Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Quote; Unquote"

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It seems that many evangelicals have oversimplified the Christian life,
reducing it to nothing more than personal acts of piety."

Michael Wittmer, Heaven Is a Place on Earth

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"That someone might be me..."

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"My father recalled a prayer that Vernon Patterson had prayed that day: That out of Charlotte the Lord would raise up someone to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. At the time, in 1934, it certainly wasn't obvious that that someone might be me."


Billy Graham, Just As I Am

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Pray21 ~ Prayer Initiatvie for Youth & Adults

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net -- E-mail: assistnews@aol.com


"Pray21" national prayer movement for teens and adults launched by Christian Endeavor International
Twenty-one day national intitiative aims to link 10,000 churches across America

By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ANS) -- Christian Endeavor has been dedicated for 125 years to equip young people with the tools to live the Christian life in a meaningful and personal way. It is now active in more than 80 nations.

Many of today's best-known and respected Christian leaders, such as Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. Paul Cedar, Dr. Tony Campolo, and Dr. Howard Hendricks took part in the CE movement as youth.

Now Christian Endeavor has launched "Pray21," a national youth initiative to encourage teens and adults to pray together during 21 days in September while empowering youth ministry in their church and community. The announcement was made in connection with the National Day of Prayer in the nation's capital on May 3.

Timothy Eldred, Executive Director of Christian Endeavor International, who announced the launch in Washington, D.C., was joined by a cast of Christian, political and business dignitaries, including student leaders. Mr. Eldred's press conference and statements can be viewed in its entirety at http://pray21.org/news.php.

National leaders such as Josh McDowell, Dr. Jack Hayford, Dan Wolgemuth, Paul Fleischmann, Dr. Richard Ross, Dr. Barry St. Clair, Chuck Klein, and many others have joined together in support of Pray21.

At a press conference Eldred proclaimed, "On September 9th of this year, thousands of churches across the country will join together to build stronger faith in their young people-and their adults-by encouraging them to pray together. Pray21 Sunday is the first step to strengthening the future of our youth and the church. We invite 10,000 churches, youth and adults, to join us with this exciting national event."

Mr. Eldred said in his press conference: "We stand in Washington DC on this National Day of Prayer to announce Pray21 -- a nationwide trust-building youth initiative. Today, we come together in our Nation's Capitol to raise a happy ruckus, to declare a challenge, to say 'we believe -- in young people.' To say, 'we will stop preying on young people, stop playing games, and start praying with youth.' As a nation, we believe in the power of prayer.

"It is in prayer that belief is born," Eldred said. "Pray21 is a 21-day trust-building youth initiative for the nation that connects adults and young people in a prayer partnership to awaken belief, to listen, and to accept young people's mission to transform this world."

Beginning Sunday, September 9, Pray21 will launch in thousands of churches across the nation. Timothy Eldred continued by saying, "You can join in, too. Log on to pray21.org and find out about how you can join others who believe in young people.

For more on this story, to download free Pray21 materials or for the media kit, please go to www.Pray21.org. Change America's future - Pray with Youth - Pray21!

For Interviews or Speaking Engagements with Tim Eldred please Contact: Matti Stevenson . Zeal Media Group . 719.388.1603 . matti@zealmediagroup.com

Pray 21 Christian Endeavor Honorary Committee:

Dr. John Ankerberg - Ankerberg Theological Research Institute,
Dr. Clifford Barnett - AME Zion Church,
Dr. Tony Campolo, Easter College and E.A.P.A.
Dr. Paul Cedar* - Mission America,
Jim Daly - Focus on the Family,
Ron DiCianni - Tapestry Productions,
Paul Fleischmann - National Network of Youth Ministries,
Congressman J. Randy Forbes Virginia (4th District) Congressional Prayer Caucus,
Dr. Jack Hayford* - The Church on the Way,
Dr. Howard Hendricks - Center for Christian Leadership,
Monty Hipp - National Council for Faith-Based Youth,
Dr. Cornell Haan - Mission America,
Chuck Klein - Campus Crusade/Student Venture,
Tic Long - Youth Specialties,
Josh McDowell* - Josh McDowell Ministries,
Marty McCarty - Military Community Youth Ministries,
Dr. Tracy Paino - North Central University,
Dr. Richard Ross - Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary,
Dr. Mark Senter - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School,
Michael Spottsville - Youth for Christ/USA,
Dr. Barry St. Clair - Reach Out Ministries,
Dr. Andy Stephenson - Church of God (Anderson) Youth Ministries,
Leslee Unruh - National Abstinence Clearinghouse,
Dan Wolgemuth - Youth for Christ

* Honorary Committee Co-Chairs


** Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Lake Forest, California. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in September, 1995. He is married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Praying Onsite

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Prayer over death strip on highway

By Lynley Smith of Challenge Weekly, New Zealand

AUCKLAND, NZ (ANS) -- Auckland's City Impact Church has stepped in to deal with a major issue which has left police in the Rodney district, north of the city, shaking their heads in frustration.

DEAR LORD ... City Impact members pray at the Dome Valley, expecting a dramatic reduction in the road toll in the area.

After consultation with the Waitakere North Shore Rodney police area commander, the church has sent a team to pray in the Dome Valley, south of Wellsford, where State Highway 1 has one of the highest fatal accident rates in the region.

"It was part of our community consultation process to see what needs there are in the community," said church outreach director Dean Payn.

OBJECT OF PRAYER: An Auckland woman who survived this horrendous smash on Highway 1 near the Dome Valley in October last year said her survival was a God-given miracle.

"The police told us their number one concern was the death toll in the Dome Valley. They said their key role is to keep people safe and they were struggling to do so there."

The church outreach team decided to do something about it and on a Wednesday night 12 of them travelled to the Dome Valley to pray in the three of the most notorious accident spots.

"We spent about two hours there, praying until we felt we had achieved something," said Mr Payn. "We realised there was something more to the accident rate there than just the physical issues of road construction, which the police said was fine."

Andy Chapman, a Wellsford St John Ambulance officer and former Wellsford policewoman, said he had been stationed in Wellsford for the past five years and the Dome was definitely the hotspot for accidents in Rodney.

"We can always blame a variety of factors - incorrect decision making, inappropriate speed on corners - but it is clear the road itself has little bearing on the fatal crashes that are occurring there," he said.

"In many cases a driver has lost control of his vehicle, possibly on a low-speed corner, and many times vehicles have crossed the centreline.

KEEPING WATCH: Reflective angels have been placed as a special reminder of the prayer covering placed on the three Dome Valley crash sites.

"It is without a doubt the worst road for accidents in Rodney. Every time it rains the emergency services just sit and wait for a call from the Dome."

Mr Chapman said he could not explain why drivers who were inexperienced, careless or did not drive to conditions had more accidents in the Dome Valley than on other, more difficult, stretches of road in Rodney.

"How do you explain it when an experienced heavy truck driver loses control on a bend, as happened last year, and kills someone?" he asked.

Mr Payn said City Impact was putting itself on the line by praying for the area, but the outreach team had a high faith level and was expecting a dramatic reduction in the road toll in the valley.

"The continual prayers of the righteous avails much," he said. "Prayer is the ultimate answer to this horrendous problem. What is seemingly an impossible task for our police is very achievable for God. I assure you next year the statistics won't be the same."

The church invites others to commit to pray for the Dome Valley highway as well.

In addition to prayer, reflective angels have been placed as a special reminder of the prayer covering that had been placed on the three areas. This is the first time the church has taken on such an assignment.


Lynley Smith is a reporter in the Auckland newsroom of Challenge Weekly, New Zealand's independent and non-denominational Christian newspaper.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.

ASSIST News Service is brought to you in part by Gospel for Asia. GFA's Bridge of Hope program is designed to rescue thousands of children in Asia from a life of poverty and hopelessness by giving them an education and introducing them to the love of Christ. For only $28 a month, you can cover the cost of one child's tuition, books, uniforms, one or two meals a day and a yearly medical checkup-and your child, his family and community will hear the Gospel as a result. To learn more about Gospel for Asia's Bridge of Hope program, visit our website at www.gfa.org/child or call 1-800-WIN-ASIA (United States) or 1-888-WIN-ASIA (Canada).

ASSIST News Service is Sponsored By



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Monday, May 21, 2007

Training Lab to Facilitate a Congregational Prayer Summit

Reaching the Summit
An Interview on the upcoming National Pastors' Prayer Summit

Mission America Coalition interviewed Dennis Fuqua, International Renewal Ministries, who is one of the guides for the National Pastor's Prayer Summit. Co-sponsored by International Renewal Ministries, Strategic Renewal International, and the Mission America Coalition, the summit will be held in Portland, Oreg., July 24-26. ===>Click headline to access more information or to register . . .

MAC: In cities large and small, pastors who know one another come together for several days of praying. Why have a national summit?

DF: The nature of this summit is different. The desired end result is that we will not only enjoy special time with Him in a summit context, but also that senior pastors and leaders will be equipped to facilitate more dynamic prayer back in their own settings.

MAC: How do you define "summit-style" prayer?

DF: I like to use the phrase "Spirit-led, worship-fed, corporate prayer." It is Spirit-led as opposed to being agenda driven; it is worship-fed, as opposed to being request driven; and it is corporate as opposed to being individual prayer in a group setting.

MAC: Three ministries are collaborating in the design of the summit. How did that happen?

DF: Phil Migliorati and Daniel Henderson and I found ourselves hanging out at similar events. Our relationships came about because of a common vision and passion. We each have seen the power of corporate prayer and felt that God wanted to bring these strengths together.

MAC: "Reaching the Summit" promises to be a "lab-like" experience. How will it combine an authentic summit-style prayer experience with training?

DF: We will see! Honestly, we have never done anything like this before, so we are trusting God in the process. Our hope is that the lab portion will take place before and after the training sessions as we talk and debrief together, as well as in more informal conversations. We do anticipate having one segment where we will break into different interest groups.

MAC: What is the benefit of a congregational prayer summit and how important is the NPPS for a pastor or leader who wants to introduce his congregation to "summit-style" prayer?

DF: This is something we will develop more at the National Pastors' Prayer Summit, but a short answer is that a congregational prayer summit allows leaders to disciple people in prayer more like Jesus did. The disciples learned to pray by watching and asking. A congregational prayer summit provides a setting for everyone, including the leader, to look to Jesus and focus on Him as the real leader. When we look to Him to direct the times of prayer, He does a wonderful job!

MAC: Is this summit for pastors exclusively? Prayer Leaders? Women in ministry?

DF: It is designed primarily for pastors and leaders of ministries who are committed to having their congregation become a house of prayer. We want senior pastors there because it does no good to have other people in the congregation wanting to move forward in prayer without the full involvement of the senior pastor.

MAC: Any other comments for senior pastors and their teams who are considering coming to the upcoming summit?

DF: What would it be like if every congregation that valued a weekend service also valued regular extended times of "Spirit-led, worship-fed, corporate prayer"? I believe Jesus would be more honored, loved, followed, served, and pleased.

More Info (www.strategicrenewal.com)

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Does Your Prayer Team Have Protocols & Guidelines?

Flakey Intercession
By Alice Smith
As I walked down the corridor toward the large prayer room, several women rushed past me in a panic. They had been praying with more than 50 intercessors from various denominations for pastors in the United States.
Curious to what was happening; I quickly entered the room to see an unbelievable sight. Lying on the floor in the middle of the room in a fetal position was a petite woman intercessor, groaning as though she were being tortured. Crouched over her, on his hands and knees, was a male intercessor stroking her hair and speaking words of encouragement.
Standing around "the entertainment" were dozens of intercessors watching. No one was praying now. Their faces revealed many emotions. Some were in shock, others didn't know what to think, a few intercessors had left the room, and most were simply disgusted.

Asked to correct the situation, I quietly bent down, asked the man to move away, and softly whispered into the intercessor's ear.

"Please stop what you are doing. Everyone's attention has shifted from praying for the pastors -- to you. This is not the way the Holy Spirit would lead."

Gruffly the woman turned her head toward me and growled, "This IS the Holy Spirit." Obviously, everyone in the room suspected that if it were God, He would not have answered in such a way. Yet these kinds of activities are becoming too common in prayer rooms across the nation.
If the prayer movement does not establish Biblical boundaries and acceptable corporate conduct within the next few years, it is possible that the work of prayer could be drastically derailed.

What are some of the flaky intercessory activities with which we should be concerned?

COMPETITION IN PRAYER

Intercessors have a unique position. We are called to be near the throne, to hear the voice of God, and to stand on behalf of others. We, who occupy this position, should set an example of love, grace, mercy and humility. Yet, I find there sometimes strife, jealousy and competition are among intercessors.
In some cases, the prayer room resembles the New York City stock market trading floor. Each participant tries to pray more frequently, prophesy longer, and shout louder than the other do. This frenzy is enough to force many intercessors to feel shut down and unnecessary. Why the spiritual tug of war?
Let there be no doubt about it, all intercession is war! But like all of life, intercession has its ebbs and flows. There are times, when in the heat of battle, that the corporate prayer room seems intense, loud, demanding and pushy. After all, Scripture says that the violent take the Kingdom by force! (See: Matt. 11:12)
But constant warfare should not be the way every prayer time is handled. Effective, sincere corporate prayer should reveal all the attributes of God -- His gentleness, His tender mercy, His unconditional love and His burden for the lost. There are times when the group will experience total silence before God.
At other times, a deep travail for the condition of lost souls will be felt. Joy, expressions of love, and celebration should occur occasionally among the intercessors. To reduce group prayer to anything less only reveals our immaturity in the private place before God.

EMOTIONALISM

Our emotions are part of our soul (mind, will and emotions). However, they should be brought into balance with our spiritual walk with Christ. Paul instructs us, "Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts (emotions) on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things" (Col. 3:1-2).

Our emotions are as flexible and undependable as an elastic measuring tape. One minute we feel happy and the next minute we're sad. We can have a wonderful intimate time in prayer with the Lord, and in five minutes be yelling at our child for spilling milk on the carpet. So emotional expressions are not necessarily an indication of either the presence or lack of the presence of God.

Being radical is not bad as long as you are continually working to maintain balance in all areas of your life.

INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR

Intercessors have a responsibility to represent the Lord both in the prayer room and outside the prayer room. We need to learn that which is Biblical is not always appropriate. Ongoing "weird" activity in the prayer setting is likely to be soulish, if not demonic.
An undisciplined mind confuses soulishness and spirituality, allowing the soul to rule over the spirit. An unruly mind has to be "renewed day by day." The apostle Paul reminds us "be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). To be filled with the Spirit is to exercise the qualities of the Holy Spirit. What are they?
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23). The Greek word for temperance is "egkrates" which is translated "self control." The Holy Spirit will not control you. You must control you!
There is an alarming manifestation among some intercessors that causes me concern. I will call it "ecstasy." This manifestation is misdiagnosed as travail, but it is NOT genuine godly travail! When this ecstasy, as I call it occurs, a glazed expression forms on the intercessor's face, as they voice utterances resembling expressions of sexual gratification.
At times I have seen intercessors positioned in such a manner as to suggest a sexual act is happening, all the while they are groaning with an unearthly sound. Beware women! We must ask the Lord for spiritual discernment concerning such matters.

God does use physical phenomenon to depict a spiritual truth. Travail is a Biblical term better understood by the Hebrew word "yalad" (born) and "chuwl" which means to give birth. We cannot give spiritual birth to anything, only the Holy Spirit can. The bride of Christ is not the source of life, but we are carriers of the source of life. Through effective travailing prayer, we release the work of the Holy Spirit in the earth. But a proper experience of travailing prayer will not cause physical arousal.

What an exciting day to live! For spiritual awakenings are seen throughout the earth. To see this happen however, we must not be flaky people of prayer, but strive to maintain our credibility in the area of prayer. Let me sum it up this way. The throne of God is the center of prayer. When He becomes our center of attention, we will lose ourselves in His presence.
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By "prayer coach", Alice Smith, whose books can be found at www.prayerbookstore.com
Alice and her husband Eddie offer a free 52-week school of prayer at: www.TeachMeToPray.com

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Make Room for Praying

Sacred spaces solidify churches’ commitment to prayer Raj Dayal

“A church needs to have a commitment to want to become a house of prayer,” says Terry Teykl, author and co-founder of Renewal Ministries, Muncie, IN. And the first step in that commitment is to set aside a space or room for prayer.

There is an increase over the last 20 years of churches setting aside a specific space for prayer, says Teykl, himself considered a warrior in the prayer movement today. These rooms take on all types of sizes and include various interiors that foster an environment for prayer.

After attending a prayer church leaders’ conference a few years ago, the leadership at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, GA decided to implement a prayer room. “On Tuesday evening every week we have a corporate prayer time, where members of the church are invited to come and pray for the church at a two-hour meeting,” says Larry Smith, church elder. “On Sunday mornings we have people praying for the service and on Wednesday evenings twice a year we hold a ten-week class called ‘On Prayer’ that meets in the room.” Perimeter has a weekend attendance of 4,000 to 6,000 and the room is open for prayer during normal church hours.

Specific prayer

The prayer room at Perimeter is about 30 feet by 40 feet and can accommodate about 80 people. The prayer room is an interior room and has only one window, which looks out onto the foyer. The room is decorated with a number of large posters of events that have taken place at the church in addition to maps of the local community and of the world for specific prayers.

“We have prayer stations where there are specific topics that people can pray for,” Smith says. “The room also has a large sitting area with sofas and chairs; we even have a big-screen TV that someone donated where we occasionally watch teaching videos and a stereo system for worship music.” Over the last four years more people have been attending the corporate prayer sessions at Perimeter.

“One reason that we provide a prayer room is so we have a visible statement saying prayer is important in our church,” Smith says.

Another church that is using a prayer room to demonstrate its commitment to prayer is Faithbridge United Methodist Church in Houston, TX, with an average weekend attendance of about 2,000. “Everything we do we cover in prayer; our church was established in prayer,” says Sherri Burkman, prayer coordinator. “We moved into this new facility in April 2006 and we made sure we had a prayer room.”

Bible in the floor

The prayer room at Faithbridge UMC is referred to as the prayer center. The center is located just off the church atrium and is open to anyone during regular hours. The room holds about 20 people and there is seating set up at all times for 12. During the construction the leadership at Faithbridge was able to place a Bible underneath the floor. Because the room was planned during the initial design, church members were able to place special prayer requests — for family, friends, and the world — that they feel will be answered throughout the years. These requests are built into the walls and are planned to be removed in 25 years.

“Our prayer center is one large space with a smaller room inside that we call the prayer closet — where people can be alone to pray and meditate,” Burkman says. “We also have an ongoing computer screen that is continuously updated with prayer requests set up in the room.” The prayer center at Faithbridge also has a military list — for those with family and friends serving in the military — updated weekly so that the church members can keep constant prayer over them wherever they are in the world.

One of the unique aspects to the prayer center at Faithbridge is that within the space there is an area set up for children — not for play, but for praying. “We have a special set of a little table and chairs where children can come and learn to pray. This is part of a pilot project at our church called KinderPrayer — which teaches children how to pray God’s way.”

Structured prayer

At Christ Church of the Valley (CCV) in Peoria, AZ the leadership also decided to provide a prayer room. “We believe that prayer is the whole underpinning of the church,” says Larrie Fraley, prayer pastor. “We wanted to create a place that would be inviting for people to come and spend time in prayer.”

The prayer room at CCV is used for special morning sessions every day for a half hour at 8:00 for structured prayer and is directed by someone to lead for that morning. Prayer partners are also available for people who need to pray with someone.

The room is about 25-square-feet says Fraley. The back part of the room has a map of the world on the wall and there are photos of all of the missionaries from CCV on shelves. The layout of the furniture can be configured in various ways. “We have candles, dimmer lights and meditation music available — it’s an environment that is very relaxing and conducive to prayer,” Fraley says. “People can go to the map of the world and pray for specific missionaries. We also have a photo of President Bush to encourage people to pray for the leaders of our country.”

CCV also has a hill on its property that the leadership and congregation refer to as the prayer mountain. There are stations set up at different stops along a hiking trail set up for specific prayer. This model of prayer stations is the next planned phase for the prayer room.

“We would like to change the room into a prayer war room,” Fraley says. “We want to set up stations configured in a way that someone could literally enter the room and go from station to station — so that prayers are aggressive and pointed spiritual attacks.” The plan is that stations can be set up for various topics such as one for persecuted churches and Christians around the world and another for the AIDS pandemic, and so on.

“Our challenge for next year is to get more men involved in prayer. About 70 percent of those involved in our prayer ministry are women.” Fraley says.

Always open

At International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, MO the prayer room is open and in use 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has been for more than seven years. While IHOP operates in a separate location, it is still a part of Forerunner Christian Fellowship in Kansas City, MO. Mike Bickle is both the senior pastor of Forerunner and the director of IHOP.

“This used to be a strip mall, the prayer room used to be a grocery store,” says Sharon Riley, a volunteer for IHOP. The prayer room can accommodate about 800 people. There is constant worship and prayer in the main prayer room. New sessions with different worship and prayer leaders begin every two hours.

“The purpose of the prayer room and this entire center is to usher in the Second Coming,” Riley says. There are adjoining rooms to the main prayer room. “One room is set up specifically to pray for Israel. There are also healing rooms and prophecy rooms,” says Riley. Also, red lines on the floor designate a special place to pray to abolish abortion.

While the main prayer room is open for worship and prayer 24/7, appointments must be made to pray with a staff member for healing or prophetic ministry.

These churches and many others are dedicated to prayer and have set aside specific space to do so. Prayer rooms are an extension of a church’s mission and ministries and provide an invitation for people to join in intercession. The rooms are physical expressions of a commitment and purpose to prayer. Larry Smith of Perimeter Church says, “The room is nice but the prayers are better.”

Churches with prayer rooms

{Note: this article was recently published in Church Executive magazine. ===>Click headline to access their website . . .

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Corporate America Discovers the Need of Facilitation Skills

A Discussion about Facilitation Skills

Posted @ ImpactRactory

[Note: This interview contains several insights immediately applicable to leading corporate prayer]

Interview with Julia Apple-Smith, Manager of Employee Development at Sauer-Danfoss Ames, Iowa about Facilitation Skills:

Q: Would you tell me a little bit about the culture at Sauer-Danfoss?

Julia: About nine years ago, Dave Pfeifle, President and CEO had a vision for us to change our culture.

We, at one time, were part of the Sundstrand Corporation, and as such, over time, had evolved into a company that was fairly autocratic and not very customer focused.

It was not only Dave’s vision for that to change, but it was also a time when our customers were beginning to let us know that if that was the way we were going to do business, they were going to need to find other companies to provide the same type of product that we provide.

Dave’s vision then became what is now known as Reaching for Excellence. It is not a program. It is our company’s vision statement. It represents our philosophy of who we are. There was not a training program here at that time. Part of Dave’s vision was to have a learning base to help promote and support that kind of cultural changes.

It’s really been an evolutionary process over the last eight or nine years. It is something that CMOE has played and integral part in.

Q: How did your relationship with CMOE begin?

Julia - One of the first things we did was to preview the Coaching Skills Workshop in California. We decided that it was a class that we wanted to bring in-house.

That class and a Customer Awareness Class, that I created, were really the cornerstone classes for what now has become one of our core courses in the whole training program.

As time evolved, we continued to build on that foundation of learning with other classes such as Teamwork I and Teamwork II and other types of learning. So there was a lot of internal training going on.

Q – Can you tell me about how Facilitation Skills came about?

Julia – About five years ago, I was getting feedback from team leaders, facilitators (supervisors), and when I sat in on meetings, it was clear that we were still struggling.

We had structured ourselves into teams throughout the organization, but we struggled, when we got people together, to make those meetings as effective as possible.

From (my) observation and from feedback, it was very clear that we needed to be doing some thing to build on the Coaching Skills training to give these people some skills on how to facilitate a group.

Coaching, I think does a superior job of giving people skills for one-on-one coaching situations. You can even apply a lot of those skills to a group session, but we really wanted something that was more specific to facilitating groups.

So a couple of managers went with me to Des Moines to preview a two-day class on Facilitation Skills, and we found that it was pretty typical of what is out there in the industry.

We wanted more of what I would call the soft side or the behavioral side of group facilitation. In other words, when people were facilitating groups, they wanted to enhance involvement, help to focus the group without directing the group, how to help the group feel good about what they were doing and actually have fun with it, while helping the group be more effective and efficient.

Even as we started to develop this Facilitation Skills program with CMOE, we struggled.

Early on, I remember getting on the phone with Steve Stowell to just talk out some of the issues because it was so different from anything either of us had seen in the consulting industry.

Steve and I continued to struggle with how we should put this course together, and what it should look like, because for me, it is really on that soft side.

It is not a skill. It’s being able to use your intuition and read a group and read the dynamics in a group and know how to react to the flow of what is going on in a group, and pull people in or help to redirect other people if they are not contributing in a positive manner, again without controlling the group.

Q – So is there just not a lot of material out there on Facilitation Skills?

Julia – There is a lot of courses out there on Facilitation, but nothing like what CMOE has created. If you look at what is out there on the market they don’t have the same focus that CMOE’s course does.

A lot of what we were seeing out there under the name of Facilitation Skills is really meeting management. There is a big difference. This is really more facilitating group interaction or ‘high performance’ facilitation.

Q – What is the target audience for Facilitation Skills?

Julia – The plan was that it would end up being for everybody. The original goal was to first give the skills to management, and then give it to all employees.

When managers were first going through the course, the feedback we got was that it would be extremely useful for the team members to have the same skills. It would make facilitating the group so much easier if everyone understood what was going on in terms of task, climate, and behavior.

Q – Can you see any improvement in your facilitators as a result of being committed to the Facilitation Skills Workshop?

Julia – Absolutely! The people that were in the first class have definitely noticed an improvement in their facilitation skills.

We haven’t done any structured observations, but just from our ad hoc types of settings where they are leading the group and I am a part of the group, I have definitely seen an improvement.

I think it plays out, not only in terms of a structured meeting, but also in how they go about doing their jobs on a day-to-day basis, because the principles that are taught in Facilitation Skills, as with Coaching, go beyond just the structured setting.

Yes, I have seen a lot of improvement in those people, and it mainly has to do with their confidence level.

If you would like to learn more about CMOE’s Facilitation Skills workshop titled Leading Groups to Solutions, please contact a CMOE Regional Manager at (801) 569-3444

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Quiet, Please!

A longing for peace

By Gordon Bailey
Chief Executive, Schools Outreach
Special to ASSIST News Service

HEREFORDSHIRE, UK (ANS) --

Unusually I found myself free from any speaking engagement in London one Sunday morning, although I was expected to preach at a church that evening. I decided, therefore, to find a church where I could take communion. I felt the need for a time of quietness and contemplation.

The following verses were written later that afternoon.

I sat in the church (I'd gone to break bread)
the pastor began to assure us
that we could spend time with our minds fixed on God,
but somebody thought of a chorus.

I wanted to dwell on the mercy of God,
on how He does love and adore us;
I longed just to meditate then on His grace,
but somebody thought of a chorus.

I knew, if we centered our minds on the cross,
that this would uplift and restore us;
I longed for some peace to share time on such thoughts,
but somebody thought of a chorus!

The pastor spoke quietly, his tone was just right,
he started to rightly implore us
to concentrate hard on the Christ of the cross,
but somebody thought of a chorus!!

The church became quiet, my mind was at peace,
I looked at the table before us;
I prayed for a vision of Christ crucified,
but somebody thought of a chorus!!!

I'm not in the new anti-chorus brigade
but why the new-fangled pretence
communing is helped by those toe-tapping tunes
and those words which so seldom make sense?

I do wish to meditate quietly at times,
unaided by musical violence;
can some be addicted to pause-less refrains,
as if they are frightened of silence?

I'm not anti-chorus, I just fear extremes,
and tune-chanting could be an illness
that makes us less likely to know more of God,
for God says we'll know Him in stillness.


Should you be interested in corresponding with me, my e-mail address is: gordon2007@graffit.net.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution. Send this story to a friend.
This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.

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Praying from the View from Above

_
By bringing us into the presence of God,

and giving us a glimpse of the view from above,
prayer radically changes how we experience life."

Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?

[God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 2:6]

Global Day of Prayer
(GDOP) Driven by Hab. 2:14, the goal is to mobilize Christians from every nation to participate in the Global Day of Prayer until 2010. The focus is not only on a single day of prayer (Pentecost Sunday, May 27), but to see a lifestyle of prayer established that will transform communities. The GDOP website has resources to promote this effort....
[Website] | [World Prayer Team] | [Global Prayer Digest] | [U.S. National Day of Prayer] | [National Pastors Prayer Network] | [Church Prayer Leaders Network] | [24-7 Prayer] | [30-Second Kneel Down] | [Sacred Space] | [AllAboutPrayer.org] | [Assemblies of God National Prayer Center] | [Moms In Touch] | [America's National Prayer Committee] | [Intercessors for America] | [Presidential Prayer Team] | [Cityreaching.com] | [Church Leader Internet Portal: prayer links]

Inspiring resource for timely reading, listening, & viewing:
[] Prayer Devotional Bible
[] Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey
[] Every Child Needs a Praying Mom by Fern Nichols with Janet Kobobel Grant
[] Praying the Scriptures for Your Children: Discover How to Pray God's Will for Their Lives by Jodie Berndt
[] Praying for the Men in Your Life by Suzan D. Johnson Cook
[] Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Spiritual Growth by Kenneth D. Boa
[] The Book of Uncommon Prayer 2 (bonus music CD included) by Steven Case
[] Confessions of a Prayer Wimp by Mary Pierce
[] Serenity: Reflections and Scripture on the Serenity Prayer
[] Into God's Presence by Liz Babbs
[] Praying the Names of Jesus by Ann Spangler
[] 231 resources about prayer from Zondervan

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Uncommon Prayer ~ Top Ten Humility Scriptures

[Note ... Consider using the following scriptures as a format for a prayer focus on humility]

Christian-Cyber-Ministries
wrote:
Cyber-Daily-Devotion -- “Top Ten Humility Scriptures” 3/16/07

Scripture: Psalm 10:17: “LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear” NKJV

Thomas Merton is credited with saying:
“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real."

Following are the top ten humility scriptures as compiled by Pastor Bill:

10. God prospers the humble --- Job 5:11
9. God guides the humble --- Psalm 25:9
8. God lifts up the humble --- James 4:10
7. God saves the humble --- 2 Samuel 22:28
6. God esteems the humble --- Philippians 2:3
5. God fills the humble with joy --- Isaiah 29:19
4. God gives grace to the humble --- James 4:6
3. God brings wisdom to the humble --- Proverbs 11:2
2. God forgives and heals the humble --- 2 Chronicles 7:14

And the number one Humility scripture as compiled by Pastor Bill:
1.God requires us to walk humbly with him --- Micah 6:8

Prayer: Father thank you for walking with me and instructing me in your ways. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!


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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Centering Prayer and other Variations in Style

Judy

By Judy Kuiper

Judy Kuiper describes some of what she and others at Mosaic Life Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are doing to deepen their inner life of prayer. Judy is an RCA member who has been commissioned to lead workshops on centering prayer.

I would like to let you know the plans for prayer we are making at Mosaic Life Church. The following are the kinds of things we plan to begin teaching this fall at our church and we hope to open it to the public as well. We plan to call this the "Center for Contemplative Living: Awakening to the Presence of God 24/7." I am a licensed candidate for ministry in North Grand Rapids Classis and in May will also be a licensed psychologist. I have been working at Christian Counseling in Grand Rapids for the past year.

Centering Prayer: a practice of resting in God. Recommended 20 minutes twice daily for the healing of the unconscious patterns we all have developed over our lifetime. We teach centering prayer in four one-hour sessions. (This can be a Saturday from 9:00 to 3:00 with a one-hour lunch and breaks.) Six additional weeks of one-hour sessions continue the learning. Then it is best if people come weekly for a 60- to 90-minute session to maintain the practice and continue learning. I am one of four people in West Michigan commissioned by Contemplative Outreach to teach centering prayer. The Rev. Dr. David Muyskens, a retired Reformed Church minister, is another.

Welcoming Prayer: a practice of naming and feeling our pain, both emotional and physical; welcoming God into the midst of the pain; and then using a liturgy of letting go. Again, there is usually a four- to six-hour workshop to teach the practice, which is then reinforced periodically in the centering prayer sessions.

Lectio Divina: a practice in which we listen for the voice of God in Scripture directed to the individual's particular need. I am unclear about how to best present an initial teaching of lectio. I think it can be done in many different methods. It can also be reinforced with the weekly centering prayer sessions.

I am still working on practicing the following regularly in my own life and need more study before I will teach them, but I already recognize their healing power.

Active Prayer: a prayer that an individual chooses that is particularly meaningful to him or her for the purpose of erasing old damaging cognitive tapes.

Attention/Intention: a practice of paying attention to the present moment with the intention of actively doing things for the love of God.

Discernment: practices that help us discern God's will in our lives.

Forgiveness: learning to forgive ourselves and other people, as well as letting others forgive us.

Prayer through Us: "And with that [Jesus] breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:22). "They saw...tongues of fire" (Acts 2:3).

Suggestions for Meaningful Prayer in Small Groups

  • Make praying together a high priority.
  • Be sensitive to group participants.
  • Don't talk about who/what needs prayer--start praying!
  • Include prayers of praise and thanks.
  • Be creative; use variety.
  • Weave prayer throughout the meeting time occasionally rather than praying "bookend prayers."
  • Break up into groups of two or three for prayer.
  • Ask men to pray for men and women for women.
  • Pray for the person on your right. Barb and Sherwin
  • Focus on particular needs/situations: church leadership, non-Christian neighbors and friends, marriages, families, schools, media/entertainment, etc.
  • Sing together, or use recorded music to begin prayer time.
  • Use periods of silent prayer.
  • Ask different group participants to plan and direct prayer time.
  • Take a prayer walk together.
  • Use the model of the Lord 's Prayer.
  • Between meetings, pray for those in your small group regularly.

These ideas are from Barb Schutt, chair of the HOPE (Houses of Prayer Equipping) team. Barb is pictured with fellow HOPE team member and fundraising chair Sherwin Weener.



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Monday, May 07, 2007

24-7 Prayer Rooms



Preparing the Prayer Room for 24-7 Prayer

“One of the simplest and yet most profound things a prayer room offers is a place to be alone and still before God. It promotes humility and a visible dependence on God. Prayer rooms also generate and facilitate other prayer ideas given by the Holy Spirit to affect the whole ministry of the church in the community.” Terry Teykl


24-7 International Houses of Prayer are essential and extremely powerful to all that God wants to do in the nations. This is one of the key things all Christians must pray for in the nations. There is nothing that compares with the spiritual atmosphere that is released by day and night intercession and worship. Imagine being able to go to a place at any given time where you can be with others who are worshipping and praying to God. Think about the growth in your own personal relationship with God and the enormous encouragement this could be to the whole body of Christ. Day and night prayer breaks the power of the enemy and brings protection over the city as nothing else does. These are days when we long for the Kingdom of God to reign on earth. Please pray that an International House of Prayer is started in God's way and for His glory in all the major cities throughout the world.

The Holy Spirit is orchestrating a world prayer moment

Mike Bickle, the Director of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) says the following:

"In this hour, the Holy Spirit is setting watchmen on the wall (Isaiah 62:6) and releasing the Annas' to pray and fast night and day in the temple (Luke 2:37-38). This watchmen calling of Anna transcends gender and age. It includes both men and women who are both old and young. The International House of Pray mission's base is deeply engaged in the Great Commission.

The journey of the International House of Prayer begins with the understanding that God is sovereignly raising up a worldwide prayer movement. The prayer movement is a worship movement that is also a prophetic movement. All three dimensions are expressions of the Holy Spirit's one river. Most believers are wooed by one of the three into the one river of God releasing healing and evangelism and building the Church.

This strategic plan of the Holy Spirit will reach a crescendo before the Lord returns, as the bowls of intercession will become full in heaven. '.... the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.' (Revelation 5:8).

The worldwide prayer movement is many faceted with many expressions of God's heart and personality. If we celebrate the different models and expressions of prayer, then we are able to learn from one another."

Additional 24/7 Prayer Resources

Additional links for Web Site and Prayer Network



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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Inner~Views: Noted Author David Mains on Praying & Revival


Phil Miglioratti of the Church Prayer Leaders Network interviewed David Mains on topics ranging from a new series he has authored on prayer to issues on modern revival in our land...

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Dr. David R. Mains


CPLN: David, you were commissioned to write the material for the Presidential Prayer Team’s new series on prayer … What was it about your experience in prayer and your role in the prayer movement that prepared you for this task?

DRM: As you know, Phil, the Presidential Prayer Team has encouraged hundreds of thousands of people take to heart the scriptural injunction to pray for our nation’s leaders. With this series their desire was to expand that number through raising up potential prayer warriors by helping those who struggle with prayer in general. I’m not sure why they came to me with this assignment, but I was honored to be asked and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

CPLN: What are you pointing toward in the title “Making Prayer Your Second Language”?

DRM: For a lot of people the language of prayer doesn’t come all that easily. Especially that’s the case when they judge how they sound compared to say their minister’s smooth Sunday morning invocation. For them, learning to pray is almost like learning to speak Spanish or French, where early attempts can be quite intimidating. This series is an effort to make people comfortable with the basics of prayer.

CPLN: You based “Making Prayer Your Second Language” on the ACTS format … How does an understanding of these four types of prayer help increase the prayer life of an individual? An entire congregation?

DRM: The ACTS format—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication—was not my choice. It was part of what I was given to work with. Words like “supplication” and even “adoration” are not commonly used by most people today. Even so, the format is a good one. In the series I often just used alternative words like “praise” and requests”. What’s positive about ACTS is that it covers four basic types of prayer and the acronym seems to stick easily in people’s minds. Beside that, it introduces three prayers—praise, confession and thanks—before coming to the one with which most people want to begin — requests or supplication. Making sure these basics are covered is always a good idea.

I’ve also found that a series like this helps not just individuals, but entire congregations come to an understanding of what adoration or praise is. Often it’s like a light is turned on in their heads and they say, “So that’s what we’re doing when we sing certain of those songs. We’re giving God our praise as a congregation.” Or “Now I understand why we as a church body say the confessional.”

CPLN: You have included a journal … How does journaling enhance the praying experience? Is it a difficult discipline; can anyone benefit from the discipline of journaling their thoughts and prayers?

DRM: Writing down our prayers is a way of concretizing what we are saying to God. It gives a form to what otherwise often seems a bit ethereal. I’m aware that being forced to write out prayers can also stifle the spontaneity of someone’s prayer life. But more often than not the exercise proves helpful to people. The problem with many folk who say they struggle with praying is that they have a hard time staying focused. I believe a simple prayer journal usually helps people with that.===>Click headline to access informaiton about this new resource by David Mains from the Presidential Prayer Team . . .

CPLN: David, you are the author and architect of some of the earliest multi-week all-church campaigns:

  • What are the benefits of an entire congregation focusing on the same topic or theme for an extended period of time?

DRM: Progress usually comes faster for people who are involved with others in their growth process. When you’re on your own it’s too easy to quit or to make excuses for your actions. Also, it usually takes about five to seven weeks to establish new habit patterns. Sometimes I think we ministers expect people to change behavior much faster than they’re really able to. So a church-wide emphasis for seven weeks, or eight Sundays with the seven weeks in between has real power. We call those 50 Day Spiritual Adventures and those materials are still available at http://www.50dayspiritualadventure.com/

CPLN:

  • Have you seen lasting results?

DRM: I can’t begin to tell you how many people have told me “thank you” for this or that discipline that became a permanent part of their life during a 50 Day Spiritual Adventure. The specific one they mention the most is learning to go on a daily God Hunt.

CPLN:

  • What are the obstacles a leader faces to implement such an approach?

DRM: Obstacles can always come from those people who are resisting change for one reason or another. They usually don’t say, “I’m resisting change in my life and that’s why I don’t like this series.” Instead they will say something like, “I’m not in favor of cookie-cutter programs” or whatever takes the spotlight off of their resistance to what’s happening. But over the years I have heard a huge number of positive comments expressed compared to a relatively small number of negative ones.

CPLN: David, you have studied the history of revival and authored a revival study Bible --- Agree or Disagree: Most Christian leaders believe we are in desperate need of a nation-wide revival, for which many of us are praying, but if we expect it to look like revivals of America’s past, we might fail to see authentic revival released in new and unexpected forms.

DRM: A recent Life Way survey revealed unrest on the part of many church goers. The findings indicated a considerable bit of church switching due to what was called a mix of dissatisfaction and yearning. Now I personally see these as positives.

Step one to any kind of revival movement is a deep-seated sense of dissatisfaction with the way things are. People who are already satisfied with life seldom aspire to something more, so I’m glad if there’s a restlessness going on.

Such feelings or yearnings for more than meager fare have a tendency to go in one of two directions. The first is a negative bent and results in a carping or complaining spirit. That doesn’t lead to anything good. But in the past, spiritual hunger has also been the catalyst for sweeping movements of prayer. It’s telling the Lord how inept we are without his hand blessing what goes on and that the day is getting desperate. To my knowledge there is presently no widespread indication that a powerful movement of prayer has begun, but it’s what has marked all past authentic movements of revival.

In response to the form revivals take, as you have indicated, they vary greatly. But I would suspect that such a movement would start with younger people because that’s happened repeatedly in the past. It’s also why younger people are so important in our churches. And my guess is that confession would play a bigger part in what unfolds even than preaching does.

CPLN: David, please write a prayer for pastors and prayer leaders who want to see prayer become the second language of their life and their congregation.

DRM: Dear Jesus,
We really aren’t all that different from your early disciples who very much wanted to be taught the secrets of the amazing communication you have with your father. Help us please to clear away all the competing voices of this culture that prohibit us from spending quality time both sharing our hearts with you and hearing you share your heart with us. The truth is that we are dissatisfied with the level of our spirituality. We don’t experience your presence the way we would like … not individually or corporately. Before we die please let us be a part of another great awakening in this land, for our sake, but for yours as well.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen

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