Praying About An Ark Encounter

Ark Encounter Model

Ark Encounter Model

As The Ark Encounter gets ready to open in a few days, I want to share with you how I have been praying. No! I have NOT been praying about the weather. I should have, it’s supposed to rain. But then I thought, “Hey, rain on the  day of the ribbon cutting of The Ark Encounter is absolutely appropriate!”

But I want to share with you how I have, for the last few weeks, been praying. I have been reminded of the explorers of old and their reasons for wanting to find the Ark. Many of them, the Christians, wanted to find the Ark for much the same reason Ken Ham and company has built this Ark, namely, to bring the truth of the Word of God to the world. Well, on July 5th, in a very real sense, these men and women explorer’s prayers have been answered, THE ARK HAS BEEN FOUND!!! Here has been my prayer:

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth. Lord, let Your Name be so real, so majestic, so excellent in men and women’s lives, as You rehear and then answer the prayers of these men and women explorers from the past. Cause men and women and boys and girls from all over the earth to experience You in a personal way, accepting Your Son, our Ark, and enter into eternal salvation in You as they visit The Ark Encounter.

Now I want to be real careful here to not set a dogmatic doctrine on a theme that ArkEncounterOpeningmany will say, “Mark, you’re just crazy!” I want to be clear, this kind of praying is a VERY, VERY SMALL percentage of my praying. Let me illustrate how small. My prayer partners and I have a friend who has been in heaven for a number of years, none of us met Bill personally. Our first face to face meeting with him will be in heaven, but I can also tell you that, probably once a month or more, we remember to ask the Lord, “To rehear Bill’s prayers afresh for his family, and for his friends and for his pastor.” And that’s it!

Let me say this a bit differently, in a month or two of praying, praying by men who are on the phone together for many hours per month and then in their own prayers for many more hours in the same month, the ONLY length of time this prayer gets, is maybe, 10 seconds, maybe. So it is a VERY small amount of our praying.

Forgive me for the previous two paragraphs warnings and pleadings, but I want to be careful that we DO NOT let this become a new “Fad” in your praying. God is interested in YOUR effectual and fervent prayers! That’s what He wants to hear.

But you might ask, “Why Mark do you even pray this way at all?”

ArkEncounterTimeSquare

Ark Encounter Advertising on Times Square

Great question. You might want to say that in Revelation 5:8, the prayers of the saints are stored up for God to rehear. I personally wouldn’t push the verse that far because there is too much that isn’t said in the verse, about prayer.

You might also look at an argument that departed saints are in heaven praying, as Revelation 6:9-10 implies. Again, I think that it is pushing the envelope of prayers and where they originated, which is in heaven and not on earth (remembering that this post is because of my reference above of explorer’s prayers). Also, Revelation 6:9-10 is focusing on the pray-ers said in heaven by martyred saints. And the subject of their prayers were very specific, vengeance. So please, do not take the focus off of what God would have us do, namely, here on earth, pray.

There is however, one reason that I would ask the Lord to rehear the prayers of the previous Ark explorers as I did above, and there isn’t single verse in Scripture that associates this reason with prayer. Time. The reason is time, TIME! God is outside of time! I don’t really know what that means, but it is a bit comforting to me to think, that maybe, just maybe, God can rehear afresh, the prayers from the past. Call me crazy if you want, it’s okay. But if  you do not call me crazy, then please, pray with me:

Oh Lord, our Lord, rehear the prayers of those Christian explorers who so wanted men and women and boys and girls to find Your Son thru the finding of the Ark. For truly, THE ARK HAS BEEN FOUND!!! It might be in Kentucky and not in the mountains of Ararat, but Lord, our Lord use it to bring the saving knowledge of Your Son to men and women.

To visit the ark and get the details on tickets click here.

 

Mark S Mirza
Author/Speaker
E: Mark@CTMPrayer.org
C: 404-606-2322

Team Kenya

TeamKenya

WRITING FROM THE NAIROBI KENYA AIRPORT:

My hope was to come home and say, “We now have a Common Thread Ministries team in Kenya.”

Not only do we now have a team there, but their first speaking engagement is in January!

And please pray for them as they are, forgive the pun, surrounded by a jungle of unorthodox praying. The exciting part is that while they realize this fact, they are looking forward to teaching the truth and the source of all truth, peace and biblical prosperity. They will be doing in Kenya what God allows me to do here in the USA, namely, teaching others about prayer so as to rebuild the foundations of their prayer life (our mission statement, from Psalm 11:3) while leaving in our wake men and women committed to prayer so that they are watchful and thankful in their praying (our vision statement, from Colossians 4:2).

This morning, my last day, I was awakened in the middle of the night reflecting on these last few days. Let me share with you part of my prayer this morning. Oh Father, why are you blessing me like this? I do not deserve it. You are answering the prayer of my heart that I pray so often, namely, “Father, use me.”

We have a team of three men that live in different regions of Kenya. For their first speaking engagement Eric R. will take a matatu bus from Nairobi to Nakuru. And Lawrence O. will take a matatu bus from Kisumu to Nakuru where they will meet up with the third member of the team, David K.

Our longtime friend Zachariah Shahazi has already agreed to allow these men to use his church in January. Our three man team will teach from my first book, Prayer Made Alive, or, as the Swahili translation is named, Maombi Kufanywa Hai.

Let me quote David, who in our last prayer time together started praying the mission and vision of Common Thread Ministries to the Lord. He prayed “That this new team would be used by the Lord to rebuild the foundations of the prayer lives of men and women in the churches they speak in.” He also prayed, “That they would leave in their wake men and women committed to prayer who would be watchful and thankful as they pray.” 

And then later in the day Lawrence acknowledged his deeper understanding of prayer, “taking his prayer life to the next level” with a relationship that allows him to trust God with difficult issues. He is thanking the Lord for the difficulties and is looking forward to letting these times when God comforts him, “to give him the wisdom and insight to comfort others in the selfsame way.”

Our resident tech geek, Eric mentioned more than once how blessed he was to hear the truth of prayer and have his false understandings corrected in love. It was obvious to all of us that Eric’s prayer life was changing, giving him a peace that completely transcended his understanding.

Clark, from my Tuesday morning Bible study came with me. He has a unique mix of maturity that allowed him to be an indispensable support giving timely spiritual insight and having super techno knowledge for the tablets we took to Team Kenya. Truly we could not have accomplished what we did in the 72 hours we had, without Clark. I told him I did not want to put pressure on him, but he just became a permanent part of Team Kenya.

Thank you for your interest in Common Thread Ministries and consider following our numerous FB pages.

Also, check out our latest resource. Mark’s novel, “The Pray-ers” Book 1 is at the printers. You can still buy it for an $8.00 savings until it is available to ship, which will be in a couple of weeks. See “The Pray-ers” website at www.ThePray-ers.com for information.

Again, thank you for your prayers. We really covet them.

 

Mark S Mirza
Founder, Common Thread Ministries
Author, The Pray-ers
C: 404-606-2322
E: Mark@CTMPrayer.org
W: www.CTMPrayer.org
W: www.ThePray-ers.com

Praising God Amidst Brokenness

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This post is taken from
a prayer of Paul’s that we often miss.
The HCSB entitles this section of the chapter
A HYMN OF PRAISE

Romans 11:33-36 (NASB)
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Paul has just spent the previous 86 verses discussing Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, and what that means, to them and to the Gentiles. In much of these 86 verses, you hear Paul’s heart breaking for his people…and it is in THAT context that he praises God.

APPLICATION…Can you praise God when your heart is broken…whether it be for your loved ones, or for your nation? Can you praise God when you are broken through being laid off, being divorced? Can you praise God when brokenness comes because of sin that you have let get out of hand? Maybe it is something that you “hid” from God, that you lied to a loved one about? Believe me, praising God is so much bigger than we realize. It has a place in every one of these situations.

By looking at Paul’s prayer can you tell where Paul received his comfort from? After 86 verses of lamenting, I think Paul puts down his pen and opens his heart to receiving comfort from God. And how does he receive it, this comfort? I believe that it is in Paul knowing the wisdom and knowledge of who God is, which Paul gained from spending time in His Word (remember verses like 2 Timothy 4:13). I believe that this allows Paul to see the depth of God’s riches. In recognizing afresh, all of this about God, Paul realizes that he doesn’t need to have all the answers, because God’s judgments (or decisions) are unfathomable to our finite brains. He acknowledged that no one can know the mind of God, and certainly, no one can “counsel” God or give Him advice. Verse 35 uses a phrase that in English comes out a bit awkward, Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? I think a better way to say this is, “Do you think you can give God something He would then be beholden to you over?” Paul finishes with basically saying, “Look, this is all about God!”

So, recognizing that due to circumstances, any circumstances, you are broken. I want you to pray Paul’s prayer with me, using your own words where appropriate, and applying it to your brokenness. These verses (Romans 11:33-36), prayed, might sound something like this:

Father, the wisdom and knowledge gained from Your Word confirms for me the depth of Your riches, and Lord, they are too wonderful, too overwhelming to me. So often I want to know and figure out Your mind, but thank You that not only can I not know Your mind, but no one can give You counsel. You know my situation Father, so much better than I do, there is nothing I can offer You that would cause You to owe me anything, and Lord, I do NOT want that responsibility. You are sovereign overall and Your throne is above the heavens (Psalm 103:19). I praise You that Your sovereignty means that all things, all circumstances, including this difficult one in my life, are not a surprise to You, it was seen by You first and authorized in Your personal plans for my life. And so without any hesitation, and with perfect trust I can say that this difficulty is from You, through You and unto Your Glory, forever and ever. Father, I do not understand my plight, but I thank You that You are in control. It is THAT wisdom and knowledge of the riches You have given me, through Your Son, even in the midst of my difficulty, that allows me to approach You in praise, in the midst of my brokenness. Lord, I praise You for I don’t need to know exactly how You plan to work, I don’t need to give You “advice” about my situation for I trust You. In fact it is foolish for me to even think that You owe me any explanation. I trust and know that You work all things out for the better (Romans 8:28), Amen and Amen.

 

May I end with a couple of reminders?

  1. I’m not saying, “Don’t ask God to take away your difficulties.” It is natural to do that, and even Paul did…three times! I’m not saying that there is ANYTHING special about asking three times. Paul could have asked only one time, or ten times, or more. My point is this, at SOME TIME he stopped asking!
  2. Also, Philippians 4:6-7 gives us a “formula” if you will, to receive peace. It says, you come to the Lord with what? It says, “with prayer , petitions and thanksgivings…” The next time you are anxious about ANYTHING, would you seriously consider carrying a piece of paper with you, and start writing the things down that you can give thanks for, on behalf of your difficulty? You will be surprised the things the Lord lays on your heart.

When I was in Kenya a couple of months ago a new friend of mine, stood up on the last day I was in her village. She said, “Last night, I was lying in bed, my leg was hurting and I started talking to God, ‘I said Lord, I don’t like what that Muzungu said, but I know it is in Your Word, so will You show me what I can give thanks for?'” She smiled and then her eyes teared up, and she said, “There were a thousand things I could give thanks for.”

My friend, praise Him! Praise God that you can give thanks and praises for difficulties in your life. And friend, thank the Lord that I didn’t lecture on what the Bible says about the “benefits” that come from difficulties in our life. That is a whole other post!

Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries
Mark@CTMPrayer.org
@CTMPrayer

Common Thread Ministries

Entering Africa

A common thread ministries trip report

Before I even begin this post, I fear it will not be short, so I ask you to forgive me.

I want to give you a “brief” summary of my trip to Kenya. I flew out of the USA on August 14th and returned on September 2nd. The flights in and out were very smooth, but baggage and waiting issues were a challenge, and yet, they were COMPLETELY for God’s glory.

  • My checked bag, with items for the churches I spoke in (and bug spray along with extra hair gel for me) didn’t arrive when I did, but because my host pastor and I picked it up at the end of my trip, I was able to introduce him to a missionary friend of mine who lives in Nairobi. We’ll see what the Lord does with that. And regarding me not having bug spray for 2 weeks? I didn’t get a single mosquito bite (that I know of) the entire time I was there.
  • Running to the wrong gate for my first connection (wrong because the gate had changed since my boarding ticket was printed) caused me to bruise my heel. My prayer however, was that it would NEVER be a distraction while I was teaching, and it never was.

Day 1 & 2 Wednesday and Thursday, August 14-15, were spent traveling, arriving in Nairobi about 8:30 pm on Thursday August 15. Fortunately, thanks to a friend in Nairobi a driver was waiting for me. He was very reliable which gave great comfort in, basically, a mad-house as the International Flights terminal had burned down only 1 week earlier.

Day 3, Friday, August 16, I was up at 5am in Nairobi and talked with my wife, who at 10pm her time, was just leaving her office. Here is a portion of her text to me:

Just finished my timesheet and getting ready to go home. Very tired.

I met with Timothy Kyuli who runs Source of Light Ministries in Kenya. He arranged for me to speak to his staff which lasted well over an hour…and I was ready to keep talking. Timothy is a very humble man who I loved immediately. As I was speaking to his people I found myself drifting over to what would become my theme as I spoke over the next two weeks to leaders in Nakuru and Kisii, namely, Spiritual Warfare. Since I do not believe that the Bible teaches Christians to “bind” or “rebuke” as acts of spiritual warfare, I got a little push-back but it was very little as I taught the truth in love. Please note that I am not talking about casting demons out of the unsaved individuals. I am talking about the everyday spiritual warfare that we as Christians face.

Day 4, Saturday, August 17, my host Zachariah Shahasi and his son Sammy came to pick me up for the long drive to Nakuru where we did an outdoor rally, inviting people to come to church the next day. I found a song in Swahili that I love the tune of and a few of the words that are repeated, over and over, “Angalia Baba” which, of course, means “Set Your eyes on us now” and was sung for me in each place that I went to. If you think the makeshift platform is not sturdy…you’re right!

Day 5, Sunday, August 18, arrived to speak, with a special chair set aside for the speaker, in front of everyone. I am uncomfortable with that, and always have been, so I sat with the congregation. I got to speak for nearly 2 hours! And the kids that were there were INCREDIBALLY well behaved and no one looked at their watch. Amazing! There were 4 pastors who would not be able to attend my conferences later in the week, so they attended Mt Olive (where I spoke) instead of their own churches. Each of them asked me to find time to share the message with their congregations…which I would not be able to do, but became a directive for the next two weeks…You’ll see what I mean.

I purchased a local phone and airtime as it was a LOT less expensive than using my American phone

I picked up a new name. Pastor Zachariah, a bit mockingly, calls me Muzungu, it means white guy! The name came about this way, “Brother Mark,” Zachariah said, “I have never met a Muzungu who speaks for more than 30 minutes.” I took it as, and he meant it as, a compliment.

Pastor Peter who has only been married for 3 years was touched and challenged by my teaching on unity in the home, and submitting to one another. Pastor Karanja realized that he no longer needed to worry about money, and just focus on his calling. A very senior pastor, and the founder of Mt. Olive, said to Brother Zachariah, “This is an important teaching.” To say the least I was, most humbly blessed.

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Day 6, Monday, August 19, the first of 3 pastor’s and lay leader’s conferences began. Spoke very strong on Spiritual Warfare where it connected very well. It was strongly embraced and it was a great challenge to the people there. Great blessing as I could tell these folks were hungry for deep spiritual Bible study. Began today with A Solemn Assembly which ends up being the way I begin EACH conference.

I am seeing that Karanja is a good reliable helper for me. There is another man there, Kevin, very quiet, but a solid godly man. I like him, a lot. Both of these men end up being the leaders of the Sons of Thunder Nakuru chapter that met for the first time on Saturday, August 21st.

Am proud of my name, Muzungu, but notice that Zachariah is saying it mockingly…in good fun, very good humor…I am not offended, but I need to do something about it.

Day 7, Tuesday August 20, started with a review of the previous day…which took nearly an hour, all by itself. Submission to God, is really what I am teaching…submission because we completely trust God. They really resonated with the realization that they do NOT have to WORRY anymore. Big breakthrough in this area. Pastor Evans, who is my host next week, while we are in Kisii and who helped Zachariah organize the meetings starting tomorrow is a local pastor. I made an executive decision and chose to go to his church to speak Sunday morning, instead of the one scheduled. It ended up being the right decision for a whole host of reasons. I REALLY need to remain abiding in Christ so that I do not miss a single thing He is saying to me.

At the end of today’s meeting I told the audience that the name Muzungu doesn’t cut it, “Brother Zachariah mocks me every time he calls me by that name.” Everyone laughed and then Bro. Evan’s daughter and wife, Faith and Pamela, came up with Mogaka (which means, basically, respected older man). So my new name is Muzungu Mogaka, which literally means, “White Old Guy.”

Calculated to the cost of a 20 minute call to the USA today…$1.25 using my Kenyan phone. Not $1.25 per minute, but total, $1.25.

Day 8, Wednesday, August 21, is the first of another 2 day pastor’s and lay leader’s conference. The amazing thing to me, is the dozen that showed up that were at the previous two day’s meetings. They wanted to hear it again! I wrote the following in my journal a couple of days earlier, but it fits perfectly here, “Our money and busy-ness in the West is a curse upon us.”

I have really loved a tradition that Bro. Zachariah and his wife Rebecca have, where every morning they begin with Kenyan tea (half milk and half hot water). I had no idea that tea is very important to Kenya. Apparently it’s a big deal. It will not be until Monday that I see, literally, how big of a deal it is. I am purposely not eating much, partially fasting each day, but the fellowship of our morning tea is too wonderful to give up.

Here is part of a text I sent my prayer team, quoting a pastor who I put up onto FB as a testimony. In part he says, “’We’re used to seeing problems as demons, we now see them as opportunities.’  I am hearing this from e/one!  SO, pray for CLEAR direction on a return trip in April. Thanks team.”

Those of you that have seen me preach may think this a bit corny, but, after looking at the pictures of me teaching and preaching, I’m kind of animated, aren’t I? I never realized how animated I was.

2013-0822-DiscussingBrokennessHumblenessAndWaitingVerses

Day 9, Thursday, August 22, clear direction came! I had asked for clear direction. Should I return? Do they really want to hear this message, or are they just being polite? I gave everyone there a blank sheet of paper and asked them to write their contact information down and fold it, giving it to someone at the door, if they wanted me to return. I told them that if they do not want me to speak to their congregation, these messages, please just fold up the sheet and return it, with nothing on it, that way there is no embarrassment as they walk out the door. I left, as I did not want there to be any pressure from me. Every single one asked me to return. It was amazing!

I also told them about the Sons of Thunder. I told them that the name had NOTHING to do with James and John, but rather, it was because Dr. Stanley said, when he started it at FBA, that the prayers of men going up to the Lord was like the sound of thunder. But here’s the other thing I told them…that it is a MEN’S prayer meeting, NOT women. I was very careful, and very gracious to the women, who understood, and secretly, want the men to pray…without them.

Told them that I am returning in April 2014 (the dates will probably be the last week of March and the first week of April). Decided to start praying for a group of men that may possibly be the team that organizes the 2014 trip.

I cannot express the blessings I am having, just sharing the truths of scripture, some VERY radical from their perspective, but sharing them in love…and seeing them embraced. Amazing!

I’d like to bring someone with me when I return next year…but who?

Personal intimate, intercessory praying, for this group, was a challenge. I asked them to pair up, and then pray for each other, LISTENING while the other person was praying…THEY GOT IT! They did it! It was amazing! Later a pastor testified to the fact that many of them did not know how to intercede for others. They do now, and expect it to change their prayer life, for the rest of their lives.

Mentioned, very lightly, about Sons of Thunder this Saturday. No big sell, just a quiet reminder.

There is another custom, and this one I do NOT like and I have put a stop to it…I think. I do NOT like eating lunch separated from the “regular” people. So today I told the leaders to eat without me and I just enjoyed the people who were eating outside. This becomes a bigger issue next week.

Day 10, Friday, August 23, Non-teaching day, I went on a non-gun safari and had a great deal of fun. Two surprises out in the bush were: 1) the length of a lion’s tail, and 2) how amazingly majestic Giraffes look.

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Day 11, Saturday, August 24, we had the inauguration of the Sons of Thunder Nakuru chapter. It was a 2 hour Sons of Thunder. There were only two there at first, Karanja and Kevin, which was perfect, because I got to teach them exactly what needs to happen. The moment we were done preparing 2 more men arrived. There were 5 of us the first day.

From my Journal, “I am so excited! I am at day 11 and I have another week to go!”

Day 12, Sunday, August 25, I learned another custom, this one was in the home of the pastor after church. They do not use napkins. One of the daughters comes by with a picture of water, and over a bowl, she pours water onto your hands and you wash them. After the meal, she comes back with the same thing, but adds a bar of soap, and you clean them again. Here they gave us a towel to dry our hands, but next week in Kisii, there would be no towel. The church service was another blessing. Two college girls who attend another church, but were at the two day conference earlier this week wanted to hear my messages again, so skipped their church to visit this one. What a blessing.

Next week should look like this:

  • Monday, Drive for 5 hours, Speaking 10 – 4
  • Tuesday, Speaking 9 – 4
  • Wednesday, Speaking 9 – 1, lunch and then by 2 we drive back to Nakuru

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Day 13, Monday, August 26, we drove 5 hours into the interior to begin a 3 day pastor’s and lay leader’s conference. They expect over 120 people (day one, 127, day two 167, day three 170) and so I bought a cow…which we ate over the next few days. There is a pastor who keeps coming to me, wanting to be my friend…something isn’t right, I can’t put my finger on it, but he is CLEARLY the exception. The rule, is the great graciousness that everyone has, and genuine thankfulness that I see, as I tell these people to QUIT focusing on demons, and they are walking away with a renewed hope. It is so amazing that God is using me. Unbelievable! Humbling, and exciting, both!

Lunch today was terrible (not the food, just the way we are doing it), first of all, some of us leaders, and my team that came with me (about 9 people) were ushered into a room off of the sanctuary, waited for 20 minutes to eat, and then while we were still eating, music started in the sanctuary, which is the call back to worship. I told my host, graciously, that I will not do that again. I am here to encourage the congregation. I cannot do that separating myself from them. My poor host, he was very uncomfortable with my decision, because that just isn’t done. The leaders ALWAYS separate themselves. Even the podium, it is a monstrously huge item. I stood behind it for the first session of the first day, but then got out from behind it, and stood with the people the rest of the time.

I am loving the kids. They all just want to shake my hand. It’s too cute.

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Day 14, Tuesday, August 27, I told my host I wanted to be there ½ hour before we started so that I could welcome people when they came. He hesitantly obliged me and I had a great time welcoming people when they arrived. I saw two young men walking, each with a live chicken in their hands, and so I took a photo with them. Instead of continuing up the street though, they walked into the church property…I think I ate a drumstick of one of the two chickens that I photographed that day.

I again offered the pastors there the request of having me speak to their congregations. They accepted with overwhelming enthusiasm. They also asked me to do sessions, just for women, just for men, and then just for couples. My host and I also talked about the possibility of a return later in 2014 to another province altogether, to do the same thing in another part of Kenya, that I was doing there, in Kisii.

So here’s what I think, my trip back in March/April 2014 would be a follow up to this current trip. And a trip back in August of 2014 would be to break new ground in a different province. As we were talking I was reminded of something that Bro. Zachariah and I had talked about, before he handed me off to Bro. Evans. He said, “Mark, this cannot be a one time thing. You need to return, maybe even starting Common Thread Ministries-Kenya.” And I remember responding, “Bro. Zachariah, I don’t just want to reach Kenya, I want to reach the whole world.” I don’t know why I am so keenly remembering that comment, but I am. As I see people realizing the truth of trusting the God of the Bible, I am moved to share this message with Christians all over the world.

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Day 15, Wednesday, August 28, this is going to be my last day teaching. I woke up sobered by that thought. Karanja was told by one of the participants, “Something like this has never happened before, never, since God created the world, have we had so many denominations together in one place. Everyone wants to know what is going on here.” We had Methodists, Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists and a Catholic all under the same roof, listening to the same speaker.

I realized something today, that with all of the speaking I have done, my voice never wavered, never faltered. God is so good! The testimonies are awesome, an old preacher said he was moved by the messages on unity. Someone asked for diplomas and I told them I would never give diplomas (I gave certificates of participation and will each time I return), but I told them there are never going to be diplomas given, because the learning never stops at the school of the Bible.

Did an interesting Q & A this day. So many of the people that asked questions were so polite, and inquisitive, but then I saw a couple of questions given to me by the same guy who wanted to be my friend. The day before he said he wanted me to take him to the USA. I asked him why? And he said that it is a desire of his heart, and so I just threw back at him what I had been teaching, specifically, whatever God wants you to do, just trust Him to accomplish it. He didn’t like that answer and so I got a bit tougher with him and so I asked him whose will is it? Is it God’s will that you come to America? He assured me that it was, but again, his attitude was so selfish, I just couldn’t help myself…now realize, this is NOT during a session, this was at a break, I asked him to stand up there with me, in front of his 5 of 6 friends. I told him to tell his friends that it is God’s will for him to come with me. He did, and then with him up there, and my arm around his shoulders (so he couldn’t get away), I asked his friends, whose will is it, his or God’s, they all laughed and said it was his will, not to be confused with His will.

So this same guy sends me some questions during the Q & A about how terrible it is that women wear trousers making them look like men (Deuteronomy 22:5). I responded with, “Have you not read in scripture where it says that men are to have long hair? Why do you judge others? The Bible also says that the way you judge, you will be judged similarly.” Another question from him challenged the day of the Sabbath, I said, “Whoever sent me this question needs to seek forgiveness!” I said, “The purpose of this question is to ONLY be divisive! And the sin of divisiveness is like the sin of witchcraft.” The place erupted in applause!

Sons of Thunder, Kisii Chapter will begin the third Saturday of September. Karanja and Kevin will travel to Kisii to start it, and give it to a few leaders there.

Day 16, Thursday, August 29, we traveled back to Nairobi where I would spend 2 days debriefing myself on what has just happened. Great time relaxing before my long travel back to the USA.

I thought of advice I could give someone who was going to Kenya for the first time, and with all of the driving we did, I could only come up with this, “The lines on the road are merely suggestions.” If you’ve ever driven in a third world country you know what I mean.

Day 17, Friday, August 30, I had the opportunity to welcome a group of men and women from FBA who arrived in Kenya to teach pastors and Sunday school leaders for the next two weeks. I enjoyed meeting them at the airport, with me heading back the next day.

Days 18, 19 and 20, Saturday thru Monday, August 31 thru September 2,  were travel days. Kind of long travel days…kind of like this post.

Wasa lili way, Bwana
You are worthy oh Lord

Jesu ni Bwana
Jesus Christ is Lord

 

Mark S Mirza

Common Thread Ministries

Why Pray?

I received the following email yesterday, and believe that this is a good email to re-start communicating again. With our new website up and running and some new tools available. This is probably as good a time as any to start encouraging again.

With all that said, here is yesterday’s email:

    Hey Mark, My name is…You came and spoke at our church and I enjoyed it very much. What i am writing to you about is a question that you covered but i must not have written down the scripture. I was talking to a guy i work with and he asked me “Why do we have to pray when God already knows what we want and need” I know that God wants to hear from us but i did not have the scriptures to back it up. If you could help me out with this question it would be greatly appreciated. Also, Just wanted to thank you for your weekly prayer sheet that you send me each week, I am so glad I signed up for it.     Because of Him

Below is my response:

Great question my friend!

I often begin talking about this subject this way, in keeping with your friend’s thoughts, “Why should we pray? It doesn’t make any sense! We are asking God, the One who spoke the words and the worlds lept into existence, about something something that He already knows how He’s going to answer, even though we have NO CLUE, what we’re even asking for yet! It doesn’t make any sense!”

And yet, the end of James 4:2 tells us that “we do not have because we do not ask.” Amazing! That’s all I can say, “Amazing!” What’s so amazing about it? That God is telling us, and this is the answer to your friend, that He, the creator of the universe, wants us to participate in what He does. It’s just that simple.

I believe that it is because of His love for us, which draws Him to WANT a relationship with us. Is that not amazing?

I hope that this email is an encouragement to you. Don’t forget the following tools:

Prayers from Psalm 119 and the Book of James

GBC Prayer Initiative and our weekly prayers

Daily Radio Spots

And of course my new book

In His Name, with great thanksgivings,

Mark S Mirza

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We Had Church Today Pastor!

When talking about a “Pulpit Ministry” I hear potential pray-ers say things like, “But we will miss our preacher if we pray for him, while he is preaching. We love his teaching.”

Recently I was talking to a pastor friend of mine in Morven where he shared the following incident…mind you, this is a church with around 100 in attendance on Sundays…He shared the following:

It was the ladies week to pray while he was preaching and a couple of them had stopped going to their prayer room. But one lady in the pew saw another heading for the prayer room and said to herself, “Oh, I can’t let sister so-and-so pray by herself, I should go back there and join her.” Another woman in another part of the church saw the first one and said the same thing. Somehow, before anyone knew it, there were 6 (six) maturer ladies in that room praying up a storm.

After church a couple of them came up to the pastor and said, “Pastor, don’t take this the wrong way, but we had church in there!”

Gotta love what happens when people pray.

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Sin, Submission and God’s Power

Last night’s Associational spring meeting in Dry Branch was focused on 1 John 5:14-15. I teach on this passage often, regarding the confidence we are to have when we pray. Last night I spoke twice and so the first session was on sin and it’s effect on the confidence we should have when we pray, and the second session was on confidence that we have, praying scripture.

During the first session, and the focus on sin, we went into A Solemn Assembly that was truly that, solemn. There were many encouraging comments afterwards, during the break. But what I want to share in this blog, was what happened earlier in the day that brought this issue, sin in our life, “front and center” in my life and mind.

I had to deal with a “needling, plaguing, persistent” sin. Admittedly, it is persistent, because I am allowing myself to be drawn to it. But what was interesting and exciting, and to some extent, troubling, was how, at one point in the day, I completely submitted to the Lord. I believe that the Lord reminded me that when I am in sin, I cannot be empowered by the Holy Spirit. I realized immediately that I needed to “cease and desist” or, speak tonight in the power of Mark. Maybe I should say, in the power of mark, instead of Mark.

John 10:10b says, He came that we might have life and have it (in the Spanish, ABUDANTE)…abundantly. Friend, are you not living the abundant life? It begins with you submitting to God, not in the sense of getting saved obviously, if you are already saved, but in the sense of giving up YOUR will and submitting to the Lord, which in my case today meant turning from my temptation.

Praise God, He was the power tonight, (not Mark, I mean mark) and many folks were blessed. I got to experience living the abundant life tonight, serving God and loving it…and people were blessed…praise the Lord!

Two Churches, Two Messages

Same Bottom Line

Naida and I are sitting in the Erie airport awaiting our late flight. As I reflect on these last three days I am intrigued and humbled by the exciting time that we have had up here.

Both churches were given two distinct messages, but the “bottom-line” was the same in both. One church, Lake Pointe in Erie, was a prayer conference, while the other, today, was an All-Day Intensive.

Both pastors told me that this was just what their churches needed. Both said that their churches are on a journey and this was EXACTLY what was needed for this date and time, in their journey.

Both of them also said this, and this is the bottom line…”Come back.” I always pray Colossians 4:2-4, for each church that I visit. Please pray this for them as follows:

Lord, we trust that thru this teaching, this weekend, that these congregations will commit themselves to prayer and that they will find a renewed thankfulness and watchfulness as they pray. Father, cause them to pray, trusting, that You are already opening doors for me to return and serve their needs.

Thank you for praying with us.

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The Holy Spirit’s Seal

WELL, TWO SEALS ACTUALLY

I have shared on FB that when I scheduled this weekend of events, in the North, in February, there were a number of people who said, “You’re crazy! Don’t you know what the weather will be like?”

I usually responded with, “I’m in the prayer business and so I don’t worry about those kinds of details.” But today, I remembered that I did reach out to Pastor Ashely, who was confident that it wasn’t a problem. And so, since he wasn’t, I wasn’t concerned either…because I’m a “prayer-guy.”

But as you may have seen, by my FB pictures, the weather has been beautiful! And AFTER the last session today, after everything was in the car and I was on my way to the used bookstore in town…it started to snow. It was like the Lord was putting His seal on the event.

Actually, there was another seal He put on the event, it was at the end, when we all stood in a circle and different ones prayed. Some publicly confessed short-comings, some prayed publicly about personal challenges, and then, as if the Holy Spirit was adding His seal, there was much weeping and brokenness.

A very special time.

Thank you for your prayers.

I am speaking at FBC Conneaut OH tomorrow. Continue to pray for deep repentance and unity among the brethren.

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