DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

A God Who Cares

Written by: on January 23, 2015

Perhaps one of the greatest joys in planting a church where we meet brand new believers is seeing how they develop their relationship with God. Coming to God with no preconceived ideas of how Christianity or prayer should be done, it’s wonderful to hear how they are encountering God and a joy to affirm that what they experience, others have experienced too.

One dear member, Nancy, often relates to me pictures that she feels God gives her when she prays for others. Nancy came to know God for the first time just last May, and I’ve never seen anyone grow in God as fast as she. Then there’s Nigel who met with God for the first time in prison three years ago. He’s on fire for God and often relates dreams to me that he believes God gave him while in prayer or sleeping.

These are people who were not told how prayer should be done, or how God speaks to us, but are being taught by God Himself. Prayer is an intensely practical thing for us at Bethel Community Church. With so many people being unemployed or sick, we are often desperate for God to move among us. And thankfully He does. This is one of the things I love about Morse’s book – it’s so practical and yet so spiritual. As Morse writes, “From the Trinity we see the profound importance of the mystery of God’s love, the sacrificing grace of Jesus’ life and the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence. Through prayer we connect to the Trinity…” [i]

Morse’s book is littered with amazing testimonies of how God has move in people’s lives in answers to prayer, of stories that reveal the love of God for His people. God knows what His people go through and He cares so deeply for us. As Paul Lyda states, “[M]y wife and I have always wondered about what goes on behind so many closed doors and drawn drapes. What challenge is that family wrestling with at this time? Although we may never know, we can offer faithful prayers that the people and families represented by those home will know Jesus who stands and knocks at the doors of their hearts.” [ii]

As this man says, we may never know what is really going on in people’s lives, but the amazing thing is, God knows and deeply cares. As Morse explains, our God is a compassionate, loving God [iii] who desires to help and bless His people. One way that I have experienced His tender love for others is through dreams that God gives me in order for me to intercede for them. Many times God has shown me an individual in my dreams and what exactly to pray for them. Every time I receive this kind of revelation, I know it’s a calling from God to pray for that person or situation and it always confirms to me how much God loves us.

Prayer moves God. It changes circumstances, transforms hearts, and blesses lives. Prayer is probably the most effective thing we can do on any given day. These past few months, I have felt an urgent need to pray more, to desperately seek God’s blessing and help for this ministry. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the counsel of God and His Word I have received through my times of prayer, I would never have survived the past few months. Neither would have the church. Prayer is the probably the greatest calling any one of us has each day – to enter God’s presence and lay down our burdens at the cross, to receive His hope and strength in return. It was also no coincidence that God gave just enough manna for the Israelites for one day at a time. Somehow God likes to keep us hungry so we’ll keep coming back to Him for more.

 

[i] Mary-Kate Morse: A Guidebook to Prayer: Twenty-four ways to walk with God (Downers’ Grove, IL: IVP, 2013), 165

[ii] Morse, 72

[iii] Morse, 66

About the Author

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Liz Linssen

9 responses to “A God Who Cares”

  1. mm John Woodward says:

    Liz, I always enjoy the way you tie our readings into your real life situation of church planting and the people God has given you to minister to. It always helps me to find application and encouragement. I also found MaryKate’s book filled with amazing spiritual wisdom, which I was not excepting. I found this probably the most helpful aspect of the book, as I am often moved to prayer (especially confession and soul searching) when I am challenged by what I am reading. It seemed in every chapter of the book, there were those gems of spiritual wisdom and insight stopped me in my tracks, that made me ponder and pray. I’ve been amazed and challenged at the depth and insights of MaryKate’s deep understanding and faith! I also agree with your statement:
    “Prayer is probably the most effective thing we can do on any given day.” And, at the same time, I must admit to not living up to this. It is ironic that what is most beneficial, what is most helpful, what is most effective, and what will make the biggest difference in all areas of our lives, is the hardest thing for most of us to! Maybe (as Telile suggests) it is because Satan knows that prayer will keep us being most effective for the Lord that he distracts and makes prayer such a burdensome task. Maybe it is because we don’t see immediate results that we skip prayer and take care of it ourselves. Either way, we need to remember that when we trust in God and aline ourselves with His purposes and His ways, that our work and ministries will truly be effective. Such great reminders for us who do ministry – to keep the first thing the first thing! Thanks for a wonderful post, Liz.

  2. mm Liz Linssen says:

    Thank you so much John for your lovely response. Yes, as you say, isn’t it strange that although we know in our hearts that prayer is so beneficial, we often don’t pray as we ought. We think we can do ministry in our own strength and resources! I confess I’m often guilty of that. When I’m absolutely at my weakest, I realise, ‘I should pray!’ But why do we wait until we’re desperate? Why does it take us so long to come to our Father?
    Anyway, thank you for your kind feedback John. Have a blessed week!

  3. Liz,

    This is an amazing post. Thanks for sharing.

    I love the picture you paint of the new Christians in your fellowship. What a joy it was to read about Nancy and Nigel who “come to God with no preconceived ideas of how Christianity or prayer should be done.” You mention that it is God Himself who is teaching them. How refreshing! How pure and innocent! It has been a long time since I have met anyone in that state.

    I have been a Christian for 50 years. By this time, my relationship with God should be deep. My prayer life should be powerful and dynamic. I should be teaching others how to pray. But this is not the reality. This is where the Nancys and Nigels come in. Why is this? These people are pure in their understanding of God and of prayer. And that purity and innocence can be used to remind a less “on-fire” Christian like me of what it should be like to be in relationship with God. I long for that deep inside, but for a long list of reasons, that is not true of my experience after these 50 years. However, the longing is there, and I believe God honors that.

    Liz, can you do me a favor and ask Nancy and Nigel to pray for a friend of yours who has been a Christian for a long time but needs a renewal and return to the basics of his faith? That would be greatly appreciated. I will let you know what happens. Thanks.

    • Liz Linssen says:

      Dear Bill
      Thank you so much for such an honest reflection. I will certainly bring this prayer before God. I think the unique thing about the Nancy’s and Nigel’s of my church is that, in the eyes of the world, they are the poor in spirit. They have led such broken lives, experienced such dark places, much of their own doing, that in finding God and His grace is like water being poured out on parched ground. God honours the hungry and the thirsty Bill, and I pray He will meet with you in ways beyond your expectation.

  4. Liz Linssen says:

    Blessed are those who thirst – for they will be filled.

  5. Telile Fikru Badecha says:

    Liz, Thank you for sharing amazing stories of your church’s new believers experiences of God. I love that prayer is so central at your church. It is such a wonderful thing that the sovereign God allows us to hold one another in prayers. Prayer, as you highlighted, so pivotal in ministry. It paves the way for the impossible to become possible. Blessings on your ministry!

  6. mm Ashley Goad says:

    Liz, I love reading about the work you are doing in and through your church, and even more, I loved reading about Nancy and Nigel. So many are scared to speak about how God speaks to them, for fear they sound crazy! God is speaking to them, and even more, they are listening. What a true testament to their new faith walks. May God continue to ignite their hearts… And may He bless you abundantly for shepherding their journeys!

  7. Michael Badriaki says:

    Hi Liz,

    Thank you for this post. I love reading and hearing about people’s experiences with God in their vocation and life in general. I thank and praise God for what His is doing in Nancy and Nigel’s life. I am also grateful that they have a place to go and find a community for which prayer is a “practical and spiritual” matter.
    I agree with you that prayer is “Prayer is probably the most effective thing we can do on any given day.”

    I loved reading you blog!

    Michael

  8. mm Clint Baldwin says:

    Liz,
    Thanks be to God for God’s provision for you and for the church you serve.
    It was encouraging to read your post. I am thankful for the counsel that you have sensed you’ve gained from God.

    One counterpoint addition — not disagreement, but variation — at the end of your post. You noted God providing manna and suggesting God wants to keep us hungry. In some ways I agree. However, into my mind and heart came this other thought. I think God actually wants to keep us well fed, but keep us from being gluttonous. I’m thinking of the Scripture that notes that God, like a parent, wants to give us good gifts. Or so many verses that communicate God having a plan for us, being faithful to us, remaining with us…etc., etc.
    I do agree with you that there is a sense that God wants us to continue to desire relationship with us, but it is interesting to note that God never required anything back from the Israelites in the sense of worship or relationship or anything for the manna. God just simply faithfully provided it day-in-and-day-out. To me this makes sense as God is not into coercing relationality. To me, God wants to show us we are loved, not keep us hungry. God hopes that seeing such love gives us the desire for more relationship, but will never coerce it.
    Really, I think this is what you mean too.
    Anyhow I understand the motif of manna as relational gift as opposed to relational leverage. (And that’s a looooong philosophical/theological conversation there.) 🙂

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