UNREACHED

Challenging The Distinction Between Secular And Sacred with Pastor Brad Thomas

June 26, 2024 UNREACHED Season 2 Episode 13
Challenging The Distinction Between Secular And Sacred with Pastor Brad Thomas
UNREACHED
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UNREACHED
Challenging The Distinction Between Secular And Sacred with Pastor Brad Thomas
Jun 26, 2024 Season 2 Episode 13
UNREACHED

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Join Pastor Brad Thomas and I for PART 2 of our conversation as we uncover the transformative power of integrating faith with business, challenging the traditional distinction between secular and sacred work. We'll explore how business professionals, by leveraging their unique skills and resources, can significantly impact God's mission globally and locally. Discover the biblical perspective on work, reminding us that God is a worker and calls us to be co-workers in His divine mission.

We dive into the heart of compassionate missionary work, sharing inspiring stories from Pader and India where long-term commitments have led to flourishing communities. Understand why compassion is crucial, especially in regions dominated by other religions, and learn how you can live purposefully and compassionately in every aspect of life. Every place can be a mission field, from your local community to the farthest corners of the world, as we strive to build God's kingdom.

As we address the current state and future challenges of the global and American church, we'll confront the alarming statistics of unreached people groups and the increasing influence of cultural over spiritual engagement. Are American Christians ready for potential persecution? We'll explore themes from James 1, encouraging resilience and growth through trials, and emphasizing the importance of seeking God's presence and wisdom. Concluding with a heartfelt prayer, we invite you to deepen your engagement in God's mission and integrate your faith into every aspect of your life and work.

Follow @unreachedpodcast on Instagram for more!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Join Pastor Brad Thomas and I for PART 2 of our conversation as we uncover the transformative power of integrating faith with business, challenging the traditional distinction between secular and sacred work. We'll explore how business professionals, by leveraging their unique skills and resources, can significantly impact God's mission globally and locally. Discover the biblical perspective on work, reminding us that God is a worker and calls us to be co-workers in His divine mission.

We dive into the heart of compassionate missionary work, sharing inspiring stories from Pader and India where long-term commitments have led to flourishing communities. Understand why compassion is crucial, especially in regions dominated by other religions, and learn how you can live purposefully and compassionately in every aspect of life. Every place can be a mission field, from your local community to the farthest corners of the world, as we strive to build God's kingdom.

As we address the current state and future challenges of the global and American church, we'll confront the alarming statistics of unreached people groups and the increasing influence of cultural over spiritual engagement. Are American Christians ready for potential persecution? We'll explore themes from James 1, encouraging resilience and growth through trials, and emphasizing the importance of seeking God's presence and wisdom. Concluding with a heartfelt prayer, we invite you to deepen your engagement in God's mission and integrate your faith into every aspect of your life and work.

Follow @unreachedpodcast on Instagram for more!

Speaker 1:

In Revelation 7, john shares his vision of heaven with members from every tribe, tongue, people and language standing in the throne room before the Lamb. Yet today there are still over 7,000 unreached people groups around the world. For the last six years, my family and friends have been on a journey to find, vet and fund the task remaining. Come journey with us to the ends of the earth as we share the supernatural stories of God at work for the men and women he has called to reach the unreached. Hello friends, dustin Elliott, your host on the Unreached podcast, I'm back, I'm all smiles. I'm here with my man, brad Thomas. This man has been such an incredible influence on my life and hopefully you got us two weeks ago, got an episode going and just got rolling and just have so much content to cover with Brad and some things that we want to transition into today.

Speaker 1:

We were talking about the global missions work that we've been doing with the Ridge in China, india, in Africa, in Padere, uganda specifically, and there's a lot more to this story. There's a lot of what we think about when we think about missions in terms of kind of like varsity Christians and missionaries and just this whole body of work being totally ministry focused. But the gospel is kind of traveling farther and faster today on the wings of business than just on the wings of mission in terms of ministry. And so let's pivot a little bit. Brad, thanks for being back with us. I want to talk about how you know how we're using, how the church is utilizing and equipping and harnessing the decision-making gifts, the power and the discipline in our body, right Sitting out in front of you in the pews. How are we using business leaders today in the church and equipping them to go take the gospel to the nations?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I think churches are a lot like universities you go to a certain university because if you want to be an accountant McCombs Business College, ut that's where you go.

Speaker 2:

I think churches have certain spiritual gifts that God brings that are different from other churches at times and one of the things we've seen here at Austin Ridge he has brought businessmen and women from all lines of work and backgrounds that are very good, very talented at what they do, and I started seeing these men and women come and I believe and I've said this before I would like to apologize to businessmen and women, because I think churches have done a horrible job of leading them into ministry, and this is what I mean by this. Hey, you can make money. Why don't you write a check to the church? That's what we need from you, and it's such a sad state from the church to make businessmen. When we say that, because I believe that your work is your mission, it's a cop-out on both sides and your mission is your work On both sides. Yeah, so let's use these gifts by these men and women, not just write checks.

Speaker 1:

How does a businessperson, incorporate their faith seven days a week. Incorporate their faith seven days a week. And then, if they've ran a business locally and they're thinking about expansion, how should they be thinking about that?

Speaker 2:

Well, if it's a Christian, who's thinking all right, God, what do you want to do with your business?

Speaker 1:

and your money.

Speaker 2:

So let's start with that it's your business, it's your money. What do you want to do? It's not how do I make more money? It's not how do I make more money, it's how do I make more of you, how do I make more kingdom? And so we've had businessmen and women in our church who have started asking questions hey, I'm great at art. What can I do with art to reach people for the glory of God all over the world? Well, that's the first question to ask, because your gifting is never localized. Your gifting is always international. And your gifting is never localized. Your gifting is always international. And your gifting is not just always international. Your gift is always about building kingdom. And so whatever God has given you the ability to do, he didn't give you the ability to do it to make your life just more comfortable and to hoard more. He gave you the ability to do that for other people in counter him.

Speaker 2:

Let's unwind a few things I think the church has complicated over the years. Let's start with this that there's no separation between the secular and the sacred when we're talking about the gospel. So I think a lot of Christian businessmen and women think where I've got my work, I've got my real world and then I've got the spiritual world. If those two worlds stay separate, you'll never see your work as mission. But when those two worlds collide and you start to see there's no separation between the secular and the sacred, then you start to realize not only is there no separation, but God didn't create work just to be work. God created work to be sacred. And when work becomes sacred now I'm on mission, and when I'm on mission then I've got sermons to preach. When I'm on mission I've got disciples to make. So we talked about Genesis, chapter 2.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, how's God feel about work? Verses 1 through 3. How did he build this whole thing right?

Speaker 2:

He mentions work three times in the first three verses of chapter 2. He worked and then he rested. He worked and then he rested, he worked and then he rested. And what's interesting is, anytime your Bible, you see a word three times, just like the Trinity Father, son, spirit. It's important.

Speaker 2:

So God, the Father, sets out right at the beginning of our Bible that he's a worker. And not only is he a worker, but he's also a master. What that means is he has workers. Well, who are those workers? Well, right after Genesis 2, he tells Adam you're going to keep the garden, you're going to tend the garden and you're going to name the animals. You've got work to do. I'm a worker, you're a worker, and because I'm a worker and you're a worker, there's a task to do. Now the question is what's the task? What is the task that God's given us to do? If we're a business man and woman, you're a worker. It's not just a worker to work. You're a worker because the sacred and the secular are the same and you've got to figure out what the task is that God's called you to do.

Speaker 1:

How is it that the church is not just working with the business people in the church, but how are we divvying up or how are we thinking about the support of local ministries and businesses and global ministries and businesses?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think one of the things the church complicates again is you have a church budget, right? So we have money given to the church, that's the church budget. And then we start saying, okay, what do we use this money for? Most people think, well, we've got a building, we've got to pay for the building, we've got to pay for the water, pay for the power, pay for the employees At the Ridge. What we like to do is all right, God, what do you want to do with your money? So again, that's principle number one is your money. These people are giving the money. It's not their money, it's your money. What do you want to do with it?

Speaker 2:

We know what God wants to do with his money. He wants to reach people for the glory of God, and so I personally believe that every dollar that's given here is missional. Every dollar is given as missional. We do youth group ministry. That's group ministry. That's missional. Now, all those missions have businessmen and women in them on mission. Now, what the church is famous for is staying within its four walls, right? So we say all the time that church does not exist for the people that are already here. Church exists for the folks who aren't here yet.

Speaker 2:

Please don't miss that. And once we say that now we're talking missions outside of our walls, there you go. Once you start talking missions outside of your walls. The purpose of the church is both local, the city, the community that God puts you in. We've got to make sure we take care of our Jerusalem right, our Judea. What about Samaria? What about the people we don't like? And what about the?

Speaker 2:

outermost parts of the earth. Well, those are people that I don't know anything about. Well, god knows about them, and if I know God intimately, that means I need to know about them, that means I need to be intimate with them, and that's why we do missions every dollar.

Speaker 1:

If we understand that the task remaining is to reach every tribe, tongue and nation with the gospel, if we understand the book of Revelation, as we say on our intro and outro, member of every tribe, tongue and nation in the throne room before the lamb, there is a task remaining. It is to get the gospel where it's not, it is to share the good news Then one cent out of every dollar today is going to that task. Less than one cent In fact. A small, single-digit percentage of missionaries are among unreached people groups. The vast 99. 9% of resources and people are where the gospel already is. How do we shift that paradigm? How do we shout this from the rooftops? You have said you don't pray for revival. Prayer is revival. Help me start this. Help Andrew Scott, who's been on here, start this revival of finishing the task remaining.

Speaker 2:

So we know, biblically speaking, that where your money goes is where your heart goes right. So if you want to follow the money trail, you see what people's values are. I'll ask them, hey, do you want Jesus to come back soon? And they'll say, oh yeah, you really do, I really do. What are you doing missionally around the world to make that happen? Because we've got to reach everybody and then he's going to rip the sky open. That's what we want.

Speaker 2:

If we want that, if that's the goal, that we want Jesus to come back, why are we slowing this process down so much? Why are we saying heaven, wait just a little longer. We're not quite ready for you to come back and start kingdom. We're just not there yet. So again, here's the root issue back and start kingdom. We're just not there yet. So again, here's the root issue Do we really care about people? That's the question. Do we really care about people? And the truth is, the American church often cares about the American church, pastors often care about pastors and employees often care about employees. Do we really care? And so, until we really care, until we value people, it's not going to matter.

Speaker 1:

Maybe every church needs to just sit down, have a little offsite, right, if you will, and just get back to basics. Okay, what are we here for? What's our real purpose? What's our real mission? And if we start with the end user in mind and the end user is the people that are not in church yet, right, how are we going to reach those people? I would be willing to bet we would not stick with the same four-wall strategy that we are all living in today. I would be willing to bet it would look very different.

Speaker 2:

Well, the way the church has been doing that task is let's water down the truth so we don't offend people, and then more people will come. Well, how's that working out for us?

Speaker 1:

Well, isn't that what Jesus did, right? He gave them free food and then told them to come back for more free food and ice cream, yeah totally.

Speaker 2:

And here's the deal Bars are crowded. That doesn't mean anything spiritual is happening. So just because the parking lot is full doesn't mean something spiritual is happening. I would say give me 10 people who want to see the world change for the glory of God, instead of 10,000 people who want to be entertained on a Sunday morning. A lot of that's what we care more about. If we're honest, we really don't care about someone else that we'll never meet, fall in love with Jesus. But here's the deal Once you get close to Jesus, you start to love the things that Jesus loves.

Speaker 2:

And when you start getting closer to Jesus, you abide in him. He abides in you. If he's going to abide in you, he's going to make his home in you, what he wants it to be right we always talk about. Do you rent a house or buy a house? If you rent, you can't tear the wall down, you can't paint it. If you buy it, it's yours, you own it. Well, he owns us. If he owns us, then we're going to have a heart for the nations, because that's what his heart is. And he didn't get us saved just to give us fire insurance. He got us saved to be a force for the gospel.

Speaker 1:

Not to just give us fire insurance insurance, but to be a force for the gospel. How does Austin Ridge go about vetting and selecting?

Speaker 2:

the nonprofit partners that we do support. Yeah, I don't know of all the intricate details of it, but I do know this we have certain values that if we're going to be a partner with someone, we want them to be about the gospel, we want them to be about biblical Christianity. Those things we go through a whole interview process of vetting those agencies. We want them to be about biblical Christianity, those things we go through a whole interview process of vetting those agencies. We say no a lot more than we say yes, because obviously you could do everything everywhere and not do anything well anywhere. We've decided we want to make some major, deep impacts in some places, like Padere. We've been there for almost 15 years. That's not just a missionary trip, that is a life in Padere. We've been there for almost 15 years. Like that's not just a missionary trip, that is a life in Padere.

Speaker 1:

Deep roots planted, now branching out. Now they're making disciples, they're building churches, they're expanding. Yeah, same in India for sure.

Speaker 2:

So we see where God's at work and then we take our resources and we say, okay, we need to be there because God's there, and we go do it. We stay there a long time, however long it takes.

Speaker 1:

So if we were to look at the world's major religions, how would another church, how would you suggest they think through that and engage in that and pray through that?

Speaker 2:

You know what's interesting about other religions? I've actually had people in our church tell us at times why would we send resources to a Muslim country? Why would we? It goes back to what you said about Ephesians 6. The enemy is not flesh and blood, it's against principalities and powers of the dark forces. So when we see people as the enemy, they're lost. They're captive in those false religions. It's not the truth, right, right. And they're devout in those religions and they're sincere in those religions and they're devouring those religions and they're sincere in those religions and they're lost in those religions. So if that doesn't move your compassion meter, then you probably don't have one right. And so that's true the person down the street from our church, that's true, that my next door neighbor, and that's true the, the buddhist monk in northern india, or wherever they may be. If you don't have compassion for those people, then you have to start to question do I know Jesus? That's the truth.

Speaker 1:

So if you don't have compassion for those people and you are questioning that, what should you be doing?

Speaker 2:

Well, again, this whole podcast is about. What are you going to do, Right? What are you going to do to build kingdom? Get in the game. You're not alive for yourself. You're not alive by chance. You're alive on purpose. You're alive on mission, and God's got you in a mission field, and that mission field is always meant to have a heart and a compassion that grows for another mission field around you. I never thought I'd be in Austin Texas. Why am I in Austin Texas? Why is a South Carolina kid in Austin Texas? I've never been west of Atlanta. That's because God loves people in Austin. But it's not just about Austin. It never is. It's about people in India now. It's about people in Africa now, and that's the way it is in all these listeners' worlds.

Speaker 1:

If we think about our definition of people groups, right, we kind of look to the Joshua Project and their study of about 17,000 people groups on earth. We say 10,000 are reached, 7,000 are unreached and 700 are unengaged. And Clint and I have said this for almost a year now. I can't wait to say those numbers with a six and a five and a four in front, right, like, let's prayerfully, let's change it. Yes, that starts to change in our lifetime. What do you think? Well, let's go all the way back.

Speaker 2:

We all come from two people Right, adam and Eve, and then we all come from one family, on a boat. There you go, noah, and then those languages are diversified at the Tower of Babel. So everybody comes from that. But here's the truth. Does God's heart wane after the Tower of Babel, or is it just as strong as it was after the ark, as it was after the garden?

Speaker 1:

Never cast a shift in shadow.

Speaker 2:

Never changes, so why would ours change Just because someone's different? And so again, the church exists, the same reason that Israel exists in the Old Testament to be a light in the darkness of the nations. You talk about Genesis 12, the Abrahamic covenant, land seed blessing. Here's a promise. Here's the problem, though. A bunch of folks took those promises and they started thinking this is about us, and then they lost the mission. Same thing that we see in the church today. It's about us. We lose the mission. We would rather be politically correct this fall than to actually reach someone that doesn't know the gospel this fall. That's a problem.

Speaker 1:

Where's the church headed? Where are we headed globally? Like? What's next that we're not aware of? That you're maybe getting a glimpse of.

Speaker 2:

When I think about the global church, I think more persecution is coming, and I think it's going to be a center of that is going to be the United States of America. I've said before you've heard me say for 20 years now that I think in my lifetime I'll be arrested for preaching the Bible, arrested for preaching the Bible, and I fully believe that I'm 55 next month and I believe in my lifetime I could easily be arrested for preaching the gospel. So we're going to, we're going to find out who wants to play ball, we're going to find out who wants to attend church and who actually is the church. And so I believe God is starting, has started and is leading out a persecution process. He always purifies his church and he's going to purify the American church and he's purifying the church worldwide. So, as we think that we're still the mission agency of the world, the reality is the world is now the mission agency to the United States, and so he's purifying his bride. That's what he's doing.

Speaker 1:

As we're going to go through this, I think we're going to see the church in certain parts of the world where persecution is greatest. It goes underground and often it grows the fastest. What type of persecution is the American church willing to withstand, right? I mean, how many guys really are going to stand up and put those handcuffs on and not bend?

Speaker 2:

Historically we've seen persecution. As we look historically through the church, it starts as verbal, it becomes financial, then it becomes physical. Um, we are right at the doorstep of the physical in the united states of america. How do we equip?

Speaker 1:

ourselves. What are we? What are we doing as the church? Because I mean, look, 62, 65 percent you know, brent was on a couple weeks ago and and we're talking about kind of the amount of americans that call themselves Christians. But I mean, really, you know what is the faithful remnant in America today? I don't know what that number is, it's not 60.

Speaker 2:

We do know the scriptures say that the road of righteousness is narrow, if you will find it, and the other road is broad and most will find it. So we know that's true, right. So we also know a lot of people proclaim something that, when push comes to shove, it may or may not be true. Proclamation does not necessarily mean transformation, right. But I do believe that persecution gets an opportunity to find out who is. It gives you a chance to get squeezed and see what comes out. And that's what God's doing to the American church and will continue to do.

Speaker 1:

You talk about often the two volume knobs in a person's life right the volume knob of culture and the volume knob of scripture. You talk about view culture through the lens of scripture, not scripture through the lens of culture. If we're not taking the time to be intentional, that volume knob of culture is going to drown everything else out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, think about when I was growing up I grew up Southern Baptist. You're in church Sunday morning, sunday night, wednesday night. You're in Wednesday night and you have vacation, bible school and you have RAs and GAs and acteens and blah, blah, blah, blah. We see a person come to church once a month For an hour. So already we're taking the volume knob of the world and making it a lot larger, and we're taking the volume knob of the spirit. Not that the church is the only place you can hear the spirit of God talk. But if we are more in the world, let's say social media, let's say movies, let's say technology, let's say podcasts, let's say, if we're more listening to voices other than the voice, more than we used to and the voice less than we used to, what are we going to be hearing? All the voices? Right, and so it's no wonder that the church is watered down.

Speaker 2:

It's not even just a pastor issue, it's a people issue. One of the phrases I hear a lot is we hear it more and more that people have church trauma. Yeah, church trauma, sure, and I hear, I hear probably weekly like well, he doesn't come to church because he thinks it's a big business, he doesn't come to church because they kicked his mom out when he was 12 and he never forget the church. We don't have church trauma. I don't believe there's a such thing as church hurt. I know people use it all the time. What we have is people hurt. People are the issue. The bride of Christ has never hurt a human being. The bride of Christ is there to encourage a human being. People mess it up and so what we try to do again.

Speaker 2:

These are hard questions, and how do we reach billions and billions of people? I start by reading my Bible this morning. I start by being a good husband. I start by giving. You see, if we don't teach our children to tithe and we don't give consistently and sacrificially, world missions will never happen financially at the church either. And that's why you know, when people say I don't want to just write a check to the church, it's not just a check to the church, it's a mission to the church. And so if we don't do these basic, this is a basketball, this is running this is jumping, this is shooting.

Speaker 2:

How in the world are we going to reach billions of people? You're not. But if you do that every day and you do it every day that's what we've been doing here for 20 years at the Ridge If you do it every day, you start to have opportunities in India, you start to have opportunities in Africa and you start to see a Padere people group get reached that wasn't reached before. And then you look back after walking that consistent walk over and over and over and over. You look back after a while and go, wow, look what God's done. Now, if every church does that, that's how you reach the world.

Speaker 2:

You know, Dee, I will say this too it's easy to get overwhelmed when you start thinking about world missions. I get overwhelmed thinking about it, sometimes Like gosh. More people are being born than we could ever reach. So we're falling behind every day of how many people like. We hear the stat of 150 people moving to Austin every day. If we start a church every day, we're not going to reach Austin doing that. So it's easy to get overwhelmed.

Speaker 2:

But again, what is my job? My job is to spend time with God this morning and do what he tells me to do today. That's my job, and then my job is to have as much compassion for the lady who messed my coffee order up as I have for you as we sit across the table from each other, and to have just as much care and concern. And when that starts happening, then you start thinking about countries that you've never been to. Then you start praying about people groups you've never heard of. Then you actually start valuing and I tell you it's hard to pray for someone and not care. So I start praying for people groups I know nothing about and all of a sudden I start thinking about those people groups all the time.

Speaker 2:

Go on a short-term mission trip, Give to your local church, Serve. Don't tell me you're ready for missions if you won't work in the nursery. Don't say you're ready to disciple people if you won't be in a dGroup or a small group to get discipled. Let's do these baby steps. Let's learn how to eat bread before we start chewing on the ribeye.

Speaker 1:

I love that. And for the listener, I want you to be encouraged. Brad has been an incredible encouragement in my life and in the lives of thousands and thousands of people in our community. God has grown this particular local church and the Bride of Christ because of faithful teaching behind the pulpit, more than anything. Sure, we've got a lot of things that we do for the community. We've grown, we've expanded into some other communities but, man, the fact that you open a book and you start in the first chapter and you work through every single verse and you don't skip around and you don't leave out the hard, stuff.

Speaker 2:

And I would say for any pastors that listen to this I know several do I think we complicate church and it's not complicated. Take a book of the Bible and teach it verse by verse. I understand, hey, if I do eight topical sermons in the next eight weeks, then maybe somebody new will come. The only thing we know that God will bless is the teaching of his word. We know he'll do that, so why wouldn't we do that? I mean, don't preach 18-minute sermonettes for Christianettes. Teach the Bible. And who cares if your church doubles in three years or not? That's not the goal. The goal is to be faithful, growing the church. That's God's business, his business. He'll grow the bride where he wants to grow, how he wants to grow it. He's not growing the church here because I'm here. He's decided to grow the church here. But I do believe when you teach the Bible it grows hearts and that's what matters and that's what changes people missionally.

Speaker 1:

You know Brad for those of you that don't know had a pretty serious medical event last year, last summer. We I mean we nearly lost you.

Speaker 2:

We thought we were going to lose you yeah.

Speaker 1:

Man had two strokes playing golf with his dad. I'm going to call Clint out. Clint said that's a new two-stroke penalty. Right there in golf we had to joke about it a little bit because we didn't know what else to do. But God's not done with you, man, he's not. He's healed you back up. He's got you back behind the pulpit. I know at times you can feel that medical event not feeling as sharp as you have been at other times. But this church hadn't slowed down one bit, dude, it hasn't. And we're so grateful for you, we're so grateful for your commitment and Courtney and your family, we love you. Thank you, thank you. I think you're better than ever. I think you're more. You were bold pre. Now you're like I'm not holding back. I'm fitting to tell them what God put on my heart Win, lose or draw. They're going to deal with it for the rest of this week.

Speaker 2:

Well, what's the worst thing that can happen? They kill me and I go to heaven.

Speaker 1:

It's a good deal either way. Or he'll say, man, I've been dealing with this all week. Now I'm about to put it on y'all, right, like thank you. Some lonely, some in community.

Speaker 2:

Understand the importance of your presence. Your presence means you're on mission, and if you're breathing, that means God wants you to be a witness to somebody. Today, every day, you wake up in the morning all right, god didn't take me home, so there's something else to do today. And when you start to have a heart for people and a value for people and you start to care more than just about your self-preservation, god will start to move in ways and you start to see the miracles. People always say. I want to see the miracles of the New Testament. We see it every day. The fact that I'm saved and I'm a Christian today. That's the biggest miracle of anything else in the Bible. Today. That's the biggest miracle of anything else in the Bible the fact that he got my heart and if he got my heart, he can get anybody's heart. And if he got your heart and you're listening to this podcast he's got work for you to do, so let's get after it.

Speaker 1:

Let me pray for us, father, thank you, thank you for Brad Courtney, our church, our local, our local four walls that we bust our way out of at your will, at your discretion and in service to you, for your glory alone. Lord, you've brought great people here. You've got great people in other places. You've equipped us, you've given us everything we need. We have your word, we have community, we have fellowship, and in some ways we have persecution. In some ways we have strife and we have obstacles that you've put in front of us to overcome.

Speaker 1:

And we know James 1, consider it pure joy when those troubles come our way. We know that our faith will be tested, we know that our endurance will have a chance to grow and we know that when it does, we'll be perfect and complete, needing nothing. And Lord, be with us. I know you will, but be with us through those steps. Be with us. Give us peace. I know you will, but be with us through those steps. Be with us, give us peace that only you can bring, that we can't comprehend. Give us strength, give us wisdom and discernment, lord, as we continue to pursue you, as we continue to imperfectly try to align our lives with your will. And thank you. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to play on your team and get in the game, and it's in your name we pray Amen.

Speaker 1:

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