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Exploring the Heart of Restoration

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Archives for January, 2015

FHUThe following was provided to us by Dr. Doug Burleson highlighting events at this year’s FHU Lectures and looking ahead to 2016’s lectures.

The 79th Annual Freed-Hardeman University Lectureship is happening this week in Henderson, TN.  This year features the theme “Give Us A King: Faith, Failure, & Forgiveness in Samuel.” The program features around 120 presentations, which feature studies in the text of Samuel as well as practical ministry discussions for everyone from senior saints to children. Special studies for students, young families, ladies, youth workers, church leaders, missionaries, and counselors are also featured in the program.

Every year the lectureship also honors a Christian leader for outstanding service and this year the honorees are Dr. David Lipe and his wife Linda. David has directed the program for 22 years. Next year Dr. Doug Burleson, an Assistant Professor of Bible at FHU, will begin directing the program. When the FHU Lectureship began in 1926 (it took a ten year hiatus before resuming in the late 1930s) the program was intended to provide further education for preachers and church leaders who did not have opportunities to do so otherwise. While this aim has changed over the years there are certain things that continue to characterize the program.

First, the FHU Lectureship is focused on equipping those who attend with a better understanding of the text of Scripture and tools for ministry. For example, this year’s program features 60 lectures on Samuel that range from academic interests like historicity of David or the place of Samuel in the Dead Sea Scrolls to practical interests like how to minister to those who have lost children or how to effectively speak about monogamous marriages in a culture that shows more and more interest in polygamy. Yet these 60 sessions are complemented by over 50 other sessions that focus Christian service and ministry in domestic and international contexts.

Second, the FHU Lectureship provides opportunities for Titus 2, regarding older and younger Christians learning from and encouraging one another, to be put into practice. When guests from throughout the United States (and some from outside the US too) swarm the campus students are given an opportunity to network with the speakers, exhibitors, and guests to learn about service, ministry, and study. Some have suggested that opportunities to fellowship together throughout the week have provided as many blessings as the content of the lessons shared.

Plans are already in the works for next year’s FHU lectureship on the theme “In My Place: The Servant Savior in Mark,” February 7-11. For a full schedule of topics and speakers for this year’s FHU Lectureship visit All of the daily sessions in Loyd Auditorium will be video-streamed at this site until the end of the Lectureship on Thursday night as well.

For most of my life prayer had been a stumbling block. Prayer always raised more questions than it provided answers. Whenever I prayed I was filled with doubt.

To be sure this was mainly due to how I approached prayer. I approached prayer pragmatically. The critical question was: Did prayer work? Did prayer do anything? Accomplish anything?

And if it didn’t, what was the point?

Here and there, when I voiced these questions and concerns, people would quote me the lines from C.S. Lewis:

“I don’t pray to change God…It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”

That’s a fine sentiment, but the question no one took the time to answer for me was this: How, exactly, was prayer supposed to change me? I’d prayed a great deal and, as best I could tell, it didn’t seem to have a profound or lasting effect upon me. Prayer mainly left me feeling bored, sleepy or self-conscious.

So if God wasn’t being changed and I wasn’t being changed, well, what was the point?

And so things stood for many years. I prayed, but not all that often. And when I did pray the doubts and questions filled my mind.

But a few years ago things began to change. While I remain confused about how prayer may or may not change God I think I’ve begun to glimpse a bit of how prayer is supposed to change me. And that, to quote Robert Frost, has made all the difference.

To be sure, prayer is still hard. When I do pray I require support. I use tools like prayer beads and structured prayers. I generally lean heavily upon the Psalms.

(BTW, if you’re looking for some help here let me recommend to you the Paraclete Psalter. The Paraclete Psalter has you pray through all 150 psalms in a four-week cycle with psalms each day selected for Lauds, Midday, Vespers and Compline prayer. This psalter is a great resource for those wanting to pray the Psalms.)

I’ve come to think, because of an argument I make in my book The Slavery of Death, that prayer isn’t so much a tool than it is an identity, a mode of being and relating to the world. Specifically, prayer is the practice of what David Kelsey has called doxological gratitude. Which is to say that prayer is both renunciation and receptivity. In prayer I renounce the idolatrous ways I grasp at significance, the ways I try to justify my existence and worth in the eyes of the world. And in prayer I learn to receive life as a gift. In these ways—in renouncing and receiving—the anxious knot at the core of my selfhood is slowly untangled. I find myself turning outward with joy and love.

In short, prayer cultivates a Eucharistic identity, a life that flows out of gratitude, joy, peace and thanksgiving.

praying_on_bible_redPrayer is so vitally important in our churches and homes. We believe it is important to pass on some resources for those of you who want to do more reading and study on how to draw closer to God through prayer. Here are a few books you might consider:

Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer by Eugene Peterson

The Armchair Mystic By Mark Thibodeaux

Awed to Heaven, Rooted to Earth: the Prayers of Walter Brueggemann

The Hour that Changes the World By Dick Eastman

Letters to Malcolm by CS Lewis

Lord Teach Us to Pray to Andrew Murray (Free on kindle!)

Make Me Like Jesus: The Courage To Pray Dangerously by Michael Philips

The Papa Prayer By Larry Crabb

Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth

Prayer by Tim Keller

Prayer, Does it Make Any Difference? By Philip Yancey

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard Foster

Prayers by Michel Quoist

Soul Work By Randy Harris

When God’s People Pray By Jim Cymbala (Also see the DVD & Participants’ Guide)

Wonder, Fear and Longing: A Book of Prayers by Mark Yaconelli

Prayer-girlFather, we have challenges ahead…challenges to make disciples, challenges to our unity, challenges in our interpretation and doctrine and challenges with our holiness. And we know that none of these are insurmountable with your power and presence.

So we pray, Lord, that you will continue to be patient with us. We pray that you will open our eyes, hearts and minds to be people of both Spirit and truth. We pray that our love for one another will grow and that we will not view each other as enemies but as brothers and sisters in Christ…that we will not merely see ourselves as your servants but as your children. We pray that we will not be “older brother” Christians who no longer know how to rejoice for those we are frustrated with. We also pray that we may not be “younger brother” Christians who throw away our relationship with you to indulge sinful passions. Instead, let us dwell in your house as your children…welcoming those who return and realizing that sometimes we are the ones walking back up the hill in shame and repentance…remove our sense of superiority and pride.

Father, we put our trust in you and in your unfailing love. We know you are sovereign and that you will see that your will is done. Teach us your will. We are not wise enough to see it on our own. We need your help. Come quickly to our aid! Humble us with your presence. May you be our greatest joy and gracefully let us rest in your presence.

God, we acknowledge that you created all things…so now, we ask that you will continue to create. Create in us a clean heart and a steadfast spirit. Create a fellowship of love and unity. Create a renewed acknowledgment of your Spirit. Create a people who have not just minds turned to you but hearts as well.

We acknowledge our own sinfulness, our own imperfection. We acknowledge that you alone are God and that you alone know all things. We confess that at times we have fallen for the lie that was there in the beginning…the lie that we can be like you…knowing all things…locking down all the answers…pinning you down on every conceivable opinion…speaking where you have been silent. Lord, we repent of putting words in your mouth and ask that you would humble us and remind us that we are not entitled to know all things. Though you have revealed great mysteries of ages past to the most simple among us, truths from of old hidden from ages past, there are still things about you we cannot know. Give us a peace about that and a renewed sense of awe…Lord, I am afraid many of us have lost our sense of awe about you. Remove our pride and replace it with humility and trust and reverence.

As you know, Father, there is another generation coming up that is going to have many challenges to their faith. We pray for our children and grand children. We pray for their hearts, their souls…their relationship with you and with each other. We pray that you would raise up a mighty generation that is passionate about you. We pray that they will not fall away and that we can be good stewards of all that you have given us…to make inroads of faith and connection with the church back to those who would come after us. We are concerned Lord because this world is an environment where faith will be challenged…we pray this challenge will only make them stronger. Help us to intentionally guide and train them to have hearts and minds set on you…that you would be their greatest desire.

Last Lord we praise you just for who you are. Regardless of anything we have done or haven’t done, you have been patient and gracious to us and we give you thanks. You alone are worthy of our praise. You alone are we here to please. We worship you and adore you and pray we can love others as you have loved us. Hallelujah, come Lord Jesus…it is in your name we pray, Amen!


The following is from Bobby Harrington of

There is a national conversation about discipleship going on right now. In some circles it is the hot topic, with lots of convincing, inspiring, and good ideas. We believe God is at work in the midst this dialogue. wants to pour gasoline on the fires that are being lit and the authentic practices that are being championed. We hope to serve as a centralizing platform for this conversation. We work with national discipleship leaders to catalyze authentic discipleship and disciple making movements. was co-founded by two men from Restoration Movement churches. Bobby Harrington has served for over 27 years in Restoration Movement churches and is currently the lead pastor at Harpeth Christian Church (in Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville), which he founded as a church plant over 17 years ago out of the Otter Creek church in Nashville. Todd Wilson is the founder and director of the Exponential Conference (the largest church planting conference in the world) and has also spent over ten years on staff at New Life Christian Church, just outside Washington, D.C. Bobby met and married Cindy over 35 years ago at Harding University and he has two grown children who trust and follow Jesus. Todd met his wife as he was training to be a nuclear engineer and he too has two children who trust and follow Jesus.

At, we believe that discipleship itself should not be the focus. Biblical discipleship is about Jesus Christ. Theologically, it is helping people to trust and form their lives around Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father. More simply, it is helping people trust and follow Jesus. There is nothing more important or central in the Bible. We believe there is nothing more worthy of Jesus than discipleship. In fact, we believe that discipleship conversations will only have lasting impact when they result in a personal focus upon Jesus and our life in him.

At we also believe in and champion Jesus’ method of discipleship. This involves a focus on relationships, intentionality, God’s Word, the power of the Holy Spirit, a journey or process, and multiplication (the elements of a discipleship lifestyle). Jesus’ method is the perfect method. It is based upon timeless principles and values. We want to uphold this specific path, but not get too narrow in our application. Too often discipleship is focused on a specific method or a narrow practice that may be good in one situation, but not in other cultural contexts or arenas.

So to be faithful to Jesus’ methods and to a focus that is specific enough to be meaningful, but broad enough to be flexible, we created a biblical and philosophical platform. In partnership with multiple national discipleship leaders (from Robert Coleman to Bill Hull to Jim Putman to Francis Chan and various others), we identified 10 discipleship affirmations. We hope all leaders who choose to work with us will agree with this foundation. We do not bind our definitions and phrases on others, but we ask that those who lead from our platforms be in step with and comfortable with the following:

  1. Jesus Christ and his worthiness necessitate discipleship – he is the central object of our faith and our salvation; He is supreme and deserving of all devotion, worship, and emulation, so discipleship is about Jesus. We affirm the Nicene Creed and its statements about Jesus and the Trinity (Col. 1:15-20; Gal.2: 20).
  1. Our definition of a disciple – is a person who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and committed to the mission of Jesus (Matt. 4:19). This is by Grace through faith and is only possible by the Holy Spirit.
  1. Our definition of discipleship (and disciple making) is simple – helping people to trust and follow Jesus (Matt. 28:18–20).
  1. We believe disciple making is the core mission of the local church and the home (Col.1: 28-29; Deut. 6:6-9).
  1. We believe the Bible is the authoritative, reliable, and ultimate guide for discipleship and life (2 Tim. 3:16-4:2).
  1. We believe Jesus’ method of disciple making is the wisest and best method to follow today (Luke 6:40).
  1. We believe that Christ-like love is both the foundation and true fruit of authentic discipleship (John 13:34-35).
  1. We believe discipleship includes serving the poor, striving for holiness, and living with accountability in the local church (1 Cor. 5: 1-13).
  1. We believe discipleship and Christ-like love will compel us to join Jesus’ mission to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
  1. We believe our obedience to the Great Commission makes all the difference and it will result in the expansion of God’s Kingdom, the betterment of humanity, and God’s exaltation and pleasure in us (Luke 19:11-27). avoids the promotion of positions that do not come from these affirmations or are beyond them. We do not want secondary issues to become a focus through our ministry.

To help catalyze discipleship and disciple making movements in this early stage, we hope to develop three platforms in partnership with other national discipleship leaders and organizations:

  • National Discipleship Forums – that bring together national leaders to inspire and provide leadership for a national and international discipleship movement (and Regional Discipleship Conversations). We had our first National Discipleship Forum in October 2014.
  • Content – we hope website can be an aggregator, repository, and link into the best possible electronic information and actionable content on discipleship and disciple making movements. And org Resources will be an imprint for books and hard content.
  • Learning Communities – we want to bring people together to join learning journeys, where they sit together with practitioners who will help them develop disciple making competencies.
  • Partnership with Exponential – we work with the Exponential Church Planting conference (the largest church planting conference in the world) to promote discipleship, especially by church planters.


This article is from Bobby Harrington of

There is a free webinar of the first National Discipleship Forum entitled, “The Discipleship Lifestyle.” The webinar is promoted on It took place at Saddleback Church in Los Angeles, CA, and was held in conjunction with the Exponential Conference (West). The speakers included Francis Chan, Jim Putnam, Jeff Vanderstelt, Robert Coleman, Bill Hull, and KP Yohannan, and was presented by in partnership with Exponential.

The dates of the FREE webcast are January 27-29, 2015

There is a link at the bottom of this page to sign up for the webcast!


Many people who attended said it was the most impactful and life-changing forum they had ever experienced, and you will have a chance to watch it from the beginning. What conspired was a real-life discussion on discipleship in a unique learning environment and format. We are in a season of renewed interest in discipleship. Leaders are hungry for resources and insights for their churches to become more effective at discipleship. Are we, as leaders, modeling the kind of discipleship for we want our people to practice? The first place to look in improving our church’s discipleship systems is inside ourselves to candidly assess and consider how our own disciple-making practices need to change. For this webcast, you will have a front row seat to an intimate conversation among six national leaders and friends as they talk candidly about discipleship in their own lives and seek to learn from one another. In a casual, face to face environment, one of our leaders will start by making a brief and pointed presentation on a key discipleship topic and then the other five leaders will spend the balance of time in conversation and dialogue about that topic.


This Discipleship Forum brought together six leaders who are passionate about discipleship. Unique distinctives include:

  • These practitioner leaders engaged each other in a conversational setting with all six leaders on the stage together in an intimate living room type environment.
  • The focus was centered on improving their own disciple making practices by learning from each other rather than the traditional conference experience with presenters.
  • This forum gathering created an intimate, heart-felt conversation among leaders who shared their own struggles and victories, affirmed and provided push-back to the others, and ultimately learned from one-another.
  • You will get a front-row seat to this candid conversation in a way that will challenge your own hearts, in a more meaningful way than a traditional conference.
  • Main emphasis focused on the truth that we reproduce who we are.  How can we call others and our churches to be more effective at discipleship if we are not doing it ourselves?


francischanFrancis Chan is the former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA and one of the most influential speakers in the USA. He is also the Founder and Chancellor of Eternity Bible College, and author of the best-selling books, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless GodThe Forgotten God, and Multiply. In recent years, Francis has made discipleship a primary focus in his ministry.



robertcolemanRobert Coleman is a distinguished professor of evangelism and discipleship at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. For many years he served as dean of the Billy Graham International Schools of Evangelism as well as director of the Billy Graham Center Institute of Evangelism at Wheaton College. He is the author of The Master Plan of Evangelism, which is the gold standard for Jesus’ method of discipleship. It has sold over 3.5 million copies and has been published in over 100 languages.


YPYohannanKP Yohannan is the founder and international director of Gospel for Asia, a Christian mission organization that has brought the Good News of Christ to millions in South Asia over the last three decades. Dr. Yohannan has been crisscrossing the globe for the last 40 years, challenging the body of Christ to discipleship. His call to a radical lifestyle—with an all-out commitment to Jesus—has left its impact on nearly every continent. His book Revolution In World Missions, has over 2 million copies in print.


billhullBill Hull is a writer and one of the world’s leading discipleship experts, calling the church to choose the life to which Jesus called every disciple. The core of Bill’s writings (of over 20 books) are his highly influential books The Complete Book of DiscipleshipJesus Christ Disciple MakerThe Disciple Making Pastor and The Disciple Making Church. These works made the case for Jesus as the prime example of a disciple maker, and that discipleship should be the core of every pastor and church’s work. His latest work is entitled, The Disciple, Better To Do Evil Than To Be Evil.


jimputmanJim Putman is the founder and senior pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho. The church was established based upon Jesus’ method of discipleship and it has now become one of the most influential church’s in the USA.  Jim was a co-founder of the Relational Discipleship Network. He holds degrees from Boise State University and Boise Bible College. He is the author and co-author of several books, including Church is a Team SportReal Life Discipleship Training Manual and DiscipleShift. Jim’s unique gifting is in discipleship and practical strategies that make discipleship the core competency of the local church.


jeffvandersteltJeff Vanderstelt is a popular speaker, pastor, teacher, and missional strategist with Soma Communities in Tacoma, WA. Jeff believes that discipleship is the core mission of the church and he helps leaders to see how discipleship leads to the missional lifestyle demonstrated by Jesus. He is a leader of leaders and a coach and trainer for church planters. Jeff has served on the pastoral staff at Willow Creek Community Church and on the Board of Acts 29. Jeff uniquely understands what it means to follow Jesus and build missional communities that transform neighborhoods.


We define disciple making as “trusting God’s presence as we enter into the relationships with others to guide them to trust and follow Jesus and obey all his teachings” (Matthew 28:18–20). The Discipleship Forum will focus on helping leaders make this a reality. Our intimate setting will provide a platform for honest dialogue, give and take discussion and real life examples by these leaders.


This first forum focused on six vitally important topics of discipleship – based on the FREE Discipleship Handbook – and they are ones that you don’t want to miss. Each key topic was briefly and pointedly led by one of the six discipleship leaders, followed by a robust and practical discussion where each speaker was able to openly and honestly express his view of what each topic meant to him. There was intense dialogue, discussion, and self-revelation.

The following are the six topics and speakers:
1. Jesus: How does the Jesus we believe in, and the gospel we preach, determine the kind of person that we become and the kind of disciples that we make? – Bill Hull
2. Intentionality: Disciple makers need a plan to disciple people, they need to know where they are going. – Robert Coleman
3. Relationships: Discipleship, following the example of Jesus, needs to be grounded in relationships, or what are referred to as relational environments. – Jeff Vanderstelt
4. Bible: The content for discipleship is found in the Bible, it is the instruction manual. – Francis Chan
5. Path: Disciples follow a discernible, but crooked growth path. Their life story, in following Jesus, will have similar chapters. – Jim Putman
6. Multiply: Discipleship is only complete with reproduction and multiplication, when the disciple becomes a disciple maker himself. – KP Yohannan

 Sign up for the webinar here.

You, God, who made the heavens and the earth and have promised to remake them, hear my voice.

I plead for a hearing because you often seem so distant to me, and sometimes I fear that you do not listen. Awake, O God, and hear my prayer for I struggle once again with death. Death has again invaded my world.

God, I hate death. I trust that you hate it, too. Death is my enemy; it is your enemy as well. It rips apart the very fabric of peace, hope and trust. Where are you in the midst of death, O God? Why, O Lord, do you stand so far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

How, God, does death bring any meaning to your world? Would it not be better…would it not be to your glory…that you would rescue us from death so that we might praise you in the land of the living? Where is your praise in the grave? Is your steadfast love declared in the grave?

Lord God, every death raises questions about you, about the meaning of life, and your purposes. I confess that I cannot answer them, and “every death is a question mark”*. Death is like a fog that blinds me.

How Long, O Lord? Will you forget us forever? How long must we have sorrow in our hearts every day? How long must we live with these questions, doubts and tears? When will you rid us of this shroud?

God, take your hands out of your pockets and do something! Arise, O Lord, and destroy this enemy. Redeem us, O God, according to your unfailing love!

God, you are my God, and I entrust my life, including my eventual death, to you.

  • I confess that you, Father, are the maker of heaven and earth.
  • I confess that you, Jesus, were born of woman, lived among us, died with us, rose again for us, and now reign at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.
  • I confess that you, Spirit, are present to transform us and comfort us.

I confess the story is not yet over, and that you, God, will yet rise up and destroy the enemy, and you will give birth to a new world without death and without tears.

Rise up, O God, and give birth to your new world. Create your new world, Father. Comfort us, O Spirit, and come back soon, Lord Jesus.


Given in the Gathering (Lipscomb University Chapel) on October 1, 2013 in Nashville, TN in mourning over the death of Isaac Phillips.

*From the song “Come Back Soon” by Andrew Peterson on his “Lost Boys” album.

You may view the prayer and accompanying chapel speech that was delivered to the whole Lipscomb student body after the loss of Isaac Philips, who was found dead in his dorm room in late September 2013. You may view the chapel speech at this link.

BonoU2 and the Psalms have something in common. Both know how to infuse the soul with song so rich and meaningful that it speaks words from our heart that we might never have come up with on our own. On July 7th, 2005 during the Vertigo tour, there was a series of bombs set off in the London transportation system that killed 52 and injured over 700. The band took a moment on their Milan stop to dedicate Bono’s favorite song, Miss Sarajevo, to those who were killed and injured in the attack.

As the song began to play Bono dedicates the song to the victims in a way that was powerful and intwined with the very purpose of the psalms saying,

“We’d like to dedicate this next song to those who lost their lives in London last week and who are maimed and injured today. I would like to turn our song into a prayer. The prayer is that we don’t become a monster in order to defeat a monster. That’s our prayer tonight.”

In the song, Bono expresses the angst and turmoil that everyday people in war torn Sarajevo were going through emphasizing the strength of the human spirit and the ability to carry on life in the midst of great adversity.

Songs are not just meant to be sung. Some songs are meant to be prayed. That is true of the psalms of the Old Testament. It is also true of the psalms and songs in the New Testament that are scattered throughout the Gospels and epistles. Praying Scripture’s songs can be a powerful way to add to your prayer vocabulary and find words and phrases that more richly express your experience and nuances in your relationship with God than might typically come to mind.

Prayer exercise
If you haven’t ever prayed the psalms or even if you have prayed them for years try this out, meditate on Psalm 40:1-13. Read it over and over again. Then take those words and turn them into a two types of prayer, paraphrasing the psalm to become one of two things: either A) your supplication and request or B) a prayer of thanksgiving. The first looks forward from the position of desperation and distress…still in need of being pulled from the mire and set on the rock. The second looks back as one whose feet have already been placed on a firm footing and in rejoicing with the new song God has already given.

See what you come up with and feel free to share your prayer in the comments below.

You ca2015Tulsaworkshopnnot think your way into a new way of living. You have to live your way into a new way of thinking. Richard Rohr

The Tulsa Workshop will open for year 40 at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds March 18, 2015. The three-day event will become a hub of excitement, renewal, and joy as Christians gather from around the world. SPEAK LIFE will be a theme that urges all to live our way into a new way of thinking.

How can we reach the entire world? What can be done to infuse life into local congregations? How shall we mature leadership and develop a cohesiveness in the process? These and other outreach matters will be pondered as over 40 speakers will gather to build, challenge, and encourage.

Two special guests will be Brandon Hatmaker of The Barefoot Church fame as well as Dr. Kent Brantly; the doctor who contracted Ebola while in Liberia.

Hatmaker, pastor of Austin New Church, has a simple message of getting out where the people are. There is a crisis in America. There’s a void of Spirit. There’s a lack of powerful transformation. And studies show that people are leaving the church. Scripture says that we’re to be a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.

Like it or not, that’s not the reputation of the Western church. Not only are we hidden in our culture as something that is supposed to be good news, we’re losing ground.

Dr. Brantly’s story is fitting, as well, in the theme of SPEAK LIFE! While working as a missionary doctor in Liberia, he survived the deadly Ebola disease after being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. He later appeared before a joint Senate hearing as the outbreak was considered.

The Tulsa Workshop continues to provide classes which give direction toward reaching the world with the saving name of Jesus. It is a constant challenge before every generation to be refreshed by the Spirit of God. Neighbors need hope. We want to expand our ability to give each such a gift.

The Tulsa Workshop offers something for every age. Seven keynotes, six classes per hour, special event for teens and children creates an astounding atmosphere of family reunion. Shane Coffman, worship minister at the sponsoring Memorial Drive Church of Christ, puts together a fantastic array of worship leaders. Coffman, Chris Lindsey, and Ken Young have a knack of putting the energy into the gathering.

A favorite of the Tulsa Workshop is the Workshop Kids Praise Chorus. Directed by Brenda Hughes, these third through fifth graders rehearse Wednesday and Thursday nights. Friday evening they stand before the crowd to share their hearts in song. What a gift of joy!

Over two hundred booths will offer a variety of promotional information from mission work on the fields to books for purchase to ministries in action.

Keynotes will be John Alan Turner, Jason Thornton, Brandon Hatmaker, Rick Atchley, Dr. Brantly, Terry Rush, and Jeff Walling.

For the workshop schedule as well as obtaining information to reserve a booth for special ministries one may contact or call 918-838-1621.

praying_on_bible_redIn sharing some thoughts recently on Luke 10 it dawned on me that Jesus is telling us that there is something we need to be praying and I cannot say that I have heard it prayed more than a few times in my life.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

There it is. Not only did Jesus say they needed to “Go!” (the part we emphasize but still do infrequently), Jesus said they need to also ask God to send out workers. That is a very strange request because when I read that my first impression is, aren’t they they ones who are going? The very next word Jesus says is “Go!” so in a very real sense, yes, they are the ones who are going.

But maybe there is more to it than that. God has his hand in more things than we can ever realize. There are times in the Gospels and in Acts where the disciples run into people they had no idea existed who are doing the work of God. Where did those people come from? God humbles us in these stories to reminds us that we aren’t the only game in town. God reminds us that he will accomplish what he has set out to do with us or without us. We don’t know all that God is up to. It is easy to think the scope of his work is limited to what we are able to do ourselves. We know better…but still it holds true.

I want to encourage you to pray this prayer on a regular basis…to “ask the Lord of the harvest…to send out workers into his harvest field.” Maybe that prayer would spark growth in our churches. Maybe it would result in a renewed desire for planting churches. Either way…Jesus told us to pray it and we should pray it.

There are three reasons that come to mind as to why this is such an important prayer to pray regularly:

  1. The more you pray for the lost (preferably by name) the more you realize that it is foolish to keep praying for something to happen and continue to be unwilling to work on it yourself.
  2. God can and will send people in response to this prayer…why else tell us to pray it? Maybe the church across town grows from it…does it matter where the increase happens?
  3. Prayer changes culture. As our churches pray this on a regular basis people will begin to embrace it.

So there it is…the prayer Jesus told us to pray and I am afraid too few Christians are taking him up on it. Will you?