Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Prayer Requests, June 2012

Friends and Family: the following is a (partial) list of requests made by church members, fellow volunteers, baristas, and friends at our weekly Wednesday afternoon prayer meetings. Please continue to keep them (and us) in your prayers!

Please pray for the father of our friend E., who has been unemployed for many months;

For the father of our friend H., who has been diagnosed with very painful, terminal cancer;

For H., who has been struggling with persistent health problems, and for her strength as she travels extensively for work this summer;

For this Friday's Jazz concert, and for our friends and family members who might enter our coffeehouse for the first time because of it;

For the success and impact of the social justice conference that our friend T. is organizing in Southeast Asia; 

For our friend E.'s father, who will be undergoing significant medical tests in the next few days;

For our friends S. & I., who are providing much-needed emergency foster care to two infants here in Kraków;

For the effectiveness of our upcoming outreach events, particularly next week's Gospel Music Worship Service;

For strength and wisdom as we (Aaron and Brit) attempt to prepare and prioritize for our last few weeks in Poland;

For our friends B. & M., who are beginning the fundraising process to come to Poland as Mission Corps volunteers;

And for all of us -volunteers, staff members, and church families- as we try to discern God's will for ourselves and the Kraków coffeehouse/house church location.

Thank you so much for your prayers!

Monday, June 18, 2012

"If the LORD is God..."

I (Aaron) recently preached a sermon in our Kraków coffeehouse/house church about a simple (but not easy!, difficult (but not complicated) subject: knowing God's will.

The message revolved around four central texts the Holy Spirit has placed on my heart lately, including two from the Old Testament and two from the Old Testament.

1.) "Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.'" -I Kings 18:21 (NIV) 

In the midst of a very tense standoff with the king of Israel, 450 false prophets, and a large crowd of desperately thirsty of his countrymen, the prophet Elijah succinctly summarizes the problem facing the people of God (then and now): "If God is God, then follow him. But if a false god -Money, Comfort, Power, whatever- is god, follow that." 

Like I said: simple, but not easy. And what, exactly, does "following God" look like? 

2.) "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Justice. Mercy. Humility. This is the life we're called to; it's often difficult, but never complicated! Unfortunately, even Jesus' closest friends sometimes struggled to grasp this simple idea. 

3.) "Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?" -Matthew 6:46 (NIV)

Ouch.  This one hurts. But it's so often true! So what should we do in times of confusion? Of sloth? Of selfishness? What is this life that Christ calls us to?

4.) "Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" -Matthew 25:34-36, 40 (NIV)

THIS. This is it! This is the life we are called feed the hungry, replenish the thirsty, love the stranger (and the homeless), clothe the naked, nourish the sick, and love the prisoner. For of such is the kingdom of heaven!

In other words, we are called to be like Jesus. To obediently love the Father and compassionately love his creation. Every day.

It's simple (but not easy), often difficult (but not complicated).
It's our calling.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prayers for Poland (and for us)...

While browsing through two very different books on the train home from Lublin this morning, I (Aaron) was struck by a passage from one (the Book of Jeremiah) that reminded me in some ways of the other (Schindler's Ark).

More than that, though, the verses highlighted below also struck me most forcibly as a sort of prayerful advice for missionaries (volunteer and otherwise) here in Poland:

"This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 'Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.'

"'Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you...Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.'

"This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

"'Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord."-Jeremiah 29:4-7, 10-14a (NIV)

Continuity and cultural sensitivity, peace and prosperity. Seeking and finding, hope for the future.

These are the prayers of a missionary! :)