In the Fall 2008 ATC Centerboard article, I focused on the subject of prayer as being a key ingredient in our walk with the Lord and the pursuit of successful board governance. Recently I came across this study note from the Life Application Bible (Mark 9:29) that really spoke to my heart:
Prayer is the key that unlocks faith in our life. Effective prayer needs both the attitude of complete dependence and the action of asking. Prayer demonstrates our reliance on God as we humbly invite Him to fill us with faith and power. There is no substitute for prayer, especially in circumstances that seem impossible.
As we look at the political and cultural landscape of our nation, we may tend to feel that we are facing obstacles in ministry that will be impossible to overcome. Since the elections, we've heard from our friends at Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and other Christian pro-life ministries that we're living in a post-modern culture that is unfriendly to faith, family, and freedom. What they are saying is true, but they are not suggesting that we throw up our hands in defeat and run.
Our good friend, Tom Glessner, advises in his recent article, "Preparing for Future Attacks Against PRCs" [http://www.atcmag.com/v9n4/article6.asp], that PRCs and other pro-life ministries must work together in unity, work proactively to educate legislators, and be active in the legislative process. Now is not the time to live in defeat, curse the darkness, and vacate the culture. I want to suggest several reasons why and then relate some activities that we need to engage in as executive boards.
We serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! It was Jesus who said in John 16:33, "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." The Apostle Paul encouraged us in Romans 8:37 when he said, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Earlier in chapter 8 he made this tremendous declaration, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
We possess the truth, God's Word. In John 8:31-32 we read Jesus' words, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." Jesus also stated in John 17:17, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us in our lives and ministry. Jesus speaks of sending the Holy Spirit in John 14:26, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."
We have each other! As Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father in John 17, He said, "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me." We together are ambassadors for Christ!
Jesus instructed His disciples and us, "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16). This is wise counsel, especially considering the days in which we are living. As we seek to guide pregnancy center ministries in a culture that is extremely hostile to our God-given mission, how can we be successful in engaging that culture for Christ and fulfill His mission for the PCC? We can by being committed:
To the Gospel, sharing the Good News through pro-life, compassion ministries.
To prayer, our power source. We will pray for one another, our national and local political leaders (even those we would consider our foes), and we'll pray for the lost, especially those who engage in the horrible practice of abortion.
To understanding our mission and developing plans to fulfill the mission. We understand that this is accomplished only by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit!
To an ongoing evaluation of our ministry with the goal of organizational and ministry excellence. We will continually strive to be more effective in serving the women, men, and families we serve. We will be wise stewards of the resources given by our donors, faithful in dealing with our vendors and the public, and always seeking to work in harmony with our teammates and sister ministries.
Yes, we are living in desperate days, times where we face tremendous obstacles in fulfilling our mission. However, these are not days filled with problems as much as they are times where opportunities abound to serve our Lord and the people He sends through our doors. The song, "Days of Elijah," describes our mission in today's culture:
These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the Word of the Lord.
And these are the days of Your servant Moses,
Righteousness being restored.
And though these are days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword,
Still we are the voice in the desert crying,
"Prepare ye the way of the Lord!"
Behold He comes, riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet call.
So lift your voice; it's the year of Jubilee,
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!
And these are the days of Ezekiel,
The dry bones becoming as flesh.
And these are the days of Your servant David,
Rebuilding a temple of praise.
And these are the days of the harvest;
The fields are white in the world.
And we are Your laborers in Your vineyard,
Declaring the Word of the Lord!
Words and Music by Robin Mark
© 1996 Daybreak Music LTD
May we be about the Father's business filled with joy, hope, and expectation!
Tom Lothamer is President of Life Matters Worldwide in Grand Rapids, Michigan.