Patience & Waiting

By Gai Gai Anderson

Waiting on anything in our lives is not easy. Living in this “gotta have it now” world, we pay extra just to have our orders shipped overnight. Waiting on God is not something we can speed up if we really want what God wants in our lives.

Throughout the Bible, we see God’s people waiting on God for help, leadership, and deliverance (Moses in the desert, Noah before the flood, Nehemiah before approaching the king, the Israelites waiting for the Messiah to come, Cornelius to hear God’s truth through Peter, Saul after being blinded, and believers waiting for the Holy Spirit to come after Jesus’ ascension). In all these accounts, the people were waiting on God’s will to be revealed or accomplished.

Patience is an integral part of waiting on God. Patience is part of the fruit of the Spirit given when the Holy Spirit enters a life that has received Jesus as Savior and Lord (Galatians 5:22). Patience has a whole lot to do with waiting on God to intervene.  Like patience is a part of waiting, trust is a part of patience.

It is easier to be patient when you trust the person you are having to wait on. When it comes to trusting, God is faithful in keeping His promises. We can trust Him with everything.

Finding a pastor to lead our church is not an easy task. It requires the desire to first let go of ourselves and to seek and trust God completely. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”

We want God’s man, not ours. This means we must wait on God’s timing. We need to make sure we are praying and seeking God during this interim period between senior pastors. “We must pray with a willingness to wait and wait with a willingness to pray. Waiting and praying go together.” (Quoted from Mom’s Devotional Bible, 1996).

Waiting, praying, and trusting go hand-in-hand. Let’s pray daily for the pastor search committee to find God’s man while trusting God to lead them; and pray for all of us to wait on God to do His work.

Be patient. God will come through.

Guided by the Holy Spirit

By Michelle McFadden

Every day as the kids and I are in the car making our way to school we pray. My prayer is always, “Lord, let your Holy Spirit guide my kids today”. I tell them to do what the Holy Spirit leads them to do throughout the day, not just what they want to do. They find it so amazing that the same God who did healings and miracles came to dwell within them when they accepted Jesus as their Savior. It’s always a teaching moment.

Like the children, I am still learning to discern God’s voice and be led by the Spirit of God. It’s something I am studying with friends at work. Through this study, it has become more and more apparent to me how tough it is to recognize His voice all the time. It takes practice daily to listen and be ready. We need to abide in Him in order to even hear His voice.

This is true for every area of our lives. As we await the Holy Spirit to guide us in our search for a new pastor for our church, we all need to spend time with Him listening. The waiting time is just as important as when the answer will be revealed.

One of my favorite Bible characters is Paul. I admire his obedience and trust in the Holy Spirit to reveal answers to him.

 Trembling and astonished he asked, Lord, what do You desire me to do? The Lord said to him, But arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. Acts 9:6

Right from his conversion Paul had to wait on the Holy Spirit; and was willing to be obedient in the waiting. He waited three days for Ananias to come to touch him. He expected an answer. He knew without doubt the Father would answer.

“If we come to Him doubting His ability to speak, we will have a difficult time listening. So, we must come expectantly.” – Charles Stanley

In Romans, Paul tells the people, as followers of Christ we will be led by the Holy Spirit. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the Children of God. Romans 8:14

There are two key phrases here. One is “Children of God”. We can only be spoken to by the Holy Spirit if we are believers in Christ. Once we have accepted Christ as our Savior then the Holy Spirit dwells in us and can speak. The second is “led”, not controlled. We are not forced to do His will we are not mere playthings. He allows us to have freedom in our actions.

We can trust His promise, answering our call, and leading us to the right decisions or choices to be made. He will lead our church in the direction He wants and tell us the choice of leadership, we must be willing to have full trust and expect His will to be done.


Connection Offerings

By Karen Polich

There’s something about our habits. We usually do what we usually do. We usually don’t do what we usually don’t do. How do we make the shift? – Michael M. Cook

We all have a role in the body of the Church. Pastor Michael M. Cook wrapped up the Fragile Growth sermon series on Sunday. This eight week series focused on moving forward in our growth as followers. Connection Offerings, teaches from Colossians 4:7-18; looking at five people and their traits. What if we adopted these traits? Listen to the podcast here.

Availability (Tychicus). He was available and dependable. God is more concerned about our availability than our ability. Are we ready to say “yes” when He can use us?

Useful (Onesimus). He was faithful. We see in Philemon 1:11 that he had failure in life, but God still used him. Failure does not have to be final. In failures, we have a choice to give up or move on. It is important as a believer to have the capacity to move forward. God can do anything. There can be new starts and things can turn around. It’s all possible.

Reconciliation (Mark). There is a fine line between we are not right with each other and we are now right with each other. Choosing a church is simply a matter of deciding which group of radically flawed individuals you will commit your life to.

Be careful and be slow to write people off. – Michael M. Cook

Prayer (Epaphras). He was always “wrestling in prayer”. The opposite of prayer is self-reliance. What does a prayer warrior recognize? God is able to do things that we are not able to do. It is heavy, hard work. Not a prayer warrior? What would get you to become one? What can God accomplish that you can’t?

 Generosity (Nympha). Everything she had was at God’s disposal. Is this how we live? Much can happen when we have a generous heart and hold nothing for ourselves.

Whatever condition we find ourselves in, we are all in this together. What would it look like if we all adopted these traits, wrestling in prayer as we give and make ourselves available for His Kingdom? We are all needed somewhere right now.



Praying for our Pastors – 7 Day Challenge

By Karen Polich

It’s Pastor Appreciation Month, time for us to give back to those who pour themselves out continually to so many.

Pastors work tirelessly to care for their “flock”. Encouragement and teaching are part of a regular day. Pastors show us what it means to serve, leading by example. Answering God’s calling, they mentor others while proclaiming the Truth. They demonstrate spiritual leadership in the home and let us see what it looks like to love your family with complete abandon.

Pastors find needs, fill empty hearts and constantly give to others. They do this without complaint or hesitation.

How can we give back to them for all that they do? We can pray for them. We can ask God to bless their ministry and their family. Let’s bring God’s amazing grace into the lives or our pastors with heartfelt prayers.

Day 1 – Protection

Pray for a hedge of protection. Pray God will protect him and his family in regards to health, ministry, trials, and temptations.

No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. Isaiah 54:17

If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge, then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. Psalm 91:9-10

Day 2 – Wisdom

Pray he will seek God’s wisdom. Ask God to guide him as he leads his family. Pray for discernment in understanding God’s will for his life. Pray against any doubt that Satan brings when his ministry is difficult. Ask God to give him strong counsel and to bring those who will speak Truth. Pray that God will guard him from those who would seek to distract him from his calling.

For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His might power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11

Day 3 – Margins

Pray for his ability to see the value in having margins, allowing him to refresh and refuel his strength. Pray God will guide him in creating time for leisure, rest, family, God and health. Ask God to protect this time as it allows him to be his best in all things.

Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Be at rest once more my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. Psalm 116: 7

Day 4 – Relationship with God

Ask God to strengthen his relationship in Christ. Pray he seeks God first in all things. Pray God will pour into him and pray he will know deep in his heart how much he is loved. Ask God to give him the opportunity to worship and grow closer to his Lord. Pray he will carve out daily time to study God’s Word. Pray for constant renewal.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

Day 5 – A Servant’s Heart

Pray that God is at the center of his life and he is humble in his ways, modeling Christ and serving others with a joyful heart. Pray that his service honors God.

And that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. Deuteronomy 30:20

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 23:15

Day 6 – Leadership

Pray for leadership grounded in Truth. Ask God to give him opportunities to teach and lead others. Pray his heart will remain humble. Pray for preparation of his heart and mind for the difficult days.. Bless his efforts to grow and mentor new Christian leaders.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Day 7 – Preaching

Pray for him to always speak God’s Truth with conviction. Pray God would guide him and provide His wisdom so that he may preach the gospel wherever he is called. Pray for hearts receptive to the message he brings and for God to use him to reach people. Ask God to begin preparing the hearts of those who may soon hear God’s word through his efforts.

We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. Colossians 1:28

Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

Join us in covering pastors with prayer over the next seven days.


Preparing for Battle

By LuAnn Edwards

With the recent release of the movie “War Room,” the importance of prayer and my desire to be a “Miss Clara” moved me to search the scriptures for some fundamental principles regarding prayer. When troubles are all around us and our lives are being shaken by disturbing circumstances, we need to be on our knees praying for God’s intervention. It is time to take a stand and fight for what God promised us in His Word. To pray effectively, we must prepare ourselves for battle by building up our faith, walking in love and forgiveness, and submitting daily to Christ, which includes bearing fruit.

Mark 11:22 says, “Have faith in God…” Mark 11:24 goes on to say, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

To have true faith in God, there is no room for doubt and unbelief. We must give ourselves to Him in total surrender and spend time in fellowship with Him. Our unbelief will fade away, and we will accept His Word as truth. We may then come before Him and make our requests known to Him in confidence that He will hear us.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25).

Prayer and love go hand-in-hand.

We need a good relationship with others for our prayers to make an impact. Are we walking in love and kindness? Or, are we holding onto anger, bitterness and unforgiveness? If we are refusing to forgive, we are not walking in obedience. Forgiveness is a choice we make showing God’s love in action. Why do we think God will answer our prayers if we are unwilling to obey and forgive?

John 15:7-8 says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

We need a life fully submitted to the Lord to pray life-changing prayers.

Are our thoughts and actions pleasing to Him? Are we bearing fruit through our lives? It is not the eloquent words or phrases we use; it is our daily walk and commitment to Christ, living His Word, which allows us the opportunity to pray and believe our prayers reach Him and will be answered.

There are many other scriptures that teach us how to pray. These include 1 John 5:14—pray according to God’s will, Philippians 4:6—pray with thanksgiving, 1 Thessalonians 5:17—pray continually, and Matthew 6:6—pray in secret. It is time to enter our war rooms and fight our battles on our knees. Are we ready? Are we growing in faith? Are we loving and forgiving others? Are we fully submitted to Christ and bearing fruit? Prayer is a powerful weapon. We need to prepare ourselves for battle before we can fight!

Malawi Missions 2015 – Happening Now

Our 2015 Malawi Team is in the midst of their work. God is accomplishing many things through their efforts.

 Fresh, clean water is flowing from the new well.

Work at the church building site continues with excitement. Materials are in short supply at times, impacting the work. The first day, that meant stopping early after running out of nails. Currently, villagers meet in a straw hut of about 450 square feet. Children gather at the site to see what is happening. There is great anticipation for the building dedication on Sunday.

Surrounding villages welcome the team, eager to hear God’s Word. A showing of the Jesus film brought crowds that grew as the night went on. Countless decisions were made to follow Christ.

The team continues to share the Gospel each day, reaching many people. The days are full of God’s blessings as the work continues.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. Psalm 145:3

Things We Take for Granted

By Kevin Linthicum

As our group prepares to travel to Lilongwe, Malawi (Southeastern Africa), I am reminded of the exceptional life God has blessed us with. In my lifetime, I have never been concerned where my next meal would come from. I have never been worried about becoming ill from drinking water that was not clean. I have always had access to adequate medical care.

On May 22, 2015, our team of four women and thirteen men will depart on the trip of a lifetime. This will be the kind of adventure that will have a long lasting impact on each individual. Our team met recently for a time of fellowship and preparation. As the group was asking questions, I was reminded of my first trip to Malawi. At the time, I had no idea the impact this trip would have on my life. I was a new believer, and I was eager to follow God’s leading.

I was overwhelmed the first time I witnessed women drawing water from a shallow well. The water in the bucket was so dirty you could not see the bottom of the bucket. I still have vivid images of under nourished children running around playing. These children were not even aware of their own condition. On a recent trip to Malawi, our group had the opportunity to visit a local hospital. I remember as we walked through the hospital, I was so thankful to live in a place with exceptional medical care.

This year our team will be participating in the construction of a new church in a remote village in Malawi. God has also blessed our group with the resources necessary to drill and install a deep water well at the church site. Our team will be engaged in village to village evangelism.  This investment will have a lasting impact for the people in the area.

Our team would be grateful for your prayer support. We will leave Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 22, 2015, and we will return to Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 5, 2015. We are thankful in advance for your commitment to pray for our team.

A Living Hope

By Gerry Wakeland

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1: 3 NIV

Our God is a God of hope. Not just any hope but a living hope, a hope that is alive within us.

This hope comes as the result of Christ’s death and resurrection. Along with this hope is the promise of “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for us.” (1Peter 1:4)

HOPE! It seems like such a simple word, but in fact, it has a significant impact in our lives. Think about it. We all have hopes. Right now, as you read this you are hoping for something. What it is?

Hope is a desire with the expectation of fulfillment.  In other words, it is trust. You might even say it is faith. For Christians, it is the belief that God has a plan for our lives and that plan is far better than our own plan. That plan includes His provision for our needs and fulfillment of our desires.

Our church fellowship has hopes too. Recently we launched the Hope Effort with the goal of raising the monies to expand our current facility. This expansion would add new classrooms for our children’s ministry and allow us to relocate our administrative offices to the church campus. With this expansion we hope to reach more lives for the Kingdom of God.

As Pastor Cook led the church leadership in a discernment process preparing for this financial campaign, he was very intentional about how we would view this project. He pointed out the many trials and storms our church family had weathered since relocating to the west side. Debt, fires, and contamination are but a few of those. Sadly, there came a time when many of us were losing hope.

In 1 Peter 1: 6-7, the Apostle Peter reminds us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold – which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

As we the family of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church look to the future, we do so with renewed hope. We trust that God will continue to do a great work not only in our church and through our church, but in and through each of us as individuals.

As you pray about how you and your family will be involved in the Hope Effort, think about how God may be stirring the hope that is living within you. Is He reminding you that you have an inheritance stored up in heaven? Perhaps He wants you to know that even through the trials that hope is alive.

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with the inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your soul.” 1 Peter 1: 8-9 NIV

Persistent Prayer and Faithfulness in Giving

By LuAnn Edwards

Many years ago, my husband Ken partnered with two other men in a farming business. We knew Clyde was a trustworthy man; we attended the same church. Sam, a businessman in town, put up most of the money with the agreement that if anything went wrong, all three men would be equally, financially responsible. I wasn’t sure Sam could be trusted since I didn’t think he was a Christian.

Within a couple of years, the business went broke, and we had to close. The main reason was Clyde. He misrepresented himself and the product he endorsed. He skipped town and to my knowledge never paid any of his debt. So much for thinking he could be trusted.

How would we ever be able to pay Sam back? We were a young family with two small children. We calculated it would take us 20 years. Bankruptcy was an option, but after praying about it we felt God wanted us to make every effort to pay our debt.

The Lord soon provided Ken with a new job, and we began paying Sam back $2,000 per year. After two years, I began praying specifically. “Lord, You know our faithfulness and how we have continued to pay Sam back. You also know we have not cut back on our giving to the church or Your work. Lord, at the end of five years, I pray that Sam will forgive us our remaining debt.” I also prayed for the Lord to give Ken boldness to ask Sam for the balance to be written off after we paid a total of $10,000.

That didn’t happen. After nearly three more years of persistently praying and asking the Lord for this specific need, we received a letter in the mail stating, “Thank you for not forgetting about our business venture that did not do very well or your obligation to the note. I do not feel you owe me any more money. Please consider your portion of the note ‘Paid in Full.’” At this time, we had paid $9,500 of our debt. The Lord answered my prayer $500 early, and Ken didn’t even have to talk to Sam. God moved upon his heart without our interference. Sam, the man I wasn’t sure could be trusted, was actually a generous and forgiving man.

Through this experience, I learned a few things. First, I learned that persistent prayer works, and God doesn’t always answer the way we pray. He often answers better.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

I also learned not to judge people based on whether or not I believe them to be a Christian. I misjudged both men when I shouldn’t have judged either one. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1).

The last thing I learned is that God is pleased with our faithfulness. We continued to pay our debt to Sam, while continuing to give our tithe and offerings to our church and the Lord’s work. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor. 9:6).

I believe God granted us a wonderful blessing through persistent prayer and our faithfulness in giving.

Are you persistently praying and being faithful in your giving to the Lord’s work?

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

By Michelle McFadden

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. Matthew 11:25-26 NIV

On Sunday Pastor Michael Cook shared with the congregation the vision for the expansion of our current church building. As Pastor Cook stated, “Now is the time to move past just making do and use the right tools from our tool box to grow God’s kingdom.”

God has put Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church in a place where as a church we can choose to grow and meet needs. This means expanding our available tools. On Sunday our family saw the plans displayed for the building expansion and we began to get really excited about the idea of seeing this project through to completion.

Our children got excited, too. My husband, Curtis, and I have three young children. Our children run into church like it’s another home. We truly have a sense of family here and crave for others in our community to be a part of this family with us. But for this to happen we need tools, tools that come in the form of playgrounds, classrooms and space for our church family to grow.

We can have all the excitement in the world but now we need to take action. That action begins with prayer. After hearing the plans for the new project, our son Louis said to us, “Mom, Dad, every time we pass the church I want to pray for the new part to be built and I know God will provide it”. Louis is only eight. But he got it.

There is a definite faith and hope in his heart that made us say, “Yes! These little guys are our future and we want our kids to join us in praying for God’s presence and plan!”  They get it and want more people to join them in God’s purpose for our church. Curtis and I will be joining Louis as he prays in faith for the new part of our church. We encourage you to join with Louis and our family as we pray together. Let us come in humility, like a child and seek God first in prayer.

He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them.  And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18: 2-4