November 6, 2017

prayer team update - verse .jpg

 

Praying With Scripture

 

We've arrived at Psalm 30, a song chosen for the dedication of the temple. It's a David psalm, either written by King David or after his style. In either case, we're supposed to keep him in mind as we read it. I like to attribute it to David himself. I imagine Solomon selecting one of his father's psalms once the temple that David longed to build was finished. 

It's a song of relief after danger, and a song of God's inestimable goodness. David insists multiple times, in multiple ways, that suffering is in no way comparable to glory. God's anger, human danger, night-long sorrow, and, in fact, all human suffering are small compared to the peace and joy and hope and safety God offers his people. And this isn't because suffering is small. David describes it as completely overpowering. Suffering is vastly bigger than humans have a capacity to comprehend. Yet, compared to joy, it's ephemeral. The glory of God outweighs the whole cosmos, and it's offered to us, God's people.

Finally, let's focus on one puzzle in the psalm: Why does David ask God to spare him using an argument from praise? Appealing to God for mercy, he says, "What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?" At first read, this sounds like a pagan approach to God; it seems to suggest that God needs our praise, that he lacks something when he loses our living voices. If you read praise like this, like currency, then David sounds like a desperate barterer: "If you kill me, you won't get paid, and then where will you be?"

But that's not the only way to read it, and it puts both David and God in undignified positions. Instead, perhaps it's an appeal to beauty and evangelistic mission. Perhaps David sees life as uniquely characterized by praise and proclamation, whereas the disembodied person is rendered mute. In light of that, he asks God to allow him to continue the beautiful work of praise and evangelism, not because God needs them, but because they are good and profitable things that God loves.

If that's the case, then it also makes my speculation about Solomon selecting his father's psalm even more lovely. He's picking his dead father's written meditation on the silence of death, thereby, in a sense, reawakening his father's voice. He, being dead, yet speaks.

 

Response Questions

Do you believe that God's glory for his people is incomparably greater than all suffering? How could you understand that reality better, without diminishing the scope of suffering?
Are you using your brief life in service to the praise and proclamation of God? When you die, will you be ready to say that your life has spoken to God's grandeur?

Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update

 

 


 

 

Requests and Praises

 

Training

Resource Books Completion - Thank you for your prayers! We have first editions out for all five resource books. We'd still like to make revisions to two of the books before the end of the month, so we invite your continued prayer, but we've also passed a huge milestone.

Public Trainings - Praise God for a successful From Duty to Discipleship event! Pray that God would fill this Saturday's Entering Culture Courageously event with youth leaders who are eager to serve him in their ministry.

New Partners - Pray that God would move new churches and schools to buy Wheatstone Trainings for their faculty and staff, so that the Christian adulthood movement can take root in brand new communities.

 

Staff and Office

Peter and Lisa - Pray for both Peter and Lisa, who are both overstretched, juggling more than they should. Pray that we would stay hopeful and courageous, and pray that we would have wisdom to correctly prioritize our projects. 

Upcoming Paternity Leave - Peter and Amanda's baby is due at the end of this month. Pray for a healthy birth, and for Wheatstone's success while Peter is away.

Interns and Volunteers - We have three regular volunteers or interns this semester. Pray that God would bless their work and our fellowship with them, and pray that God would bring more volunteers and interns onto the team.

 

Camp

Alumni Thanksgiving Party - Pray for this Sunday's party! Ask that God would make it a joyful, renewing, gratitude-inducing event. 

Fall Registrations - Pray that God would move church and school groups to commit to attending The Academy 2018, Living Among Shadows.

 

Support

New Monthly Givers - Pray that God would increase the number of our Monthly Givers, whose gifts are an essential part of our financial future.

New Benefactors - Wheatstone seeks new large gifts from individuals and granting organizations, so that we can grow. Without them, we won't be able to really take this message across the country. Pray for visibility, favor, and good success!

 

Send your praises and requests to the Wheatstone staff by replying to this email!

 

 


 

 

Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

October 9, 2017

prayer team update - verse .jpg

 

Praying With Scripture

 

We've arrived at Psalm 29, a fierce and rhythmic declaration of God's power and splendor. Two features of the psalm stuck out to us this week: the relationship between the voice of the Lord and the Lord, and the relationship between apocalyptic visions and peace or stability.

Throughout the psalm, "the voice of the Lord" and the "Lord" are described in similar ways, and with identical agency. It's as if they are the same thing. With the revelation of Jesus as the Word of the Father, this makes (in retrospect) good trinitarian sense, but the psalmist knew what he was talking about too, even before the revelation of God as triune through the incarnation of Jesus and the sending of the Spirit. The psalmist knew that God's words are different: they create realities, not just describe them. God's words are his action in the world, and his action is a form of speech.

The chaos of creation and the power of Noah's flood, the spread of fire and the destabilization of an earthquake: these are the psalm's reference points for the power of God. His voice is terrible, and his presence is traumatic. Yet, after all this apocalyptic description, the psalm ends on the word peace. This awful power is directed for our blessing. Maybe it's only by understanding how terrible God's power is that we can begin to receive his peace appropriately. God is enthroned over this seething, chaotic world, with a power that exceeds and threatens it, but his stability is directed toward our good.

 

Response Questions

How do you ascribe glory to God in your daily life?
Do you see and attend to the power of God? Do you understand it as fearful? Do you trust that it's oriented to peace?
How should you treat your words, seeing that the God whom you are called to imitate identifies with his words?

Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update

 

 


 

 

Requests and Praises

 

Training

Resource Books Completion - Pray for Peter and Lisa as they finish the first edition of the Entering Culture Courageously resource book, and the new edition of the From Duty to Discipleship resource book.

Public Trainings - Praise God for a successful Teach Them to Pray event! Pray that God would fill the upcoming From Duty to Discipleship event with youth leaders who are eager to serve him in their ministry.

New Partners - Pray that God would move new churches and schools to buy Wheatstone Trainings for their faculty and staff, so that the Christian adulthood movement can take root in brand new communities.

 

Staff and Office

Donor Reports and Strategic Planning - Pray for Peter and Lisa as they work on a new round of reports, and pray that God would put it into the hearts of the people who read them to work and give for Wheatstone's good.

Peter and Lisa - Pray for both Peter and Lisa, who are both overstretched, juggling more than they should. Pray that we would stay hopeful and courageous, and pray that we would have wisdom to correctly prioritize our projects.

Interns and Volunteers - We have three regular volunteers or interns this semester. Pray that God would bless their work and our fellowship with them, and pray that God would bring more volunteers and interns onto the team.

 

Camp

Fall Registrations - Pray that God would move church and school groups to commit to attending The Academy 2018, Living Among Shadows.

 

Support

New Monthly Givers - Pray that God would increase the number of our Monthly Givers, whose gifts are an essential part of our financial future.

New Benefactors - Wheatstone seeks new large gifts from individuals and granting organizations, so that we can grow. Without them, we won't be able to really take this message across the country. Pray for visibility, favor, and good success!

 

Send your praises and requests to the Wheatstone staff by replying to this email!

 

 


 

 

Psalm 29

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord, over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
    and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
    and strips the forests bare,
    and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
    May the Lord bless his people with peace!

October 2, 2017

prayer team update - verse .jpg

 

Praying With Scripture

 

We've arrived at Psalm 28, a psalm that starts forlornly, begging God to answer, and that ends in the effusive, grateful joy after God speaks. What most interested us this week was the connection between speech and action. When God is silent, it is comparable to bring dragged off with the wicked. When humans speak peace with evil in their hearts, it is counted as an evil act. In every part of the psalm, speaking is treated like acting. They go together. That makes sense when you remember creation; the act to begin all other acts was an act of speech. What God says goes, because what God says is. Like God, our speech matters too. The psalmist doesn't just want God to hear his pleas for mercy, he wants God to hear the voice of his pleas for mercy. When God does respond, the psalmist erupts into songs of thanksgiving. The psalmist gives and receives speech with the power and importance of action. 

 

Response Questions

How could you teach yourself to long for God's voice?
Do you treat your words seriously enough?
How could you take greater care with the voice of your complaints and thanksgivings?

Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update

 

 


 

 

Requests and Praises

 

Training

Public Trainings - Praise God for a successful Discussion for Transformation event! Pray that God would fill this weekend's Teach Them to Pray event with youth leaders who are eager to serve him in their ministry.

New Partners - Pray that God would move new churches and schools to buy Wheatstone Trainings for their faculty and staff, so that the Christian adulthood movement can take root in brand new communities.

Marketing - Pray that God would give us wisdom and good success as we work to get the word out about our newly-complete suite of essential youth ministry Trainings.

 

Camp

Fall Registrations - Pray that God would move church and school groups to commit to attending The Academy 2018, Living Among Shadows.

 

Staff and Office

Peter and Lisa - Pray for both Peter and Lisa, who are both overstretched, juggling more than they should. Pray that we would stay hopeful and courageous, and pray that we would have wisdom to correctly prioritize our projects.

Interns and Volunteers - We have three regular volunteers or interns this semester. Pray that God would bless their work and our fellowship with them, and pray that God would bring more volunteers and interns onto the team.

Website Updates - There are still a few small parts of the website that need to be completed and launched. Pray for Peter and Lisa as they scramble to finish!

 

Support

New Monthly Givers - Pray that God would increase the number of our Monthly Givers, whose gifts are an essential part of our financial future.

New Benefactors - Wheatstone seeks new large gifts from individuals and granting organizations, so that we can grow. Without them, we won't be able to really take this message across the country. Pray for visibility, favor, and good success!

 

Send your praises and requests to the Wheatstone staff by replying to this email!

 

 


 

 

Psalm 28

To you, O Lord, I call;
    my rock, be not deaf to me,
lest, if you be silent to me,
    I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
    when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
    toward your most holy sanctuary.

Do not drag me off with the wicked,
    with the workers of evil,
who speak peace with their neighbors
    while evil is in their hearts.
Give to them according to their work
    and according to the evil of their deeds;
give to them according to the work of their hands;
    render them their due reward.
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord
    or the work of his hands,
he will tear them down and build them up no more.

Blessed be the Lord!
    For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
    and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people;
    he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
    Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

September 18, 2017

prayer team update - verse .jpg

 

Praying With Scripture

 

We've arrived at Psalm 27, an examination of fear in the life of God's people. First, the psalmist asks what there is to fear, when God is our salvation and stronghold. Enemies, whether individuals or armies, are nothing compared to God; they cannot compromise any safety that's founded in him. In fact, their chance of endangering anyone whose safety is in God is so low that the psalmist moves on quickly to consider the stability of his relationship with God. 

After looking with love to the city and the temple of God, the psalmist's consideration brings him to the only thing worth fearing when God is your safety: the possibility that God will remove his favor and protection. The psalmist ponders this possibility and, in fear of it, begs God to remain his sure defense. Then, in this context of rightly-ordered fear, he remembers God's faithfulness: though parents might abandon us, God will never abandon us. For this reason, concludes the psalm in triumph over fear, even when his circumstances seem dire. Because of who God is, he can believe in his future deliverance, and set himself to wait in peace. The psalmist's danger moves through remembering God and becomes patient faith.

 

Response Questions

Are you confident enough in God's salvation, that you can lay aside all fears but the fear of God? What prevents you from being confident in God's salvation?
Does God have the power to remove whatever you fear? Does he love you tenderly?
How could you train yourself to respond to danger with patience?

Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update

 

 


 

 

Requests and Praises

 

Training

Public Trainings - Praise God for a successful Christian Adulthood 101 event on Saturday! Pray for Discussion for Transformation on September 23, that God would fill it with youth leaders who are eager to serve him in their ministry.

New Partners - Pray that God would move new churches and schools to buy Wheatstone Trainings for their faculty and staff, so that the Christian adulthood movement can take root in brand new communities.

Marketing - Pray that God would give us wisdom and good success as we work to get the word out about our newly-complete suite of essential youth ministry Trainings.

 

Camp

Academy Alumni - Pray for our alumni, especially new alumni, who experienced Wheatstone for the first time this summer.

Fall Registrations - Pray that God would move church and school groups to commit to attending The Academy 2018, Living Among Shadows.

 

Staff and Office

Peter and Lisa - Pray for both Peter and Lisa, who are both overstretched, juggling more than they should. Pray that we would stay hopeful and courageous, and pray that we would have wisdom to correctly prioritize our projects.

Interns and Volunteers - We have three regular volunteers or interns this semester. Pray that God would bless their work and our fellowship with them, and pray that God would bring more volunteers and interns onto the team.

Website Updates - There are still a few small parts of the website that need to be completed and launched. Pray for Peter and Lisa as they scramble to finish!

 

Support

Monthly Givers Rally - Over the course of the next month, we'll be asking our community members to become new Monthly Givers, the most important part of our donor community. Pray that God would move many alumni, parents, partners, and staff to begin supporting Wheatstone regularly, so that all of Wheatstone's fixed operating expenses can be covered by recurring monthly gifts!

New Benefactors - Wheatstone seeks new large gifts from individuals and granting organizations, so that we can grow. Without them, we won't be able to really take this message across the country. Pray for visibility, favor, and good success!

 

Send your praises and requests to the Wheatstone staff by replying to this email!

 

 


 

 

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
    to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
    it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
    yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
    be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
    Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me in.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

September 11, 2017

prayer team update - verse .jpg

 

Praying With Scripture

 

We've arrived at Psalm 26, a confident psalm about the safety of those who put their soul in the care and the family of God. Because the psalmist has placed his soul in the great assembly of the temple of God, and not in the assembly of evildoers, he welcomes God's judgment. He trusts God's goodwill toward him, because he has placed himself where God is. 

It's interesting that the psalmist does not seem to think that his integrity by itself is sufficient. Even though he can claim integrity, he wants God to test and prove him. In one case, the word translated as "test" even means "burn" or "purify." He wants God to purify his mind and heart, since he has set himself in God's way, and since he believes that God will receive him. He believes that God chastens those whom he loves, so he seeks God's further chastening.

His confidence in God's readiness to receive him comes from the community with which he identifies. He affiliates himself with the congregation of God's worshippers. He makes himself part of God's family. And because he is in God's congregation, he welcomes God's judgment. 

 

Response Questions

Do you believe that God's judgment of you is for your benefit?
Do you trust that, because you are in God's family, God will keep you in his care?
Are you so confident in the effectiveness of the forgiveness of God that, when he forgives you, you can declare yourself once again to be a person of integrity?

How could you grow in your understanding and feeling of these things?

Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update

 

 


 

 

Requests and Praises

 

Camp

Academy Alumni - Pray for our alumni, especially new alumni, who experienced Wheatstone for the first time this summer. Especially, pray for...

...those who are starting a new school year right now, that God would help them order their lives in a way that helps them grow up in him in the context of their new schedules.

...our upcoming alumni event, a potluck and discussion of Colossians on Friday.

Fall Registrations - Pray that God would move church and school groups to commit to attending The Academy 2018, Living Among Shadows.

 

Training

Public Trainings - Pray for our first public Trainings, Christian Adulthood 101 on Saturday, and Discussion for Transformation on September 23. Pray that God would fill them with youth leaders who are eager to serve him in their ministry.

New Partners - Pray that God would move new churches and schools to buy Wheatstone Trainings for their faculty and staff, so that the Christian adulthood movement can take root in brand new communities.

Marketing - Pray that God would give us wisdom and good success as we work to get the word out about our newly-complete suite of essential youth ministry Trainings.

 

Staff and Office

Peter and Lisa - Pray for both Peter and Lisa, who are both overstretched, juggling more than they should. Pray that we would stay hopeful and courageous, and pray that we would have wisdom to correctly prioritize our projects.

Interns and Volunteers - We have three regular volunteers or interns this semester. Pray that God would bless their work and our fellowship with them, and pray that God would bring more volunteers and interns onto the team.

Website Updates - There are still a few small parts of the website that need to be completed and launched. Pray for Peter and Lisa as they scramble to finish!

 

Support

Monthly Givers Rally - Over the course of the next month, we'll be asking our community members to become new Monthly Givers, the most important part of our donor community. Pray that God would move many alumni, parents, partners, and staff to begin supporting Wheatstone regularly, so that all of Wheatstone's fixed operating expenses can be covered by recurring monthly gifts!

New Benefactors - Wheatstone seeks new large gifts from individuals and granting organizations, so that we can grow. Without them, we won't be able to really take this message across the country. Pray for visibility, favor, and good success!

 

Send your praises and requests to the Wheatstone staff by replying to this email!

 

 


 

 

Psalm 26

Vindicate me, O Lord,
    for I have walked in my integrity,
    and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
    test my heart and mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
    and I walk in faithfulness to you.

I do not sit with the worthless,
    nor do I consort with hypocrites;
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
    and will not sit with the wicked.

I wash my hands in innocence,
    and go around your altar, O Lord,
singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
    and telling all your wondrous deeds.

O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell,
    and the place where your glory abides.

Do not sweep me away with sinners,
    nor my life with the bloodthirsty,
those in whose hands are evil devices,
    and whose right hands are full of bribes.

But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
    redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
    in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.