Steve Schappell-My Blog

Monday, May 7, 2012

Encouraging Prayer

"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may he healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
James 5:16

It is a good thing to pray for and encourage one another.  Encouraging one another up in the faith strengthens the body of Christ, and building another up is always better than tearing someone down.

I did not intend this blog as a way to ask for anything from anyone.  However,  I am asking for your prayers as God is preparing me for a new opportunity.

I really want to make a difference in life.  I thought that was at work (I have to be in a career that makes a difference...) I felt it had to be something big.  Since I lost my job last August, God is showing me that I can make a difference at work, in all the small ways.  From the way I act and speak, for example.  I am also being shown that when I wait on the Lord, he will direct my path and move me to where he wants me to go.

I am currently in a Men's Group that meets at church every other week.  It is called "Men's Fraternity," and is a 3-year course on Manhood.  We are on a quest for authentic manhood.  This is designed to answer some questions that are universal to men.  I am in the beginning phases of this; however, God is showing me a lot about myself and opening up other avenues in my life.

One of those areas is what I am asking for prayer in.  Our church is starting the "Celebrate Recovery" program this summer.  This was started at Saddleback Church (Pastor Rick Warren's Church) by John Baker.  Celebrate Recovery is a recovery program based on eight principles from the Beatitudes.  While similar in some aspects to the 12-step program like AA, this is world's apart in execution, using Biblical principles to guide every aspect of the program.

When I read in our bulletin about this a few months ago, my heart leaped, and at the time I was not sure why.  My girlfriend has been involved in her church with this program and was excited to hear this was coming to our church.  I felt a tug at my heart about this and prayed about it. 

Then, a few weeks ago I saw in the bulletin 2 men were needed to be facilitators in this program.  God laid on my heart during the service and afterwards I went up to one of the organizers and volunteered my services.  Now, I am going thorough a leaders guide and reading workbooks and materials that my girlfriend has to become familiar with this, and eager to start our planning meetings.

I thought, "wait a minute God, what do I know about this?  I am not trained in this area, yet I have a strong desire to help in any way I can."  Then God took me back to my college days and it started to make sense.

You see, it started during college, and while I never understood why, I was grateful for it.  Other students, some I was friends with and others that I did not know, would share with me.  Some of what they shared was very personal, and in some cases, I was the first one they told.  One person said I seemed like someone they could trust, and another said they felt comfortable with me to share.  In all cases, I promised that I would not share their secrets with anyone else.  This continued here and there after college, and stopped after I got married and had kids.  Now, all these years later, I am feeling led to a place where I feel I can make a difference.  That is what I am praying about.  That God would use me for whatever purpose he has.

I did not see it at the time, but now understand that when these people shared their pain, loss, hurts and secrets with me, they experienced a relief and had some new found freedom.  They were able to let go of that part of their past and move forward.  Now here I was, with all their secrets in my head and feeling a bit burdened.  Once I realized that my next step was to lay those burdens down at the feet of Christ, did I experience that same freedom and release they experienced.

I don't remember everything that people told me over the years, but that may not be a bad thing.  They released them to me and I gave them to God.  Jesus died for all of us and he asks that we cast our cares on him for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

I am praying that I might be able to help others in Celebrate Recovery, and be built up in Christ in the process.  If you feel so led, I am asking for prayers that God will use me in this program to help others experience freedom in Christ; a freedom we are all looking for. 

  My girlfriend is involved in this and

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