What’s a Life Worth To You?

The Spirit of God continues to draw our hearts across the Pacific to a mountain village on the side of Mount Somau. Please pray for our preparations and, if God be drawing you too, come alongside us as a financial partner . . . Visit the Donate Page to learn how.  Blessings, Friends!


Please Pray, January 21, 2014

Posted next to my computer monitor is a gentle reminder that prayer is the primary strategy of our ministry. I need this reminder day by day. It is far easier, when I’m not being intentional, to formulate a strategy or initiate a campaign or write another email or letter. It is more humbling to admit that it is God who opens doors, enables connections to be made, who nourishes and protects and advances. Quiet prayer doesn’t stroke my ego so much as furious activity.

I’ve been writing today. I wrote a letter to include in receipts. I wrote an email circular to go out to those who have committed to pray for our ministry. I wrote an article on prayer that is elsewhere on this website. I’ve spent time in prayer over all these matters and I have found myself close to the end of my work day not having written this post. Just as I need a regular reminder to pray, I humbly submit this to you as a gentle reminder to pray . . .

As You Pray:

  • Ask God to grant wisdom and discernment each day. We need God’s gracious hand to be upon our ministry as we continue to build a prayer and provision team to under gird our ministry to the Body of Christ, to the Somau Garia people of Papua New Guinea (Bible translation), and to you.
  • Ask God to open doors that we might have divinely appointed opportunities to raise awareness about what God is doing around the world and that we might inspire some to become involved in missions. Pray also that God might use those appointments to provide financially for our ministry with Pioneer Bible Translators.
  • Ask God to continue to prepare us for a hoped-for return to Papua New Guinea in 2014.
  • Thank God for providing for our needs month-by-month.
  • Thank God for new prayer partners that have joined us recently.
  • Thank God for providing life-changing opportunities for our two oldest children, both sons.

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer! If you’d like to correspond with us you may do so by clicking here. Blessings!


5 Assurances that We Are Praying According to His Promises

The faith that Abraham had in God’s promises was so great that in the absence of the written Word of God, in the absence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, in the absence of the church or a national identity based on fealty to Jehovah, Abraham believed God would do what he said he would do–and it was credited to him, by God, as righteousness. In the previous article entitled Promise and Prayer, I reflected on the faith of Abraham and posed this question: “How can we be confident that we are indeed praying according to His promises and not merely according to our personal aspirations or desires?”

This  question is important to answer because prayer is the context within which our hearts are aligned to God’s heart. While our hearts and minds are informed by the word of God and our faith is worked out in practicing good deeds (rooted in right attitudes), our hearts are find those right attitudes and apply the Truth in the prayer closet. It is in the prayer closet that we confess our sins to God. It is in the prayer closet that we petition Him for a new heart–a heart of flesh instead of stone. It is in the prayer closet where we verbally submit our hopes and dreams, our intentions and desires, to his (as Jesus did at Gethsemane). It is in the prayer closet that we lay aside our personal agendas to take on His agenda for us. It is in the prayer closet that the words of Scripture become the catalysts of our hearts.

I believe that there are at least five components in answering the question, “How can we be confident that we are indeed praying according to His promises and not merely according to our personal aspirations or desires?”

First, we must practice confession of sins and the clearing of our conscience before God. Hebrews 3:12 and following states: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” This is done both privately in the prayer closet and also in community. Elsewhere we are exhorted to “confess your sins one to another and pray for one another that you may be healed. (James 5:16) If we are to be aligned with the desires of God, we cannot be walking in rebellion and hardness against Him.

Second, closely related to the first but slightly different, don’t put your own agenda ahead of God’s agenda for you. Jesus was wholly honest before His Father has he knelt there in the garden, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” He dreaded the hour of is torture and murder, yet knew that God’s desires for him were preeminent. He submitted to the unthinkable to fulfill God’s purpose for his sojourn on earth. We must be very careful when facing difficulty and challenge not to assume that it is God’s will for us to avoid suffering. It is vital that, having confessed and cleared our conscience, that we lay our agendas on the altar before God and give Him the opportunity to choose our destiny. Sometimes we find ourselves in the crucible because He has created us for such times.

Third, keep the Bible before you–test the prayers you pray against the revealed will of God as found in the Scriptures. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13, ESV) As we confess our sins, as we submit our own agenda to His, we also must submit ourselves to the scrutiny of the Scriptures. The Word will sift and penetrate our attitudes, our thoughts and intentions. We must be yielded to the Word. When our heart’s agenda is found to be at odds with the Word, we must repent or change our course of action.

Fourth, do not assume that His promises are fulfilled in keeping with our timing. Abraham waited twenty-five years from the time of the first promise to the time of its fulfillment. Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. Indeed, “. . . with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9, ESV) Don’t become discouraged and stop praying because of impatience. Don’t think that He is not answering your prayer because it is slow in coming. He alone has view of all past, present, and future and He alone has the wisdom to coordinate all things for good. If you are confessing your sins as needed, are submitting your agenda to His, are testing yourself with the Word of God (the whole counsel of Scripture–but that is another post 😉 ) then be constant in prayer on whatever matter you are bringing before God.

Finally, and perhaps this goes without saying, don’t assume that every answer is “yes”. There are times when we pray that the answer is clearly “no” and we need to accept that answer from the Lord. Jesus’ prayer in the Garden was “No, this cup will not pass you by . . .” Consider the experience of Paul and company as recorded in Acts 16:7ff (ESV): “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.  And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” The Lord did not say “yes” to their good and right desire to take the gospel into Asia and Bithynia because He wanted them to go to Macedonia to preach. He had the plan. They submitted to his plan.

I believe that as each of us applies these basic principles of prayer in our lives, we will be transformed in the secret place and will be real threats to the enemy of our souls. I believe that as we find ourselves walking in faith, in submission, in brokenness, and in humility we will shake the gates of Hell.



Please Pray — January 15, 2014

What a privilege it is to be invited into the throne room of grace. We are taught by the writer of Hebrews that Jesus is able to “save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25, ESV)

I invite you to draw near to God, believing that God has both the power and the will to do what he promised, and to pray in alignment with his promises. I also invite you to follow Jesus’ lead and make intercession not only for our family, but for the Somau Garia people of Papua New Guinea, with whom we minister.


As you pray:

  • Ask God to grant us boldness, courage, and wisdom as we make known the call God has placed upon us to return to Papua New Guinea to finish the translation of the Somau Garia New Testament.
  • Ask God to continue to open the eyes of our hearts more and more to who He is and who we are in Him, that we might reflect His character brightly and clearly.
  • Ask God to increase our financial support day by day as we make preparations to return to the field. We are setting July 2014 as a target date and have a long way to go before achieving that goal.
  • Ask God to protect our Somau Garia brothers and sisters from the attack of the enemy of our souls, to preserve them for ministry, to keep them for the task that lies ahead.
  • Thank God being a promise-keeper, for promising One who would reconcile us back to Him, even while we were still sinners and worthy only of death.
  • Thank God that He is using this time to purify, teach, and establish our hearts more firmly on the Rock of our Salvation.
  • Thank God for his ongoing faithfulness, especially in days when all seems . . . impossible.
  • Thank God for Somau Garia co-workers who have not given up, despite fierce opposition.

I’m thanking God for each of you who will join us in prayer today. Thank you for risking all for Jesus.

Promise and Prayer
By the way, for an article on Promise and Prayer, click here.

Promise and Prayer

abraham stares at the stars

The old man stood in the cool of the night, stargazing as old men of many generations since have done. He turned the words over and over in his mind as he tried to take in the enormity of it all.

And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.  Genesis 15:5-6, ESV, emphasis mine

This wasn’t the first time Abraham had heard this promise. He’d heard the promise before he’d left Haran with his wife and nephew for parts unknown. He was already 75 years old then. He’d heard the promise again when Lot moved off toward the Jordan Valley and he moved further into Canaan. He heard it now and would hear it again before seeing its fulfillment. The promise came this time with prophetic words about his descendants and with an offering.

Abraham had difficulty in “seeing” how God would bring this promise about. Even so, he had no doubt whatsoever that God would do it. Further, he believed that God had power and will to do even the patently impossible to keep his promise.

He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.  Romans 4:19 – 25, ESV

Both Old and New Testament references to Abraham’s faith connect God’s promise to Abraham with the coming of Messiah. It also connects the quality of his faith to being counted as righteous before God. Faith, in this context, is not merely mental assent to an idea, but a relational posture by which we gain access to God’s promised right to become sons and daughters, born of God (cf. John 1:12-13). Our basic posture toward God is that of functionally believing that God will do what he says. Period. No prevarication. No looking askance at crazy, impossible sounding schemes. We believe Him. And it is counted to us as righteousness.

Abraham-style faith changes how we pray. Paul rightly reminds us that the promise did not come through the law, but through faith “in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring  [that is, you and I if you believe]. . . ” (Romans 4:16)

In prayer, we “confidently draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV) We come looking for grace and mercy to help us in our weakness, knowing that it will be granted us. We come to God in prayer, confessing our sins, trusting that when he said that “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” that he will cleanse us. (1 John 1:9) We come to God for wisdom, knowing that He will grant it. We pray for our leaders, for our comrades in the Kingdom, for victory in the heavenly places, that we will stand in the evil day and overcome the enemy of all that is holy. Our prayer life changes when our faith functions not only in the mind (mere lip service?) but in the hands and the feet (obedient action).

When we act on the belief that God has the power to do things in any situation, especially that we cannot even imagine, when all looks impossible or lost, we pray differently. We pray according to God’s character, not ours. We pray according to God’s ability, not ours. We pray according to God’s promise, not according merely to our intentions. We pray for transformation, not just to make it through. We climb out of our natural selves, with all its limitations and we dare to pray prayers that can only be fulfilled in the supernatural. We pray so that God alone, by His mighty power, gains glory for himself while we fade into the background. We pray in such a way that He increases and we decrease. Our prayer life becomes a genuine testament to Jesus’ life (at work in and through us).

If you want to pray prayers that transform first you and then those for whom you pray, adopt a posture of functional belief that God does what he says he will do and then act accordingly.

How can we be confident that we are indeed praying according to His promises and not merely according to our personal aspirations or desires? I will address this question in the next post . . . 😉





Please Pray–January 7, 2014

Happy New Year, Friends!

We find ourselves this week working on some of the finer details of getting back to Papua New Guinea: paperwork, planning, and pursuing resources. This is the inglorious side of mission life, I’m afraid and probably among the tasks I (Todd) least enjoy. Nonetheless, it all has to get done. I am thanking God today for my wife who is definitely helping me stay on task.

As you pray:

  • Ask God to continue to grant us His grace and mercy in the daily grind.
  • Ask God to continue to open our eyes, minds, and hearts to the things that He desires for us to be aware of, to deal with, and to prepare for.
  • Ask God to grant safe travel for our son, Samuel, who is returning to college this week.

Thank God:

  • For healing for our family. We were sick with whatever was going around over the holidays.
  • For fresh energy for us as we launch 2014 with enthusiasm and optimism.
  • For the opportunity to re-engage the Somau Garia translation of the New Testament.

Thank you for sharing in our lives and ministry. Blessings, All!