“God Still Meets Needs” Available Now

My devotion, “Love Letters Only,” is one of 143 other authors who contributed to a book called, “God Still Meets Needs,” compiled by Mark Littleton.  Enjoy!

Prayer Warriors Wear Athletic Shoes

Image copyright, 2012, Nikole Hahn; available here for purchase http://www.cafepress.com/thehahnhuntinglodge

The community around our church needs just as much attention as the community within our church. Prayer Warriors wear athletic shoes.

They walk, pray, and connect. In some churches, I’ve seen prayer warriors stand in the lobby, wearing their name tags, and sometimes they approach. Most times, they wait to be approached. If your church is located in a quiet neighborhood, that’s your only option.

However, if your church is located near busy areas where people tarry and walk, perhaps where festivals occur, then your prayer warriors should put on their walking shoes and leave the church lobby. Let those who are elderly and have physical limitations remain behind to pray with the congregation. Prayer Warriors  should reach out every Sunday, meeting up with others in their community, getting updates or new prayer requests. Prayer ministries are more than just people who bow their heads and pray; prayer ministries should be about creating community, too, one handshake and one conversation at a time.

Every week in spite of rejection or acceptance, bone-deep weariness or burn-out, a prayer warrior must reconnect, get updates, and continually pray. It’s not just a polite thing or a political thing to make a church or person seem more caring. It’s a lot of behind the scenes, on your knees kind of work. It’s socializing and conversation. Some churches have what they call a Street Team, but to me, that’s just selling Jesus instead of showing how Jesus has influenced our hearts.

Send your prayer warriors out into the streets to connect with believers and non-believers. Here are some tips:

1: Don’t hide your Bible. Someone said they were taught to keep your Bible hidden bringing it out only when you need it. I disagree. To be authentic, we need to reveal our intentions and be open about what we believe and be ready to answer questions or take insult with a smile.

2: Don’t Sell Them Jesus. You don’t know their background or what they believe. Trust in the Holy Spirit to direct your mouth and feet. Approach a person with pen and paper ready and ask them if there are any prayer requests you can pray over during the week. Tell them what church you attend. It helps if your church gives you a name tag that identifies you are with a prayer team. Your goal is to love and that means you may spend a lot of time listening, conversing, and praying. You might jot down the prayer request and pray over it during the week, instead of on the spot. It all depends upon the person.

3: You Represent Your Church. Keep the conversation focused on prayer requests. In this time of our lives, politics are on everyone’s mind. Some use politics to deflect your request and push you away.

4: Follow-Up. Look for last week’s people—the people you prayed for—and get updates or say hello. Show them they are valued by talking to them, too.

5: Don’t Trade Insults or Get Angry. Jokes are common as are prayer requests for world peace from those who want to put some distance from you. Laugh at yourself. The rewards are keeping connections open in future run-ins. In some instances though, you may walk into a dangerous situation like the girl who was hit across the face with her own bible. She never pressed charges or lost her temper, but it could have gone much worse. Always bring a second person as a witness.

6: Mentoring Youth. Try to get the youth in your church to join you. Mentor them to become prayer warriors. Choose only those who can keep confidences.

And finally, remember the enemy doesn’t like it when people pray. A church should be built on prayer and every prayer warrior is needed in this culture–the ones who pray during the week, the ones who are available on Sunday, and those who pray at home. Prayer is the only effective way to change a culture.

How does your prayer group work? Describe your experiences in a prayer group.

Book Review: The Judge

A reality show brings Judge Finney and others, each representing several faiths, and an atheist to Paradise Island. The shows producers however have hidden agendas. The Judge by Randy Singer is a tale of intrigue, education, and a trial that tests all faiths.

Judge Finney and his legal assistant, Nikki Moreno are embroiled in a trial where the suspect uses code to issue a death warrant on a witness. While this trial has no bearing on the story, we get a hint of what the Judge uses farther along in the book to get messages to Nikki Moreno and a young genius, Wellington Farnsworth.

Paradise Island is a secret location in which the contestants are whisked away in a mock trial to test their faiths intellectually and emotionally. There are several political groups against the show, and one of the producers’ father is a pastor who is boycotting the show. Faith on Trial tests each faith. Strangely, all of the contestants become friends and that friendship creates a strong bond in the face of the evil lurking on the island.

Through a series of codes, Judge Finney gets Nikki Moreno and Wellington Farnsworth to investigate the producers and the backers of Faith on Trial as he gets clues that their lives are in danger.

Randy Singer does a great job in putting together a complicated and well researched novel that keeps me guessing. I thought Kareem, the Muslim, was the snitch. What came in the end of the novel took me by surprise.

I like a novel that keeps me guessing. It also educated me on different faiths and the history of codes. I found it fascinating. The different codes made my mind spin. Math isn’t my strength. It caused me to want to read the history of codes or search for the hidden treasure. The novel was very technical. There is no romance in it. The novel was written for the male. What I thought was the best line in the novel was when the producers questioned why Swami wasn’t willing to die for his faith and he replied in essence that a television show was not worth dying over. The swami wasn’t Christian. I kept thinking of what I would do in Judge Finney’s place.

Unless a television show’s results were rigged, I wouldn’t be against defending my faith in a reality television show. In one scene, Judge Finney admitted that science wasn’t his strength and when he had to question a microbiologist, he was pretty weak having no background in it. In the same vein, I don’t think I would volunteer to defend my faith in a setting like that as I’m not quick on my feet. Answers come slowly after much thought.

Even in arguments or tense situations, I always manage to find the best answers long after the opportunity has passed. I like talking to people. With all the books available on different religions, a reality show seems unnecessary. What’s more effective in glorifying God is face to face communication when the Holy Spirit softens a heart, making them open to hearing the truth.

This is my first Randy Singer novel and I am hooked. I gave it five stars.

*Novel given by publisher to review.

Unfailing Sundays: Prayer Team

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””

Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

Today I and my husband will be going out to gather prayer requests from the community before service. Pray for us.

God in a Chinese Fortune Cookie

Dear God,

In “Oh, God Book 2″ the little girl receives a message from you in a Chinese cookie. After watching that movie, I often wished when I cracked open a Chinese cookie your message would be on that sliver of paper–a clear direction in a confusing world.

But then, I am reminded what Mondays With My Old Pastor, by Jose Luis Navajo said, “Don’t despair if you don’t understand the meaning of something today. Keep eating the fruit. This is also the message of the cross.” He pointed to the dozen crucifixes that decorated the simple room. “We do not understand what happened there until we visit the tomb and find it empty. Too often we despair and give up in the middle of the storm, when the only thing we should do is trust and wait. The storm will pass, and then we will discover that the waves that terrified us were actually the same waves that served to alter the course of our sailing causing us to dock in the right harbor.”

My Father, I know you don’t speak through a Chinese cookie. I only have to fall back on your Word. You gave us that and the Holy Spirit. You gave us your Son. You gave us you.

Hear my prayer, O Lord,

and give ear to my cry;

hold not your peace at my tears!

For I am a sojourner with you,

a guest, like all my fathers,

Look away from me, that I may smile again,

before I depart and am no more!

- Psalm 39:12-13

So when I eat at a Chinese restaurant, I won’t look for a sign from you in a Chinese cookie. I’ll look on my knees. I’ll look in the pages of your book. You are praiseworthy, my Father.

And I’ll wait and pray, however long it takes.

Love, your daughter

I Know You Won’t Listen to Me

Dear Little Girl Me,

I know you won’t listen to me. You aren’t listening to anyone these days. Do not dismiss what your instinct is telling you. That’s the Holy Spirit talking. Even though you aren’t saved yet, you’re searching for Jesus. First, you thought baptism would save you and if you acted a certain way, dressed in a certain way, maybe God would love you. Maybe you would be good enough to get to Heaven. You got out of that false religion for the wrong reasons and yet it caused you to research that religion. It many ways that was a step closer in the right direction. Then, you lost your way.

That anger inside of you is like a disease.

Trust me when I tell you the anger will eat you up inside, like one of those tissue-eating bacteria you’ve read about. Some days those conversations with the invisible rendition of your birth father behind the closed door of your room are angry; other days they are calm, almost forgiving.

Almost.

You won’t forgive him until your mid-thirties. This issue won’t go away. You should listen to that instinct that tells you at eighteen to call your birth father even though that will cause problems. There’s always two sides to every story.

In divorce, there are no bad guys or good guys, except in abuse situations—it’s just two brokenhearted people standing in the pool of discarded dreams or unrealistic expectations. You’re in the middle, wet with their tears, heavy with their burdens and hurts. Your birth father will nearly die because of heart issues and when you find him years from now, you’ll feel closure and relief that you called him and he was still alive. That’s all you needed anyway. You already know Jesus loves you. As Psalm 27:10 assures you, you have a Father in Heaven, but right now at eighteen all you want to feel is loved. You trade a piece of yourself every time you lie with a man outside the bounds of marriage.

One day you’ll meet the right man and you’ll treat him, at first, harshly, but you’ll marry him and that marriage will be what God uses to bring you to Him. It will be the final chess move and you’ll be stronger. You’ll finally know love. But for now you’ll try to find that love in men, crossing that moral line, and then, you’ll go to credit cards.

You’ll spend money you don’t have and can’t pay back because buying clothes and jewelry makes you feel complete. Coming out with an armful of new stuff, fills for the moment the gap in your soul. It only works for a little while and then the “drug” wears off and you’re restless again. You know something is wrong, but you’re looking in the wrong direction for what you need. What you are looking for is not available. I know you hurt right now and no one is listening. You don’t know how to explain your hurt or anger, or how to express it. You don’t know who will listen. You’re always scared. You’re always hiding behind your books.

You’re always hiding.

 

Stop hiding.

 

It’s time to heal.

 

And to heal, you need to be brave.

 

Love, Big Girl Me

Speaking Today @praiseandcoffee (Anthem, AZ)

Dear Readers,

Today I am speaking at North Phoenix Praise and Coffee in Anthem, Arizona. Please pray that my message is powered by the Holy Spirit. The message is too important. People need to hear it from one who has experienced it.

And if there are any prayer requests, please do not hesitate to put them in the comments. May we all pray for them.

Thanks, Nikki

For more information on Praise and Coffee meetings across the world, click here.