.

Now if you take these two qualifications of having spent time with Jesus and a strong powerful prayer life and add to them the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 you will quickly see that there is a far bigger pool of potential church planters available to us to raise up, train up and unleash into the church planting fields than what we are currently looking for through our modern day and sophisticated church planters assessment.

So are church planter assessments needed?  I would say, "YES" but not the kind we are presently using.  For the most part the modern day assessments only look for those people who are able to start The Corporate American Church and for the most part sorts out those who are only able to manage their own household well.  The assessments we need to employ are those that measure the spiritual maturity of a believer and whether he manages his own household well.  And if they meet that criteria train them on how to start a basic church family and unleash them to do it.  Don't pay them a salary but provide them some resources to do evangelism and allow that new church grow and develop as God's grace allows it to.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Paradigm Shift On Church Planting Movements In North America

In North America churches are being started way to slow for it to turn into a movement.  The rate in which churches need to be started need to grow exponentially in North America if we are going to see a true church planting movement take place.  In order for that to happen North American church planters and denominational leaders need to experience a church planting paradigm shift.

Over  the past several years there has been a lot of emphasis and expectations on starting churches that will grow into a mega church status with the ever expanding buildings, budgets and butts.  Those kinds of results have come to represent health and vitality of a church.  And it seems that everyone from seminary professors, to denominational leaders and even church planters have bought into that kind of view.  But with the limited time and resources available to us is that approach the best one for the North American church to follow?  Will that approach bring about the desired Church Planting Movement that we all feel is necessary to fulfill the mission of reaching North America for Christ?  I think not! And I feel it is time for a paradigm shift to take place on what is a healthy church and what is an effective church from a missional standpoint. 

Imagine and compare with me a church planter working hard and using lots of resources, both financial and physical, to start a church that will be averaging 3,000 people within a 10 year period.  At the end of 10 years this church has a large building complex, a large budget, multiple ministries, and multiple ministerial and support staff.  From all appearances this looks like a strong, vibrant and healthy church. And maybe it is! But has its stewardship of time been used wisely when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission?  Or could those 10 years been used differently that would have had a greater impact on the number of lives that have been reached for Christ?

Now imagine with me a different church planter starting a church that will only average 50 people each Sunday.  In addition to starting this church the church planter also invests a large portion of his time training and mentor a future church planter who will go and start a new church the following year.  In addition to being trained in church planting this future church planter is also trained on how to mentor future church planters who will be able to teach other future church planters also.  Imagine this cycle continuing for the full 10 years.  What would happen during that same 10 year period if each new church planter annually trained a new church planter, that annually trained a new church planter and so on?  After 10 years the result would be 1,023 churches, averaging 50 people each, for a total of 102,300 people in attendance weekly.

WOW!  3,000 people in 10 years or 102,300 people in 10 years!  What approach do you think is a better stewardship of our time?  It's not hard to figure out!  So I have this question: Who are you mentoring to start a new church next year?  I'm working with Manny Acosta, last year we sent out Ed Villareal who started HIS HOUSE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP and a few years back I mentor Larry Munguia who planted THE SOBER PROJECT of Tucson, AZ.  How about you?

Come on church let's make the shift and spend more time and energy raising up, training up and unleashing ordinary people into the church planting fields.  North America is depending on us to be wise stewards!

Getting The Power To Pursue Christ's Mission

This past week our church experienced a much needed time of extended and extensive time of prayer.  We started out on a Sunday night and had what we called a "Solemn Assembly".  This was a time of Confession of Sin and Consecration of our lives to God.  Then from Monday through Friday we had a three a day prayer meeting.  People could come at 6:00 a.m., 12:00 noon and 6:30 p.m.  On Saturday we held a 24 Hour Prayer Vigil starting from 9 a.m. Saturday til 9 a.m. Sunday.  We were praying for God to fill us with his Holy Spirit and to provide us with his power and presence.

It was amazing time!  The church really came together and as the week moved on the church noticed something about themselves.  We noticed that as we began to drink of the Living Water of God's Spirit we realized how thirsty we really had become.  Without even knowing it our church had become Spiritually Dehydrated and while we were still functioning we were not functioning effectively.  By the end of the week we God's Spirit was overflowing through us and all of the different functions of the church were flowing quite naturally.  One of those functions that we have seen a noticeable improvement was in the area of being a witness of Christ.

Acts 1:8 says, "And when the Holy Spirit comes you will receive power to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the to uttermost parts of the world."  A clear benefit of experiencing the Filling of the Holy Spirit is the power to be an effective witness.  It was on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon them and 3000 people were saved and baptized.  Now that's what I call pretty powerful.  The Holy Spirit came as the disciples were in the upper room praying and waiting.  A very dear old pastoral mentor of mine, Dr. C.B. Hogue used to say,

"When the prayers go up the power comes down.  When the power comes down the church goes out.  When the church goes out the people get saved.  When the people get saved the saints give praise. And as the saints give praise the prayers go up."

How true that was for us at Valley Baptist Church.  As we prayed God began to open up opportunities for us to share our faith to others who needed to hear.  One of our church members, Henry, receive a clear word from the Lord to go visit a fellow worker of his who was in the county jail for attempted murder.  Another one of our church members while having a prayer time at the beach got an opportunity to share a word of testimony with a person who approached him.  One thing is for certain when God's people pray God provides power to share your faith.

How is your prayer life?  How much time do you spend in the presence of our Lord and Savior?  I have been challenged by a guy in the Old Testament named Daniel who had a daily practice of praying three times a day, every day.  What would happen in the church of North America if every person who claims to be a follower of Christ had that kind of prayer life?  How about if only half had that kind of prayer life?  I know lots and lots of power.  COME ON CHURCH LET'S GET ON OUR KNEES AND PRAYER.