4. RAISING GOD FOR EVERY BLESSING AND LOOKING FORWARD TO GREAT THINGS HE HAS IN STORE FOR THE CAROLINAS!
It is easy for us to come to God with our petitions – our wants and our needs. How often do we pause to thank Him for His amazing blessings in our lives, for the innumerable answers to our prayers, and for His bountiful provisions that we so often overlook. Praise is a vital part of a life surrendered to God, and it gives credit where credit is due. “O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8 KJV).
In this March issue of our President’s Prayer Partners’ Petitions & Praises (Which I have now renamed as our P5 Ministry), I am inviting all our prayer partners to give thanks to the Lord for His amazing goodness in hearing and answering the prayers of His people.
Here are just three reasons for which we can praise His name:
As we began this year, our January issue of the President’s Prayer Partners focused on a group of 10 Adventist families that were devastated by the apocalyptic impact of Hurricane Maria just last September in Puerto Rico. As we made pleas to our churches to render specific assistance to these families who had lost virtually everything but their lives, hearts of compassion were moved to respond with funds that poured in to the amount of over $13,000.00 to help these families. Praise the Lord! Pastor Freddy Rivera, whose heritage and family are from this beautiful gem of the Caribbean, had a passionate desire to do something – to make a difference in relieving the suffering that that engulfed much of his former island home. Listen to the testimony He shares:
Our project “Compassion for Puerto Rico” was received with joy and happiness. I visited the 10 families chosen with the Elder of the Bucarabones Church and invited them to be present the Sabbath of February 10 to receive the donation and to pray for them. We found four more cases with particularly great needs and I included them as well-bringing the total of families helped to 14. The total amount of donations was $15,200.00, which included the $13,076.75 wired to the local church’s account and an additional $2,123.25 we were able to raise. The funds were distributed among them according to the varying degrees of their need.
It was a blessed day, not only for the community, but also for the church, which was full of joy for their participation in the project. The members, as well as those helped, were most grateful to the Carolina Conference for their gesture and the kindness shown to them in a moment like this. Their response in unison was: “Muchas gracias, Carolina Conference” (“Thank you very much, Carolina Conference.”)
Brad Cauley, Our Director of Church Planting, Church Growth & Health Ministries praises the Lord for His blessing on the last weekend of February for very the first ReGenerate! Church Revitalization Conference co-sponsored by the Southern Union and Carolina Conference while partnering with the South Atlantic Regional Conference. This event was hosted at the Spartanburg Seventh-day Adventist Church.
They had a fantastic line-up speakers and turnaround testimonies (organizational and practitioner leaders) for the entire conference (President Dan Jackson of the NAD, President Ron Smith of the Southern Union Conference Bill McClendon, and many more!), all of which had revitalization experience-both professional and lay leaders included.
The real barometer was the attendance on Friday evening and Sabbath later in the afternoon; both times they had an attendance of 115-125! (Typically for church planting rallies and/or SEEDS in Carolina we have normally ranged between 30-70 in attendance for those times).
At the end many churches expressed their interest in being contacted for the church growth seminars and/or meetings with a church growth director!
With Evangelism Impact in January & Regenerate in February, God’s Spirit is truly moving the hearts of His remnant church to finish the sacred work He has entrusted to us. Let’s praise GOD for answering our prayers and blessing this first Regenerate Conference for Church Revitalization to advance His work in throughout His vineyard of the Carolinas.
Last week, every member of the Personnel Committee joined together in earnestly praying for the outpouring of God’s divine intervention in the life of Courtney Jiminez, a prospective associate pastor for the Foster Seventh-day Adventist Church. Courtney was to undergo a major surgery to remove a brain tumor on Friday,
March 2. After she came through the surgery, Pastor Patrick Williams rejoiced in his response to us at the office with this message:
“Courtney came through the surgery with flying colors. The tumor was benign. The surgery could not have gone better, and Courtney woke up saying, "I made it." God has been very good to us on this one! But then he's good to us on everyone, isn't He!”
5. REMEMBERING AND KEEPING IN FOCUS OUR 2020 VISION
VISION III: Organize Houses of Prayer
PRAY AND COMMIT to develop a plan in which every church building of the Carolina Conference will be a church of HOPE (Houses of Prayer Everywhere). This must include specific, publicized times in which our church sanctuaries may be accessed by:
Members of the church individually and collaboratively united in Prayer.
Youth and Young Adult Prayer Bands.
Individual and groups from the community with specific needs.
The primary function of this strategy is to realize our source of power by seeking the Lord in personal prayer and by reflecting on His Word.
Let us pray to create a climate in which every church in the Carolina Conference becomes known as a house of prayer in the community that they serve. It’s my heartfelt desire that we become more intentional in our times of prayer. I was in the Moslem country of Turkey almost 6 years ago. Although I don’t advocate their belief system, I believe we have a much better example from them in terms of established and regular times for prayer. We see that evidenced in the scriptures through the consecrated life and standard that Daniel set for us. Our first focus must be how we can encourage members of our churches to be united both individually and collectively to be very intentional and passionate in our prayer life.
As we pray together to fulfill this vision may I personalize this scriptural promise from the Lord Himself for each of us as Prayer Partners?
“If my people [In the churches of North and South Carolina],
which are called by my name [Seventh-day Adventist Christians],
shall humble themselves [Be known by our modesty, generosity, and compassionate care for others],
and pray, [regularly and “without ceasing”]
and seek my face [Falling in love with God by spending time in His Word and hearing His voice speak to our hearts],
and turn from their wicked ways [have a spirit of repentance & a renewed desire to follow His right path];
then will I hear from heaven [That’s God’s “conditional” promise to answer our prayers!],
and will forgive their sin [Provide us with spiritual peace of mind and soul],
and will heal their land [By blessing the churches of the Carolinas with a harvest of souls and resources above and beyond our imagination] .” Chronicles 7: 14