Monday, March 23, 2015

Prayer Warriors Needed

Lucas & I are starting up an ESL (English as a Second Language*) program in Cactus, Texas. Our students are immigrants & refugees. Although our students don't have to be Christian to take our English program, Lucas & I recognize, as the program's coordinators, the vital need for all aspects of the program to be saturated in prayer.

We would like for people to commit to praying for the Cactus Nazarene Ministry Center and its ESL program. If you would like to join in praying for the CNMC's ESL program, email us at CNMCesl@gmail.com to ask to be put on the monthly prayer requests email and to receive a prayer prompt guide. (Sorry for those who prefer to get prayer requests in the mail. We are just emailing them out at this time).

Our current needs:
1. Wisdom in planning the budget & financial provision for the program. Due to start-up costs (i.e. one-time expenditures) there are a lot of expensive needs in the first year's budget.

2. Volunteers. We need teachers, kitchen helpers, and child-care providers to make our program possible. By ourselves, Lucas & I could teach up to 20 students, but we are expecting to have hundreds sign up. If you are interested in teaching or volunteering, please email us at CNMCesl@gmail.com to let us know about your interest. If you speak English & want to empower refugees & immigrants, you meet our criteria.


3. Wisdom in choosing curriculum, advertising the program, and other decisions (such as which days & times to hold classes, class size, etc).

4. Future students. Please pray for the students we will be teaching this year.

5. The construction on the ministry center to be completed so we can use it for our English classes.

*Actually, for many of the residents of Cactus, English will not be the first or second language they learn. We met one refugee who speaks 7 languages!! While it is a more fitting name to call our program EFL (English as a Foreign Language), ESL is a more commonly recognized acronym.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Luke 9:23 In My Life

Deny oneself. Pick up one's cross. Follow Jesus. (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23)

While these verses are quotable, I wonder how it looks to apply them to our lives. 

Self-denial implies self-sacrifice and...well, denying myself things that I want. Although there are others out there who are living with more stuff and less self-denial, how well I am denying myself does not depend on comparison. I know that while I could be more self-indulgent than I am, I am not exactly denying myself.

A cross is a heavy, instrument of torture and death. It might get in the way of how I live my life. What is my cross? What is my burden? What am I doing out of love and duty for Christ?

Follow Jesus. Surely this command means more than to just attend church, throw a bill in the offering plate, read my Bible, and recite prayers. Surely it means to study Jesus, to emulate Him, to seek His input, and to follow His instructions. 

It is a common practice to seek out the reassuring promises of Jesus and God throughout the Bible, but also within the same holy pages are commands that those who love God as called to obey (read 1 John for more details). These include instructions to be generous, share the gospel with the lost, and even sell our possessions & give to the poor (see Luke 12:33). While we typically tie that last instruction as one specifically given to the rich young ruler in Mark 7:17-27, it was also given in Luke to Jesus' disciples. Therefore, if I am a follower of Christ, then that command applies to me as well.

Luke 9:23 has become especially meaningful of late. Then Jesus said to them all, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me."