7 Prayers for Awakening

Copy of Fast for awakening-2

This weekend at Awakening Church we are celebrating our one year anniversary. We rejoice at what God has done over the past year and look forward to what he will do through us in the future. Throughout the Old Testament, God consistently told His children to stop and reflect on what He had done for them. We want to do just that, not so that we can pat ourselves on the back, but to remind ourselves that God isn’t done working in Bellevue, WA or around the world.

Even though there are so many reasons for us to celebrate the past year—I never want us stop dreaming big for what He wants for our future. As I think about the next year, I have seven specific prayers for Awakening Church.

  1. I pray that we will continue to become more dependent on the Holy Spirit and on each other. It sounds like Christianity 101 but we spend most days in a tug-of-war with God. Our growing dependence means more naturally acknowledging God’s power, promises, and provision in everyday life.
  1. I pray that we will continue to grow in diversity. We’ve have had a focus of being a multi-ethnic body since day one. We live in the first minority-majority city in Wtshighton. Over ½ of our population was born outside the United States and we have over 100 major languages spoken in our neighborhoods. We want to be intentional about building bridges to reach the various cultures in our city.
  1. I pray that we will make disciples who make disciples. Churches can be known for many things…but I pray that we will be characterized by the way we make disciples. A lot of that will have to happen at the one-on-one level in city groups and in personal relationships. I pray that we will grow in becoming a people that multiply disciples that change this city.
  1. I pray for wisdom to make the strategic moves. There will be many critical decisions over the next year. Even as a young church, we have a lot of needs and it’s going to take our focus on the Spirit’s leading to guide us toward the right decisions.
  1. I pray that we will grow in our generosity. We want to see a culture shift, from inward living to selfless giving. Our attitude at Awakening Church is that we’re always making adjustments to our personal lives so we can give generously in order to reach more people.
  1. I pray that we will be a people of prayer. Without prayer, nothing we do will make a dent; If we become a people of prayer, there’s no limit to what God will accomplish.
  1. Lastly, I pray that we continue boldly declaring the Gospel to the world around us. What good is a group of fisherman who don’t catch fish? We live in a community that is 96% unreached…they are lost without the hope of the gospel. So I never want us to be so content with our “99” that we neglect not only the “1” but the millions in the Seattle area who don’t know Christ. 

This all starts with us as individuals…making this personal. In Scripture, when God blessed his people, it was never for them to store up that blessing and prop their feet up. God blessed them to be a blessing to others. And he is calling us to do the same. Pray with me that God would pour out his blessing for his glory!

Download your printable prayer guide here.

Happy Birthday!

Thank you for making Awakening Church a reality. Your prayers, generosity, and mission teams have shown how God is working all around us. May the labor of these foundational years give us the platform for many more years of ministry. To God be the Glory.

Pastor Jonah

THINGS THAT GO TOGETHER

things that go together

Some things just naturally go together, like peanut butter & jelly, thunder & lightning, fish & chips, or pork & beans. Trying to imagine the one without the other would be like losing part of the identity. Making disciples & building community go together as well—in fact, they are inseparably linked. Without other believers to grow with, the process of multiplying disciples and churches is impossible.

As we live under God’s direction, our faith will be affected by how we relate to the people around us. And because we are family with other believers, we are seeking out others we can learn with. Being a Christian involves a relationship with God, yes, but it also involves a relationship with others. The goal of Christ-centered community is to develop the ultimate atmosphere by which the Church can speed toward its destination—multiplying disciples.

This past weekend we wrapped up our first month as Awakening Church in Bellevue, Washington. Building community and deeper relationships are some of the key building blocks we are using to introduce the gospel to our city.

Through our gathering, praying, serving, and studying, we are growing in strength and number each week. We are committed to this journey of faith, courage, and sacrifice that is creating a multi-ethnic and economically diverse church. In response the the prayer of Jesus for unity and our desire to pattern ourselves after the New Testament Church at Antioch (Acts 11)—we are a church or others, for all people, we are Awakening Church.

Acts 2:42–47 gives us a snapshot of community in the early church. It is a great passage, full of people spending time together…praying, talking, eating and worshipping. This passage shows a group of people wanting to be faithful to Christ and a desire to grow in their faith together.

Zach &Sarah Melvin

It’s with great joy that I get to announce that God has blessed us with new worship leaders! Zach and Sarah Melvin transitioned from Lynchburg, VA this past week. Please join us as we pray for their transition to their new home and life in Seattle. We celebrate their obedience and rejoice that God has opened the door for them to join the Awakening Church family!

2018 worldmission offering

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8

Over 2.8 Billion people have little to no access to the gospel. Together, we’re changing that. This December we will have our first World Mission Offering in which 100% of our gifts support missionaries who are making disciples and multiplying churches among unreached people and places around the world. Click the link to see in detail how we will disperse our 2018 World Mission Offering. At Awakening Church, missions is the mission. We are committed to being on mission in our city and around the world to make, grow, and send disciples so that our neighborhoods and nations are transformed.

Check out this video below to see how our approach to our calling can transform our world.

Limitless from IMB on Vimeo.

For continuous updates on what is happening in the life of Awakening Church, I encourage you to follow us on social media.

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Thank you for your continued support and prayers! God is at work!

 

Our Calling to God’s Mission

Brands & Trends

Our mission team recently arrived home from a couple weeks in Southeast Asia. We led and hosted the first Awakening Conference for nearly 50 Chinese believers, pastors, and missionaries. Our team of 13 people worked as a unified body and were truly blessed as a result. At Awakening Church, missions is our mission. We are focused on reaching the nations, including those in our backyard, with the good news of the gospel.

We are working these days in preparation for the launch of Awakening Church in Bellevue, Washington. With our sights set on November, we are praying for our core team as we make significant decisions over the next couple months. Please pray with us during this season of new beginnings and the launch of a city impacting ministry for the years to come.

This summer has been a unifying and team building season for our core team. For the past eight weeks, we have been on a journey through the Emotionally Healthy Discipleship Course. We have been digging below the surface to discovering who God has designed and created us to be. This hard work of discipleship has been a great tool for God to do the work of restoration within our hearts as a solid foundation for our future.

Check out this video about our calling to God’s mission. We thank you for your partnership and prayers as we reach the Seattle area and the world with the gospel.

[AWAKENING CHURCH UPDATE] Come Sail Away

I’m not a big hiker and I’ve never sailed before. But there are principles of hiking and sailing that directly apply to the way we live our lives.  In my church planting orientation, trainings, books, and cohorts there has been a great deal of emphasis put on planning and strategizing. While planning has helped us develop and clarify our vision, we’ve learned to plan in pencil recalling, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

We do like to make plans…but planning assumes predictable and unchanging pathways similar to a hikers dependance on a map to navigate. In the planning process, there are fixed points that can be anticipated because the paths and landmarks don’t change much over time. Their presence is predictable.

But imagine the context of a sailor on the open water. There are few landmarks or fixed points that provide an ever-present constant. Storms, shifting winds, and changing currents require an entirely different set of skills to navigate. Similar to navigating the seas, observing and adapting to our ever-changing environment is essential.

We are reminded everyday that North America is the largest English-speaking mission field in the world (although 40+% of Bellevue, WA speaks another language at home). As Will Mancini urges…

The Church can no longer think and act like club members; we must think and act like missionaries.”

As we live as missionaries on the east side of Seattle, God continues to open new relational doors.  In my regular routine of hair cuts, I’ve developed good relationships at a local barber shop.  Most of the workers in the shop are from the middle-east and they refer to me as “Preacher man.”  My regular barber, Michael, and I have had some great gospel conversations over the past few months.  The door opens a little more each time I’m there. When I first met Michael, I added him to a prayer list of people I regularly pray for.  A couple weeks ago I mentioned to Michael that I prayed for him each week and asked him how I could pray for him specifically.  With tear filled eyes, he shared how grateful he was and how I could pray.  I let him know that I’d be preaching at three different churches in November and I invited him to come when he could.  This past Sunday, after a 20+ year hiatus from any church, he showed up to hear me preach. After the service, he sent me a text message that read…

Jonah, I really enjoyed the service. Felt like Jesus was talking to me face-to-face. Thanks for the invite and the prayers. I’m excited because I know that He who began a good work in me is faithful to see it through.

I’m so thankful that God brought us together and how He is working in Michael’s life.  I look forward to my next haircut!

For Thanksgiving, we invited 7 new friends to our house for dinner.  Most of those that came had never had a traditional Thanksgiving meal before. We got to express our gratitude to God for his son, Jesus, and for bringing us new friendships. We then prayed together and had a great time teaching them about Thanksgiving traditions and what we are thankful for.

Holidays provide such great opportunities to share the good news with people all around us. This week we began Christmas conversations in our ESL class.  We read and explained the Christmas story in the book of Luke, sang Christmas songs, and talked about Christmas traditions.  Our ESL class turned into a special time of discovering Jesus. I could see faces light up as we read the Word of God. Jesus showed up to Talk Time!

I hope these few stories help paint the picture of what God is doing in, around, and through us.  We have a great focus these days on our preparation. While planning relies on predictability, our preparation helps us stay focused during times of uncertainty and seize the opportunities God gives us. We continue looking for ways to bless and serve our community.

As sailors on the open seas, we are continually praying, learning, and discerning what God is doing. As each day unfolds, we are beginning to discover God’s unique vision for us and the planting of Awakening Church.

I am continually reminded that my Kingdom vision really isn’t about me at all. And “It’s actually not really about [Awakening Church]. It is about the Kingdom assignment of unleashing a wave of God’s reign across [the east side of Seattle]— and way beyond.” -Jeff Christopherson, Kingdom First

Please join us in praying specifically this month for:

1. The development of our core team.

2. Partnering churches and individuals to help support the launch of Awakening Church.

3. Our ESL classes and the developing relationships God is beginning.

[AWAKENING CHURCH UPDATE] Living out the DNA


Since our arrival in Seattle, God has continued to show us that we are exactly where He wants us to be. On a weekly basis, we are meeting new people and making new connections in the community.  Visiting parks seems to be a prime place to meet new people in spite of the reputation of the Seattle freeze.  This refers to a belief that it is especially difficult to make new friends (particularly for transplants from other cities) in Seattle.  While I can see the realities of the freeze, our experience has been a little different so far.

 

I met Coco and her 5 year-old son at Downtown Park in Bellevue two weeks ago.  She moved here from Beijing the same week we did.  Her husband works and spends most of his time in China while she is here with her two kids. We have continued dialogue and they plan to come to our house for dinner this week.  While our conversations have been brief up until this point, she has shown an openness and excitement about our new friendship.

When we met Amy, a real estate agent in Bellevue, she shared her story of how she was introduced to Jesus.  In an effort to improve her English, she began meeting with a small group of people for an “English Corner.” Through that experience, she was exposed to the gospel and followed Christ as a result. Because of that experience, she has a passion for reaching people in similar ways.  Having done that type of ministry in China, we share a similar passion with Amy.  We have teamed up with her and will begin teaching an ESL class for 37 professional Chinese women on October 13!

This past Saturday we spent some quality family time in downtown Seattle. We took the kids for a ride on the Seattle Center Monorail and played at a nearby playground. After dinner, we took a walk through the marina on Lake Union. The kids really enjoyed looking at the seaplanes, floating homes, and yachts. While walking along, we passed by a sign for boat rentals. I grabbed a brochure and we kept walking.  Within 10 minutes, Kathy had convinced me that we should go back and rent a boat for an hour. So in an adventurous spirit of spontaneity, we did.  As I was filling out the waivers, the employee asked, “This might seem random, but did you used to live in Virginia?” I told him I had lived there for a couple years. He then asked, “Did you live in Newport News?” “Yes,” I replied…getting a little wierded out. He continued, “Were you the student pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church?” In fact I was! He let out a big sigh and said, “I knew it was you the moment I heard your voice! I was in your youth group!” Are you kidding me right now? My jaw was on the ground.  He said, “It’s so weird that you are here right now. I think about you guys all the time and wonder where you are. I just want you to know how big of an impact you made on my life and wanted to say thank you.” I’m excited to see God work through this relationship. We are meeting him for coffee this week!

As we move toward our calling to plant a church in Seattle, we daily live out the DNA of the church we desire to be.  Our vision is to see people transformed and be obedient to the Great Commission for God’s glory. Our uniqueness revolves around who God called us to be as His children and our genuine heart for the nations.

MISSIONS IS THE MISSION  With the gospel of Jesus at our core, we are committed to being on mission in our city to make, grow, and send disciples.  What happens inside the walls is designed to prepare people to go outside the walls.

FOCUSED OUTWARD  A healthy question to ask is, “What do my time and money say about my priorities?” Jesus spent the majority of his time with sinners, even to the point that the disciples became concerned. He calls us to join Him in the effort of reaching the lost.

BUILD UP TO SEND OUT  Becoming a disciple of Jesus involves much more than the transformation of our character.  It’s also about carrying out His mission. He wants us to follow Him to make us fishers of men!

All of this is a means to one end…the glory of God.  Apart from Christ, we once lived to glorify lesser things.  But in Christ, correct worship of God is restored and we are empowered by His Spirit to glorify Him and join Him where He is at work.

Please continue praying specifically for…

– Our transition as we settle into our new routines and schedules

– Our new relationships to develop and lead to gospel conversations.

– The development of our core team – That God would call people (and that they would be obedient) to join us in Seattle.

– Partnerships with churches and individuals that would join us in prayer, financially, and on the field.

China Update 6 – His work continues

When Hezekiah was king, Israel was in a very dark place spiritually.  He called the Levites and Priests together and told them to be diligent to cleanse the House of the Lord from all of its uncleanness.  We find eight Levites and a few priests who commit themselves to the task.  It took them 16 days to remove all the idols and cleanse the temple.  Cleaning up the temple wasn’t a glamorous or appealing job, yet it laid the foundation for the work God was going to do.  This week 10 people felt compelled by our King and Savior Jesus Christ to go to the people of China.  We’ve truly seen the movement and activity of God all around us.  The work that God has done through our team is the foundation for what He has in store.  God is still mightily working in all of the students, translators, house church pastors and us too.  We pray God will harvest these souls for his Kingdom! Please pray for them.  The nations won’t be won by Mega-Churches and programs.  The nations will be won one heart at a time.  As these seeds come to bear fruit, their families and friends will be impacted!  The kingdom of God should grow by multiplication not addition.  These lives will touch others.  The Chinese Christians we have met are the first believers in their families.  God is using them to bring their families to Him!  What a great reminder for the church around the world to get back to sharing the life-changing gospel.

In China, I’ve found that most people are either hot or cold.  I rarely see a lukewarm follower.  So when God is at work it’s clearly observable.  In America, the church as a whole feels lukewarm and it is oftentimes challenging to identify the activity of God.  The church of America is so rich in resources, programs, and business, they often operate outside of the Holy Spirit’s power.  Our prayer life is often the true indicator of our dependence on the living God.  For the Christians in China, God is all they have and they are in absolute dependence on him.  One of our students is a believer.  With a sense of loneliness, he told us that the closest church is 2 hours away.  He has had no support system that the body of Christ provides…until now. Kavanah is now that place!

It’s been evident that God has been working in our team as well as those we have been able to serve.  This trip has changed each of our lives and how we see the world.  More importantly we have come to see how God sees the world!  The work of God is alive and active around the globe….Join the movement.  Thank you for your continued prayer for our team and those God has allowed us to impact.

Miracle in the Valley of Fear

I believe that God brings us through different situations in our life to make us more like His son and so we can walk with others through similar situations. God has to do something in us before He can do something through us. Psalm 23 shows us how we can live a balanced life. I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult for me to stay balanced when life has so many ups and downs.  We all go through dark valleys, but David tells us that even in the middle of our darkest valley, God can work a miracle and drive out all fear.

valley-of-the-shadow-of-death

4. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, 
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me
 in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord
 forever.

-Psalm 23:4-6

David says, in life you will go through dark valleys and also be attacked by the enemy. We all experience enemy attacks, but David says in the middle of our darkest valley while we’re under enemy attack we can have joy and peace and we don’t have to be afraid. David was confident about the future because He knew who held the future. He knew the Good Shepherd was watching out for him and was fighting for him.

In the Old Testament, God provided a miracle to protect his people. In 2 Chron. 20 we see three armies that had conspired together to attack Judah and King Jehoshaphat. King Jehoshaphat was immediately filled with fear, the Bible says. And maybe today you are filled with fear, confusion, anxiety and worry because you feel like a vast army is coming against you. You feel totally overwhelmed. King Jehoshaphat knew that God alone could protect and defend him, so he prayed. And then God spoke to Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:15.

“He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”

To experience a miracle in the valley, we should do what Jehoshaphat did.

First, stop worrying and remember God is with you.

The main reason we become worried and discouraged in the valleys of life is we forget that God is in the valley with us. It may look like you’re outnumbered, but God plus one is a majority. You may feel overwhelmed by the problems you’re facing right now but God says that’s nothing for me. I’m with you. Not only is He with you, but He is in you and He gives you the power to face life’s difficulties. That’s why Paul, while imprisoned, chained, beaten, stoned, ship wrecked, he could still ask this question in Romans 8:31.

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

Secondly, I need to stop fearing and give the battle over to God.

God says: Hey, this isn’t your battle. I’m going to fight this one for you. You can turn this over to me.

Sheep have many enemies and are defenseless to protect themselves and so they depend upon the shepherd for protection. And a good shepherd would be skilled with the rod so the sheep had nothing to worry about.  In Psalm 23:4 David said: “Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” You guide me. You direct me. You provide for me. You correct me and then you protect me. You fight the battles for me.

The real reason I get filled with fear is because I’m trying to fight a battle that was never my battle to fight. And some of you are filled with fear today because you’re trying to fight a battle that was never your battle to fight. You’re stressing out and you’re fighting for control, to fix that problem in your own strength or to change that other person that won’t change or to get your problems under control. You’re fighting battle after battle that was never your battle to fight. God says: Give it to me. It’s my battle. I’ll fight the battle.

And the third thing is: I stop fighting and position myself for a miracle.

Once you give the battle over to God, our next step is to take our position to expect a miracle. He says: All you have to do is take your positions to receive the miracle. You don’t have to fight.  God has allowed us to take a step of faith and put ourselves in a position to receive a miracle. We can never earn or deserve God’s miracles. We could never earn God’s blessings. It’s all because of His grace. We don’t deserve any of His blessings. But through His grace…If we’ll take a step of faith and stand in that place of miracles, then He can work miracles in your life. Position yourself for a miracle. When God asks me to take a step of faith and I take that step, I position myself in that place of miracles.

Now, how do we put ourselves? Well, it’s all about attitude. First, I need to choose an attitude of prayer rather than worry.

Jehoshaphat kept putting himself back in position for a miracle. Now he felt fear. It’s a natural human emotion. You can’t help that you have feelings of fear or anxiety; but then you get to decide whether you hold on to it or pray about it.

Jehoshaphat chose to pray about it. He got others to pray with him, and the question I have for you is: As you’re going through that dark valley, you’ve been trying to fight the battle on your own and control that problem, have you been praying to God? Have you really prayed to God?

And then I need an attitude of thanksgiving, rather than complaining, thanking God in advance.

I wonder how many miracles I’ve missed out on because I complained and griped rather than praising God. We’ll never know until we get to Heaven. Complaining, criticizing, being negative blocks the blessing. Thanking God in advance paves the pathway for God’s blessing in our lives.

You see when I go negative and I complain, that’s a sin against God. When I gripe and complain and about my situation, I’m actually griping and complaining about God because HE allowed that situation into my life?

Our attitude should be… God, I don’t like this. I don’t understand it but I thank you … you know what you’re doing and I know you’re going to see me through. If God doesn’t change the valley, He will change you in the valley. If God doesn’t make the valley go away, He will help you through the valley.

Sometimes God has to allow us to get to the dead ends of life before we really trust Him and we know it’s got to be God and He comes through.   He gets all the glory and all the credit.

If you’re in a dark valley right now just know that God performs His greatest miracles in dark valleys and turns dark valleys into valleys of blessing.