World Investments vs. Kingdom Investments
We have seen volatile ups-and-downs in the stock market. People lost as much as ten percent of their retirement savings in a singe day. Record setting declines followed by neck wrenching increases give new meaning to the old adage, “It’s a roller coaster ride.”
The volatility is due in part to a global fear over the coronavirus. Restricted travel and trade prompted massive selloffs in stock markets around the world. We all feel the impact regardless of wether or not we personally engage in stock trading.
In a few weeks, months, or years this will all be a memory. Stock markets will rally. Investment portfolios will regain their losses. Life will return to normal, whatever that is. Through it all, however, investments made into building the Kingdom of God will have continued to pay huge dividends.
Reading the four Gospels has challenged me regarding my own personal investment into the Kingdom. Jesus expects that nothing will surpass my personal commitment to him and his Kingdom. In recent weeks we were reminded that anyone without an all-in commitment is not fit to be his disciple. Those are Jesus’ words.
I’m sure you are also challenged by the words of Jesus. The Word of God is powerful and effective. The Holy Spirit is using our daily Gospel readings to redirect our hearts and minds to Jesus’ Kingdom.
Join me in making the single-most important investment in Jesus’ Kingdom: regular time in meaningful prayer.
We have huge goals that will not be achieved in our own strength. We have set our hands to a task that is incalculably beyond ourselves. We have asked the Lord of the harvest to begin a spiritual movement that results in thousands of our neighbors committing their lives to Jesus.
We do not measure movements by additions to the church but by multiplication of our church. A genuine movement of God will result in so many new followers of Jesus that ministry as we know it will be insufficient to disciple them.
Our Greatest Priority
We are desperately dependent upon the Holy Spirit for insight, leadership and empowerment. We are, therefore, calling everyone to make prayer our greatest priority.
Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations (Mark 11:17).” This is not a challenge to pray for all nations, though that is certainly what we should do. Jesus quoted Isaiah, who envisioned a day when all nations would pray together.
Our goal of a “disciple making movement” will not be realized through the prayers of our church staff alone. Without an army seeking the resources of God through prayer we simply will not witness a world-changing move of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to “pray continuously.” The magnitude of the goal we have embraced demands we do just that; pray non-stop. An intimate awareness of our insufficiency and absolute dependance upon God leads us to “pray without ceasing.”
Make four first-step commitments regarding prayer.
- First, set aside regular time each and every day to pray for our church. It may be the first thing you do each morning or the last thing you do before going to bed. The time you choose is not the issue. Establish the habit of praying daily. Begin today. Ask the Lord for a Kingdom-sized vision. Ask the Holy Spirit for the gifts necessary to fulfill that vision.
- Second, participate in our “Fourth Thursday Prayer Gatherings.” Our third such event will be at 7:00 pm on March 26. In January three people prayed together. In February it was nine. I trust God for twenty-seven people praying together on Thursday evening, March 26, in our Youth Building. Would you commit to be one of twenty-seven?
- Third, observe our “First Friday Fast and Pray” each month. Our next is on April 3rd. The length of your fast, skipping a meal or meals, is entirely up to you. Miss a meal or meals and engage in prayer. In God’s economy fasting and prayer pays huge dividends. Join the rest of the Alsbury family in praying for God to work as only he can.
- Fourth, participate in our twenty-four hour “Alsbury Prays” emphasis on the tenth of every month. Sacrifice personal time to knock on the door of Heaven’s storehouse. Lose an hour of sleep. Miss your lunch hour. We envision the Alsbury family praying around the clock on the tenth of every month.
These are just the first steps in moving toward a disciple making movement of God. However, prayer is the single most important step we will take There are many ways to sacrifice in order to invest in Jesus’ Kingdom. Each sacrifice, however, must be preceded by an earnest engagement in personal prayer.