September 21, 2017

Dear First Pres,

  On Sunday I preached from one of my favorite passages: Luke 10:1-3. It's Jesus' call for the sent ones (the 72 who were being sent ahead of him for ministry) to pray as they go. Jesus says, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves." It's a reminder to us that we are also called to pray as we go. We're called to pray for the Lord to send workers into His harvest field. And, we're called to go into the harvest fields ourselves as the sent ones of God.
 
   That's exactly what Geraud Brumfield and a team of folks from FPC did on Friday night. First, they prayed. They prayed that God would grant them the favor as they went to set up a table near some of the Fresno State fraternity houses and hand out hot dogs and waters to passers-by.  The college group prayed the week before. The staff prayed a few days before. The Friday morning prayer gathering prayed early on Friday. And then, Geraud and team prayed as they prepared the hot dogs (I'm sure there were plenty of other prayer moments as well). It was preemptive prayer; we were asking God to open opportunities for them to connect with college students for the purpose of building sustainable relationships. We were asking God to use this simple effort for His glory. And then ... God did. You'll hear more about it in the coming weeks, but God answered those prayers in a significant way.
 
   Isn't it amazing that God invites us to participate in His work of redeeming transformation?  He is the Lord of the harvest, and yet He invites us to play a significant role in helping others to know Him. One of the primary ways we do that is to pray as we go. But if going seems a bit of a stretch for you ... or you're just not sure that works in your daily life, then I encourage you to start praying the prayer that Jesus told the team to pray in Luke 10:2.  I believe that as you begin to pray that prayer regularly, God will begin to give you the courage to go as well. Praise Him!
 
   I heard a great suggestion on Sunday after worship. How can we remember to pray for God to send workers into the harvest? Set your alarm for 10:02 to remind you of Jesus' prayer in Luke 10:2. Then when you hear that alarm, take a moment to pray, wherever you are, for God to send workers into His harvest. You can do it in the morning or at night (or both). If you don't like 10:02, try 9:38 ... that's where it is in Matthew's Gospel.
 
   I am convinced that when we start praying more regularly like this as a church God will use it to do His thing in us. God will use it to align our hearts with His - giving us a heart for the harvest that compels us to go, and pray as we go. So, will you commit to praying this prayer with me?
 
  Oh God, thank you for the harvest that you are constantly tending.  Please Lord, send more workers into the harvest fields of our city, into our neighborhoods, into our workplaces and into our schools. Send workers into the harvest fields of Downtown Fresno. Send workers into the harvest fields of the places in the world where the Church is yet to be established. All of it God for your glory alone. Amen.

Blessings,
Jeremy