21 Courageous Prayers – Book Release

21CourageousPrayers_Book_cover_smWhen entering the prayer chamber, we must come filled with faith and armed with courage.” – A. W. Tozer 
 

We live in times where God’s people must find a greater level of courage in order to see God’s blessings in their lives and the gospel advance in our world.

For church leaders, courageous faith is imperative if the church is going to make inroads into our culture today. There is no room for cowardice, timidity, or faintheartedness when we face resistance to the gospel.

Our prayer for you during these 21 days is that you would get a bigger picture of who God is and what He wants to accomplish in your life. Our hope is that God will infuse your heart with a courageous faith and fill your mouth with courageous prayers as you trust His promises, rely on His power, and experience His presence.

In 21 Courageous Prayers, Gary Rohrmayer introduces you to the spiritual discipline of reading, meditating on, and praying through the book of Psalms. Our hope is that this 21-day journey will turn into a 365-day spiritual habit.

Practical Advice for Doing a 21 Day Prayer Campaign

  1. Devote one month to this Prayer Initiative – Fall (August, September or October) Winter (January, February or March)
  2. Preach a four-week sermon series on prayer:
    • Sermon #1 – Introduction to series and 21-day devotional book.
    • The next three sermons can be ideas from the book to reinforce it in the lives of your people.
  3. Read Gary’s Blog – How to Create Momentum for Fall Outreach with your team and see how you can maximize your efforts.
  4. Invite them to courageously pray for friends and family who are far from Jesus.
    • Have them generate a list of five friends or family members to pray for during the 21 days.
    • Invite them to courageously pray for a list of church-wide prayer goals.
    • Leadership –  develop five to six prayer goals for the church for your members to pray for during the 21 days.
  5. Hold a series of corporate prayer meetings or a concert of prayer.
  6. Purchase the 21 Courageous Prayers books at a discount from Converge MidAmerica to give out free to your people or just simply charge them $1.00.

21 Courageous Prayers Sermon Ideas

Sermon #1 – Courage: Where do I find it?

Text: Joshua 1:1-9

Summary: Fear can have a positive effect on our lives and our churches if leveraged appropriately. Fear can propel us into the arms of God. It can drive us toward deeper community and dependence on the body of Christ. Fear can raise our level of faith and reveal the depth of our courage.
Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is the conquest of fear.
Where does courage come from? I believe courage comes from God. It is interesting that the subject of fear is addressed over 500 times in the Bible.  So, when God commands us, “Do not be afraid,” He is promising to give us the courage to overcome the fears we face. Joshua is a great example of a young leader called to get God’s people moving again. They were a people who were stuck, who were paralyzed by their fears and living with the cowardly choices of their past. God promised Joshua a victory: “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses” (Joshua 1:3). God told him no one could stop him. “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). God promised to be with him every step of the way. “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Application: Where does courage come from? It comes from trusting God’s promises, relying on God’s power, and experiencing God’s presence.
Invitation:  Join us over the next 21 days as we trust God to transform our fears into a more bolder faith.  Pick up one of the 21 Courageous Prayers books as we together, as a family of faith, seek to embolden our prayers with courageous fire from heaven.

Sermon #2 – The Lord Is My Rock 

Text: Psalm 18:31-33

Summary:  In times of danger, when under attack from enemies or even large predators, people in the ancient world sought out large rocks for safety and security. Because of their massive size and elevation, these rocks provided perspective. They offered a clear view of the enemy’s approach. They also provided protection, a firm place to stand while the enemy struggled to access the rock face. King David, remembering God’s deliverance from his enemies, declares out of a heart of worship that God is his living rock! God is the rock who gives us a clear vantage point when life does not go our way, and God is the rock who provides a place of sure footing so we can stand with confidence when our world gets shaky. “And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights” (Psalm 18:31–33). There is nothing more powerful than when the Lord our Rock provides a rock-solid viewpoint from a safe place.
Application: King David prays a courageous prayer: “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth, I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 62:1–2). When life gets shaky, where do you seek perspective? When your world is crashing in on you, where do you run for protection?

Sermon #3 – The Lord Is My Portion and Cup – Psalm 16

Text: Psalm 16:1-11

Summary:  There is nothing more invigorating than a cool drink of mountain spring water after a long day of hiking in arid and mountainous conditions. It refreshes and rejuvenates our bodies.
In this psalm, King David reflects on life, death, security, and fulfillment. When he writes about God being his portion and cup, he sees God as the only one who can satisfy his soul and completely refresh his spirit.
This world trains us to be or find our own source of satisfaction. In essence, we try filling up our cups with entertainment and activities that leave us empty and thirsting for more. Yet we are made by God to find our satisfaction and fulfillment in Him alone.
When the Lord is portion and cup, my thoughts are filled with God (v. 7), my eyes are focused on the Lord, my life is secure (v. 8), my words are filled with worship (v. 9), my future is filled with hope (v. 10), my path is sure, my joy is complete, and my heart is eternally satisfied (v. 11).
Application: A soul filled with God is the fuel for praying courageously.  What really brings satisfaction to your life? Are you satisfied enough with God to pray courageously?

Sermon #4 – The Lord Is My Shepherd – Psalm 23

Text: Psalm 23:1-7

Summary: The 20 metaphors concerning God’s character and care for His people can all be summed up in these eight powerful words: “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
Before King David became a ruler, he was first a shepherd. He knew how to tend a flock of sheep; he led them, guided them, protected them, fed them, and disciplined them. The connection between the shepherd and his sheep was deep and intimate because the financial future of his family depended on their care. David’s declaration of God as his shepherd is filled with a lot of emotional intensity and spiritual humility. The king had to admit he was a sheep in need of a shepherd. Any ranch hand will tell you that sheep are the dumbest animals God created. They mindlessly wander from safety, are always getting hurt or lost, and get into life-threatening situations. It’s as if David is saying, “The older I get, the more I need a shepherd to guide me, protect me, and care for me because I am just as impulsive, senseless, and foolish as the sheep I once cared for.”
For God’s sheep to experience the Shepherd’s care, they must submit, yield, and follow. Ray Steadman wrote, “If the Lord is my shepherd, then I shall not want; but if I am in want, then it is obvious that the Lord is not my shepherd. It is that simple. If emptiness, loneliness, despair, and frustration exist in our lives, then the Lord is not our shepherd. Or if anyone or anything else is shepherding us, we are never satisfied.”
Application: When you pray, do you appeal to the nature of God’s character?  Is your prayer needs causing you to grow in intimate dependence on God’s character, God’s word, and God’s presence?
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21 Dangerous Prayers – Book Release

21DangerousPrayersDangerous Prayers! Can prayer be dangerous? Is prayer supposed to be dangerous? Any encounter with a Holy God can be dangerous—not in a life-threatening way, but in a way that can be life altering and soul shaping.

All too often we pray safe prayers: God bless me. God help me. God protect me. God heal me. God provide for me.

Dangerous prayers are risky and life stretching. Dangerous prayers come out of a spirit of brokenness. Dangerous prayers are filled with boldness and daring faith.

In this 21-Day Devotional Guide we are going to explore the dangerous prayers that have been prayed by God’s people for thousands of years. We trust God will meet you in a dangerous and life-transforming manner. We pray that you will not be the same and that your family, neighborhood, work place, and church will be impacted because you personally have met with God.

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Evangelism Immersion Experiences

immersionexperiences

Two weeks after I received Christ I was invited by my new Christians friends to attend a Saturday seminar on evangelism.  To be honest, at that time, I didn’t even know what evangelism was or even meant.  I was just excited to be with my new friends.  By the end of the day I discovered that evangelism was just sharing what Jesus has done for me with the people who come into my life.

At the end of that training the leaders gave us an opportunity to practice what we had just learned.  My friends asked me if I wanted to go with them to a local college campus and live out the principles we all discovered that day.  I did not knowing what I was getting myself into…that next Saturday I was engaging spiritual conversations with college students!  The leader and myself would walk up to a group of college students, he would initiate the conversation and at some point he would say, “Gary, tell them what Jesus has done for you.”

Three weeks after trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior I was completely immersed in evangelism.  It was life changing.  Every time I shared my faith that day the gospel was deepened into my life and I gained confidence in what I was communicating.  This is why my life verse is, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”  (Philemon 1:6)

When we deny our church members opportunities to get outside the church walls and touch the world with the love of the gospel we deny them faith stretching moments, the ability to see God at work and the blessing of understanding the richness of the gospel in deep ways.  (Philemon 1:6)

Jesus Created Missional Immersion Experiences

Jesus used immersion experiences to train his disciples; first, the Apostles (Luke 9:1-6,10-11) and then the Seventy (Luke 10:1-24).

  • Jesus did a quick orientation
  • Jesus sent them out on a specific mission
  • The disciples reported back what happened
  • Jesus debriefed and celebrated them

Five Key Ingredients for Creating Missional Immersion Experiences

  1. Leadership: Leaders who live, breathe and exemplify the behaviors they want to be lived out in their people.
  2. Orientation: A short motivational instruction that reviews the why’s and how’s of the outreach activity you are doing.  This is a time to go over the do’s and don’ts as you send the team out.
  3. Multi-Sensory: This experience must touch a person’s heart (move people deeply), their soul (force a deeper sense of faith), their mind (stretch then intellectually) and their strength (involves physical activity).
  4. Reproducible: This must be a behavior that a person could do without the leader or the team.  It must involve something that they can take with them for the rest of their lives.
  5. Celebration:  A time for the group to report, debrief, and celebrate with the leader.

Take Aways

Check out Additional Spiritual Conversation Resources

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Equipping Your Whole Church in the Art of Spiritual Conversations

crowdsinchurch

“Evangelism was the prerogative and duty of every church member … The ordinary people of the first century church saw it as their job: Christianity was supremely a lay movement, spread by informal missionaries.” – Michael Green

We will not advance the gospel through the church without the serious training for every member in how to share the gospel winsomely and accurately.  The Apostle Peter makes in very clear that every follower of Jesus must be prepared to articulate the hope they have experienced in Christ.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  I Peter 3:15

Here is a challenge for every church to embrace: Seek to train 1/3 of your church in evangelism this year.

In Win Arn’s ‘Church Growth Ratio Book‘, he states, “One of every three adults should receive evangelism training at least once a year.”

Why?

One of the gifts needed to build up the church is the gift of the evangelist (Ephesians 4:11-12). In many churches the emphasis is on nurturing existing Christians and strengthening the faith of current members is a preoccupation.  While this is important it is incomplete if your spiritual formation plan has no evangelism component. If this training lacks little focus on reproduction it will lead to an inward mentality that will puff up the church instead of building up the church.  Churches that continually make it a goal to train a significant portion of the congregation in evangelism tend to be more outreach focused.  If you have a church of 150 that means 50 people need to be trained in outreach.  If you have a church of 1000 that means 333 people need to be trained.   As your church grows bigger I believe that achieving this ratio gets harder and needs for more focused attention by leaders.

How?

1. Develop a training rhythm that touches people weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.

  • Weekly: by creating an investing, inviting and including culture.
  • Monthly: by providing entry level immersion experiences (see the next post).
  • Quarterly: by offering full day equipping opportunities.
  • Annually: by offering Sunday morning/small group spiritual emphasis campaigns.

2. Start training trainers.

I have discovered that the faster I can get the training out of the professionals hands the quicker the lay leaders own the process.

  • Which lay leaders can reinforce your investing, inviting and including culture?
  • Which lay leaders can lead and promote your entry level experiences?
  • Which lay leaders can be mentored in training others in sharing their faith?
  • How many leaders can you engage in an annual spiritual emphasis campaign?

3.  Focus on one tool that will mark your church.

When you think of Campus Crusade (CRU) what evangelism tool comes to mind?  Four Spiritual Laws! When you think of Navigators? The Bridge!  The Billy Graham Association? Steps to Peace with God! What do people think of when it comes to your church?  Anything?  Find a tool and work the tool.  If you can’t find anything that fits your culture then create one.  That’s what we did 25 years ago with the Spiritual Journey Guide…it shaped our church and is now shaping thousands of other churches.

Action Steps

  • Keep track…how many people are you training a year?
  • Identify the evangelism in your congregation.
  • Find trainers…who can help you?
  • Find a tool…what works for you and your church culture?

Additional Spiritual Conversation Resources

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Increasing the Spiritual Conversations of Your Board Members

 boardroom

“Helping to fulfill the Great Commission is the single most important task of the Church. Therefore, developing evangelistic leadership to carry out that mission should be a top priority.” – Bill Bright

Are your board meetings filled with a burning passion to see every man, women and child reached with the gospel in your community?

Three ways to call your leaders to engage in more spiritual conversations:

First, reinforce the vision of your church.  Calling your leaders to the mission of Jesus should be what permeates your every leadership meeting in the church; business meetings, elders meetings, deacon meetings. finance meetings, youth meetings, children’s ministry meetings, worship practices, etc.  Everyone leading those meetings should lead them in a way that reinforces the vision to reach the community with the gospel of Jesus, not just to maintain their ministry area.

Second, create a sense of urgency.  If your leaders have no sense of urgency they will never seize the evangelistic opportunities that God gives them.

How does one create an ongoing sense of urgency among their leaders?

John Kotter in his book, A Sense of Urgency, describes five ways we can create a sense of true urgency every day:

  • Purge and Delegate – Don’t let an overcrowded calendar slow you down; purge low-priority items, don’t get distracted, and learn to delegate.
  • Move with Speed – Respond quickly to people’s calls, requests and emails. Never end meetings without clarity about who will do what and when.
  • Speak with Passion – Talk to others with feeling so others catch the urgency and passion of your message.
  • Match Words and Deeds – Don’t just talk about something and then not do it yourself; be real and be an example to others.
  • Let Them All See It – Be visible as often as possible to as many people as possible. Let them see your sense of urgency.

Third, make sure every leader can share the gospel in a compelling manner.

Assumptions kill evangelism!  Thinking a person that is in leadership knows how to share the gospel effectively is a big mistake.  Continual training and retraining of leaders is imperative.

Four Take-Aways:

  • Equip your leaders in how to reinforce the vision of mission through every level of the church.
  • Model the urgent reality of the harvest (John 4:35) in all you do.
  • At every leadership meeting ask the following question: Who can we pray for in your life that needs Jesus?
  • Schedule an evangelistic training opportunity just for your leaders & staff.

Additional Spiritual Conversation Resources

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Increasing the Spiritual Conversations of Your Pastoral Staff

twoguysbibleI am amazed at how many pastoral staff members in local churches are woefully inactive at personally sharing their faith or even explaining the gospel.

How does one help their staff or volunteers to increase the number of spiritual conversations they get into in a normal week of ministry?

The place for a leader to start is prayer.  Pray specifically for your team members to be active in sharing their faith.  Paul prayed for Philemon when he wrote, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philemon 1:6).

The second place would be to raise the faith level of your team by raising the expectations. One of the aspects of being a great team leader it to raise the expectations of the team.  If you are as a leader are serious in increasing the spiritual conversations throughout your ministry then you are going to have to raise the expectations of your team.

What would happen if each of your team members engaged in at least two spiritual conversations a week? That would be over 100 spiritual conversations a year.

The third place would be to show them the opportunities right around them.  A pastor friend of my was leading a small group and after about six months he walked them through the Spiritual Journey Guide by asking everyone the simple question, “Where are you right now on your spiritual journey?”  To his amazement nearly half the group identified themselves as spiritual seekers and not followers of Jesus.  Assumptions kill evangelism!  Because a person attends church or is connected relationally to a community of faith unfortunately has little to do with that person’s understanding of the gospel.

When coaching pastors in evangelism I encourage them to first look at the fringe people of their church.  They are always amazed at the receptivity of these people who have attended their church in the last year or infrequently for years, to a phone call, personal visit or an invitation to a small group designed for them.  How many receptive people are there on the fringes of your ministry?

Jim Elliot said, “Work where God is working. Don’t hammer at unprepared soil when there is ready ground nearby.”

Three Take-Aways:

  • Start praying for your staff as Paul did you Philemon.
  • At every staff meeting ask the question: Who did you draw into a spiritual conversation this last week?
  • Start identifying and praying for those on the fringe of your ministry.

Additional Spiritual Conversation Resources

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Increasing the Spiritual Conversation in Your Church

TwoGuys

Ed Stetzer once said, “If you want your church to be evangelistic and you yourself are not evangelistic – you are on a fools errand.” 

If you are going to see the spiritual conversations in your church increase this year you must see them increase in your life as a leader.

So the first step is to: Own it as the leader.

Let’s face it, if reaching people far from Jesus is not on the front burner of your life it will not even be on the radar screen of your church.

Every time I get frustration with the lack of meaningful contact with people far from Jesus, I pray this simple prayer,

“Father, I’m sorry for my ineffectiveness and insensitivity to the people you are bringing into my life. Help me today to get into a meaningful spiritual conservation with someone you love and are drawing to yourself. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Prayer is more about aligning our lives with God’s purposes than with meeting our own personal needs.

Not all of us as pastoral leaders are gifted in evangelism, but all of us are charged “to do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5).

No matter where your primary calling or giftedness lies, whether it is to be a shepherd, teacher, or a leader of God’s people, I believe Paul’s pastoral charge applies to us all.

If you are a shepherd then use your shepherding gift to guide your people into the work of evangelism.

If you are a teacher then use your teaching gift to inspire your people into the mission of God.

And if you are a leader then use your leadership gifts to lead your church into the great harvest that surrounds your church.

Two take aways:

  • Pray the prayer in this post everyday for the next 30 days. See how God will answer it!
  • Find a coach that will help you guide, inspire or lead your people into the work of evangelism.

Additional Spiritual Conversation Resources

 

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