LEARNING TO PRAY UGLY!
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” —Jesus, Gospel of Matthew 6:6
Today I’ve had almost as many conversations in Mandarin as I have in English…which means it’s been a relatively quiet, yet pleasant day. 🙂
The past few weeks have been quite busy for me. I’m valet parking cars for Perry’s Steakhouse (again), which means I spend about 35 hours a week “pounding the pavement” (running) in the sultry Houston heat, drenched in sweat. It’s definitely exhausting, but I won’t complain. I learned last week that one of my co-workers (Ever) has been running all this time….with a prosthetic leg! Ever was evidently a very talented soccer player, playing on a minor league team, but it all ended after a terrible car wreck which left him in a coma for nearly two months, and gave him impressive scars on his arms. Ever has an incredible story of faith & triumph, and really encourages me. He loves the book of Revelations, so we talk a lot about “end times” and Ever plans to join us one Sunday at Redeemer’s Love. I want him to share his story one day. My co-workers are also teaching me some Spanish! There’s a video of me singing in Spanish floating around somewhere 😉 lol
We (Redeemer’s Love) are focused on two things at present 1) BUILDING OUR CORE TEAM & 2) CULTIVATING OUR MISSION FIELD.
In regards to the former (CORE BUILDING) we’re aiming to recruit a CORE TEAM of 10-20 crazy, committed people who will partner with Redeemer’s Love through giving financially, gathering frequently, and going faithfully to serve in our mission field. So far, we have 3 of us who are “in.” I’ve compiled a list of about 15 potential CORE MEMBERS that I am in the process of actively sharing our vision with, and I’m praying God will “send the workers.” Earlier this week, my boss at Perry’s (a believer) expressed a desire to come partner with us, and just today I met a Christian sister from Jamaica who is very interested in learning more about Redeemer’s Love. Last month we met a Christian sister from L.A. who attended our gatherings, and may move to Houston and join us. If you know anyone who may be interested, contact me!
In regards to the latter (CULTIVATING THE MISSION FIELD), God has opened many doors recently to build relationships with “unchurched” people, and to share the gospel. I’ve compiled a list of about 25+ people that I am presently, actively building relationships & sharing the gospel with. About 8 of those people are from Perry’s Steakhouse. They include people from El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Africa, Vietnam, Mexico, etc…
In addition, about 20 college students from Slovakia & the Czech Republic have moved into my apartment complex for a summer work program and will be here for the next 3 months. I spend many of my mornings & evenings drinking coffee with them in our courtyard, which is fostering some warm friendships and great gospel conversations. Many of these students are atheist, agnostic, or “Christian by heritage only.” Pray for Tereza, Jacob, & Milan to name a few. I’m working with a local church to show them some warm hospitality & Christian love, and two have expressed a sincere desire to attend church & Bible Study with me.
This past Sunday I was honored to preach at College Park Baptist Church, and my text was Matthew 6:5-15. I talked about “Learning to Pray Ugly.” My definition of “Praying Ugly” is “to be gripped by an acute awareness of our absolute dependency upon the Heavenly Father which wells up inside of us and spills over into a fervent outpouring of raw, unpretentious pleading.” “Praying Ugly” is in contrast to the “PRETTY PRAYING” PHARISEES & PAGANS mentioned in Matthew 6, who pray to try and impress men & God. I’m becoming more and more convinced/convicted that the church must corporately, increasingly be hidden away in “secret prayer” if we are to see the mighty hand of God at work in and around us. Contact me if you’re interested in having me come and share this message on a Sunday night, or during the week.
In closing, I offer my heartfelt thanks to those of you who gave, for supporting the work of Redeemer’s Love Houston! Your gifts have helped me pay my bills, put 2 desperately needed new tires on my car, visit the doctor, and also helped a single mom in the Houston area with car repairs and temporary housing. Thank you ALL for your faithful prayers! Please continue to pray for us in this gospel work. The Holy Spirit is opening doors, softening hearts, and preparing the way. And as the song goes, “He’s still working on me…”
To God Be The Glory!